Kingston Customs 900 Il Sardo
By Ross Sharp - 30 Jun 14
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then where does that leave emulation? Perhaps not as sincere an endeavour but when standards are as stratospherically high as they are in the custom bike world, wholesome gentlemanliness goes out the window. There's no denying it, nearly every man on the planet would sell an organ to walk a day in Steve McQueens shoes. Pick a day, any day. You could be at 230 MPH down the Mulsanne Straight in a Porsche 917 or wheelying through the desert on a CR250 Elsinore with $1m dollars in your pocket just for turning up. And if you picked the straw that got you the Steve with no shoes, it'd be because there's one of the world's hottest girls next to you. And her friend. So Dirk of Kingston Custom in Germany wanted to build a Triumph that reminded him of the King of Cool, ripping it up on the International Six Day Trials of the mid-sixties. No pressure then Dirk! Buddy and Triumph nut, Uli Brée of Triworx supplied a 900 Scramber last autumn and expected something special in return. True to form, Dirk hasn't let him down. Obviously these days you can't get away with a paint job, knobblies and some fancy welding on the zorst so this bike was taken to the private room at the back, the one with a velour curtain and stripped down, right down. The subframe was modified to accept the Komp-Tech seat unit and the tight rear loop is pretty well executed. It needed to be, as nickel plating is very unflattering if you're welding looks like a pigeon shit. The local electroplater got a workout with this build, the Athena Motocross foot pegs going into the bucket along with the Honda XLV sidestand. The frame was chemically dipped, then painstakingly ground, sanded and buffed before even joining the other parts for a fizzy chemical bath. The result is truly stunning. If this sounds like a waste of elbow grease, wait til you hear what he did with the wheels. Triumph's 900 twin is ample for most applications and there's certainly enough grunt on tap for the Mitas E10s to flick up some decent roost. K&N offset oval filters keep the desert out and a rather lovely Arrow exhaust system does the barking through an in-house muffler. Is there anything more racy that zorsts held together with springs? Reminds me of my first 'crosser. As mentioned, Dirk likes a bit of nickel. So much so that he removed all the spokes and sat for hours rubbing the chrome from the rims to reveal the more handsome coating beneath. Proper! The brake rotors are by Galfer, the wavy ones. Bates lamp with a drilled visor is a nice touch. With all that nickel to look at some contrast was required so an aluminium bash plate was fabricated with some jolly neat lightening holes, but this didn't escape the buffing wheel either. Nothing Kim Kardashian about this derrière, everything is in proportion with humps, bumps and knobs all in exactly the right place. 370mm YSS shocks ensuring nothing heads too far South. Those who don't know, the boffins at Moto Gadget make some top-of-the-line electrickery in the way of lights, speedos and wiring solutions. Modern Triumph twins and triples don't like to have their clocks removed, as if in true 1970s style, the CAN-Bus system goes on strike and renders the bike unusable. The m-Tri unit solves this so one was fitted to Dirk's scrambler, along with a set of indicators. Hiding from view slightly is the Daytona Velona speedo, they look smart, trust me. There are some bikes that you just know will feel right, this is one of them. The seat looks comfy at the back but clear at the front for leg out berm-busting. The chunky LSL bars are inviting and Nissin RFX levers reassuring, or am I just getting carried away because I want a go! The tank colour is awesome, similar to the Rickman Matisse but bang up to date, especially cool with the polished knee panels. Although I'm sure he will insist on riders wearing silk trousers. I've looked long and hard and can't find anything to fault. Apart from the wall, Dirk, your tiling is appalling, the floor isn't level and that log doesn't look very well seasoned. Pah, and there we were thinking he was a perfectionist. After all the polishing and fitment of top notch parts 'il Sardo tips the scales at a positively heroin chic 189kgs, in comparison to the muffin-topped 230kg standard scrambler. Quite a result in both the engineering and the aesthetic. If Steve is up there somewhere, I'm sure he'd swap a kidney for a day in Dirk's shoes and a blast across the desert on this celebration. Surely the sincerest form of flattery.