Red Alert: Down & Out’s Triumph Bonneville SE

Classic style, modern performance: A Triumph Bonneville SE transformed by Down & Out Cafe Racers.
Down & Out probably isn’t the most auspicious name for a business. But Shaun Walker sleeps easy at night: business at his Sheffield, England workshop is booming.

For the past 15 years, Shaun has been building very tidy, sharp-looking customs. He works mostly on older BMWs these days, but also professes a liking for the modern Triumph Bonneville. “It was time to build something that was going to be good around the streets,” he says, “so the ‘Street Bob’ was born.”

Classic style, modern performance: A Triumph Bonneville SE transformed by Down & Out Cafe Racers.
It’s a 2013-model Triumph Bonneville SE, which came straight from the factory with a bold red frame. “The red frame wasn’t my first choice,” Shaun admits. “And the standard mag wheels…not so good, either. But the bike had only 900 miles on the clock, and was like new—so the deal was sealed.”

The first job was to remove as many standard parts as possible, to lose weight without compromising function. The first change was the wheels, with the stock mags making way for a Triumph Thruxton pair. They’ve been rebuilt with new stainless steel spokes, and treated to satin black powdercoat on the rims and hubs.

Classic style, modern performance: A Triumph Bonneville SE transformed by Down & Out Cafe Racers.
A further hint of the performance focus comes from the tires: sport touring rubber in the shape of the highly-rated Michelin Pilot Road 3.

To sharpen up the handling even more, Shaun has upgraded the suspension with Thruxton forks and YSS shocks. New bars and risers from LSL move the controls closer to the rider, and the German specialist has also provided a chain guard, sprocket cover and ignition relocation switch—plus new levers and footpegs.

Classic style, modern performance: A Triumph Bonneville SE transformed by Down & Out Cafe Racers.
High-end Teutonic design also features in the cockpit, which has been cleaned up with the help of a Motogadget speedo. (A hidden m-Unit tidies up the electrics elsewhere.)

The fenders, side panels and headlight surround are carbon fiber—not a material you’d normally associate with the retro Triumph Bonneville SE. But they all play their part in reducing the avoirdupois. The stock tank has been repainted in satin red and black, and there’s a new, one-off seat upholstered in black leather.

Classic style, modern performance: A Triumph Bonneville SE transformed by Down & Out Cafe Racers.
It’s the exhaust system that gives the biggest visual fillip, though. Made by Zard, the high pipes had a damaged muffler when Shaun picked them up. So he kept the headers and fabricated a new slimline end can. It looks amazing, and we’re betting it sounds amazing too.

At this rate, the only way for Down & Out is up.

Down & Out Café Racers | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Simon Krajnyak

Classic style, modern performance: A Triumph Bonneville SE transformed by Down & Out Cafe Racers.