The Triumph Bonneville's tubby older sister is a pretty homely unit by anyone's standard. Probably drop-dead reliable and comfortable, but what a bland package. Our friend Nick summed up the Triumph America perfectly when he opined, "This thing looks like the Brits said, 'What do Americans want?' Forwards, big ugly tank, windshield, lots of chrome; just tart up a Bonnie with that trash and call it the America!"
The result is an assault on our collective patriotic sensibilities. Nick picked one up anyway, before his custom motorcycle pallet had matured, and he thought it was OK. It didn't take much exposure to proper customs for his tastes to change, but he'd fallen in love with the machine and didn't want to sell it and start over with something else. So the subtraction of factory bits began and a large pile of parts got blacked out by the local powdercoater. Now it's easy to make a good-looking bike look great, but very difficult to make an awkward motorcycle look proper. The two biggest contributors to this makeover are the Thruxton tank (who knew that would be a direct bolt-up?) and the reworked Kawasaki Ninja mid/rear sets. The holes where the forwards used to be have been plugged with some custom lathe-turned pieces, and the Kawi controls look damn near factory. While Nick's Americana is surely no chopper, it does offer an affordable alternative to the ubiquitous evo Sporty in a size better suited to big dudes.
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 790cc parallel twin, 270-degree firing interval, 2004 Triumph America. British Customs cocktail shaker exhaust, air box elimination kit and re-jet
Frame: Stock Triumph America
Fork: 41mm stock forks. Progressive lowering kit (roughly 2 inches); shaved lowers and powder coated
Chassis mods: Very slight frame modification to accept an '06 Thruxton ank; Vortex CNC Kawasaki Ninja rearsets
Tire/wheel size and style: Front: 18 x 2.5 120/90 36 spoke; rear: 15 x 3.5 170/80 40 spoke. Stock hubs and rims powder coated
Favorite thing about this bike: It's a toss-up between the Thruxton tank and the custom Vortex crotch rocket rearsets. The modified riding position is not only functional, it's surprisingly comfortable. The bike handles really well. The mods worked out way better than I expected them to
Next modification will be: Maybe modify the subframe, seat and rear fender? Sell it and start all over again
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: I love my upside down Biltwell Trackers. Joker Machine bar clamps, reservoir cover, choke and front sprocket cover. Sportbike CNC bar end mirrors. Progressive front lowering kit and 11.5" rear adjustable shocks. Custom seat by Manuel at Sweetwater Marine
Interesting back story: After I quit riding dirt bikes a few years back I still had the motorcycle bug. Robert "Maximum Bob" Warren convinced me to buy a motorcycle, which is ironic because I have never ridden with him. A year passed and I ended up scoring a really good deal on a low-mileage 2004 Triumph America on Craigslist. Looking back, I would have never bought this bike, for obvious reasons if you look at the before pic. But at that time, I thought it was the coolest thing ever after I cut my rear fender and added a set of Biltwell Trackers. It didn't take long for my tastes to mature, but instead of selling it I decided to make the best of the situation. My goal was to create cool-looking, functional bike without being stuck in a specific genre. I love motorcycles and I wanted a little bit of everything: bobber, café, vintage, sportbike, drag bikes, dirt bikes. Look closely and you might find all of 'em
Thanks: Special thanks to my friend Rick the Welder Risinger, who spent countless hours with me helping me make the mids, etc. Without him, I would still be in the OB/GYN chair. I also wanted to thank Jeff Steber and Marv Strand at Intense bicycles for letting me have unlimited access to their machine shop. Vince Powell of Powell Precision for his lathe work on my fork sliders. Rookie Sorenson from Factory KTM for rebuilding my forks not once, but twice! Mark and Brady Cherry from Olympic Powdercoating—still the best in the industry. Sean Hicks and the British Customs crew for the awesome shakers and Triumph gadgets. Jamie and Nate from BA Moto for doing my jetting. Bryan Warren from Joker Machine. Manuel at Sweetwater Marine for doing my seat. Sean McQuaid for showing me how to ride like a hooligan. The Chopper Gallery. My wife Liz for finally letting me have a street bike