These new Triumphs just unveiled got me all curious, so I asked Richard Pollock, or “Mule,” how they came about. Here’s what he had to say:
The story starts with 2 people and one bike. A Streettracker, Richard Varner and myself. The bike was the 100ci Streettracker featured in the Cycle World video. The bike was at the Long Beach show and Richard Varner approached me about the prospect of producing a series of new Bonneville based streettrackers in a lightweight chassis. A limited production run. The blue/white lightweight bike was prototype number one. Shortly after that was unveiled at the Quail last year, we joined forces with the So-Cal speed shop. They were keen to enter the bike market with their vast experience in building fast, beautiful things.
We provided what was called the Streetmaster prototype lightweight rolling chassis and over a period of months designed a bodywork package. Tank, seat and side panels were first drawn, then worked up in clay, then digitized to produce wooden bucks and finally art-like aluminum body work. Meanwhile as So-Cal was doing the finish work and beauty treatment to the So-Cal Prototype number one, I was building up from an identical chassis kit, a Café Racer built to requirements and finish treatments as determined by Richard Varner. Upon completition, both bikes were unveiled at the Quail on May 14th to a very enthusiastic reception.
The plan? There will be a build of twenty So-Cal editions in identical layout with some minor tweaks, one paint scheme and each bike will have a number on the panels relating its position in the build sequence. The Café Racers will be built in a limited number to order (Yes, with disc brakes available), and an extensive array of bolt-on parts for stock street models as well as limited custom builds. The parts available will fill a huge void in the aftermarket that exists between British flag stick-ons at one end and extreme race motor build-ups at the other. The Bonneville and Thruxton models have an enormous following and an ever increasing market share. They are very receptive to motor and chassis improvements and an all round fun bike. Why not?
Further, in the Hot Rod world there are traditions as far what cars to modify and ways to do it that produce the best style and performance results. For some reason, in the motorcycle world, choppers became the motorcycle version of the custom or Hot Rod. Generally speaking, they have developed into less than optimum handling showcases for chrome and paintjobs and run very light on true engineering. There are exceptions, but we believe that a Hot Rod motorcycle should be more about lightweight, power and performance with a dash of the “Retro” Hot Rod car flavor. This is the So-Cal domain.
Hot Rod builders/owners who purchase a ticket to the custom motorcycle world are quickly disappointed with the ride quality of the chopper experience. Enter the true Hot Rod motorcycle.