If you’re on Instagram and you’re not following Cafe Racers of Instagram go do it now! Now that’s done you’ll be enjoying a feed filled with awesome custom two-wheeled eye candy. Cafe Racers of Instagram is the brainchild of motorcycle addicts David Chang and Andrew Blaschko. On their page, which is well on its way to 1 million followers, they cover all aspects of the cafe racer scene. From custom builds to event coverage and riding gear reviews they have become an authority on the two-wheel scene.
After the huge success of the Cafe Racers of Instagram account, the pair decided to launch @croig.co to give their followers a “behind the scenes” look at some of their personal projects. As motorcyclists themselves they also like to tinker with bikes which usually takes place at the Moto Collective community garage in Minneapolis. For their latest project, they collaborated with Triumph North America to build this bike, the CROIG 003.
As you’d expect the style of the build was pretty much set in stone before discussions had even begun. This made choosing a donor from the current Bonneville range a relatively simple task. “We chose the Street Cup for its light and nimble handling paired with already clean cafe racer lines,” says David. As part of the deal Triumph also gave the pair access to their extensive aftermarket catalogue. This allowed for an overall shorter build time and for Triumph to showcase their parts range.
The deadline for the CROIG 003 project was the opening of the 2018 Handbuilt Show and Moto GP weekend. With a limited build timeframe, CROIG kicked things off by sending Triumph their parts wishlist. The concept was to create a “futuristic cafe vibe” so David and Andrew picked out parts that followed suit. The shopping list included FOX shocks, spoked rims and an exhaust system. It didn’t take long for everything to arrive at Moto Collective where the guys got straight to work.
Out back, they stripped away the Streep Cup’s fender and bulky lighting array. They replaced it with an integrated brake/indicator taillight and simple plate mount. While the spoked rims were being wrapped in rubber the standard shocks were swapped out for the adjustable FOX Racing versions. Like me, the guys weren’t so keen on the yellow Street Cup so they went with the darker silver and black version. To push the dark theme further any shiny engine covers were swapped with blacked out OEM equivalents. Knowing the bike would eventually see some track time they also fit crash bars to the engine, just in case anything unexpected was to happen. When it was time to address the Street Cups front end, the guys had something completely custom in mind.
After pawing through the Glass from the Past catalogue they found a replica ‘70s Honda CB350 fairing. It would need some modifying to make it fit but it suited the lines of the Street Cup. To get the fairing to fit the Triumph they trimmed back the lower panels. After shaping them to flow around the engine cases everything was mounted up using custom made brackets. Again, with the idea of track time in the back of their minds, no headlight was installed. Instead, the boys mounted a pair of Denali LED lights onto the crash bars providing more than enough illumination.
Powered by the 900cc version of the Triumph’s water-cooled parallel twin the Street Cup is a great performer. But what custom build would be complete without at least a little more oomph? CROIG found their extra horses in the form of a set of Vance & Hines Scrambler pipes from the Triumph catalogue. The high mount pipes may be a little unorthodox for a cafe racer, but the decision to use them was clearly a good one.
“We’ve been putting a lot of miles on the bike this summer and have some exciting plans for it in the future!” David reports. With winter just around the corner it’s likely we’ll be seeing some big changes to CROIG 003 before it reappears in the spring. In the meantime, follow the guys on Instagram to stay up to speed with their cafe racer escapades.
Photography by Amanda Rau