Enigma 1050 – Brand New British Motorcycle May be Available in Both Ready Built and Kit Form

Enigma 1050 - all new British motorcycle powered by the Triumph 1050 triple

Enigma 1050 - all new British motorcycle powered by the Triumph 1050 triple

If there's a constant on The Kneeslider, it's our preference for seeing projects being built, when people decide their ideas are worth the effort and actually make them happen. This brand new British motorcycle, the Enigma 1050, is our latest example. Jim Lindsay, the man behind it all, sent us the background to how it came about.

Jim LindsayThe Enigma 1050 project was born out of Jim Lindsay’s lifelong love affair with motorcycles in general and British engineering in particular. Jim, who makes a living as a Macintosh computer specialist, used to earn his living as a journalist in the UK and still freelances for the bike press over there.

Enigma started as an idea for a series of pieces on the UK bike industry, that is, until his wife, Margaret, hearing Jim's frustration with British manufacturing far too many times, suggested that he should build a bike instead, responding to Jim's "Someone should!" with the simple and powerful "Well, how about you?"

That was back in October 2011. Jim put together a team consisting of legendary Tigcraft frame builder Dave Pearce, joint owner of suspension specialists K-Tech, Chris Taylor, engine tuner and Dymag Wheels distributor Larry Webb and machining specialist Mick Edwards of Promach. Impressive!

Triumph Speed Triple donor bikeSince then, a low mileage Triumph Speed Triple 1050 has been bought and stripped for its engine, exhaust and electrics. The main frame is built. Work on the swingarm has started. The fork yokes are about to be machined from billet, construction of the Carbon Fiber Dymag wheels has commenced and initial work on the bodywork has begun.

Triumph triple engine in Enigma frame

Triumph triple engine in Enigma frame

The braking system in its entirety is being supplied by the Coventry UK manufacturer, AP Racing.

The man who will be making the alloy fuel tank and the molds for the carbon fiber bodywork is Terry Hall. Terry knows quite a bit about shaping metal. He spent much of his working life hand building armor for the British Household Cavalry who are deployed on many ceremonial occasions in London.

The team is aiming to build a road oriented motorcycle with all day comfort, stunning looks, top quality components and, given the heritage of the frame and suspension, handling that will keep it up front of the advanced group on a track day should the owner so wish.
The Triumph three pot 1050 lump is a great road engine. It may be long in the tooth by now (it was first laid down in 1997) but it’s flat torque curve and respectable 121 bhp (tested) makes it a great power plant for real world motorcycling.

Enigma 1050 - new British motorcycle

Enigma 1050 - new British motorcycle

The target date for completion of the prototype is April 2012 and initial testing will be carried out at the demanding UK circuit of Cadwell Park.

All the team members are former racers and road riders. They are all hands on as well. Jim will be undertaking the majority of the final assembly and he will also be the initial test rider.

All the businesses involved in the project are small. Free of long chains of command, they have been able to get the project from a discussion into metal in a relatively short time.
Jim says that he has had two sales inquiries already and that if there is sufficient interest, the team will be looking to sell production models in both kit and ready built form.

Jim stresses that the visuals are just that – pre-production concept illustrations that were done even before he had removed the engine from the donor bike. They visual will be updated on the site as development progresses.

The team also has two further bikes planned again based on Triumph engines and majoring on British components.

The Enigma looks like an excellent start on a home grown British motorcycle. The assembled team brings a lot of talent and experience, the work already done in the short time they've been at it shows this group means business, no endless discussions and planning sessions, just a lot of hard work and problem solving as they move ahead.

This is a project well worth watching and one that should generate a lot of interest. The potential for kits as well as fully built motorcycles is an exciting addition. We'll keep you posted as more information comes in.

Link: Enigma Motorcycles

Comments

  1. WestOfBen says

    The 1050 lump was first brought to market in 2005, not 1997. Source(s): Wikipedia and memory. The 955i engine is still a great unit. The Daytona 955i produced something in the region of 143HP. My dad’s RS 955i still puts out respectable figures somewhere near 120HP – after pipe, filter and chip retune.

