Down & Out Triumph T100
By Ross Sharp - 13 Mar 15
The first bike I was drawn to at the Bike Shed Event II was Down & Out Cafe Racers' CB450. Why? Well, apart form being a seventies Honda twin with a peanut tank and gold paint, it was rolling on cartoon proportioned Firestone Deluxe Champions. To fit the 5.00x16" front tyre in, Shaun and his team had to use CB750 forks to accept the additional width. Yes, yes, yes it probably wouldn't tip into a hairpin like an NC45 but that's not the point, it looked flipping cool. And this isn't a new phenomenon, go and Google "Sunbeam S7". A Brit classic that looks perfect in standard trim, why? Because of the 16" wheels and fat front tyre. When this latest Triumph from Down & Out hit our inbox we reacted like a bunch of 13 year-old school boys crowding around FHM's Top 100 list. Silly noises and an instant desire to sell what we had ridden into town on and send Shaun a cheque. This though is Shaun's own bike, built for him, by him, and Carl. Starting out with a nearly new, 300 mile T100 Bonnie, Shaun wanted a fun, cool looking ride to get himself to work down the country lanes of South Yorkshire. And having built up an in-house made inventory of custom Triumph and BMW parts, time and money saved fitting these could be spent in other areas. Manufacturer fitted components are designed with function foremost but subsequently made to a price, not a criticism but cold fiscal reality. When embarking on a custom job, a little can go a long way; both budget and final appearance. According to Shaun "If there's one thing that I have to do on all my personal bikes is ditch the switch gear, I hate the bars to look standard so it all had to go and now runs micro switches and internal wiring in the bars, GSXR750 hand controls and LSL reservoir finish the bars of a treat." No disagreement form this side of the screen. An LSL ignition relocation switch goes a long way to reduce cockpit clutter, giving the Motogadget mini speedo place to show off. Those guys in Germany must all be riding to work in helicopters by now, their products are excellent and appear in nearly every bike builders parts arsenal. D&O's own-brand headlight lights up the way, mounted in an off the shelf bracket. Their own shelf of course. A pair of 16" rims were powder coated satin black and laced with stainless spokes to the standard hubs, to dramatic effect. Who'd have thought a couple of inches could have such an impact. The appeal of the Firestone Deluxe Champion tyre isn't just the instantly recognisable tread but also the super clean and smooth sidewalls. The additional girth isn't without penalty explains Shaun "I just love the look of these tyres, the front end couldn't be left standard. Getting that 16" wheel in the forks leaving room for a front mudguard was bit of a pig to sort out but it's in there and works great". Those familiar with the custom scene in the U.K. will have heard of D-Luck's, down on the south coast. They pushed the boat out on this job and gave Shaun a tasty matt blue design, complimented by a machined aluminium fuel cap. Motone supplied this and the finned carb tops. High level Scrambler stainless pipes bring the noise and in this shortened form, finishing in line with the shock mounts, look the business. In keeping with the squat stance and fat rubber. Leaving the stock frame rails with plugged ends wasn't going to wash, nor was the length. A new loop, off the shelf, completes the subframe and a seat 5" shorter than standard sits on top, with just the right amount of foam to not only keep piles at bay but also proportion with the Firestones. A D&O alloy mudguard and Bates style light finishes off the rear end nicely. Now, apparently the 8th most paused movie clip of all time is Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the bit when Bob Hoskins cops an eyeful of Jessica's Deluxe Champions; can't imagine why. There is though a whole lot more to this bike than the tyres and as a complete package we think it's pretty awesome. As always, thanks to Carl for making it happen, and Simon Krajnyak for the sublime snaps. The scene looks more Aux en Provence than the outskirts of Sheffield. Keep an eye on Facebook for the latest builds and head to the website to order parts off the shelf for your Triumph or BMW project.