Some motorcycles are just brimming with purpose, like this Triumph Bonneville on steroids. It looks like it’s poised to shred rubber, even when it’s standing still.
It’s the work of MeanMachines, an Australian shop very familiar to local owners of Bonnevilles and Thruxtons. Builder Wenley Ng has been modifying Triumph ‘modern classics’ for many years now, and is the kind of guy who can rewire a bike with his eyes closed.
Wenley has worked on several tracker-style conversions, but this one is way more extreme than the others. “I wanted to create a Monster Truck tracker,” he says, and picked a 2008 Bonneville with 600 km on the clock as his victim.
A big part of this bike’s attitude comes from the tires—a 130 up front, and a 200 out back. “Making that fit was no easy task,” Wenley reports. “We also changed the gear ratio slightly, with custom sprockets both front and back, so the engine can spin the 200 tire.” The swing arm has been extended three inches and widened to accommodate the new rubber, which is now shielded by a custom hugger.
The suspension has been upgraded to match, with a Suzuki GSX-R fork hooked up to a custom-laced rim and hub and held in place by custom triple trees. Renthal FatBars add to the aggressive look, and are fitted with GSX-R switchgear. The compact headlight is a 5½” Bates unit, nestling below a Koso speedo with custom-made idiot lights.
To accentuate the stance of the bike, Wenley raised the stock tank a little at the rear and fabricated a short, purposeful exhaust system—going from 2-into-1 and then back into 2 again, terminated with twin-barrel ‘shotguns.’
Engine mods are minimal: pod filters, a dyno tune and a re-jet. “We wanted something very reliable,” says Wenley. “But while pouring in the new oil, we thought the oil level display was too small—so we CNC-machined a ring with a Lexan window and adapted this to the clutch cover. Now you can see the engine movement and the oil level.”
After de-tabbing the frame for a cleaner-than-stock lock, Wenley decided to run a mono shock. So he beefed up the rear frame to handle the greater forces, describing it as being strong enough to withstand a ‘tank hit.’ “I tried many different shocks, and a Hayabusa shock with a custom spring did the job nicely. No sag, and a smooth ride.”
The new seat matches the shortened frame—around three inches shorter than a factory Bonneville—and is upholstered with perforated leather similar to a type used by Porsche for its car interiors. The finishing touch is candy red paint with white accents, plus a grille slipped over the headlight.
The perfect machine for blasting round the twisty streets of Sydney, don’t you think?
Images by Cam Elkins of Stories of Bike.