Retrobike

THUNDER Bird

TRIUMPH’S Bonneville has been a favourite with custom bike builders since its release as a pre-unit OHV 650 twin in 1959. The second-generation air-cooled 790/865cc OHC models from 2001 proved just as popular and now it’s the water-cooled 1200s that are making all the fuss.

Alec Sharp and Rafe Pugh from Old Empire Motorcycles in Norfolk set the bar high for the new models with their Steve McQueen tribute build a year ago (Lightning McQueen, #27). It was a purely off-road build but boasted a long list of innovative modifications to give it both the appearance and riding feel of McQueen’s legendary 1963 Bonneville desert sled, also covered back in #25.

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