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Skate or Die: A Triumph Thruxton With A Street Art Vibe

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
As someone who spent his teen years with a skateboard under his feet, I see parallels between the skate and custom bike worlds. As with surfing and art, there’s a common thread lurking just below the surface.

But the influence is usually very subtle. It’s more evident in the riders, their personal philosophies and the clothes they wear, than the actual motorcycles themselves. So what happens when the worlds of motorcycling, skateboarding and art collide?

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
This audacious Triumph Thruxton from down under, that’s what. If you’re of the school of subtle customization, avert your eyes. But if like me you still wear Vans, and have a skateboard gathering dust somewhere in the house, read on.

It’s the result of a collaboration between Rogue Motorcycle’s Billy Kuyken and Hans Bruechle, better known as HandBrake the Artist. The pair crossed paths twelve months ago at a motorcycle show in Western Australia, where the seed was planted for a joint project.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“I was walking up and down the street at the York Motorcycle Festival, and the one thing that caught my eye was Billy’s bike,” Hans recalls. “He had all these retro helmets on his truck, so the first thing I said to him was ‘what do you think about me painting a helmet?’

That was it—we got in touch and well, the helmet thing never really happened, but it kind of evolved and I really wanted a custom bike—the time was just right.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
The pair threw mockups and ideas back and forth to settle on a style. And then it was clear that a previous-gen Triumph Thruxton would be the perfect donor. A low mileage 2011 model was sourced, and the build started.

There’s a lot to take in here, but the first thing that caught our eye was the skateboard deck seat—and the mono shock arrangement lying just below it.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“Hans has his own skateboard label, so I told him we can’t do a bike without a skateboard as the seat,” Billy explained. “We obviously had to cut half the frame and throw it in the bin for the mono shock conversion.”

Billy modified the swing arm, fabricated new shock mounts, and wedged in a YSS shock. The duo wanted the tail to be as minimal as possible, so Billy has cleverly hidden the new subframe between the skateboard deck and the seat pan.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“It was about making the frame as invisible as possible,” he says, “to get that lighter look on the rear. It was basically to give the idea that you’re actually sitting on a skateboard.” It’s covered by stunning black and white upholstery from Poli Motor Trimming, who normally work on luxury and exotic sports cars.

Riffing off the theme is a Stellar truck, modified to hold a pair of combo tail light-turn signals from Moose. Keeping the arrangement tidy meant running the wiring through the actual truck.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
The area under the tail’s dominated by a chunky 5.5” wide Excel rim, laced up to the stock hub. The guys wanted the front to look just as beefy, so they fitted the upside-down forks from Suzuki GSX-R1000.

The unique finish on the fork legs is a Kashima coating—it’s a low-friction coating that you normally see on stanchions or Fox shocks, and it also has a color unlike anything else.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
Getting the forks to fit meant replacing the front rim to a conversion hub from Cognito Moto. It also meant new triples, so Billy designed a new set. The top clamp also houses a tiny Motogadget speedo, and a few personal touches…

“We wanted nothing on the top of the triple clamp,” Billy says. “And it’s made so everything is basically invisible in the way that it’s clamped. We did some extra cool stuff, like putting HandBrake on the front of the clamp and Rogue on the top section. The clamp is CNC machined—I did the programming while my own personal machinist did the actual production.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
Out front is a 7” LED headlight, mounted on a pair of custom-made brackets for a ultra-close fit. A set of clip-ons with aftermarket controls finish off the cockpit, fitted with Motogadget grips, switches and bar-end turn signals. (Billy also installed their M.Tri signal adapter to make everything with the Triumph’s electronics.)

The stance is perfect, but that’s also down to a gentler mod. Billy nudged the fuel tank down by an inch to fine-tune the lines. Then he fitted a Motone gas cap, with a HandBrake logo machined into it.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
With improved handling—and more grip from a set of Pirelli Supercorsa tires—there was no need to tear into the Triumph’s modern motor. So Billy just built up a new exhaust system, capped off with a pair of Tulip mufflers. And he installed a set of Malossi velocity stacks to help the Thruxton breathe better.

When it came time to colorize the Triumph, Hans stepped in. It was always the plan for him to hand-paint a number of components with his signature street art style. He settled on black and white (like a lot of his work), but he knew it needed a hit of color.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
So the frame was sent off to the powder coaters for a luscious cherry red coat. The tank and rims went off to Diablo Moto for a faded white to cream base (and later a clear coat), and then it was time for Hans to get busy.

“I actually painted the rims and tank in one weekend—I painted for 31 hours. I remember getting it all back and thinking what am I going to do? I started on the rims, because for me, the tank is the most important thing to get right. If you cook that, it’s the first thing everyone sees, so I left that till last.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“I didn’t have a plan, but that’s kind of my style—the plan is no plan. I chose a lot of female faces—like pinup girls but with a lot of funky faces, you know, ones that are wearing aviation helmets, nose rings and stuff—that’s my style.”

Complementing Hans’ artwork is a host of special little features. The sprocket cover is a Rogue-designed part made specifically for the Thruxton, and the chain guard is a one-off, adorned with Hans’ logo and web address.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle

The rear brake reservoir cover’s another one-off, cut to one of Hans’ designs. The Triumph logo on the engine casing’s given way to a Rogue badge, and the gear shifter tip has been replaced by a stack of skate wheel bearings.

“The bike has turned out way better than what I initially hoped for,” says Hans. “I’m pretty happy with my artwork, but I’m blown away with that Billy has done—it’s phenomenal. I think it’s a really good showcase of we do.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
The Rogue x HandBrake Thruxton is an unashamed fusion of styles that’s probably not for everyone. But it’s also packing an impressive set of tech upgrades.

As for me, I’m dusting off that skateboard, pulling on my Vans and heading out.

Rogue Motorcycles | Instagram | HandBrake the Artist | Instagram | Images by, and with thanks to Jeremy Hammer at RIDEJOURNAL | Instagram

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hands Bruechle

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