McQueen Machine: Triumph 865 by Absolut Motorcraft

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

Built for exploring the hidden paths, coves, and beaches of Ibiza…

In the climactic scene of 1963’s WWII epic, The Great Escape, USAAF Virgil Hilts, played by none other than Steve McQueen, guns his stolen army motorbike down the border fence between Germany and Switzerland, pursued by truckloads of German soldiers intent dragging him back to the POW camp, dead or alive. Finally, in one of the greatest movie stunts of all time, Hilts uses the face of a swale to jump his bike over the fence into neutral territory.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

Due to insurance restrictions, the stunt was actually performed by McQueen’s friend and fellow racer, Bud Ekins. While the bike was supposed to be a stolen BMW R75, the Great Escape motorcycle was actually a modified Triumph TR6 Trophy in disguise. Fifty years later, in cooperation with the McQueen estate, Triumph released a limited-edition 865cc Triumph T100 Bonneville “Steve McQueen Edition” — only 1100 were produced, bearing olive drab paint and a variety of military-inspired accessories.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

Enter Barcelona’s Absolut Motorcraft, a workshop that specializes in modern classic and retro heritage machines. Headman Federico Cerdá has an impressive pedigree, a co-founder of both Overbold Motor Co. and Lemon Custom Motorcycles. In this case, the client brought them a second-hand McQueen edition Bonnie in good condition, but it already had some modifications that weren’t worthy of what the client had in mind for the build.

“We thought the motorcycle deserved a special treatment and in this case, the client was looking for a bike to enjoy the local roads of his residence on Ibiza. The island is full of hidden roads to enjoy the cliffs, coves, and beaches.”

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

Of course, in building a bike that McQueen himself might enjoy, performance was a key factor. Federico and crew managed to shave some 35+ kg from the stock machine via a handmade exhaust, fiberglass mudguards, lighter seat, rack elimination, and swapping out factory components for lighter weight accessories wherever possible. The stock ECU map was swapped for a Triumph racing one, and the crew spent a lot of time getting the bike’s balance and proportions just right.

“That’s the most difficult part, getting the harmony between the elements of the motorcycle. We can do unique custom works but our aim is to get that balance.”

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

The result is a balanced Triumph scrambler, perfect for exploring the many hidden paths and roads of Ibiza. Below, we get the full details on the build, along with more amazing photos from 321 Zero.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler: Builder Interview

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

We are a specialty workshop located in Barcelona. The emissions laws are changing and we decided to open a private space to work on motorcycles. We’ve gotten away from old motorcycles and focused on some more modern bikes. Triumph Modern Classic, Yamaha’s Sport Heritage line, BMW NineT, Ducati Monster and Scrambler, and more.

Absolut Motorcraft is created and directed by designer Federico Cerdá, who was a co-founder of Overbold Motor Co. and Lemon Custom Motorcycles, both in Barcelona, Spain. Now Federico has this totally personal new project totally personal.

He creates the designs for the clients and works building the motorcycles as well. We are working on custom parts, 3D development of prototypes, and special kits.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

This project is based on the Triumph Bonneville 865 EFI from 2011 — in this case, a Special Edition Steve McQueen numbered 662.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

• Why was this bike built?

This build was made for a client who already had the motorcycle a little bit modified, but was looking for something more classy and special. The client brought us the bike, a second-hand Bonnie but in good condition, with some modifications that were not worthy for what the client had in mind. That is where we began the process of design and style proposals for the client.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

We started the design process with the client. We thought the motorcycle deserved a special treatment and in this case, the client was looking for a bike to enjoy the local roads of his residence on Ibiza. The island is full of hidden roads to enjoy the cliffs, coves, and beaches. As the motorcycle was a Steve McQueen Special Edition, inspired by the movie The Great Escape, we were thinking about what kind of motorcycle would be perfect to enjoy the island if you were the great Steve. For that reason and the compatibility of the likeness wanted by the client, we decided on this setup. The style of a Scrambler but a little bit of flat tracker. Elegant in terms of color, but aggressive in stance and aspect.

• What custom work was done to the bike?

– Complete paintwork
– Footpegs Enduro Style Burly Co.
– Single retro mirror
– Front Mudguard handmade in fiberglass
– Fork Gaiters
– Bates Headlight + handmade bracket
– Motogadget Led Mini Tiny
– Full Electric Relocation
– Handlebar Moto Bar Biltwell
– Grips Biltwell Renegade in black
– Speedometer Tiny Motogadget
– Handmade bracket for speedometer and set up
– Side pannels handmade in fiberglass
– Rear mudguard handmade in fiberglass
– Black seat with lines patterns enzo style
– Handmade loop and kit on the subframe
– Bate’s tailight
– Air Filter K&N
– DID chain gold
– Transmission Kit
– Engine guard Protector
– Handmade Exhaust 2-into-1

• Does the bike have a nickname?

McQueen Brap

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

The bike received an important weight reduction thanks to the change of the original exhaust, original mudguards, and the double seat and rack that the motorcycle originally had. That saved around 35/40 Kg. This was helpful for the performance of the motorcycle.

We used fiberglass for the mudguards to get a better weight reduction and all the element such as the headlight, taillights, gauges, and exhaust are smaller and more lightweight than the originals.

The motorcycle gained a lot of extra agility this way, easy to ride in more extreme situations.

The air filter, exhaust, and changing the ECU map for a Triumph racing one brought out a little bit of extra power from the already good performance of the 865 EFI engine.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

The build time was around 3 months. We live surrounded by motorcycles, and we hate when we see a custom bike without a proportional shape in terms of the various parts and lines. That’s the most difficult part, getting the harmony between the elements of the motorcycle. We can do unique custom works but our aim is to get that balance. This motorcycle has the touch. The adaptation of the mudguards, the loop, and the rake of the frame. The seat, the relocation of all the electrical elements, and the color match. The complete motorcycle’s size/volume reduction as a whole is well done.

Triumph T100 Bonneville Scrambler

Follow the Builder

Instagram: @absolut.motorcraft
Facebook : @AbsolutMotorcraft
Twittter: @Absolut_Moto

One Comment

  1. That is an absolutely beautiful bike!

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