Back in the early two thousands, Steampunk was all the rage. Popularised by films like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Hell Boy and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the Steampunk design aesthetic made its way into the world of custom bike building. Unfortunately though after a while it all became a bit too clichéd. Excessive copper embellishments, bizarre use of old plumbing fittings and an obsession with form over function turned me off the style altogether. That was at least until Benjie from Benjie’s Cafe Racer sent me details of his latest build… behold the BCR Triumph Thruxton Steampunk Racer!
Before anyone starts questioning the functionality of this beauty I can assure you that outstanding performance was a top priority for the BCR team. The ’08 Triumph Thruxton retains little of it’s original running gear with the only OEM components being the bikes frame, engine and suspension geometry. The front end is entirely new. Honda CBR1000RR upside down forks mounted using a custom made steering stem hold a Harley Davidson hub in place. A custom axle and spacers allow for the fitment of the CBR twin discs and the rim has been laced in stainless. The top clamp has been shaved clean and a set of custom stainless clip ons were slid on to the upper fork tubes. The speedo is also a new addition which is Harley Davidson by design and is held in place by a custom fabbed instrument panel.
On the bars you’ll find Ducati 900ss controls which operate a custom mounted 900ss hydraulic clutch. The air/fuel delivery has been upgraded using a pair of bolt on 39mm Keihin FCR carbs with those unmistakable red velocity stacks. For all you Thruxton owners out there, if you’re looking for a bit more grunt, Benjie informed me that with these you’ll get a ‘night and day difference in performance‘. An entirely new, stainless steel exhaust was also fabricated for the Thruxton. Because of the revised bodywork and new riding position it was essential that the pipes sat high. The oval mufflers flow back around the rear springs and alloy heat shields protect the riders thighs from uncomfortable burns.
The Steampunk Racers most impressive feature is of course its bodywork. The bike took around 1000 hours and 12 months to complete, being worked on whenever a free moment came up between customers jobs. Aside from the fiberglass fenders everything is hand formed, brushed and polished aluminium. The tank is a one of a kind original designed in house by the BCR team. With its organic lines and streamlined profile the tank features a scalloped bead that was designed to compliment the front fairing. The BCR badges are hand hammered and that lovely gas cap is also a one of a kind BCR original.
Up front is a small fairing with a 1/4″ plexiglass shield. The asymmetrical design sits the yellow lensed headlight off to the left while on the opposing face is a series of claw like fins that wrap over a stainless mesh screen that cools the bikes voltage rectifier which hides beneath the instrument cluster. In the rear is another custom work of art. The tapered curves of the cowhide covered seat extend the lines of the tank back before widening out into a Cafe style tail end.
“Even with the stock Triumph frame, the tank, seat and number plate fairing that we made, totally changed the look of the bike. It made the bike look nothing like the stock Thruxton.”
It’s all in the details. Other touches that place this build in the “incredible” category include custom heat shields on the oil cooler and exhausts, MX inspired stainless steel foot pegs and controls, the clever combination of brushed vs polished finishes, custom made struts and countless drilled and polished, functional embellishments that cover the bike. Benjie and his team have hit it out of the ball park with this one and he tells me they have another Ducati project in the pipeline… I can’t wait to see what they come up with for that one!