“The Concept Racer workshop is a project that was born officially at the beginning of 2014, before that we were just playing and having fun.” Says workshop founder Miguel Lerdo. “My friends all started buying Cafe Racers and I found myself looking for the perfect donor bikes to base my builds on. I didn’t want to modify old motorcycles because I was raised with the attitude of leaving old vehicles as they were made, totally original without modifications. By chance, I got my hands on a Yamaha Bolt 950 through a friends dealership and after thinking about it’s potential we decided to team up and build a custom Bolt. Our first 4 custom motorcycles were all based on Yamaha Bolt 950s. Two of them appeared on the Yamaha corporate stand at the 2014 International Motorcycle Show in Mexico City and we got great feedback from visitors at the show and the press. During that same show, we had a talk with the biggest BMW dealer in Mexico and made a deal to modify one of the very first R nineTs in the country. After that more BMW’s came into our shop and the business was underway.”
“In February 2015 a local enduro/rally racer contacted us about modifying his black 2008 Triumph Bonneville. It had around 3000 miles on the clock and was essentially an abandoned motorcycle. Personally, I had never thought much about the Bonnevilles. Don’t get me wrong, they are well-made machines, but I don’t get the impression of land speed racing, as the name suggests. That’s when I got the idea of putting a fairing on this motorcycle.” So Miguel put pen to paper and started sketching his concept while he waited for the bike to be delivered.
“The day the bike arrived I started to strip it down. It had a leak on the front suspension so to make sure it was all functioning right we dismantled everything apart from the engine. We added Clip On bars since that was the key to fitting the fairing and started building the parts to mount the headlight and fairing to the frame. It was a very complex process since we didn’t want to make holes in the frame or any of the motorcycles tubular structure. We also didn’t wanted to weld anything since we like our bikes to be able to be returned to their original condition. The main piece of the puzzle was the headlight construction which has bolts on it to attach the fairing. We used the original instrument cluster, but it was also relocated to clear the fairing with the movement of the handlebars.”
“With the fairing mounted we tested the bike on the bumpy streets of Mexico City and on the freeways where speed limits mean nothing. We found that the windshield suffered from some vibration so we manufactured two hidden tubular reinforcements to hold the upper part of the fairing and the windshield. With the fairing done we took everything apart again and sent the lot to be painted and powder coated.” Miguel then we started on the seat. The rear half was modified to add volume, but as per the clients request was left functional for two up riding. To help give the bike more character an automotive leather that will distress over time was used to cover the seat. The exhaust was also modified for a more suitable sound.
“Originally I chose a light brown colour for the bike with a custom paint effect.” To his dismay, after a 2-week wait, the bike returned from the painters and Miguel wasn’t happy. “I really didn’t like it. It was one of those times when an idea didn’t translate well. It was a big setback and I felt down for a few days, but I decided to paint it over again. This time we used a very bright red with off-white lines, a thin black pinstripe and the number 7 which is the client’s lucky number. Because of the decision to repaint the build deadline blew out and the client had become impatient. Thankfully when he saw his new Triumph for the first time the look on his face made the extra work and stress worthwhile.”
With the unveiling of the 2016 Triumph Bonneville range there’s inevitably going to be to be a price drop for second hand models. For those who were planning on selling soon that may not sound all that great, but if you’re on the lookout for a good base for your next custom project that news should have you smiling. There’s no denying the Bonneville has been one of the most heavily customised motorcycles in recent years and they’ve proven themselves to be an incredibly flexible base. We’ve seen everything from Bonneville based Bobbers to Scramblers and of course Cafe Racers and this latest submission from Concept Racer in Mexico City is the perfect example of how to transform a bog standard Bonneville into a jaw dropping custom.