A fuel-injected, vintage-styled daily rider from Bunny Builds Customs…
In 2006, Triumph introduced the Scrambler, which featured a twin-shock chassis, an air-cooled 865cc parallel-twin engine, and styling that spoke directly to the glory days of the brand, when Steve McQueen and friends ripped their Triumph desert sleds across the Mojave and high-pipe Trophy 500/650’s were the coolest thing on two wheels.
The new Scrambler was meant to resurrect that mystique:
“The new 900 Scrambler, a bike that presumes to evoke Triumph’s great Trophys of the 1950s and ’60s, those stylish, all-purpose bikes that could tour, take you to the corner store or run across the desert and right up the unpaved side of Big Bear Mountain. It’s an honorable tradition.” —Cycle World
The bike was a hit with riders and reviewers alike, and soon the Scrambler gained fuel injection along with the rest of the Bonneville lineup. Although the Scrambler 900 was still no rocket ship, making just 60 horsepower at the crank and weighing in at nearly 500 pounds wet, the bike was about a lot more than performance — it was an experience:
“Taking more than a few unsolicited short cuts and sliding the rear end into parking spaces as standard behavior, I have been forging my own path in my personal urban-jungle. Also provoking two non-motorcycle riding friends to ask how they could get one, and producing a number of amiable arguments with people who don’t believe it’s brand new, life with Triumph’s retro Twin is non-stop fun and entertainment in a way few bikes can come close to.” –Motorcycle USA
Recently, we heard from our friend Ridwan of Bunny Builds Customs — a Singaporean workshop we last featured back in 2017, when they built a wild Honda XR400 for Art of Speed, inspired by flatland drag racing and the scrambler craze. Now Ridwan is back with something much more sedate, if no less appealing — a street-legal 2015 Triumph Scrambler 900 EFI, “Susie,” which serves as his daily rider.
“I wanted something that would resonate with neat vintage vibes. It gives me a quiet, laid back ambient feeling a rural village might have. “
Working out of his flat’s multi-story carpark, he set out to transform this fuel-injected Scrambler into something out of another era. He fitted a smaller tank from a vintage oil-in-frame Triumph T140, modified to work with the fuel pump, and customized a modern T120 seat for the look he wanted.
He eliminated the oil cooler — a fairly common mod on these bikes — and spent a lot of time fabricating a bypass line. A wealth of other small, thoughtful modifications have turned this modern street scrambler into one sweet daily rider, which beckons him at end of day:
“I look out for clear sky through my office window, as evenings carry the most felicitous compositions, riding through the rays of sunset.”
Below, Ridwan, in his poetic style, gives us the full story on the build.
Triumph 900 Scrambler: In the Builder’s Words…
I was in the custom motorcycle scene for many years, so I am naturally attracted to form and function. Meticulously built motorcycles offer metaphoric and transcendent alternatives to the real world, and I enjoy being transported to such worlds through them. I acquire my bikes purely for my pleasure and not for investment.
Having built many bikes, I like new ideas which emphasize social narratives, play with color, and mix shapes. Being mechanically inclined, I took advantage of my skills to adapt to an environment that frequently calls for improvisation.
Despite that, in this build, all you see is a noir bike customized to be on the right-side of the law. For my personal everyday motorcycle — a 2015 Triumph Scrambler 900, “Susie” — I wanted something that would resonate with neat vintage vibes. It gives me a quiet, laid back ambient feeling a rural village might have. A smaller tank from a vintage oil-in-frame Triumph T140 coupled with an external 3 bar fuel pump changed the bike’s composure. I removed the airbox and trimmed it to fit the fuel pump. Instead for the air filter, I installed open pod filters that compliment the TOR slip-on.
Fabricating the oil-cooler bypass line was the most tiring part of this build. With flexi stainless steel hose and steel tubing, I went to and fro between the hose fabrication workshop and my flat’s multi-storey carpark, where my ambitious motorcycle stood without its rear wheel, tank, and oil-cooler.
After tireless days, no feeling was greater than when, finally, the new oil-cooler bypass line superseded the old one. A lot of radical, technical, mechanical juice was spilled over a week to ace this bypass line. With this set-up, I used a fully synthetic 5w40, 3.6L from empty — 0.2L less than manual, as the bypass line does not hold much oil. This way if the oil level is low on the sight-glass, I can top it up anytime rather than draining the oil and top up again.
The matching seat to the small tank was customized from a modern T120 donor seat. I trimmed the pan with a jigsaw before welding plastic from the cut excess to the sides for a “wall” to hold the upholstery in shape. Painting the tank and upholstery of the seat was done by a trusted local shop.
I also shifted the foot pegs, shifter, and brake pedal three inches forward; fabricated the front brake pump to be cable operated; simplified the handlebar controls and wires; installed signal lights (bulb type) inside the rear frame tube; and polished both fenders. On the same day I finished polishing the fenders, I collected the tank from paint and the seat from upholstery. Carefully I installed the individual parts one at a time. It did not take me long to install everything within a day.
With everything aside, I wiped my hands and gave a last check to the bolts and nuts and wiring.
Hitherto, I look out for clear sky through my office window, as evenings carry the most felicitous composition to ride into the sunset rays. Having ridden the bike for about 500km around my closed border country for a few days now, I can wrap up, stow my tools, and clean up my work area at the carpark. Subsequent rides vindicate the original oil-cooler, which is now sealed and labelled in a box. I am no longer skeptical about the idea of removing the oil cooler. This build was a journey for me, a journey to reminisce the days in @BunnyBuildsCustoms.