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Nick's 2004 Triumph America

 

The Triumph Bonneville's tubby older sister is a pretty homely unit by anyone's standard. Probably drop-dead reliable and comfortable, but what a bland package. Our friend Nick summed up the Triumph America perfectly when he opined, "This thing looks like the Brits said, 'What do Americans want?' Forwards, big ugly tank, windshield, lots of chrome; just tart up a Bonnie with that trash and call it the America!"

The result is an assault on our collective patriotic sensibilities. Nick picked one up anyway, before his custom motorcycle pallet had matured, and he thought it was OK. It didn't take much exposure to proper customs for his tastes to change, but he'd fallen in love with the machine and didn't want to sell it and start over with something else. So the subtraction of factory bits began and a large pile of parts got blacked out by the local powdercoater. Now it's easy to make a good-looking bike look great, but very difficult to make an awkward motorcycle look proper. The two biggest contributors to this makeover are the Thruxton tank (who knew that would be a direct bolt-up?) and the reworked Kawasaki Ninja mid/rear sets. The holes where the forwards used to be have been plugged with some custom lathe-turned pieces, and the Kawi controls look damn near factory. While Nick's Americana is surely no chopper, it does offer an affordable alternative to the ubiquitous evo Sporty in a size better suited to big dudes.

 

 

Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 790cc parallel twin, 270-degree firing interval,  2004 Triumph America. British Customs cocktail shaker exhaust, air box elimination kit and re-jet

Frame: Stock Triumph America

Fork: 41mm stock forks. Progressive lowering kit (roughly 2 inches); shaved lowers and powder coated 

Chassis mods: Very slight frame modification to accept an '06 Thruxton ank; Vortex CNC Kawasaki Ninja rearsets

Tire/wheel size and style: Front: 18 x 2.5 120/90 36 spoke; rear: 15 x 3.5 170/80 40 spoke. Stock hubs and rims powder coated

 

before

 

Favorite thing about this bike: It's a toss-up between the Thruxton tank and the custom Vortex crotch rocket rearsets. The modified riding position is not only functional, it's surprisingly comfortable. The bike handles really well. The mods worked out way better than I expected them to 

Next modification will be: Maybe modify the subframe, seat and rear fender? Sell it and start all over again

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: I love my upside down Biltwell Trackers. Joker Machine bar clamps, reservoir cover, choke and front sprocket cover. Sportbike CNC bar end mirrors. Progressive front lowering kit and 11.5" rear adjustable shocks. Custom seat by Manuel at Sweetwater Marine 

Interesting back story: After I quit riding dirt bikes a few years back I still had the motorcycle bug. Robert "Maximum Bob" Warren convinced me to buy a motorcycle, which is ironic because I have never ridden with him. A year passed and I ended up scoring a really good deal on a low-mileage 2004 Triumph America on Craigslist. Looking back, I would have never bought this bike, for obvious reasons if you look at the before pic. But at that time, I thought it was the coolest thing ever after I cut my rear fender and added a set of Biltwell Trackers. It didn't take long for my tastes to mature, but instead of selling it I decided to make the best of the situation. My goal was to create cool-looking, functional bike without being stuck in a specific genre.  I love motorcycles and I wanted a little bit of everything: bobber, café, vintage, sportbike, drag bikes, dirt bikes. Look closely and you might find all of 'em

Thanks: Special thanks to my friend Rick the Welder Risinger, who spent countless hours with me helping me make the mids, etc. Without him, I would still be in the OB/GYN chair.  I also wanted to thank Jeff Steber and Marv Strand at Intense bicycles for letting me have unlimited access to their machine shop. Vince Powell of Powell Precision for his lathe work on my fork sliders. Rookie Sorenson from Factory KTM for rebuilding my forks not once, but twice! Mark and Brady Cherry from Olympic Powdercoating—still the best in the industry. Sean Hicks and the British Customs crew for the awesome shakers and Triumph gadgets. Jamie and Nate from BA Moto for doing my jetting. Bryan Warren from Joker Machine. Manuel at Sweetwater Marine for doing my seat. Sean McQuaid for showing me how to ride like a hooligan. The Chopper Gallery. My wife Liz for finally letting me have a street bike


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Comment with Chopcult (48)

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 02:12 pm
 

Nice bike!

