Vintage bikes are ideal platforms for café racer builds, but for some riders accustomed to the performance of modern sport machines, there’s the desire to have the best of both worlds: vintage style, modern performance. Enter Thomas Jean-François of France’s Badass Factory, who turned to modifying his own bike after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, defying his physicians:
“After a few years, I was forced to stop working (executive work), and three or four years ago, to contradict the doctors, I decided to work with my hands.”
And work he did, turning to the internet to educate himself on various aspects of mechanics and fabrication. His donor was a 2008 Triumph Speed Triple, a 1050cc factory streetfighter with 129 horsepower and loads of midrange punch:
“I am a fan of café racers but I like also performance bikes…so I decided to make a bike with the vintage look and great performance.”
Everything is 100% homemade. Thomas formed the carbon tail and other pieces himself, and cut and formed aluminum for the rest of the bodywork. What’s more, the bike you see here was built in nine days, with a broken arm, after a crash on his first build.
Below, we get the full story on this Speed Triple cafe racer, aptly named “Triple Green.”
Speed Triple Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I do not have a workshop, because I’m just a biker who modifies his own bike. For a long time, I rode a stock motorcycle because I had not enough time because of my job. And one day, I was told that I had Parkinson’s disease and that I could not use my hands… After a few years, I was forced to stop working (executive work) and three or four years ago, to contradict the doctors, I decided to work with my hands.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Triumph Speed Triple 2008.
• Why was this bike built?
Because I like café racer, and I want to have a unique bike.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I am a fan of café racers but I like also performance bikes…so I decided to make a bike with the vintage look and great performance…it was before the Thruxton, nine T etc etc…
• What custom work was done to the bike?
100% home made.
Having no competence in mechanics, everything was possible. So I decided to do everything myself, going to find on the internet the tutorials I needed. I quickly understood that many things were similar to the fabrication of a surfboard (composite materials, bodywork, workpaint, etc etc). So I made all the carbon fairings for the back and the fork head, and cut and then formed aluminum sheet for the flanks, for the engine, a free exhaust, venturi horn for the injection, and suppression of all anti-pollution and anti-noise clamping.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• How would you classify this bike?
Modern-vintage café racer.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Built in nine days, with a broken arm because a bike crash.