Most builders rhapsodize about their bikes, scattering superlatives like autumn leaves on a country road. Kev Taggart describes his Triumph Bonneville T100 as “Small, squat, and tough as old boots.”
Kev can afford to be blunt. He’s one half of the English workshop Spirit of The Seventies, and a man with nothing left to prove. If there’s a phrase to sum up Spirit bikes, it’s “iron fist in a velvet glove”—and this T100 continues that fine philosophy.
It’s called TR9C, a nod to Triumph’s famous Trophy models of the 1950s and 1960s. Hence the slight retro enduro vibe: a look that modern-day custom Triumphs still carry well.
The commission came from a London-based client, a young guy who’d been using a Buell XB9 for getting around the city. Then the Buell was stolen from right outside his house. He decided to use the insurance money for something special, and put in a call to Kev and his partner Tim Rogers.
A design was quickly approved and a 2013-spec T100 ‘Limited Edition’ sourced. Spirit immediately set about the frame: removing the rear peg carriers, chopping down the subframe, building a ‘shortie’ seat and a new rear fender with LED indicators.
The instruments have been lowered, and the powdercoated headlight is held in place by LSL brackets with billet indicators.
“We also changed the one-inch chrome handlebars to black low-profile bars,” Kev reports. “It visually lowers the front end, and drops the rider’s hands for a sportier feel.”
Spirit wanted the Bonneville to look less like a gentleman’s armchair and more like a chunky roadster. So they’ve fitted smaller, wider wheels with modern sports rubber. “We built new 17-inch wheels, five inches wide at the rear and three at the front,” says Kev, “and popped on a pair of Pirelli Diablos. We then added a set of Fox Podium R shocks and progressive-rate fork springs to improve the grip even more.”
Next up was to fabricate a high-level exhaust system. “We usually fit these to Scramblers, but we thought we’d give this Bonnie some ‘classic enduro’ cool. You’d be daft to take this thing off-road, but there’s no reason you can’t lend it some dirt-sled kudos!”
After re-working the rear brake arrangement, the pipe went on fine. Then it went to Zircotec in Abingdon for a very trick metallic-grey ceramic coating. It keeps the heat inside the pipe and helps scavenge the gases for a better bang.
“Amazing stuff, and it really works,” says Kev, “Zircotec coat F1 exhausts in the same material to prevent them from burning through the carbon bodywork.”
The final job was to liberate a little more power and torque. So Spirit performed their usual air box surgery, tickled the gearing, and retuned the ECU on T3 Racing’s rolling road. “The bike now has more power and torque right across the rev range.”
“And it sounds pretty bloody good too.”