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 02:51 pm
 

Looks real good, O thought it was a bonnie. Very cool.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 03:34 pm
 

Why all the hate on the Bonneville America? Its a decent looking bike stock minus the windshield (which isnt stock anyhow) and bulky rear seat. The bike in its 800cc version can walk a 1200 sporty in the straights and definately in the corners. In fact, it can corner better than any "cruiser" bike out there. Pack a bag and ride accross the country in relative ease without trying to look like a toughguy. I've got 50,000 miles on my 02 BA and have had to do nothing but basic maintanace and upkeep. Great looking engine and sounding exhaust with a little modification. Who cares if its "surely no chopper?" Mabey if he puts a rigid on it and some metal flake or lace it would be a propper chopper, like most everybody else? A differant an arguably better choice than a underpowered sporty or an overpriced Dyna.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 03:48 am
 

Hey DB,
Fvck you.
RTW
:)

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 03:51 pm
 

The cat builds a nice bike, but basically apologizes for it during the interview. Sack up dude. Why get rid of your bike only to buy an inferior one? The moco has been convincing people to do that for years. I'll take my triumph over any POS Sporty anyday. Keep your sporty, vans, and flannel shirts, this scene is starting to get pretty self rightous, like the JJ. You can keep it.

[IMG]http://i772.photobucket.com/albums/yy9/dannyb278/P...[/IMG]

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 04:43 pm
 

I hope I can still wear my vans and flannel shirts and like this scoot at the same time. Nice work - chop what you got.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 04:44 pm
 

Looks awesome.
I want one.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 05:05 pm
 

Wow.... I actually had to create an account to reply to a comment above. I am actually going to buy another Triumph America or Speedmaster and mod another one. It's a great bike, it just needs some work to make it even better.
I never apologized for anything. I am a Triumph guy for sure. Oh.... I don't own any flannel shirts either, which is most likely a self loathing comment anyway.
Man, Rob...... you were right....... this might be interesting.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 05:43 pm
 

@ Dannyb Funny, but I owned a Triumph, and I have a "POS" Sporty as you call it.....two different bikes....you CANNOT compare. But I can say that they are not underpowered as you state. The Trump is torqueier, but out of 3rd gear the sporty spanks the Triumph. Who hurt you man? You sound like a damn hipster. And speaking about the MoCo's. it sounds like your on their nuts man, A bike kicks ass regardless of what it is. Brand is a preference like Ford vs Chevy vs Mopar. I have to admit that I personally dont have a preference. The America is typically not a bike that would be first on a list of customizers. I have seen one from British Customs that was done up more than this one was. And THAT bike I would choose over the Sporty. Regardless, the America built by Nick is a kickass bike. I think you had too much cheap beer when you started ranting. Save it for CL. I dont see where he apologizes for having a TRIUMPH. Alot of "ol skool" dudes I know have owned Trumps back in the day, and still own them in some cases. As far as the flannels and Vans...keep in mind this isnt the 60's, alot of skater kids grew up and are in this "scene". They never changed their style cause its them....IM pretty biased to boots personally....and Pendletons just kick ass no matter who you are...my dad owned them...and I do too....guess what im saying is...."whateva nigga"

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 05:44 pm
 

Did I mention this is a kickass bike????

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 05:57 pm
 

Love the rear sets and the change up, good job. Liking the bag and its location, just like my setup. Gil, STFU with your ranting. GREAT BIKE!