    These Enigmas are very nice concepts!

  2. mullet says

    A beautiful concept that I REALLY hope sees production. “The team also has two further bikes planned again based on Triumph engines and majoring on British components” I sure do hope they mean a fully-faired version (Enigma 1050R, if you will) with 10-20hp more squeezed out of it (we all know its possible). Best of luck to the designers and builders and I cant wait to see the finished product!

  3. Steve says

    Nice bike. I am surprised we dont see more of this concept with all the excellent engines that are available from the wreckers.

  4. Hooligan says

    It’s not as if the current Speed is lacking in a nice frame and quality suspension and brakes. It’s just the ugly new headlights that I dislike. The same applies to the new Street as well, I preferred the old round lights.

    • says

      We’re not saying that the Triumph is a bad bike hooligan. It isn’t. In fact it’s one of my personal favourites. We’re just having a different take on it is all.
      Jim

      • says

        The new Triumph Speed Triple and St. Triple are not only getting over-stylized in the headlights, but the frame is not as good-looking as before either (understandably, I’ve read it Functions better)

        These bikes look great. Good luck!

  5. FREEMAN says

    I’m curious to see how much the design has changed. The Enigma frame on the crate engine doesn’t resemble much of the pre-production renders (as Jim notes). Looks good so far, though.

    • says

      Not yet Travis. We’re a few months off completing the bike but we’ll be adding it all up and making a decision once the prototype is complete.
      It’s hand built using all UK sourced parts so that will have an effect on the price.
      Jim

  6. Ian says

    Really hope it comes to fruition, should be a very fun bike. Looks-wise it’s a bit of a pastiche, Aprilia FV2 back end with an MV front fairing, Bimota swingarm etc. I do like the half naked look though, something we should see more of in my opinion, I like to see an engine but I’m a bit bored of seeing naked bikes with MT03 headlights, makes a refreshing change.

    Good luck fellas

  7. Nicolas says

    Just as a technical question, not criticism, what’s the benefit of this new frame vs the stock Triumph one ?
    Besides that it’s rebuilt from the ground up and fitted with top-shelf suspension accessories, what does make it better from the stock Daytona ?

    • says

      It’s lighter, it will handle better and be faster. It will also be of higher quality that the original as it will not be hampered by the compromises of mass production.
      It’s just a different take on what we reckon is one of the best road engine out there. Also, many of the Triumph parts are not made in the UK . Apart from the parts re-used from the donor bike, all our components will be UK made which is the point of this project – it’s a celebration of British engineering.
      Us Brits are very good at running our own efforts down. I want us to celebrate our industry more than we do.

      Jim

  8. sundrop says

    Maybe I’m thick, but the frame that’s visible on the bike doesn’t look anything like the one in the frame and engine only picture. Is that picture during development something?

    • says

      No, you’re not thick at all. We needed a concept visual at the start of the project so we hd something to aim at. A project like this involves constant development and re-evaluation in the early stages which is what has happened.
      We’ll be posting revised visuals on the site as soon as they are ready. I’m meeting with the artist tomorrow.

      I’m Jim, the project leader by the way.

      Best wishes

  9. says

    Dear all, thanks for all the feedback so far.
    Keep posting and I’ll do my best to reply to as many as I can.
    Please ask as many questions as you like and I’ll do my best to answer them.
    Thanks.

    Jim

  10. Klaus says

    If you look at the pic of the black donor bike and then the preliminary take of the red one – just the looks, apart from all the technology, are a huge improvement!
    You guys are on the right track!

  11. says

    This is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

    As a Hinckley Triumph rider of nearly 12 years, I’ve always wondered when someone with the right talents would snatch one of those beautiful triples and really go to town with it. This is it! I have to say that I just love the trellis frame, it’s just so cool to see and offers a blend of Ducati frame styling with the muscle of the mid lands mill that it will be carrying.

