TTRNO Swamp Bike
By James McCombe - 09 Jan 15
We've featured bikes designed for all sorts of terrain over the years; road, track, dirt, dust and gravel. But I can't recall a swamp dweller before. There's not much call for one in London quite frankly, but in the depths of Louisiana, taking the wrong road will quickly lead to soggy trousers. So something with super-chunky rubber would be nice when the mud gets sticky and you're trying to quickstep around a Copperhead.
Exquisitely named, The Transport Revolution of New Orleans have been supplying European bikes in the area for more than a decade now. Throughout that time, customising the bikes that roll out of shipping crates has been part and parcel of what they do. From Thruxton Cup racers to sleek street Bonnevilles TTRNO are intimately experienced in the nuances of the Triumph twins. The Swamp bike is their latest creation, built by Aftersales General Manager, Maxwell, squeezed in-between the requirements of his regular day job.
Beginning life as a bone stock Bonneville SE, it was soon up on the bench and torn down. Max hooked up with Benjie of the appropriately named Benjie's Cafe Racers to help fabricate some of the metal work. I'm sure that vintage style headlight bucket has got the attention of a few BMW R-series owners. Benjie also whisked up those high level pipes, swooping out and back behind the subframe, perforated heatshields protect the rider as the gases fire out through the twin megaphones.
With a fully equipped Dyno on hand, getting the Hinckley twin running sweetly on a pair of K&N pods was all in a days work. It's here that the guy's years of building Thruxton cup bikes came into use, ensuring that none of the factory-crisp throttle response was lost in the intake transformation. The black crackle finish of the SE engine is perfectly suited to the Swamp tracker look of the bike and needed for nothing. Complimented by bare aluminum, black powdercoat and that light silver-paint, the monotone palette gives purposeful class, though it's likely everything will soon be a shade of brown.7-spoke mag wheels enhance the grounded, utilitarian look of the bike, but it's the oversize rubber shouting out the intentions for some fun in the mud. With the front TKC80 matching the rear in stature, there's a Rokon 2-wheel drive vibe going on, spreading the load of the Bonnie over a broader path. That carefully rolled, raised mudguard is going to come in useful for keeping a clear set of goggles and the flared rear should stop the rider's shirt from receiving a tank-matching stripe up their back. Re-routing the oil to flow through the front down tubes cleans up the front of the engine, removing visual clutter. As a bonus, the increased oil capacity counters the work done by the original cooler, so engine running temperatures aren't increased either. The riding position has been tweaked slightly by installing some OEM Scrambler footrests, lifting the legs for a bit more ground clearance. The rider now looks down on a smattering of Rizoma goodies clamped to the bars; something nice to look at when the scenery gets ugly. A simplified, rebuilt loom ties all the electrics together, Rizoma bullet turn/tail/brakelights keep the rear tidy. The majority of the wiring is held in a slimline battery box under the seat. With ECU, relays and a compact Ballistic battery down there it's a tight fit but everything has a place. The seat itself is another item from Benjie, far trimmer than the standard unit, it keeps the original mounting system so two bolts and it's off, making access to everything nice and easy. Back together, the bike rolled out into the sun, ready to tackle pretty much anything. Looking thoroughly at home in the long grass, all that's left is for the new owner to go 'gator goading in the Bayou; seems a shame to get it all covered in swamp stank though! Check out TTRNO's well populated Facebook and Blog for more of their projects.