Custom Triumph Motorcycles from Southern Classic Customs

Special Order

| September/October 2007

Custom Triumph Motorcycles from Southern Classic Customs
 860cc, two valves per cylinder, air-cooled parallel twin/60hp @ 6,500rpm (est., at rear wheel )
Bore & Stroke: 79mm x 89mm
Carburetion: Single 36mm Mikuni w/ turnout manifold
Transmission: Five-speed
Electrics: 12v, battery and coil
Frame: Twin downtube cradle frame, welded steel tube, oil-in-frame
Front suspension: Telescopic forks
Rear suspension: Twin shock absorbers, adjustable preload
Front brake: Dual 317.5mm (12.5in) discs
Rear brake: Single 254mm (10in) disc
Front tire: 120/70 x 17in
Rear tire: 150/70 x 17in
Price: $10,000 to $14,000 depending upon specification

“Bespoke.” A proper British word, it loosely translates to “custom-made.” But custom is a word that’s been thrown around so much that today, when applied to motorcycles, it just doesn’t carry the meaning it once did.

The world of custom motorcycles has grown exponentially over the past few years, and though much of the interest has centered on bikes with big American V-twin engines, not all custom bikes use V-twins. And not all custom bikes are simply “custom.” Some are truly bespoke.

Brian Holzigal, owner of Southern Classic Customs in Atlanta, Ga., builds bespoke motorcycles. Take, for example, the fact that you can’t buy the wild, yellow-framed, Triumph street fighter you see here. It’s not for sale. But Brian will build one like it to your specifications. You can pick the paint, the wheels, the brakes, the carburetion, the engine (and a host of performance upgrades for it) and just about anything else about the bike you’d like to specify. The idea is to build these bikes to the likings of the customer, and to give them something they won’t find anywhere else. And, unlike some custom bikes, these are modified to perform. Some builders modify bikes to make them look unique, but then they’re nearly unrideable by the time they’re finished. Brian’s modifications are done to improve the bike; to make it go better, stop better and handle better. Sure, they look good in the end, but not at the expense of performance.

Southern beginnings
Brian has been riding and working on motorcycles since he got his first bike, a BSA A-10, in 1969. He started his first shop, British and American Classics, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in 1980. But the past 10 years have found Brian and his mechanic and protégé, Randy Huyett, doing maintenance work and full-bore, 100-point restorations on classic, along with building custom choppers and bobbers, Brian’s new breed of Triumph-powered cafés and streetfighers are his hobby and passion. “Everybody needs an artistic outlet,” Brian says with a slight Australian accent. “I guess this is mine.” Brain enjoys the experimentation factor of these bikes. “I build these to see what will work. I like to see what I can do to improve the power and torque of a bike like this while keeping them reliable,” he says.

These bikes are built to perform, which is especially evident in the Bumblebee-painted, radically-styled Triumph street fighter you see here. Note the KYB upside-down forks from a Kawasaki ZXR, giant dual-disc front brakes with Nissin 4-pot calipers and a front wheel from a Moto Guzzi, a rear wheel from a Suzuki sport bike, the lack of fenders and the minimalist overall design. Oh, and then there’s the engine. Did we mention the engine?

Though this particular mill started life as a stock Unit Triumph 650cc parallel twin, it’s now anything but stock. Bigger jugs and pistons give it a bore and stroke of 79mm by 89mm (up from a stock bore and stroke of 71mm x 82mm), and it runs a modified 360-degree Norton crank, a lumpier cam, custom billet rods and more. A 36mm Mikuni sitting on a turnout manifold feeds the engine. Though it has 15-20 more horsepower than stock, it’s still in a fairly mild state of tune, running only a single carb, and has ignition timing retarded slightly for easier starting.

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

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