When the guys at ICON 1000 aren’t designing gear, they’re working on bikes. The customs that roll out of the Slabtown headquarters mix retro cues with future tech—a twisted cocktail that strangely works.
This Triumph Thruxton is the latest build from the Portland, Oregon crew, led by design director Kurt Walter. And it has one of the best names ever given to a custom: Three Martini Lunch.
It’s a 2014 model Hinckley twin, and it’s heavier on the retro cues than previous builds. But 3ML keeps the off-kilter styling and avoids the usual custom clichés with a chunky, hard-edged look that’s more mid-80s than Ace Cafe.
It’s a dissolute, half-faired homage to vintage road racers, and a sister bike to the Iron Lung Sportster from three years ago. Inspiration, believe it or not, came from a 1968 Pontiac Firebird.
The unusual paint—close to British Racing Green, but not quite—is Verdoro Green, a color used in the late 1960s By General Motors.
“The color was stolen from the only Pontiac that ever mattered, and applied to this English tart in a dank woodland garage,” we’re told.
Mechanically, there’s some seriously heavy-duty work going on. The engine is now a stressed member, since the lower part of the frame has been removed.
There are new brakes from EBC, and single-sided suspension with a one-off Nitron shock. Right above are the exhaust cans, hiding under the tail unit, protected by a modified Panigale heat shield.
And then, of course, there are those 70s style heavily shouldered Kawasaki KZ1000 rims, shod with Avon rubber, but more on those later …
It was time to drop Kurt Walter a line, and dig into the details a little more.
Three Martini Lunch seems like a stylistic departure from previous ICON 1000 bikes. Should we be reading anything into that? The original project was a collaboration with Triumph North America, based on a 2014 Thruxton. We wanted to build a custom that would appeal to their core market, but maintaining the road-race styling and component cues of the ICON 1000 bikes.
Not to worry though—we’ll be straight back to apocalyptic 80s sportbikes soon enough.
Where did the name come from? We were going to use the name ‘Olive-Garde’ as a play on Avant-Garde, but painted in the Olive Garden typeface. Then we realized we’d probably get sued. So we started a roundtable brainstorming session, filled with shop-floor gin drinks and paint fumes …
Getting the KZ1000 wheels onto Harley forks and then onto the frame must have been a mission. Can you elaborate on the tech aspects of that? I’ve always loved the big-shouldered alloy KZ wheels. The biggest problem is that I wanted 16-inch wheels front and back. So we had to use a back wheel for the front fitment, which required welding-in the cush hub.
The width of the wheel required a Harley Wide Glide front end, which then required an extensive rework of the front fairing to clear the entire assembly.
Where did the fairing come from? It started life as an Airtech Ducati MH900E unit. We cut it up and made the filler panels that sit between it and the tank, which is a Yamaha FZ-600 unit.
The tank has been heavily modified on the bottom side to make room for the exhaust, which runs over the top of the motor. (Yes, it gets very hot.)
The tail section is a modified Airtech Harley road race unit, and the headlight is actually a cast aluminum fog light that they used to run on the logging trucks in the Northwest.
It’s a curiously intoxicating build, messing around with classic cafe racer lines just enough to create something new, without losing the thread. And of course, there’s a great little film to match.
Count us both shaken and stirred.