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 06:05 pm
 

i may have been a little out of line in calling sportsters pieces of shit, (i apologize) as if i bought a harley, it would be a sporty, but saying things like

"Triumphs tubby older sister"
"pretty homely"
"just tart up a Bonnie with that trash and call it the America!"
"assault on our collective patriotic sensibilities"
"Looking back, I would have never bought this bike, for obvious reasons if you look at the before pic. "-bs apology in my opinion

All that just seemed a bit much and unwaranted for a single article on a website where quite often a bike is built and featured by cutting the rear subframe off of a sporster/triumph/yamaha, throwing a retro 60's flake/lace paint job on and call it amazing. If thats your style great, but you dont have to come down on a really good bike just becuase everyone in california isnt riding or customizing one.
While this bike isnt very represented in the aftermarket area, isnt that the point? The bonneville america is a great bike stock and a perfect candidate for customization, even if all the aftermarket shops like biltwell, Licks, lowbrow, etc havent made stuff SPECIFICALLY for this bike, as nearly anything you can bolt on to a harley you can adapt to the BA.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 06:21 pm
 

All ranting aside, That thruxton tank does look really nice on the bike.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 06:32 pm
 

I think anything stock is homely. Isn't this the point of the chop cult anyway? Take something stock and turn it into something cool?
Anyway, regardless of your rant, I appreciate the positive things you have posted.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 06:41 pm
 

I need winter to end in Minnesota so i can finally get back on my bike and quit surfing the net. Nice bike.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 06:55 pm
 

Thanks dude. I am actually going to look at at another 04 in San Diego today.
I already have a few ideas for the next one.
I am from the East Coast and I know the feeling. I would go nuts!

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 07:38 pm
 

Thanks Tim. I stole the idea from you. Ranch Army Navy store in Temecula, 19.00. They come in black, olive and tan.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 07:46 pm
 

Nice foresight and execution nick!

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 07:51 pm
 

What up Jeff G! Love your mag.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 07:55 pm
 

Nice looking bike...can wait to hook up for a ride...really want to see this in person...

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 08:16 pm
 

GREAT BIKE! This gives me some great inspiration on my 99' Triumph Legend, I was going with a similar set up, but this is amazing, nice job man.

-Phil

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 08:27 pm
 

I posted a pic of this bike in the Brit forum. It is sick. I have a standard Bonneville and I love this America. Triumphs give me a funny feeling in my pants. Glad to see someone is working with what is a well engineered scooter that can be modded into a bad-ass street machine. Great work.

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 10:42 pm
 

Beer for everybody. Except tim. Lbpham he's gay. He geta a glass of wine and a rufi

Commented on 2-16-2011 At 10:48 pm
 

There is a site dedicated to the bonneville america, and while there is some decent bike mods on there, a lot of the bikes are simply "look what additional chrome piece i bolted on" This bike would be a real standout on that forum. Dig the mid controls, havent seen that done yet on a bonneville america.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 01:11 am
 

dannyb,
Thanks, The mids are a blast. Believe it or not, I just got an email from Bonneville America wanting to do a feature on the home page. I guess they stumbled accross the pics on the web. I am emailing them some photos now.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 01:42 am
 

I have a 07 Speedmaster that I have gone in Kinda the smae direction with.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 01:53 am
 

Oh and by the way very nice job Nick. Who did the seat?

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 02:01 am
 

I love it when I see a bike like this done up that I would never think to do. Really sweet, well done.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 02:10 am
 

Travis, Sweetwater Upholstery in Temecula, CA did the seat. Manuel over there has done two projects for me too and I was pleased with both of them.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 02:23 am
 

Thanks Bill, I will google them and give Manuel a call.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 02:27 am
 

Manuel at Sweetwater is really old school. No website or listings. I do have his number though: 951-694-6802
He is a really cool dude. Give him a call.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 02:30 am
 

Thanks for the info, I will give him a call tomorrow.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 05:19 am
 

Great bike. It looks rather comfortable to ride. A Jap and a Brit who would of guessed it would work out just fine.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 03:39 pm
 

Regardless of residential location & tire choices that was a really ugly bike.