    Great to see so many Brit companies coming together to support the program as well. Please keep us all posted on the development of this bike, as Hinckley seems to be dragging their feet a bit with the coming of a new, big Daytona.

    Wish you guys the best! Cheers!

  12. Thoughtless says

    That’s it, thanks to Jim Lindsay I now know where the secret to a meaningful contribution in life is born, and what’s missing in my life that would take me over the top.

    A fem that not only puts up with myself, but that would actually encourage me to spend less time messing up her house and schedule. Get out, damn spot, do forth and spend time and money on anything but me, your loving wife! Lucky, lucky man.

    Doesn’t hurt that he has more than thimble of talent, reputation and contacts to squander on his wife’s loving misdirection.

    This project rates right up there on the admire the hell out it scale. Brilliant, so many suggestions to give if only he wasn’t already on track one of a great endeavor.

    And ya just gotta luv the hair!

    • says

      Thanks so much thoughtless. The original project was Mrs Lindsay’s idea. Her dad was big into motorbikes (Despatch Rider in WW2) and he was also a pretty good engineer.
      Jim

  13. Old Montague says

    For perspective, I’ve been a motorcyclist since the late 50’s.

    I’ve got a couple of questions that may be dumb, but you don’t often have a dialogue with the Head Push.

    1) Why does this bike, like many others lately, have the stance of a stadium motocrosser. If you put 19s and 21s on it, it could do dual duty. Surely, no road bike needs that much rear suspension clearance? And, on a related note, it looks like there’s at least 8 – 12 inches under the sump/crankcase – in fact the bottom of the motor looks to be level with the axles. Looks to me that you’d need a 48 inch inseam to straddle it.

    2) Why is so much mass toward the front of the bike. It looks to overload a front suspension that has much to cope with already (braking forces,
    weight transfer)

    Not criticism – it looks a marvelous effort – but curiosity. Best wishes going forward.

    • says

      Thanks for the comments Montague. I always think the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.
      I have to point out that the pictures on the home page are concept illustration only. They were done even before I’d bought the donor machine for the project. The appearance will change and we will be updating the visuals to reflect the development of the bike.
      The finished bike will be lower to the ground than the concept ills show and it will be easy for shorter riders to handle.
      Ditto the weight distribution. On the finished bike we are aiming for something approaching 52/48 front/rear.

      Jim

    • Thoughtless says

      In a subordinate position of Mr Lindsay’s reply, I don’t think that a) the seat height/rear tire clearance has anything to do with suspension travel on any sport styles bike but far more to the function of giving the rider knee position to the rearsets. And a forward mass center in a bike destined to seeing WOT certainly isn’t going to be counter-productive…as well, there is that certain segment of sport bike rider that seeks an endo capable machine that can also use the weight transfer on acceleration to gain momentum before the endo.

      And a 48 inch inseam based on the proto illustration? Based on a 12 inch presumption of frame/pipe clearance? Well, maybe if those are 24 inch rims, but…

    • Thoughtless says

      And in case the humor was lost on you, Mr. Old Montague, why don’t you simply ask “why didn’t you design a totally different bike than what you designed”?

      Hmmm, deep thoughts.

  14. Carolynne says

    Well it appears she is a pretty smart woman!

    What I find amazing is that discussion took place in Oct. 2011 and this is where you are at already? Incredible progress. Clearly you guys are “doers”

  15. Bill V says

    WOW !!! Put some handlebars on it and it may be prefect ! Sportbike, sport-touring and track day all rolled into one !

  16. Greybeard says

    Best make a version for we of reduced stature or the entire undertaking’s pants!
    ;o)
    Cracks me up how in the UK you can spin a cat and hit at least 5 frame makers, 12 wheel builders, 99 panel beaters and an F1 builder in the mix!

    Here?
    A chopper with a car tire we can do.

