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Speed Read, 31 January 2021

The latest motorcycle news and customs
The Swedish electric bike company Cake takes on poaching in Africa, and Triumph cranks the Speed Triple up a notch. Plus we look at a custom Ducati Scrambler 1100 and Indian FTR 1200, and a new whip from the creative director of Super73.

Cake Kalk AP
Cake Kalk AP The Swedish electric bike manufacturer Cake has just joined forces with the Southern African Wildlife College in South Africa, to form the ‘Electric Bush Bike Anti-Poaching Coalition.’ It’s exactly what it sounds like: an initiative that uses electric bikes to combat poaching.

Anti-poaching units in Southern Africa have recently been using dirt bikes as patrol vehicles, mainly because they can reach remote locations where roads are virtually non-existent. But keeping them fueled is an issue, and they’re noisy too, making it hard to sneak up on poachers. That’s where Cake comes in.

Cake Kalk AP
They’ve developed a spin-off from their flagship Kalk model: the Kalk ‘AP.’ And they’ve partnered with the solar power company Goal Zero, to develop charging stations that can keep the electric bikes charged when off the grid.

The Kalk AP is much the same as the regular Kalk, but with a few differences. It rolls on wider 18” hoops with chunky off-road tires, and there’s extra sealing on the suspension and drivetrain components.

Cake Kalk AP
The forks have been changed from air to conventional spring for easier maintenance, and the drivetrain software has been fine-tuned for the job in hand. All the ‘plastic’ bits, like the fenders, are made from a natural fiber reinforced ‘bio composite’ material, and there’s a detachable LED headlight too.

Cake are selling a limited run of 50 Kalk ‘AP’ models as a special charity bundle. $25,000 buys two Kalk APs and one charging station—you get one bike, and the other bike and the charging station get shipped off to the Southern African Wildlife College. [Cake Kalk AP]

Indian FTR 1200 by Tank Machine
Indian FTR 1200 by Tank Machine When the team at Tank Machine were tasked with customizing a brand new FTR 1200 S for an Indian dealer in Paris, they did the sensible thing: they dug into their own stash of parts. Tank Machine specializes in designing plug-and-play parts, and have a healthy selection of bits for the FTR—so they mixed some bolt-ons with a handful of bespoke finishes, et voilà!

Indian FTR 1200 by Tank Machine
Dubbed ‘Over-Track,’ this FTR 1200 ramps up the stock bike’s tracker vibe, adding a dose of racetrack style. Add-ons include the new headlight plate, fork protectors, rear wheel covers and swingarm-mounted license plate system. Up top are new ProTaper bars, new grips and a set of bar-end mirrors.

The turn signals are particularly slick. The front pair are LEDs embedded in a set of bolt-on radiator guards, and the rear pair sit flush with the bodywork.

Indian FTR 1200 by Tank Machine
The seat upholstery is custom, and features red stitching to complement the custom paint and anodized forks. Tank Machine added pair of IXRace MK2 slip-ons too, and ceramic coated the whole exhaust system black. It’s one of those clever builds that relies on tasteful changes without going overboard—but makes a massive impact. [Tank Machine]

Ducati Scrambler 1100 by Gasoline Motor Co.
Ducati Scrambler 1100 by Gasoline Motor Co. The Ducati Scrambler 1100 is a bit of an anomaly. A ‘Scrambler’ only in name, it’s better described as a naked retro naked roadster—a concept that the crew at Australia’s Gasoline Motor Co. have pushed to the maximum here.

Gasoline’s take on the big, v-twin Scrambler is a masterclass in subtlety. Sure, the paint job’s loud, but the fabrication takes a second glance to really appreciate. Most of it’s happening at the back, where Gasoline built a new tail and seat unit, and a two-in-one box muffler that exits under the tail.

