Speed Read, 1 November 2020

The latest motorcycle news and customs
The moto scene is sizzling this week, with Triumph launching its new Trident middleweight, news of a major custom exhibition in San Francisco, and Revival Cycles releasing a very sharp custom Husqvarna Svartpilen 401. And Germany’s Hookie Co have just shown how to tweak the Bonneville T100 without breaking the bank.

The new 2021 Triumph Trident
The new Triumph Trident ‘660’ is obviously the numéro du jour. First we had the Aprilia RS660 parallel twin, and now we have the new Triumph Trident, a triple with virtually the same capacity motor.

The new 2021 Triumph Trident
Having said that, the Trident is aimed squarely at the Japanese 650s and the Yamaha MT-07, rather than Italian exotica. The styling is a mix of old and new, and the bike is designed to appeal to both experienced and new riders.

Triumph quotes 80 hp and 47 foot-pounds of torque, with 90 percent of that torque figure on tap ‘across most of the rev range.’ So we can expect a typically tractable Triumph engine that’s less peaky than the old 675 triple.

The new 2021 Triumph Trident
Buyers will get a six-speed ‘box, two riding modes, ABS and traction control, and a good-looking hybrid TFT screen. The USD forks are from Showa and Nissin supplies the brakes.

On paper it looks good, and American riders will be able to see if it lives up to its promise in January. Pricing is sharp too—at $7,995, it’s a little more than the MT-07 but well under the Honda CB650R. We reckon it’s going to be a winner.

Custom Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen
Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen by Revival Cycles The smaller Svartpilen is a cracking good city bike, and great on the rural twisties too. (And I’m speaking from experience—after enjoying a 401 press bike for a few months, I bought a 701 with my own money.)

This striking custom comes from the Texas workshop Revival Cycles, and cleverly tweaks the look of the ‘Pilen without losing its essential character. “Our customer came to us for a mild custom beach hopper, but as is often the case, things quickly escalated,” says Revival’s Gareth Roberts.

Custom Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen
“He asked us for ‘raw metal brutalism’ so we focused on improving only what we felt needed to be improved. We decided to focus on brushed aluminium body pieces to replace the plastics, creating a more futuristic style. These were built entirely in-house by our skilled fabrication team.”

Other mods include stainless steel luggage racks for the seat unit and the tank, and Revival also repositioned the gauges at an improved angle—which addresses the single main failing of all ‘Pilen models.

Custom Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen
There’s a vintage-inspired headlight screen, brush-finished with a polished edging, and an aluminium skid plate. Powertrain work is restricted to a custom muffler with an oval outlet and bespoke heat shield. New bars, risers and turn signals complete the build.

We always thought the Kiska styling of the Husky street models would be hard to improve on, but the restraint and quality craftsmanship on show here has proven us wrong. [Revival Cycles]

MOTO MMXX Motorcycle Exhibition in San Francisco
MOTO MMXX Motorcycle Exhibition It might feel like the world is closing in right now, but if you’re within distance of San Francisco, there’s a fantastic new custom moto exhibition to visit. It’s at The Museum of Craft and Design, it’s curated by Hugo Eccles of Untitled Motorcycles, and it’s rammed to the rafters with brilliant customs.

Many of the bikes have been featured on EXIF, and you may recognize some of the names—which include DesmoBIBU, Jens vom Brauck of JvB-moto, Alex Earle, Suicide Machine Co., Cherry’s, Ronin, Shinya Kimura, Walt Siegl, Kurt Walter of Icon 1000, Jack Watkins, and Bill Webb of Huge Design. Admission is by ticket only and the doors are open Wednesdays to Sundays. [More]

Custom Bonneville T120 by Hookie Co.
Triumph Bonneville by Hookie Good builders can transform the vibe of a bike with relatively few mods, and that’s what Dresden-based Hookie Co. have done here.

Greyhound’ is based on a 2019 Bonneville T120 Black Edition, which means it gets the 1200cc engine. Nico Mueller and his crew installed a stubby Zard exhaust system to reduce weight and add a little extra growl, and sharpened up the handling with a blacked-out set of YSS shocks.

Custom Bonneville T120 by Hookie Co.
The back end is tightened up visually too, with a tiny bolt-on rear loop and a shorter seat with a neat aluminum rack right behind it. The rear wheel goes up a size to 18 inches, to match the front, and Hookie have also tidied up the top triple tree.

The ignition lock, regulator/rectifier and speedo have all been relocated, the discreet blinkers are from Highsider, and the headlight has been upgraded to a powerful Koso Thunderbolt LED unit.

Custom Bonneville T100 by Hookie Co.
Finished off with a muted distressed grey finish, applied by the local legends at Chiko’s Pinstriping, this T100 is practical as well as stylish—and proves that Hookie can handle budget-conscious builds just as well as the big dollar stuff. [Hookie Co.]

S&S Cycle King of the Baggers Indian Challenger
S&S Cycle King of the Baggers Indian The most interesting motorcycle race of 2020 didn’t involve Marc Márquez, Toby Price or Michael Dunlop. It was the batshit crazy and weirdly compelling Drag Specialties ‘King of the Baggers’ event at Laguna Seca last weekend, and this is the Indian Challenger that won it.

Twelve enormous v-twins made it to the starting grid for the eight-lap race, all with professional prep and experienced riders on board. Ten were Harleys, two were Indians. The Indians finished first and third, with Tyler O’Hara taking the trophy on the S&S-prepped Challenger.

S&S Cycle King of the Baggers Indian Challenger
S&S gave the 108ci PowerPlus motor Stage 2 cams, ported heads, K&N air filters and a custom exhaust system which was also used by the third-placed Indian run by Roland Sands. New engine covers increased ground clearance, and a chain-drive conversion allowed the pit crew to easily change gear ratios.

To tame the handling, S&S installed re-valved FTR1200 forks with custom-machined triple clamps, and a custom tuned Fox shock—extended beyond stock to raise the bike up. Performance Machine billet wheels were hooked up to S&S-built hubs, and sized at 17″ to allow for the good rubber.

S&S Cycle King of the Baggers Indian Challenger
Other mods included carbon fiber bags, fenders and and new tank cover from Air Tech, to reduce weight, and a new seat from Saddleman—in a crazy shape to get O’Hara into a good riding position. Custom-made S&S rear sets and adjustable bars from Klockwerks also helped with the rider triangle, and a custom aluminum fuel cell boosted airflow to the engine and dropped weight even further. The final avoirdupois was 599 pounds, versus 806 stock.

S&S’ David Zemla reckons there were lots of reasons they won, “but chassis is definitely key. The Challenger is a really stiff chassis that uses the engine as a stressed member, making it far more conducive to road racing. We also spent an fair amount of time making sure we had significant lean angle.”

S&S Cycle King of the Baggers Indian Challenger
“Tyler ran in the XR series in the US years back, so we knew he could ride a v-twin style power delivery. He practiced at Laguna on a stock Challenger and passed guys!”

Congrats to S&S and Indian for the win—and to MotoAmerica for organizing the race. More of this, please!

[Images courtesy of S&S Cycle and Sean McDonald]