Thruxton mods: FEK and flashers

You may think I’m obsessed. It’s true, I’m obsessed. It’s been a really, really long time since I had fun wrenching on a vehicle. I think the last time I actually had fun working on my car, I mean really working on it, was my first Toyota truck (a 1979 SR5 long bed). I used […]

You may think I’m obsessed.

It’s true, I’m obsessed.

It’s been a really, really long time since I had fun wrenching on a vehicle. I think the last time I actually had fun working on my car, I mean really working on it, was my first Toyota truck (a 1979 SR5 long bed). I used to do all kinds of crap to it, because it was so easy to work on. More recently, the only car I’ve really spent any time on was my red Jeep wrangler; mostly minor bolt-ons or removals.

I’ve never worked on my own motorcycles significantly; never really a been a big customizer. But when I set out to replace my Trophy (a big beast of a bike, all covered in full-body plastic), I had a couple of criteria: light, nimble, and most of all, no fucking plastic. I wanted to be able to work on it, whatever bike I chose.

When I settled, after considerable thought and research, on a Bonneville, I couldn’t have picked a much more customization-friendly platform. All the bikes in the bonneville family (The original Bonnie, the Scrambler, and the Thruxton) share a uniform frame, engine, and geometry; so parts are almost completely interchangeable. Being the product of a long history of chopping, bobbing, and café-ing, there’s also a huge market out there for parks, kits and gear.

There are literally dozens of vendors making and selling parts, and hundreds of easy bolt-on options. For a beginner, one could spend thousands before getting up into the range of work that’s actually difficult, and for experienced wrenchers, there’s really no limit to what you can do to these things. Like the original 60s Triumphs, they’re made to be re-made.

To say I’m having fun with this is an understatement; I’m having an absolute fucking ball.

My list of things to do is just getting longer and longer, from changes to the air intake (air box removal kit and air injection removal), to the exhaust (black pipes, predator cans), to the rear wheel (fatter tire), to a new tank to replace that tiny teacup of a tank the Thruxton comes with. There are about a hundred other things I could do, ranging from power increases to paint; time and money are my limits.

But here’s my next customization.

ugly_bonneville_taillight.jpg
One of the common objections to the Bonneville family is the ugly-ass tail light and signal cluster, which looks like something off of a ’50s scooter or the back of an Edsel. There are many after-market tail-light and turn signal options that are more in line with the bike’s sixties/seventies styling.

Alternately, particularly among Café Racer enthusiasts, one of the most common mods is what’s called a Fender Removal Kit, or FEK, which removes the rear fender entirely, replacing it with a plate under the seat (to protect wiring), and a minimal tail-light and license bracket.

Every major Triumph parts dealer offers an option for this, each approaching it a bit differently. I wound up with the kit from British Customs, mainly because I liked the ‘cats-eye’ tail light (though also because the wiring harness they provide is particularly user-friendly).

To go with this, I chose a pair of turn signals from Harrison Specialties, which I just happened to stumble on via a Buell forum. They satisfied my taste for aggressive, bullet-shaped turn signals and super-bright LEDs. I admit it, I’m a whore for LEDs, I’ve replaced all the turns, all the idiot lights, the gauge illumination, and would replace all the lights on my car too, if I had the time.

Below are some pictures; compare the look of the rear fender here, to the new version, here and here. The difference in terms of a clean, classic, retro appearance is worlds apart, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

Other smaller mods are a ignition relocation kit from Joker Machine (who make the coolest shit ever), moving the ignition from next to the headlight (a dumb-ass place for it; it’s ugly there, and it’s awkward to reach), and small fairing-mount front turn signals, and a billet choke knob, also from Joker.

Below is a slide show; let me know if you can’t get to the whole set.

(this seems to be broken at the moment, it’s not clear why, but I’ll fix it shortly)

(Click to go to full-size photos)

There are a whole lot of other parts I installed as part of this, though most of that’s only interesting if you own a Triumph you’re working on. Read on if you’re interested in the hard details

Read more “Thruxton mods: FEK and flashers”

Thruxton mods: Emgo Viper fairing

Here’s my first significant attempt at customization on my Thruxton. (I’m trying a MobileMe embed here, it should be a slide show, let me know if it isn’t). (Click to go to full-size photos) After a ton of research and a ton of over-thinking, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a fairing for my […]

Here’s my first significant attempt at customization on my Thruxton.

(I’m trying a MobileMe embed here, it should be a slide show, let me know if it isn’t).

(Click to go to full-size photos)

After a ton of research and a ton of over-thinking, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a fairing for my Thruxton.

Sold by Bella Corse as the “Cafe Racer 1/4 “Bikini” Fairing”, it’s an Emgo “Viper”; your basic, old-school ABS plastic, universal mount fairing.

It’s more or less exactly what I had in mind when I first started thinking about fairings; reasonably cheap, really easy to install, and looks as retro as hell.

I’m pretty damned happy with it.

Next on the list to do is new turn signals; I had to remove the stockers to fit this, but I hate the stock signals, so it’s a win both ways. I have these beautiful billet LED lights from Joker Machine to install; that’s my next project (I need some additional wiring to convert things to LED).

I’m having far to much fun with this project; every little thing I do makes this motorcycle feel like mine.

More pix of the project as it progresses.