Ducati Scrambler 1100 by Gasoline Motor Co.
The muffler design and position are inspired by the iconic 2003 Ducati 999R. Best of all, Gasoline did all of this without wrecking the subframe, so that the owner can swap back to the original bench for carrying a pillion. Other hand-made bits include the headlight nacelle, and a license plate bracket that mounts off the swingarm.

Ducati Scrambler 1100 by Gasoline Motor Co.
Gasoline also installed CNC Racing rearsets, new LED turn signals and glassless bar-end mirrors from Motogadget. Then they nudged the speedo to sit dead center, because the offset on the stock mounting system didn’t sit well with them.

Lastly, Gasoline wrapped the Ducati in a hot-rod livery that mixes satin, gloss, matte, glitter, metallic, gradients and patterns. Shop boss Jason Leppa calls it “an infuriating mix that is somehow pleasant on the eyes.” [Gasoline Motor Co.]

Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS
The new Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS The bug-eyed Triumph Speed Triple has a cult following, but the British marque has made it even better for 2021.

The outgoing ‘1050’ model was no slouch, but the updated 1200 RS features an all-new 1,160 cc triple-cylinder motor. It’s good for 178 hp at 10,750 rpm, and 125 Nm at 9,000 rpm—in a package that weighs just 436 lbs (198 kilos).

Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS
That makes the power-to-weight ratio 25% better than before, but the changes to the Speed Triple go deeper than just a simple power boost and diet. Triumph’s reduced powertrain inertia to improve engine pick-up, bumped up the redline to 11,150 rpm, and redesigned the slip and assist clutch. Despite being bigger, the new motor’s actually lighter, and more compact, than before.

Other changes include a new cast aluminum frame, and tweaks to the geometry and ergonomics. The ‘RS’ designation means top-shelf parts, so this particular Speed Triple gets fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, and sculptured Brembo Stylema brakes.

Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS
It also has a comprehensive electronics package, with everything from a quick-shifter to a six-axis IMU to assist ABS and traction control, multiple rider modes, and smartphone integration via Triumph’s own app.

Visually, the Speed Triple 1200 RS is a lot sharper too. Triumph have stuck to the angular twin headlight vibe, but the whole arrangement feels more focused. The overall vibe is slightly more aggressive than before, and Triumph have also dropped the usual two under-seat exhaust mufflers: it’s now a single burly, low-slung unit.

Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS
No one ever accused the Speed Triple of being boring—but this new version is faster, rowdier, better looking and lighter. Our bet? It’ll not only live up to its name, but also push the Speed Triple mythos even further. [Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS]

Custom Super73 S2 by Chris Nelson
Super73 S2 by Chris Nelson Super73 have nailed the formula for small, accessible and fun e-bikes. Their S2 is a $2,695 pedal-assist unit with an aluminum frame, 20” wheels and a top speed of between 20 and 28 mph, depending which mode it’s in. And with its throwback mini-bike vibe, it’s a looker too.

This S2 belongs to Super73’s creative director, Chris Nelson, who’s customized it as his ideal Long Beach runabout. Yes, this is a custom e-bike… and it’s rad.

Custom Super73 S2 by Chris Nelson
Up front, Chris slipped in a chunkier front-end from another Super73 model, dropping the forks slightly to maintain the S2’s ride height. Then he raided the company’s R&D department for a set of knobby tires that they’re working on. He also added a new set of bars with Biltwell Inc. grips, and a powerful Baja Designs Squadron LED headlight.

Custom Super73 S2 by Chris Nelson
The biggest visual change is the fuel tank-styled battery: it’s moved from up top to within the frame. There’s now a full-length custom saddle resting on top, upholstered in leather and a gripper fabric by Saddlemen, complete with gel inserts. Other bits include a set of Crank Brothers pedals, fenders from other Super73 bikes, a custom-made cup holder and a Tiger bike lock.

It’s a slick build, wrapped in an even slicker paint job: a high gloss green-grey shot by a local hot rod painter. [Super73 S2 | Images by Garrett King]

Custom Super73 S2 by Chris Nelson

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