If you’ve met Shaun, boss man at Down & Out Cafe Racers, then you’ll know he isn’t the sort of chap to be caught adjusting his cravat in the mirror of a CG125 brat. Coming from a background in building choppers Shaun and his crew up in Barnsley, Yorkshire like their bikes to have a proper presence, stance and perhaps more importantly a proper finish.
One of the perks of the job is that occasionally Shaun gets to build himself a bike, exactly how he wants it, without a customer’s requirements to adhere to. And if you recall the very first Bike Shed Event you’ll no doubt have noticed the peanut tanked, gold and white CB450 with a whopping 16″ Firestone squeezed between the fork legs that was next to the bar in the first arch. So it’s no surprise that some of the recent Triumphs to leave the workshop wear rather fat front ends. The Bike Shed London 2015 poster bike, yup, that was his last personal project.
For his latest T100 the old girl’s legs needed to be spread a bit wider to accept an exceptionally thick 17 incher. The adventure rider’s tyre of choice is Continental’s TKC 80, renowned for its capability off road but also its ability to offer decent grip on the black stuff. With 180 x 17s fitted front and rear this is not a bike for a retiring wallflower. To ensure he didn’t touch the sides Shaun entrusted Fastec Racing with the job of machining the oversize triple clamps to hold the 2011 CBR1000RR forks. The normal off-the-shelf D&O alloy mudguards weren’t wide enough to cover the TKCs so a mate’s English Wheel was borrowed to shape a pair, a very nice job too.
A Harley-Davidson hub was spaced out in the mounts and laced to a 5 1/2″ rim to accept the fat rubber while Triumph 1050 discs are gripped by the original Tokico radial 4-pots. The result is pretty spectacular, and before anyone starts moaning about turn-in, knobblies on a wet road etc let me pre-empt you. Bugger off! You’ve missed the point. It’s Shaun’s own bike and he wanted to to say Ayup, look at mi proper bike, not Hello, I’ve removed 0.75 degrees of rake to enhance corner entry and overall finesse of the front end feel. Apparently feelings are something us southerners get in our fingers when we clasp a glass of shandy that’s a bit too chilled.
Down & Out source their donor bikes from the horse’s mouth and circumvent the need to trawl the web, or worse, to find low mileage, nearly new or bikes straight off the nearby production line. That means more effort and budget can be put into upgrades rather than repairs. But not all components are expensive, CNC’d exotica. Shaun and right hand man Carl scratched there heads and rooted through the stock room for an exhaust solution, yet ended up tripping over this silencer at an auto jumble. Nice when it works out like that. Mated to a D&O stainless system the Hinckley twin sounded ripe at last weekend’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in London.
If you’ve read the feature of the Bike Shed London 2015 poster bike then you know that for one there’s a deal of repetition on my part but also that Shaun likes a clean cockpit and goes to great lengths to get as close as possible to having just a set of bars and a couple of levers. German outfit LSL manufacture some tasty aftermarket products, so here we have their bars and risers, ignition relocation kit and billet brake fluid reservoir. A GSXR750 master cylinder and clutch perch with D&O levers further tidy the job whilst ensuring those radial callipers have enough welly behind them. Motone mini buttons replace the stock switchgear and all wiring is hidden within the bars.
The custom loom continues into the Bates style headlamp, mounted with trick, stainless bracketry which doubles up to house the very neat little indicators, again D&O own-brand. Despite their best wiring efforts though these modern Triumphs don’t take too kindly to having the clocks removed as all the factory fitted boffins will fall out and the ECU gets its knickers in a knot. Luckily ze clever Germans at Motogadget have a neat fix for this, the M-Tri allows for plug-and-play fitment of their range of mini speedos whilst allowing the bike to actually run.
Whilst leafing through the Motone parts catalogue a host of other snazzy parts were added, we’ll let you play spot the posh parts. Whilst the guys were fitting these, Pro Kustom started on the tank and JVB side panels. We’ve seen the matt black and silver up close, it’s a great finish and surprisingly resilient too. Slight side note to any jacket and jeans manufactures, keep sharp bits in your sewing machines and away from fuel tanks, cheers.
The guys are a dab hand at looping the subframes on Bonnies and in this case their handiwork is shown off by the stubby seat, keeping a bit more visual bulk towards the centre of the bike. Further burliness comes courtesy of a set of engine bars, not the usual fare of the custom builder but these look the business complete with the low slung pothole visualisation device. Shaun wanted to incorporate further practicality into his daily commuter so fabricated a stainless steel bracket to hold a canvas pannier and from here it looks like four bread cakes and a couple of bottles of Timothy Taylor’s will fit perfectly. Decent.
Down & Out are giving people exactly what they want and the order book reflects just that, so we reckon Shaun deserves a new company vehicle every now and again. Not only that, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to work out that not everyone is as experienced as Shaun and Carl, nor have the relevant facilities so why not offer bolt-on parts that arrive in the post, without the additional headache and hard work. That said, they’ll gladly put your name on the list and build the bike of your dreams.
Photos: Simon Krajnyak