While it's pretty obvious that we love our custom-fettled motors here at AF, it may come as some surprise that we have quite the love for vehicles of the two wheeled variety, too. So, with that in mind, you may be asking why this is the very first moto on the official company fleet? Well, the answer is simple - we just hadn't found quite the right example until now.
You see, there's a strict criteria for any Auto Finesse Project, a certain type of quirkiness that has to come as standard. Now, whether it's a question of rarity, retro appeal or any number of other features, AF projects all have their own distinct style, centring around an aesthetic that not only fits in with the brand ethos, but most of all has to be bespoke and tailored to us… because, after all, proper builds have been what we're all about from the very beginning. So, that's exactly where the custom bike building maestros at Thornton Hundred Motorcycles came in.
Now, we've been following what they do at Thornton Hundred for quite a while and it's not just the fact that that they're all about the high-end quality, but what we love most is that they pride themselves on never building the same bike twice. As you've no doubt guessed, this type of uniqueness is right up our street. So, much so that our MD, James, just couldn't resist adding yet another work of art to the AF line up.
What these guys do best is take Triumph motorcycles straight from the production line and transform them into one-off builds, using a collection of extra special parts developed and manufactured in-house. So, after taking a look at every piece of trinketry they had on offer, right down to a precision-machined aluminium stem nut (and no, we're not joking), James promptly ticked every box on the list, and then started looking for even more. After that, phase one of this project was just a case of waiting for our TH Custom Bobber to turn up and be rolled out of the back of their van…
The Bobber style is undoubtedly the thing that originally turned our head. An idea originally conceived in the 1930s, a bobber, or more specifically a bike that undergone a "bob-job', is a style where extraneous items were stripped away in the relentless pursuit of speed. Original bobbers would be stripped stock-frame bikes derived from the racing heroes of the day and included various tweaks such as fender deletes, modified axles and shortened or "bobbed' fenders. All this adds up to create what's become an iconic style ever since.
In a way then, bobbers are like the OG modified motorbikes, these came about way before choppers and customs, and they really are the superbike of their day, too. And it's all from a time before superbikes we're even a concept. Suffice to say that, James just couldn't wait to get this one back out on the tarmac and give it a try!
In any case it's plainly obvious that we were attracted to the historic style but, while the idea may stem from way back when, this bike is brand spanking new, and the performance is very much up to date. There's a few modern touches from the factory like the LED headlight with DRLs, and an uprated Fox rear suspension unit of course. But, based on a stock 1200cc, fuel-injected Triumph Bonneville, the guys at Thornton Hundred have taken both the performance and styling way further, not least with the addition of their V4 wide wheel kit.
The heart of this kit is a set of expertly engineered billet triple clamps and hubs, enabling the fitment of super-wide rims. In this case we're looking at a set of Premium Takasago Excel wheels, shod in chunky Pirelli Supercorsa rubber and complete with chemically dipped black spokes and laced with anodised nipples. These come in at 5-inches wide on both the front and rear, which is a huge amount of girth on a stock-frame bike. But that said, when you think about it, it's not unlike cramming the widest possible wheels on a car with stock arches, without the helping hand of overfenders - something we've become well accustomed to with most of our builds over the years. Oh yeah, and we all know that every properly modified creation is put together around the wheels, that almost goes without saying, right?
You'll also notice the addition of custom TH Wavy brake discs under the mighty Brembo calipers, and you can't help but admire the custom Alcantara-trimmed, too… but don't forget that they're just the big, obvious bits!
In fact, we all know that what really makes a build is the subtle details - the little stuff. Yes, it's about all those amazing tweaks that you may not notice at first, but add up to much more than the sum of their parts. And that's what the guys at Thornton Hundred do best. Here we're talking about custom-designed parts like a CNC machined mudguard, LED numberplate holder, extended seat mount and fuel cap, TH engine badges and even a laser cut stainless steel seat plaque. In other words, these guys are experts in taking a whole load of modern materials and engineering techniques to create something with a heart that's truly retro. And, we like that. A lot.
But, aside from the custom-made parts, one other thing that Thornton Hundred do that's seriously impressive, is source plenty of sleek modern parts that add-to (rather than detract from) the old skool style. From the Motorgadget bar-end indicators to the all-in-one Kellerman rear clusters, these additions allow the ditching of other more obvious parts for the stripped-down bobber look, all the while, and rather cleverly, keeping everything suitably UK road-legal.
There is one completely custom part that can never go unnoticed though, and that's the one-off exhaust - the bark is very much as bad as the bite on this monster. There's no denying that these hand-crafted, pie-cut twister pipes are creations that deserve to be framed and placed in some sort of modern art gallery - never has there been such a stand out feature on any bike - but, there's still a certain kind of old skool, hand-built style that makes them look every little bit the part on this retro-inspired bobber.
So, with our very own TH Custom Bobber now sitting pretty at the Detailing Academy, was that the end of the story? Of course it wasn't. After all every true AF project needs a flew distinctly AF flourishes… let's just say adding a little finesse. And there's the question - what could possibly be left to do to make this monster motorcycle even more at home here on the Auto Finesse feet? The answer is simple, we called in our old friend, and master craftsman, Neil The Striper.
Neil is an expert in the old skool art of custom paint and pinstriping, he's also well versed in our projects, having taken care of the custom brush work on our 1954 Chevy Stepside and Caddy V2. In other words, there was no one better to finish off the tank and side panels with a little paint and a whole lot of gold leaf. While he was at it he also set his brushes to a custom lid because… well, why not?
So, that's the story of our custom Triumph Bobber which, when it's not at various shows or on the road cruising with our James at the handle bars, is proudly displayed at the Auto Finesse Detailing Academy. Why not pop along in the week and take a closer look for yourself?
Triumph Bonneville, 1200cc twin cylinder, fuel injected engine with blacked out throttle bodies, custom pie-cut twister exhaust, TH Wavy custom brake discs, gold DID chain, uprated Fox suspension unit, full Thornton Hundred V4 Wide Kit consisting of billet Aluminium machined wide triple clamps, wide wheel hubs, 5-inch, Premium Takasago Excel, chemically dipped black spokes laced with anodised alloy nipple, custom machined and chemically dipped extended black axles, Pirelli Supercorsa Tyres, machined aluminium steering stem nut, full titanium bolt kit
Bespoke hand-painted and pinstriped tank and side panels with gold leaf, custom Alcantara seat cover with diamond stitch pattern, Motogadget Bar End Indicators linked with premium Deutsch connectors, Kellermann tail-stop light and indicator combo, billet aluminium machined Number plate holder with LED illumination, CNC mudguard, extended seat mount and fuel tank cap, Thornton Hundred machined engine badges, TH laser cut stainless steel seat plaque