Nice to see you got the mids sorted out.
Good job Nick.

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 09:02 pm
 

Bike looks great, Nick! I love seeing people take the less than handsome America/Speedmaster and make them rad. I've done a few in my day, and 90% of the people that walk through my shop don't "get it". It's good to see more people that do!

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 09:28 pm
 

I should have named the bike "The Swan"... but that would have pissed someone else off too. maybe The Black Swan......

Commented on 2-17-2011 At 09:51 pm
 

Bill, I love your cameo in photo #23!

Commented on 2-18-2011 At 12:33 am
 

Hey Bill and Nick,

I called and talk to Manuel today and will be sending my seat out to him next week. Thanks again for putting me in touch with him.

Commented on 2-18-2011 At 04:00 am
 

Next question will be: are these any cheaper to pick up than other Hinckleys..
wheels are starting to turn in my head.

Commented on 2-18-2011 At 04:26 am
 

Waaaaaaaaay cheaper.

Commented on 2-19-2011 At 07:27 am
 

In that case I'm gonna take a minute and have myself myself an
'aha" moment.

Commented on 2-20-2011 At 12:21 am
 

Heck yeah, nice bike! "The Black Swan" sounds right (plug my Black Crow aka Margaret). Best comment so far..."glass of wine and a rufi" my old lady & i cracked up with that one. Thanks for the laughs Fabian.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 01:29 am
 

Nice bike,But lets get you a Hog next! HAHA

Commented on 3-4-2011 At 03:49 am
 

Love Nick's bike, couldn't disagree more with Bill's opinion of the Bonneville America. I've been building customs for years and this bike is made to be chopped. It is the perfect platform for a budget build. I've never had such positive feedback on my work as with the Speedmasters I've done. Love these bikes!

Commented on 3-10-2011 At 06:18 am
 

The Bonny America is a very comfortable bike to sit on. The posture gets a little weird after a couple hundred miles. The bike is a CRUISER and it loves to cruise. It is quite comfortable and certainly not underpowered. However, the stock sprocket gearing on my 02 was low which gave it great torque off the line but peaked early on the freeway. I found with some open pipes and a higher gear set, I had no problem going 100 on the freeway and had room to spare. I still have plenty of acceleration to pass with.

Around town, it's just a bit too bulky and unwieldy. I think the mods Nick made here would bring that around quite a bit. Seems to me that upright twins combined with a big gas tank make for a slightly top heavy bike. But I think Hinckley made it a bit taller messing with the stance. My old triumphs never had that and I don't think the new Bonnys do either.

Overall, this is a good donor bike. But it can use some tinkering.

Nice job.

-Rev

Commented on 3-12-2011 At 09:39 pm
 

beautiful bike, Nick. don't really get why Bill's doggin on the stock version; she's not a show-winner out of the box, but as an owner of an '03 Speedmaster I haven't found a stock bike in the class as competant... guess I'm just the form-follows-function type. that said, i had a couple of questions about the build... i haven't seen any 2" drop parts from progressive, and 11.5" out back is only 1" shorter; did you do fab work? how does it handle? i love how my bike handles at stock height, and would hate to lose that. last, the mids.. is there a cheap option, or would the stock peg hangers just not work in that locale? again, very sweet ride... nice to see my brand done so well.

Commented on 10-26-2011 At 11:07 pm
 

Great transformation- I'd be proud to ride that anywhere.

Commented on 1-24-2013 At 02:17 am
 

This bike is every where, when you search for triumph bobbers for ideas for your own project. Nick and his America is a house hold name, when it comes to todays modern bobber. The bike has a "go ahead to be cool" attitude. So, I went ahead and I dared. Thanks bro, for sharing your rat with all of us.

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