1978 Triumph T140V Bonneville Café Racer

Ton-Up Boys inspire Adam Wright’s Hanger Lane “09”


| July/August 2011



1978 triumph bonneville cafe racer 2

Adam Wright's Ton-Up Boys inspired 1978 Triumph T140V Bonneville café racer.

Photo by Peter Sexton

1978 Triumph T140V Bonneville Café Racer
Claimed power:
60hp @ 7,000rpm (est.)
Top speed: 120mph (est.)
Engine: 744 OHV air-cooled parallel twin
Weight (wet/est.): 400lb (182kg)

You might meet the nicest people on a Honda, but Adam Wright will tell you that the coolest café racers are still British. Ask Adam why he picked a 1978 Triumph T140V Bonneville as the foundation for his café racer, and his response is immediate and unequivocal: “As long as I can remember, when I think about a café racer, I think Triumph. Period.”

Ask Adam about the moniker he picked for his café’d Triumph — Hanger Lane “09” — and you’ll quickly learn he built this bike as homage to an era he never experienced, but wishes he had. “It’s all about the history of the café, of the Ton-Up Boys racing down to Hanger Lane and back before the record had finished,” Adam says, marveling at the thought of racing on public roads to the time of a jukebox record.

Record-racing didn’t last, but the Ace Café and the Ton-Up Boys etched themselves into the collective consciousness as  images of rebellion, freedom and power. Fifty some years later, both the Ace Café and the café racer culture endure, iconic symbols of a day long gone, yet still invoking many of the same feelings they did so many years ago.

And while the times may have changed, the same need for expression that drove the original rockers remains, adopted by a new generation of riders and builders like Adam, who continue the café tradition of hand-crafted, individualized motorcycles.

The build

Although he wasn’t around for the original café movement, Adam has found himself inextricably caught up in its revival. The idea of building “09” came a few years ago, as Adam watched the neo-café movement gathering steam. A rider since age 8 (“I’ve had some sort of motorcycle my entire life,” he says), Adam, now 37, says the café movement was late to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. “It hadn’t made it here yet when I started this a few years ago,” Adam says. “I wanted to build a café racer, because I think cafés are going to take over the whole bobber and chopper thing.”





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