There’s an old saying. If you’re going to steal a car, steal a Ferrari. Well, if you’re gonna build a mean café racer, build the meanest café racer. 2,294cc should do it.
In the late ‘90’s Triumph embarked on the Rocket III Project with the aim to take on the large American Harley-Davidson and Honda Goldwing demographic. With other competitors such as Yamaha and Honda producing large capacity road monsters, Triumph decided to up the ante and settle for a machine that boasted a displacement of 2,294cc. By 2003, these monsters were now hitting the streets across the globe, in what would be the largest-displacement any engine of any mass-production motorcycle, with the 146bhp inline triple engine boasting 163lbft of torque, it’s a machine that has slowly found it’s niche in the motorcycling world.
For Wenley, he’s always wanted to build a custom Rocket III. All that power and the beefy look, it would make for a unique and interesting build. “After having a look around, I found one with really low km’s on the clock, so finally this build could get started. Little did I know, the power of this bike is just out right ridiculous, while also being quite a heavy machine. The first step was to remove as many things as possible to lighten this beast up. I wanted to turn this into a Rocket café racer. The main obstacle was the tank, as it is so huge it just wouldn’t look right for a café build. I had a custom tank made to fit, full metal with the stock fuel pump fitted underneath. Before we could send the tank off to get worked we had to get a custom alloy intake fabricated, as the air filters on the rocket are so close to the tank. It ended up looking really rad with the K&N pods.”
While the tank was being sorted, attention was to be brought to the seat. The large, uninspiring stock seat and rear would be swapped out for one from a Triumph Thruxton. A subtle, tucked away Flanders taillight was added to keep the rear end tidy and clean. The only part now was to actually fit the seat to the frame. A new rear frame would be fabricated to house these new additions and ensure everything fit correctly with the build. While the whole frame was off, a nice coat of satin black was applied to help accentuate the stripped back, simplicity of the build. “We had Andrew from Beyond Trims to sort out some nice red stitching for the black seat we had. Once all the parts were back from being painted and the seat was completed, the fun could really begin.”
After fitting the tank, a new short fender and the seat the bike was taking on a new aesthetic – something that was sleeker, and a lot more aggressive. “We ditched the massive stock front radiator for a custom made alloy race radiator which was then painted black to flow with the rest of the parts. A new exhaust was needed, so I drew up a concept on a piece of paper and handed it over to my mate Billy who welded up the new piece for me. This was then ceramic coated, initially black but this when then changed after I stood back and realised there was too much black now on the bike. We changed it to silver, which gives a good accent to the image of the bike and shows off the exhaust more.”
The stock tyres were binned for a set of chunkier ones to further inject more testosterone into this muscle racer. A 5.5” headlight was swapped out with the stock one, a set of mini indicators and cleaned up gauges to keep things trim, custom mirrors and some new grips. “Because the rocket was so low at the rear, the stance didn’t look right. I spoke with the guys at IKON Australia who came up with a solution which was a custom made Rocket rear shock which was a one-off.
Now that the bike was looking as aggressive as we intended, it was smash time.”
It’s definitely got to be the beefiest cafe racer on the streets, let alone motorcycle in general. It’s an imposing machine, that will get the adrenaline pumping to the point of fear. It’s a far cry from your more common and traditional single cylinder cafe racers – and that’s just why we love it.