Frateschi Garage rescues an aged, abused Tiger…
Introduced at the turn of the 21st century (2001), the Triumph Tiger 955i was something of a monster dual-sport, a 104-bhp brute with a 34.5″ seat height, a high CoG, and fairly firm suspension — better suited to the “sport” side of dual-sporting:
“A big, bruising road trail motorcycle powered by Hinckley’s distinctive triple… The quickest and fruitiest of the so-called monster trail motorcycles — great on road, but it’s no off-roader.” —MCN
What’s more, the styling was nothing if not polarizing — bold, curvy, and tiger-striped. Margarita Motoress said it best, speaking of her own ’02 Tiger 955i:
“Hideously ugly, but obscenely fun!“
Enter our friend Renato Frateschi of Brazil’s Frateschi Garage, whose builds have been making quite the splash here on BikeBound and in publications around the globe. His fuel-injected DR800 street tracker was one of our Top 10 Trackers of 2020, and his BMW F650 Funduro was another hit. In both instances, he took an aged and largely unloved dual-sport and turned up the “sport” side of the equation, creating a very sexy street tracker.
Now he’s back with this Triumph Tiger 955i — aka the “Street Tiger.” The original had been previously customized — a botched job that was not only ugly, but structurally unsafe to ride. In the words of our friend Guilhes Damian, content editor of Motocultura BR, Renato had quite the challenge before him:
“Rescue an aged and mistreated wild tiger and bring back its dignity, vigor and exuberance with the help of all available manufacturing technology.”
Renato has done just that, resurrecting this once-abused Tiger with all the brilliance and technical wizardry of a 21st century Dr. Frankenstein, creating a cybernetic “Street Tiger” that’s sure to turn heads and tear up the streets of São Paulo and beyond.
Triumph “Street Tiger” 955i: Build Story
(Words by Guilhes Damian.)
Between the 60s and 70s, the movement called the New Wave of Science Fiction, represented by important names such as the brilliant writer Philip K Dick (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, The Man in The High Castle, among other works based on his tales), established the foundation of the genre known as Cyberpunk. A genre that has completely conquered the minds and hearts of the general public for its strong appeal in pop culture from the 80’s with bold icons like the classic anime Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo.
The basic premise of the aesthetics and the Cyberpunk universe is based on the principle of a dystopian future where large corporations with political and economic power dictate how society should behave and consume (someone said 2021? …), supported by surveillance and constant control in a high-tech scenario. In this rather simplistic definition, there is also the figure of the anti-hero who refuses to follow the standards and deviates the norm, in an attempt to rescue his individuality and refusing to fit in with what is the current rule. It is our “punk.” Add to this a world where modifications, including bodily (hacks), are a reality and we can draw a parallel with the work of the customizer Renato Frateschi and his latest “hack,” the Triumph Street Tiger.
Imagine a motorcycle projected into the 2000s with all its outcomes, but also with the heritage of a confused aesthetic, characterized by an abundance of plastics and an evident lack of personality in terms of design. This is the case of the original Triumph Tiger 955i, a dual-sport with a powerful, well-designed engine that was mounted into a bike whose design, even for the 2000s, looked aged and not very memorable.
This was, once again, the great challenge of Renato Frateschi from Frateschi Garage. Rescue an aged and mistreated wild tiger and bring back its dignity, vigor and exuberance with the help of all available manufacturing technology. Not conforming to standard mass-consumption motorcycles, he again rebelled and started designing a new machine that really lived up to his name.
The Tiger 955i came from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo precisely to be recovered from a first customization job in which the owner, when riding the motorcycle for the first time, did not feel safe, especially with regard to the structural part of the motorcycle — something that meant a certain risk to his physical integrity. Without thinking twice, after personally seeing one of Frateschi’s works, he decided to start over from scratch — as a motorcycle that had enormous potential turned out to be a problem.
The injured Tiger was completely disassembled for the start of a careful recovery and modification project, step by step.
The style of the project took as a reference a mix of street tracker with a touch of street fighter since the original bike was a dual-sport more inclined to “sport” than to “dual.” A powerful and high performance engine with a more sporty feel, but with more comfort and height in the riding position.
The frame had to be completely reworked from the bottom up, using the TIG process. The subframe in the first customization was a disaster in both aesthetic and structural terms. The new result was beautiful and with an incredible harmony due to two very well-defined and proportional volumes starting from the center of the bike both forwards and backwards. This was probably what motivated the decision to highlight the frame in a striking color, showing the harmony and aesthetics of the ensemble.
To crown the beautiful work, the chosen fuel tank came from the bike’s sister, the Daytona. The choice to leave the black tank was providential. Imagine a tank of any other color or even yellow. It would kill the highlight of the painted frame. Aesthetically, the choice of a very subtle paint scheme in the form of yellow stripes running on the sides of the tank was very correct. And the question most often heard on the customization forums around the world: but where’s the battery? Hidden, of course. A small size lithium ion battery ended up under the swingarm.
Still in terms of design decisions, there is a subtle but very important job of choosing colors and textures that’s difficult to notice only in photos. A work that stands out when seen up close. The tank and fenders are shiny, and the engine and swingarm are micro-textured in black. The rest is matte black, making the set not look like one.
In the entire project, nothing is randomly positioned. The new set of 3 x 2 exhausts in stainless steel exactly follows the line from the subframe. Hence the reason for the tips pointing upwards.
The same situation occurs with the exclusive front optical assembly, designed entirely in CAD software and 3D-printed with ABS HT plastic filament, the same material used in the motorcycle industry. Looking at the bike from the side, you can see the top line of the headlights is practically a continuation of the downward sloping line of the fuel tank. This is design in its fullest expression — the attention to the lines and the care in the smallest details even if they are imperceptible to most onlookers. Details that are not explicit and evident but that please the observer, even if he does not understand exactly where that perception of “everything in the right place” comes from. Moving the headlight assembly a little further up or down would ruin the design of the whole.
In addition to the headlights, CAD and 3D digital design were also crucial to shape the turn signals, taillight, fenders, suspension protectors, plate holder, battery reservoir, battery box and many other smaller parts.
In terms of the front suspension, the “sport” in dual-sport won the day: the original forks were replaced with a set of 43mm inverted Showas that have 180mm travel. But no clip-on handlebars. Given the proposed use of the bike and nature of the project, the bike practically begged for a more open set of handlebars, neither too low nor too high, positioned on the top yoke in the best fun bike style. The front brakes have been upgraded to modern Brembo double calipers with Aeroquip hoses and using DOT 5.1 Elf fluid.
The set of aluminum wheels have beautiful German tires, Heinedau K60, 110 / 80.19 in the front and 170/60/17 in the rear. Here the “dual” in dual-sport dictated the outcome. Dual-purpose tires to highlight the “tracker” side and the typical rim measurements of dual-purpose motorcycles.
The end result of all this effort? A beast brought back to life in the hands of a rebel, in the best cyberpunk style. With dedication, knowledge, and technology, Renato Frateschi managed to create a completely new, exciting, unique, and exclusive Street Tiger that I would call the “Street Cyber Tiger.”
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Photos: Gustavo Epifanio (@gustavoepifanio | gustavoepifanio.com.br)
Words by Guilhes Damian (@guilhes | www.motocultura.com.br)
Video by Pixel Banana (@_pixelbanana | pixelbanana.com.br/blog/)