Race spec: A Triumph T140 observe bike impressed by Steve McQueen’s TR6


Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
Mentioning ‘Triumph’ and ‘Steve McQueen’ collectively conjures up pictures of the long-lasting desert sleds that the King of Cool kicked up Californian mud with. This tradition Triumph T140 Bonneville takes inspiration from one in every of McQueen’s most well-known bikes—his quantity 955 TR6 desert racer. But it surely’s been constructed for a really totally different function.

The 1976-model T140 lacks a desert sled’s lengthy journey suspension, huge wheels, and tall handlebars, as a result of it’s been designed to dominate on the observe as an alternative of within the dust. Extra particularly, it’s been custom-made by Shiro Nakajima at 46Works to compete within the Japanese Legend of Traditional race sequence.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
We will’t consider a greater man for the job than Nakajima-san. An everyday on our pages, he’s in all probability finest recognized for founding the Japanese restomod powerhouse Ritmo Sereno—however he’s additionally a furnishings maker, a classic automobile restorer, and one heck of a bike builder.

Shiro lives and works in an enthralling conventional wood constructing, tucked away in opposition to the foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains the place scenic B-roads abound. However he nonetheless often makes the trek to the Tsukuba Circuit a number of hours away, the place he races the traditional race bikes that he’s so adept at constructing. So he is aware of how you can make older bikes look good and go quick.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
Shiro put the Triumph T140 Bonneville collectively for a buyer, who provided nothing greater than the body, swingarm, and engine. McQueen’s ‘955’ supplied design inspiration, however it was as much as Shiro so as to add all the proper mods to make the T140 track-capable.

Immediately, the engine went off to Gladstone, a Triumph specialist in Shizuoka, for a full rebuild. It got here with high-compression pistons, upgraded camshafts, a modified head, and a belt drive conversion. Additionally current are a Quaife five-speed transmission equipment, and a pair of Keihin CR carbs.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
From there, Shiro set about constructing the chassis—beginning with tweaking and reinforcing the body. The entrance forks come from a Yamaha (Shiro received’t say which), and have been rebuilt with new internals. They’re held in place by a set of machined aluminum yokes, linked to a {custom} steering stem.

The Triumph T140 rolls on 18” Excel rims, laced to 2 totally different Yamaha hubs with brand-new Yamaha spokes. There’s an Avon Roadrider wrapped across the entrance wheels, with an Avon Tremendous Venom AM18 out again.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
Because of the brand new wheels, the bike advantages from a significant braking improve. It now makes use of two AP Racing calipers up entrance and a single Brembo caliper out again, with Sunstar discs and Brembo grasp cylinders at each ends. (There’s no ABS, however the T140 ought to cease faster than it did within the 70s.)

Equally spectacular are the bespoke rear-set foot controls, and the myriad linkages that make them perform. And since it is a race bike constructed by an skilled racer, there’s security wire in all the proper locations.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
Shifting to the bodywork, Shiro pieced collectively a set of elements that come as near mimicking McQueen’s Triumph as a observe bike can. The gas tank is a copy Triumph unit, whereas the seat, which appears to be like like a traditional Bates quantity, is a one-off. