Barnsley is a town in the north of England famous for three things: brass bands, the semi-mythical Barnsley Chop*, and a name-check in the 1990s techno hit ‘It’s Grim Up North.’
For our purposes, however, the small Yorkshire town is notable for one thing only: it’s home to Down & Out Cafe Racers, one of Britain’s finest custom builders.
Shop owners Shaun and Carl specialize in Triumphs, with the odd BMW airhead thrown in. And staying true to the great traditional of the Industrial North, they like to hand-make many of the parts on their builds.
This Triumph Thruxton is the latest beauty to roll out of the shop. And you’d never guess, but it was completed in just three weeks.
“The customer wanted it to be ready for the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride in London,” says Shaun. “Unfortunately we had another three builds to get ready for the Ride too … but we made it on time.”
The donor bike was a 2015-model Thruxton. “It wasn’t the best choice for this particular build though,” Shaun says, “because we wanted to use the smaller clutch and brake set-up from the Scrambler and SE models. So we ordered in the components and swapped them over.”
The stock switchgear was binned too, replaced by Motone micro switches. “This allowed us to run all the wiring inside the LSL bars for a super clean look.”
The biggest change is an unusual one, but worth it for the visual impact alone. “We fitted a wide fork kit, so we could run 16×3 wheels with bigger tires. The kit is made for us by Fastec Racing, and includes 246mm wide yokes.” Custom brackets keep the seven-inch headlight tucked in tight for a tidy appearance.
Frame cuts are almost de rigueur these days, but Down & Out resisted the temptation to fire up the grinder for a quick chop. “We made a prototype stainless steel rack and baseplate instead,” says Shaun.
“With this set-up, we can still install the custom seat we use on all our Triumph builds. And it all unbolts, so you can put your bike back to standard using the stock seat whenever you want.”
Underneath the seat are JVB-moto side covers. The custom alloy rear fender bolts straight in—and fits all standard Bonnevilles, too.
Engine work was minimal. “The customer wanted a clean-looking bike, one that’s custom but not over the top,” says Shaun. “He’s not looking to go racing.”
So the powertrain gets just a subtle boost: a modified airbox, a custom stainless exhaust system that sounds as good as it looks, and an ECU remap to sharpen engine response.
“We wanted to concentrate on the stuff that makes the bike ‘clean’—the bars, the shorter seat and the rack, which influence the overall feel of the bike,” says Shaun. The finishing touch is a delicious lick of gold and black paint by Pro Kustom.
We reckon Down & Out Cafe Racers have absolutely nailed it.
What say you?
* The Barnsley Chop is not the English equivalent of the Glasgow Kiss. It’s a cut of lamb sometimes called a saddle chop, or a double loin chop. Believed to have originated at the Brooklands Hotel in Barnsley, although others claim it was first served in the Kings Head pub.
Down & Out custom parts Bear trap foot pegs, short levers, two-into-two full stainless exhaust system, alloy front and rear fenders with stainless steel mounts, custom short seat, custom stainless bolt-on rack system, rear loop conversion, headlight and mounts, custom alloy 16×3 alloy wheels powder coated black, micro indicators, stainless number plate mount, wider fork kit with new spindle, caliper bracket and wheel spacers, custom loom to suit micro switchgear, rear stainless steel indicator mounts.
Motone parts Gas cap, gear lever, regulator relocation bracket, finned carburetor tops, choke knob, micro switchgear, and aluminum intake bellmouth.
LSL parts Ignition relocator, chain guard, bars, risers and master cylinder.
Also Renthal sprockets, Öhlins shocks, Motogadget Tiny speedometer and m-Tri signal adaptor box, JVB-moto side panels. Paint by Pro Kustom.