Race-inspired Thruxton from iT ROCKS!BIKES…
Introduced in 2004 to much fanfare, the Triumph Thruxton 900 was a more aggressive, sport-oriented version of the Bonneville with higher compression, hotter cam profiles, and the factory accoutrements of a retro café racer: clip-on bars, solo seat, rear-set controls, upswept exhausts, and more.
The Thruxton drew inspiration from Triumph’s own Thruxton 500 endurance racers:
“With a rich, racing history to draw from, the Thruxton was born to commemorate the famous race bikes of the 1960s. More specifically the Thruxton 500 endurance race in England that in 1969 saw Triumph take the top three podium positions.” –MC News
Recently, the team at Portugal’s iT ROCKS!BIKES — Osvaldo, Ana, and Luís — were challenged by a customer to build a custom that would hark back to those Triumph road racers of yesteryear, using a carbureted ’06 Thruxton 900 as the base.
The Porto-based workshop was the perfect choice, as most of those Triumph racers were fully faired:
“Our trademark is our monocoque piece, which incorporates the tank, seat, and tail. We like them clean, simple, elegant, fast, and we always name the motorcycles after a song name.”
The most striking feature is definitely the one-piece body hand-built out of steel, painted Porsche blue at the customer’s request. Other highlights include the inverted Yamaha R1 forks and beefy front brakes, Kineo wheels with sticky Metzeller rubber, stainless custom exhaust, LSL rearsets, and Motogadget gauge, controls, lighting, and electrics.
The result is one of the cleanest, most stunning modern Triumph café racers we’ve seen — a modernized machine that calls up the historic road racers of the marque. Below, we talk to the IRB team for the full story on the build.
Thruxton 900 Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are from Oporto (Portugal), addicted to motorcycles, and we’ve been building custom bikes under our brand iT ROCKS!BIKES since 2013. In 2021 we had a major team update, and IRB is now formed by Osvaldo, Ana, and Luís.
Our trademark is still our monocoque piece, which incorporates the tank, seat, and tail. We like them clean, simple, elegant, fast, and we always name the motorcycles after a song name.
Osvaldo Coutinho: Co-founder & Builder
Ana Pina: Bike Designer & Builder
Luís Teixeira: Mechanic & Builder
• Tell us about the bike…
Lithium is a custom motorcycle built for a private customer. As a lover of classic racing motorcycles from the 70s, he challenged us to create a project with this concept, based on a 2006 Triumph Thruxton, with carburetors.
The only additional request from the customer was that the bike had Porsche blue as the main color; the rest was up to us. Our objective was to create a motorcycle with a classic look, but equipped with modern, homologated, and safe equipment.
Always maintaining one of our main features, the one-piece body, we also created a curved front fairing, all handmade in steel.
Also, the other details of the motorcycle, with the exception of the equipment, were all developed manually, such as the frame, supports, exhausts and other metallic parts. Our motto is originality, quality and exclusivity in each piece we design and build.
• What’s the story behind the nickname, “Lithium”?
We always name our bikes after song names. This one is “Lithium,” from Nirvana.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the completed bike?
It handles just great, with a sporty feel. It has all the feeling of the original Triumph Thruxton, but better equipment and better aerodynamics.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Always very proud of our metal work, bringing the shape to reality.