    • rohorn says

      Yeah, I was just thinking about all those British builders and firms, like Motus, Buell, Motoczysz, Kosman, Mission, Cosentino, Parker, etc…

      • says

        rohorn – point taken, but % wise, there are many more highly qualified people doing great performance bikes over yonder than here. If you’d like a low and slow build, you have thousands in the States. With the shops you mentioned, hopefully that will continue to change.

  17. BoxerFanatic says

    As someone who fell in love with motorcycling due to a tornado red 1998 Daytona T595… I have been waiting for the 1050 Daytona’s return.

    First off, I love the new upper fairing, a lot like I love the MV Agusta F1’s fairing, Ducati 900SS, and Benelli Tornado Tre.

    I’d love to see this with just a little more half fairing, like a 900SS-CR, or a full fairing.

    The later, more angular 955i Daytona fairing lowers would look good with that slick upper pictured. I just never could get enthused about the big double headlights on the later models, after the cat-eye earlier T595/955i pre-2003. The projector headlight narrow upper shown above, fixes the headlight issue nicely.

    Something half-faired or fully faired, with a less truncated tail, either single, or pillion, would be something that is a nice divergence from the also-cool Speed Triple, and something more roomy and torquey than a 675 Daytona.

    Very nice bike, and I am looking forward to seeing more, hopefully including US importation.

  18. BoxerFanatic says

    I hope the frame is constructed in such a way as to continue to allow the use of the Triumph single-sided swing arm, or a Ducati monster S4R tubular single-sider.

    Part of the T595’s mystique was it’s single sided rear swing arm. Even Triumph went back to a single sider, after trying to port Daytona over to a double-sided arm.

  19. S3bird says

    Great looking bike. I’ve been enamored with Triumphs Triples for quite some time (I have a 955 Speed Triple that I bought new) and always though it was a shame they weren’t used in many high end specials like this one.
    While I live in the states I appreciate the national pride in sourcing as many parts made in England as possible. Good luck

  20. B50 Jim says

    Shades of the Rickman Brothers!
    A great effort, especially keeping it all British. When the English set their minds to it they can build some amazing machines. Triumph’s “three-pot lump” is a near-perfect motorcycle engine — plenty or torque, good, usable horsepower, and it’s been in production long enough to work out all the wrinkles, plus there are plenty of them available. The enigma’s styling is spot-on for what it’s meant to do. I’m more a fan of classic styling, but that’s my preference; I think Jim hit it right on the head, and yes, I like its looks, especially in red. I was born in, and live in, the States but my mum’s “made in England” and I always like to see what the English are doing to advance the state of motorcycling. Good on you, Jim!

  21. Jar says

    The concept bike looks great.

    The team assembled to pursue the animal seems well configured with a depth of talent, skill, and knowledge. (I trust the lateral motor mount in the “Enigma frame” image is for construction, “place holder”, purposes only and image is of “in process” rather than “complete”)

    If Buell Motorcycle had access to such a “lump” to build around, could execute something as exciting visually, and not wasted time and $$$ pursuing features and technologies of questionable merit, perhaps their story would’ve ended differently.

    Unfortunately this vehicle has the look and feel of something destined but for those with wallets once dropped on the dresser prior to the Sunday ride, would lighten the total vehicle weight substantially. Low volume = high cost, no matter if it is a “kit” or a “production vehicle”.

    Which isn’t to say there isn’t value there, only that I suspect it unlikely to see many of them, kit built by owners or otherwise, tooling the roadways of any country, let alone the US where FMVSS will present their own hurdles and costs to surmount.

    It’s a tough road to ride when $27k at Ducati gets a whole lot of wickedness, in a lovely package, with resale, history, and exclusivity to boot….

    It’s a good lookin’ ride hope you can make it happen!

    Hey Kneeslider, how about an update on the Norton guys?

  22. Tom Baldwin says

    Fantastic concept, I really hope that this can be pulled off! It brings to mind a true modern day “special” rather like those of Harris and Metisse; pukka parts applied together in intelligent packaging.

