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Two-wheeled Yin and Yang | Manufacture News | News

Factory standard versus modified customs, how clever customisers are taking a short-cut to success

Think it’s a glamorous life being a factory tester? Then ask this guy, whose job is to rack up thousands of kilometres in a bleak English winter testing the fit and finish of what we believe is the new Triumph Thruxton R Black. At least the sun is shining this day.

AMCN prides itself on its ability to capture the spy photos of factory prototypes and our intrepid photographers also aren’t afraid to defy the elements around the world waiting to snap the next big thing from a manufacturer, either.

Huge resources are poured into even the simplest prototype; designing, testing and then convincing management that a business plan can support the original idea. Few companies are as skilled in the art of mix-and-match as Triumph, making many distinct models from a limited selection of components. The next bike to show off that skill looks set to be a Thruxton R Black.

The upcoming model has been spotted near Triumph’s base in the UK, and clearly displays the same ‘Black’ characteristics as the T100 Black, T120 Black and Bobber Black that are already in the range.  We expect the see the Thruxton R Black on sale very soon.

Meanwhile, a worldwide subculture of aftermarket companies are using existing mainstream models to create niche motorcycles that sell well enough to justify the time and effort. Adapting proven technology from the world’s big factories is a short-cut to success for these start-up bespoke micro-manufacturers.

More than just black

There’s more to it than a simple coat of gloss black for the tank and body panels. Engine cases, cylinders and head are all finished in satin black, as are the Showa Big Piston front fork, wheel rims and hubs. Even the circular Triumph badge on the side of the engine, normally highlighted in gold or silver, is black. Gold highlights make a classy contrast on the Ohlins rear suspension and Showa front fork legs.

Triumph knows the components will last the distance, but will the new finishes? Best place to test that is a few months on the UK’s winter roads, often covered with salt to combat the frost.

The Yin and the Yang of ABM

Just how wily workshop wizards make a decent buck out of someone else’s R&D

A spin-off company from renowned Triumph tuner T3 Performance has unveiled these two high-powered prototypes and opened its order book. Associated British Motorcycles (ABM) has used donor bikes from Triumph’s 1050cc Street Triple range dating from 2011. Engine modifications boost power to 119kW.

ABM’s Tony Scott spoke for a lot of start-up niche custom builders when he explained the project: “The Gemini Twins suit our entry into the market place perfectly; they are British,  inspired and edgy, creating a great buying opportunity for those looking for something very special.

The cafe racer

The Gemini Naked’s single headlight hints at the very first ‘T309’ generation of Triumph Speed Triple. The chassis is from the current Speed Triple, but gains an Ohlins FGRT 208 fork and  Maxton GP10 billet shock, plus HEL Performance radial brake calipers. The final version will  have carbon-fibre Dymag wheels.

The street tracker

The Gemini Indianapolis uses the same main mechanical components but wraps them in a flat-tracker inspired by Indy Mile racers. Key differences include Kineo spoked wheels and a headlight disguised under the nose-cone number board. ABM only plans to make 50 of each model.

ByHamish Cooper and Ben Purvis