Thor Drake’s love for motorcycling and his desire to go beyond the ordinary can be seen in his latest project, a race-ready 2010-spec Triumph Scrambler. It’s at home on the track, in the woods and on the road.
Drake, part-owner of Portland-based See See Motor Coffee Co., has an easy smile and boyish exuberance. But it hides a tenacious spirit.
You need true Norwegian grit to organize the One Moto Show and operate a busy motorcycles-and-coffee shop. But Drake then spends every spare moment racing, planning races or helping others to race.
Why? “Racing makes man better,” he says. “Without racing and without a reason to try harder, why would you ever do anything?”
That competitive thinking led Drake to begin the scrambler bike project. He wanted an aesthetically pleasing bike: one that could perform well on the track and in the wooded hills around his home, but still feel good on the streets. The Triumph Scrambler emerged as a possible platform.
“Triumph built a bike that wasn’t ‘really good’ at anything, but you can do just about anything on it,” Drake says of the 900cc EFI Scrambler. “It’s not meant for racing, but you can race it.”
He wasn’t holding his breath, but it worked out. “A magical wizard appeared one day and delivered a motorcycle. I was like, ‘Well, that was cool. Guess I’ve gotta follow through on everything I said I could do.'”
Drake knew the bike needed to be pleasing as well as functional. “All the little details, all the stuff that you touch, has to be metal. So I’ve essentially removed everything that’s plastic. I tried to give it a bit of a throwback to the scramblers you would see back in the day.”
Low-rise Renthal handlebars stay clean with See See’s own mini-switches, giving the Scrambler a quick ‘flat-track’ visual hit—while providing a comfortable riding position on and off the road.
Fenders from Lowbrow Customs hug gold anodized Sun rims from Buchanan’s, shod with a set of (soon to be replaced) flat track tires. “I need to get some proper tires before I give ‘er hell,” Drake notes.
A modified 2-into-2 high pipe exhaust from British Customs adds to the scrambler look, while providing an aggressive audio experience. (Plus extra horsepower, thanks to a mild remapping of the EFI system.) Speed Merchant engine cases match the polished cylinder fins and give the bike a ‘machined’ appeal.
On the topside, Drake leveled and ribbed the tank. “It’s something you used to do, because that’s where they welded the tank together. It’s adding more weight to the bike, but I like the way it breaks it up. It makes the tank look a little less massive.”
Cockpit mods include a custom seat pan with a 007-esque compartment for your wallet, phone or other important items. Ginger McCabe at New Church Moto provided the finishing touch—a covering of fine Langlitz leather.
After some minor work on the frame, Blakely Powdercoating sealed everything in a harmonious gray. “Then Tony’s Customs did the paint, as per my design,” says Drake. “He said, ‘Are you sure this is all you want? You don’t want me to pinstripe it?’ I said ‘No! Get your brush away from here.’ Though there is a time and place for pinstripe.”
With the look finally dialed in, Drake swung into action. “I’ve had it on the flat track, and I did a track day with it. Did a race, too: I think I was last place, but I didn’t expect to win. I was just trying it out. I’ve taken it out on the trails a little bit, and it’s really fun out there. You wick the throttle and it’s a lot of juice, especially for a dirt bike.”
Drake concedes that ‘Teeth Gnasher’ isn’t a full-blown custom, but it’s what he was hoping for. ” It’s a working man’s custom. Something you’re not afraid is going to get stolen, but something you can be proud of.”
The thought of having Thor Drake destroy your bike doesn’t sound so bad after all, does it?