A Hotter Triumph: Speed Triple 955i “Chilaca”

Triumph Speed Triple Custom

Ludwig Tekne spices up an aging Speed Triple… 

Introduced in 1997, the Triumph Speed Triple 955i was essentially a naked streetfighter version of the Daytona superbike, featuring a 120-bhp triple-cylinder engine and bug-eye headlights straight out of the old Bloodrunners comic strip.

“A surprising winner that’s not only brimful of bad boy character, but also manages to employ the wonderful and unique 955 triple motor into a exciting and versatile package.” –MCN

Many riders noted how well the 955cc triple managed to combine twin-like torque with the free-revving fury of an inline four — the best of both worlds. Then there was the sound it made:

“The raucous belch rising to a crescendo wail is so wonderful and amusing that it’s impossible not to smile, if not giggle — even after a year of ownership.” –Canyon Chasers

Triumph Speed Triple Custom

When it came to the twisties, few bikes were more fun or confidence-inspiring:

“On swervy roads, the Speed Triple makes you feel invincible, like you’re in charge of a big dirt bike with really good traction.” –Motorcycle.com

Speed Triple Custom

Recently, we heard from our friend Riccardo Casarini of Ludwig Tekne, who grew up restoring vintage race cars in his family’s workshop in northwest Italy before earning a philosophy degree with a thesis on the “aesthetics of speed” — our kind of study!

Speed Triple Custom

Riccardo’s customer, Matteo Mariani (@vegeto.e.vivo), tasked him with sharpening up his aging ’04 Speed Triple 955i. Once an apex predator, the Triple had begun showing its age in terms of both looks and performance.

Riccardo worked to create a hotter “chili special,” which would look and perform like a much newer bike, while preserving the silhouette and character of the original. Highlights include a shorter subframe from a Speed Triple 1050, custom bodywork with minimalist lighting, upgraded Mupo suspension and Brembo brakes, bespoke VTR (fiberglass) flyscreen and winglets with solid aluminum cores, carbon steel headers with stainless midpipe and Virex silencer, fully adjustable hand and foot controls, and much more.

Speed Triple Custom

As befits a performance-oriented build, this spicier Speed Triple — aptly nicknamed “Chilaca” after the chili pepper — was tuned on the dyno, where it made 131 hp and 80 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel — equivalent to the crank numbers of the contemporary 1050cc model!

Below, Riccardo gives us the full story on this naked weapon.

Custom Speed Triple: In the Builder’s Words…

Chilaca is a “chili special” based on a Triumph Speed Triple 955i (2004). The intervention has made this neo-caferacer decidedly striking due to the shade of color used — a particularly bright metallic green, with a few custom friezes in gray (the double M in the logo just refers to the owner’s name/surname).

Speed Triple Custom

The rear frame is the shorter one from the sister 1050, with the seat pan rebuilt in 2.5mm aluminum and sides panels connected by a handcrafted VTR insert and (also handcrafted) stainless steel plate support, which integrates the LED light — reduced to the minimum thanks to the pair of Barracudas with three functions: stop, indicators, and running light. The result is a clean, track-day-style rear.

Speed Triple Custom

Up front, we find a minimal fairing made of VTR, and under the headlights, a winglet (aerodynamic wing) crafted in turn out of VTR, with reinforcement core in aluminum.

Speed Triple Custom

All the numerous details and accessories are in matte black, as well as the high-folded handlebar on raised risers and the adjustable levers and footrests from Free Spirit.

Speed Triple Custom

For suspension, we have an adjustable Mupo mono-shock at the rear and a Mupo hydraulic kit for the front fork.

Speed Triple Custom

Braking now benefits from Goodridge lines and uses a 21mm Brembo pump at the front, which acts on Brembo M4 radial calipers, mounted via custom-machined supports created from anticorodal 6082 alloy. Finally, the brakes have been completed with a set of ZCOO sintered pads.

Speed Triple Custom

The final gear ratio was shortened, making the bike particularly snappy in the midrange — a characteristic heightened by the quick-turn throttle from EuroRacing.

Speed Triple Custom

For performance — of which the three cylinder engine is certainly not lacking on its own — we have a K&N panel-style air filter, 1050 carbon steel exhaust manifold, handcrafted stainless steel handcrafted exhaust, and a dedicated Virex silencer.

Speed Triple Custom

The bike was tuned on the dyno, with a result of 130.9 hp and 11.1 Kgm of torque available from low revs. With this power, the DeLorean Back to the Future effect is assured…

Follow the Builder

Web: www.ludwigtekne.com
E-mail: [email protected]
Socials: @ludwigtekne (FB) / @ludwig_tekne (IG)
Owner: @matteo.mariani.313 (FB) / @vegeto.e.vivo (IG)
Photo credit: Guido Colla – Spazio 53

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One Comment


    I bought a 1 owner ’05 Speed Triple 1050, in outstanding condition, that had some $4000+ in mods that the owner had done to it to lighten up (an already light bike)…improve the suspension and braking…slightly increase the HP…and add the sweetest sounding exhaust note to it! A twin set of Trident (Mfg) Carbon Fiber canisters produced such a nice growl to the bike. I just loved that bike! After initially trying it out for a 15 mile loop around the back roads in Connecticut…I came back with such a grin on my face…and bought it immediately!!! Great handling bike…extremely fun to ride!

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