A modern tribute to the post-war bobbers of the 1940s-50s…
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber debuted in 2017, featuring a high-torque engine and WWII-era aesthetics. It was dead handsome, looking like a modernized version of the motorbike a Spitfire pilot might ride to the aerodrome. However, we didn’t expect the softail-style rear suspension, chunky front wheel, and tractor-style saddle would make the most exciting combination to ride…
We were dead wrong. The Bobber has received nothing but rave reviews for its surprising agility and power.
“The Triumph Bobber pulls like a train – it’s got more torque than the Yamaha MT10 (R1 engine) and from a standing start can live with one – at least for the first few gears. It also handles far better than you would imagine and is great on the twisting country lanes here on the Isle of Man.” —Timeless 2 Wheels
Enter the good folks at BAAK USA — the LA-based arm of the French workshop that started in founder Rémi Reguin’s grandmother’s garage in 2013 and has grown into a team of 20+ engineers, designers, and craftsmen who specialize in leatherwork, metal-shaping, plug-n-play parts, and commissioned builds with “classic timeless looks.”
In 2020, the BAAK USA team opened a 7200 sq-ft showroom, lounge, and small-scale factory in Los Angeles, where the team has been hard at work turning out builds, the latest of which includes the Triumph “Bobber Moon” you see here — an homage to the British/American bobbers of the postwar era:
“After WWII, thousands of American servicemen came back home with improved mechanical skills and a growing passion for British bikes — luckily Triumph’s bikes started to be imported into the US and we then started to see ‘bob-jobs’ on the models of that era. Our idea was to pay our respect to this rich history while incorporating some modern touches and as always the high degree of craftsmanship that BAAK stand for.” –Laura Favier, BAAK USA
The modifications were extensive, including the Springer fork, BAAK N˚1 handlebar with internal wiring, switches built in-house, cable-operated throttle tube, Shock Factory fully-adjustable rear shock, black suede seat, aluminum mufflers, and of course the solid black wheels, which inspired the bike’s nickname:
“We call it the ‘Bobber Moon’ as the wheels reminded us of the different moon phases. They are gloss black and therefore always catch light or the reflection of the surroundings, and it often looks like our beautiful moon shining in the night sky.”
Carlos Molina (@lboogie_design) executed the paint job with an ivory shade from an old Porsche 356, and Laura credits BAAK USA mechanic Jeremy for the bulk of the work on the bike — as well as the French team for the engineering work to make the Springer fork fit.
Below, we get the full story on the build from Laura herself, as well as more stunning photos from both her and Richard Baranyai (@visionsofrichard), who captured the downtown LA shots.
“Bobber Moon” Triumph: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
The donor bike is a 2020 Triumph Bobber and started its life with a matte green tank!
• Why was this bike built?
We built this bike for two reasons: first, to be a showroom bike to display our unique savoir faire and show our vision of the Triumph Bobber. But we also built this amazing bobber thinking somebody would take it home. Now that the bike is finished it could be yours!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The idea with this build was to pay homage to the first “bob-job” performed on bikes to compete in the AMA Class C in the 30’s. After the WWII, thousands of American servicemen came back home with improved mechanical skills and a growing passion for British bikes — luckily Triumph’s bikes started to be imported into the US and we then started to see “bob-jobs” on the models of that era. Our idea was to pay our respect to this rich history while incorporating some modern touches and as always the high degree of craftsmanship that BAAK stand for.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Once the bike was on the lift we basically stripped it down to only keep the frame, engine, wiring harness, swing arm, and rear brake system. For this build, we’ve selected parts with a strong identity such as the Springer fork or the solid wheels as well as our signature parts like the headlight with an integrated gauge, the handlebar, the aluminum mufflers, and of course leather parts and details throughout the bike.
From front to rear, here’s what was done: solid wheels wrapped with Avon Safety Mileage MKII tires, springer fork with custom caliper mount and a beautiful and much more efficient Beringer disc.
As usual, the cockpit was completely revamped for a cleaner and lighter look, with a headlight which appears to almost float at the bow of the bike and the integration of a Motogadget Tiny gauge, as we often do on our builds. The factory handlebar was replaced by our BAAK N˚1 handlebar, providing a more relaxed and efficient riding position. This bar features a set of our buttons (designed and manufactured in-house!) wired internally, as well as a set of gloss black levers. We’ve also relocated the ride-by-wire throttle control unit to be able use a much lighter and nicer traditional cable operated throttle tube. The handlebar is now as minimal as possible without compromising functionality.
The seat is wrapped in a beautiful black suede leather. The rear shock was replaced with a Shock Factory unit providing a wider adjustment window. Below that, you’ll find a black suede cover matching the seat, as we’ve removed the airbox. The long and quiet mufflers were replaced by a set of our signature aluminum mufflers.
The rear mudguard was also replaced by a shorter tire hugging fender, revealing the beautiful thread pattern of the MkII tires, and the license plate holder is mounted on the left side of the swingarm.
The beautiful paint job executed by the talented Carlos Molina finishes the bike perfectly. We chose a very specific shade of ivory from an old Porsche 356 paint catalog complimented by a light coat of metallic to make the bike radiant.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
We call it the “Bobber Moon” as the wheels reminded us of the different moon phases. They are gloss black and therefore always catch light or the reflection of the surroundings, and it often looks like our beautiful moon shining in the night sky.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
We expected it to be a bit heavy and rigid, but it’s surprisingly fun! Of course the Springer fork takes some time to get used to (as it works completely differently compared to a regular fork), but after riding it up and down US1 between Los Angeles and Monterrey through the beautiful twisties of Big Sur, the verdict is excellent. It is a very pleasant bike to ride — the adjustable shock really helps with dialing the suspension to the rider’s preference and dramatically improved the comfort and handling!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
We are particularly proud of Jeremy, our mechanic, for the work he has done on this bike. He is the one putting together all the bikes built here at the Los Angeles shop. The French team has also been amazing, as they had to redo all of the engineering work for the fitment of the Springer fork kit, as the previous one we used had been discontinued by the manufacturer. BAAK has now became a big family between Lyon and Los Angeles, where the human factor is an important part of the success of the brand.
Follow BAAK USA
- Website USA: baakusa.com
- Website France: www.baakmotocyclettes.com
- Facebook: @baakusa
- Instagram: @baakusa
Photo Credit: Richard Baranyai (@visionsofrichard) for the series in Downtown LA.