Speed Triple Café Racer from ETTO Motorcycles…
Back in 2005, Triumph introduced the Speed Triple 1050, a factory streetfighter that packed a 128-bhp, three-cylinder gobsmacker of an engine. Here was a hooligan’s dream, just as comfortable at track days as wheelie-ing down the local high street.
“The Speed Triple always was, and remains, a bit of a Rottweiler.” –MCN
However, the stunted tail and bug-eyed headlights, reminiscent of Hoover from Andy Sparrow’s Bloodrunners, weren’t for everyone. There were those who wondered how the bike might look and perform as a high-performance, retro-inspired café racer — something Triumph didn’t offer at the time.
Our friend Ian Davis of Nottingham’s ETTO Motorcycles — an aluminum fabricator, tank maker, and custom bike builder — decided to find out.
“I built this Triumph 1050 for a good friend of mine, called Robbo. He did an awesome job making the seat unit in fibreglass, using parts of the original side panel.” -Ian
For Ian, the challenge would be the lines, redesigning this naked streetfighter into a sleek, contemporary café racer that might have just rolled out of the Triumph factory — a two-wheeled Rottweiler turned into a Greyhound hunched for speed.
“The bike is a 2007 model and it’s a superb triple. The only problem (I think) is the back end looks like someone else designed it without seeing what the front end designer was doing. So the main aim was to get the flow of the bike right from front to back and give it that super cool cafe racer vibe.” -Ian
The bike was stripped down to the bones and they started the build from a blank canvas. A front fairing was fitted, and Ian made quick release, race-style fairing brackets with lock-wired R clips. Very cool.
An LED headlight was fitted to the fairing and indicators to the radiator guard. All the wiring was changed and most of the components relocated: regulator / rectifier, relays, fuses, etc.
Ian then fabricated an aluminium sub-frame, battery box, coolant catch tank, and also relocated the ECU.
At the rear, an integral LED rear brake light and indicator housing was fitted, hidden inside the seat unit for the cleanest lines possible.
The brakes were upgraded with Brembo master cylinder and levers, and new Gilles Vario bars fitted. The rear shock was swapped for a Nitron NTR1.
“So now loads of weight had been cut off, the suspension and brakes had been upgraded, and the handling is spot on.” -Ian
The dual exhaust system was junked in favor of a Micron hydro-formed end can. The bike has loads of other little details that exhibit Ian’s metal-shaping prowess, such as the bespoke aluminum chainguard made to look like it’s straight from the factory. Ian does everything old-school, eschewing CNC for hand-fabrication.
The Gulf Oil paint scheme was chosen as a nod to the McLaren F1 team back in the day and really sets the bike off beautifully.
“The bike was finished in time for the 2018 Bike Shed Show and it went down a storm. Triumph even posted a photo of it on their own website. Bit of a cool nod.” -Ian
Fast forward a few years, and the Triumph RS appeared, looking strikingly similar to Ian’s build. We think Ian should ask for commission!
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