    Which worries me a little…
    I have spoken a guy from Metisse and recall of the “Crampton Classic.” Both companies had bikes relying on Triumph engines; both with Triumph initially sounding enthusiastic, but then withdrawing support (and thus engine supply.) Metisse got round the problem by building their own engine, but Crampton folded.

    It’s a fantastic project and concept, I really hope that everything falls into place to allow this to come to fruition!

    Reply to Jar; Norton are still plodding along with the Commando 961 trying to get over production woes – that’s if the press are to be believed. Other projects are kept quiet.

    • says

      Thanks for the comments Tom
      We are not relying on Triumph to supply engines at this stage. I did approach them but they said they could not do it.
      Cheers.

      Jim

  23. Mark L. says

    As an engineer in the medical field that has worked on the Roehr 1250 & 1250SC, and having had a VR1000 race bike, as well as a bunch of Buells, a Guzzi, and other “interesting” bikes, I think that this is one of the best looking bikes I have ever seen.

    It imparts on me all the best elements of Ducati, Bimota and MV Agusta without the uncomfortable design elements that are so often found in alternative designs.

    I actually want one!

    Mark L.

  24. says

    A dream comes true! This bike looks so wunderful and perfect!
    It’s for me the beautiest Speedy how ever I seen!

    greetings from Stuttgart (Germany)

  25. paddy the irishman says

    what a nice bike . its nice to see people are still game to do this sort off thing tho these lads look very professional in there work and not just a few boys with the hammers out .its looks like its all top kit going in the bike. well done so far and keep up the good work ill be keeping my eye on this.

  26. says

    Great idea Jim…glad to see someone putting something positive in UK engineering, as an engineer and bike nut myself, i cant tell you the excitment i had a an 18 year old lad visiting Harris’s workshops in hertford and dreaming one day i would make stuff like that….now i do…
    be good to see some young lads looking at this thinking the same…as a street triple owner i am very proud of what we now have and with that team i think this has a real chance….if there is any help i can give to this, get in touch…and best of luck guys….

  27. Heath Griffin says

    Great concept Jim,

    I have been getting headachs for years wishing triumph would put their 1050 motor into a more sports oriented frame.

    Any chance of doing various levels of kit? I would be particularly interested in a kit including motor with all electrics, FI, etc + frame & possibly swingarm, leaving the suspension, wheels, brakes, bodywork, pegs, levers, etc up to individual choice/taste?

    Cheers,
    Heath.

  28. Rodders says

    Triumph’s 1200cc tiger triple is a better power plant to start with.

    Not that the 1050 is a slouch..but a few extra cubes has got to be better for this project, not to mention fly by wire.

  29. Dave says

    Hi Jim. Can you answer 2 questions please whats the chance of this bike coming to Australia, and will you be using the 1050 engine from the new Speed Triple R with the revised gearbox. Im on my fourth trumpy. 2009 Thruxton, 2010 Daytona, 2011 Speed Triple, now a 675R. The Enigma maybe my next bike. I loved my Speedy till I crashed it “bloody gravel” Yeah so what the 1050 has’nt got the hp of Jap litre has, it makes up for it in the grunt department, first time I seen your design I just nodded my head and said YEAH !!!! Regards Dave.

  30. KLRJim says

    That engine is RAW! I know someone who had a Speed Triple and that thing could pull out tree stumps with the torque. Nice pick for an engine and the rest of the bike is arousing also.

  31. Carlton says

    I have been working on an idea for an original engine. I have a possible lead on a builder, my question is, would you be interested in a collaboration of sorts? For the last 2 years, I have been studying Motorcycles. I am 6 weeks away from graduating MMI. Umfortunately, they have neither a research department, nor the facilities I may require to test a prototype. I hope to hear back from you soon. Thank you for your time.

  32. JS says

    It’s all gone a bit quiet with this project. Has it gone belly up or will this bike be a reality? Seeing as the last update on their website diary was back in April it’s not lokking so good. Enigma by name…….