I’m not sure about you, but I’d love to wake up on Christmas Day and find this in my garage. This gorgeous Triton is the brainchild of French designers Frank Charriaut and Vincent Prat from Southsiders MC, and was built by the extraordinarily talented Daniel Delfour, one of France’s leading motorcycle builders.
As with most beautiful motorcycles, there’s a story behind ‘CP Project #1’. It was inspired by a trip to the 2008 Legend Of The Motorcycle event in California; Delfour’s exquisite Norton Ala’verda caused a stir there, so the three friends hatched plans for a sequel. “As English motorcycle fans, we choose to use a Norton featherbed frame and a Triumph 750 Bonneville engine,” says Vincent. “But we didn’t want to make the thousandth café racer or Triton; we decided to follow our own road. We started designing a mix of Batman’s motorcycle with a T.Rex fastback and Cat Woman’s curves. Inspiration came directly from the culture of comics.”
The design brief for Delfour was to create a very slim and low-slung motorcycle, all in black. By this point, a leading French fashion house was on board, and the tightly imposed specifications proved to be a challenge. But Delfour is also a violinmaker, and his thirty years of experience in that field came to the rescue. Working from sketches provided by Vincent and Frank, Delfour carved multi-part moulds for the bodywork in plywood, balancing the volumes and shapes of the tank and seat until the styling came together as a whole. The featherbed frame is spacious, whereas the Bonneville engine is compact, so the visual balance of this bike became doubly critical.
Delfour decided to do away with front brakes, flat-track style. So he used a vintage Yamaha hub, with a Bonneville item at the back, and laced the hubs to black anodized rims with stainless steel spokes. The front forks are Yamaha items, connected to Moto Guzzi triple trees modified to match the original Norton geometry. And the jewel-like detailing is amazing. Many parts are hand-made, including the oil tank, rearsets, levers and pedals; the speedometer and billet alloy gas tank cap were designed by Vincent, taking cues from a classic French chronometer. “Purists will say that it’s a sacrilege,” says Vincent, “but why do we have to follow any rules? The only thing we’re talking about here is fun. Why the length of the fork tubes? Why a front wheel without brakes? Just because we wanted it like this.”
The engine was rebuilt to original specifications, but using a TR7 single-carburetor head rather than the fussier stock twin-carb item. The visual finishing touches came from French master builder Momo, who not only painted the frame in gloss black and the bodywork in a black flake, but also created the exhaust system and heat guards. The completed bike was then handed over to Benoit Gerry from Studio Ze for the first image captures.