About Tronti : born out of a wish for a Triton

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Après une longue hésitation, j’ai décidé de publier l’article de Mike tel qu’il me l’a envoyé, c’est-à-dire en anglais. Mike, c’est le Jersiais vainqueur du concours amateur du Bike & Breizh #3 et il nous présente ici la «naissance de son souhait de Triton», sa Tronti. Une machine remarquable par la quantité de détails qui se rejoignent tous autour du café… Have a nice read.

1996 and I’d long wished for a Triton. I had the engine for years. A 1979 Triumph 750cc with 5 speed gearbox. I was gifted a 1958 Manx Norton frame and the basic DNA was there. All I had to do was source the rest. I liked the look of the Triton, so chose the ‘essential’ alloy tank, alloy oil tank and race seat. Engine plates to fit the motor to the frame were off the shelf items. Still nothing to roll on until a trip to Germany where a 1994 Ducati 750SS gave its forks, wheels and brakes. 

These were the major components. Extensive modification required. The Ducati rear wheel was smaller in diameter and much wider. This meant moving the engine over in the frame to clear the chain. Many parts had to be specifically manufactured, either with local engineers or from UK specialists. 

I was able to use an alignment jig at my local panel shop and the bike is true to the millimetre. This results in a very easy bike to ride, which tracks straight and corners very well, and stops very well too. This all took time.

Mirors, fuel tank cap, tank band… everything attest to Coffee.

The best replacement parts

The engine needed some work, so it was treated to the best replacement parts, substituting aftermarket parts for standard where available. The head has been flowed and ported by The Cylinder Head Shop with new valves, guides and springs. A lightweight alloy barrel with Nikasil liners and pistons with a sensible 9.5:1 ratio work with Nourish cams, Carrillo rods, superblend bearings. The clutch is an alloy belt drive. It has a Morgo rotary oil pump and Kirby Robotham filter conversion which filters oil before entering the engine – very sensible. Ignition is Boyer.

Tronti was getting tired…

Over a 3 year build Tronti evolved to become my personal Café Racer. She has been sprinted on a number of occasions, winning awards. She has been featured in many magazines, been on show as an Art piece and been used in photoshoots. The truth is that she was getting tired. The tank had split and was no longer economic to repair. It hangs in the shed. Time also to address that horrendously uncomfortable seat and other niggles. Time to re-genre, time to do more than just a bike. Time for an Homage to the Café Racer Culture. Meet Tronti – Café Köter.

The fuel tank of the «Café Köter», with my favourite detail, the trace of a coffee cup.

Regeneration to Café Köter – My ethos.

Tronti – Mix of Triumph T140D engine, Manx Norton frame, Ducati forks, wheels and brakes. Köter is the German name for Mongrel, which suits the revamp very nicely. Café is self evident. The beautiful, expensively modified and lovely alloy tank has split and work hardened over the years and is now a wall light! In it’s place is a Suzuki GT750 tank which floats above the frame, revealing the beautiful curves and work of art headstock.

This gives a whole new feel, and custom bikes are forever in a flux of modification, so, out with the crappy Monza cap and oil tank (never not leaked) and a bit of opening up visually. Get the grinder out and shorten the rear of the frame, relocating the angle of the shocks to mirror the forks. A fire extinguisher as an oil tank and some visual re-routing of pipes and cables to give a ‘Visible Technology’ look. I’ve take as many different parts as I can and I’ve got a sort of Café Racer, Street Scrambler, Flat Tracker, Bobber, Hot Rod – yet still in DNA a Triton, and still Tronti.

Accessories that attest to Coffee 

As we evolve we see things differently. While I understand the Bike manufacturers capitalising on the Café Racer genre, I see mine as an opportunity to rejuvenate an artwork on wheels and pay homage to the Café Culture. Hence Tronti, Café Köter, with a collection of quirky, yet practical accessories that attest to Coffee.

Uniform finish for the aluminium parts

All done with simple hand tools, or made to my specs. Every single part has been modified or adapted to fit, or is a bespoke part. I’m lucky to be able to work with some skilled engineers, coach builders and paint specialists who are assisting in the finishing of the project. All the aluminium parts have been smoothed and blasted to a uniform finish. All the frame elements and brackets are finished in Matt, the bodywork is shiny.

Special paint finish celebrating the Café 

Oh, did I say that I like coffee? I see myself as a bit of a coffee connoisseur. Nothing beats a really good cup of coffee. The sight, smell and taste of coffee adds something special to the day. This was an opportunity to share two passions, incorporating elements of coffee and bikes, a three dimensional collage and a statement to a movement. 

There are some very tangible Coffee related items, cups and saucers, manual coffee machine, coffee sack etc etc. There is a special paint finish celebrating the Café, with coffee grounds mixed into the paint. I did the airbrushing and the gold leaf, then my local spray shop did the finish. There is also some discreet lighting – another of my areas of work.

The best numberplate ever !
Tronti, to the end of the brakes.
Coffe sacks are used everywhere !

The true enjoyment is the building

This is a Meccano set for a big boy, an interesting conceptual artwork and the opportunity to ‘regenerate’ ideals, parts and functions. I will admit that the true enjoyment is the building. The dream, the evolution, the shopping or gathering and the detail touches all combine to make for a really interesting way to be creative. As long as the project is ongoing it remains a dream. As soon as it is finished the dream becomes reality and takes on a new, different phase. The riding, too, is enjoyable. Yet it will usually always be a case of never being fully finished.

First outing, first victory !

On it’s first outing at the Jersey Motoring Festival, Tronti won the CVMCC best Motorcycle in Show. In 2017 Tronti went to Glemseck 101 for the Café Racer Sprints (beaten by a girl!) causing quite a bit of interest, and also too 3rd in class at the Custom Chrome International Bike Series – Jammer Old school – at European Bike Week in FaakerSee Austria. This year saw an invitation to the Zenith Café Racer Sprint and Italy verses Europe Sprints at the Reunion in Monza, the Club of Stones invitational at Wheels@Stones, Café Racer Sprints (Coffee Only) at Glemseck 101 and an unexpected 1st at Bike and Breizh#3.

Many thanks…

I’d like to thank Neil MacKenzie of Art Metal for the modifications to the tank as well as odd bits of welding. Also Fraser, Neil’s dad, old school engineer, for turning. Barry Moignard performed miracles with filler, Neil Raynes for fibreglass, Oggy and his crew for the paint finish and David Warr of Coopers Jersey for coffee beans, coffee sacks, coffee stain and the opportunity to exhibit at Coopers Castle Quay.

Lire la traduction en français : La Tronti, en Français dans le texte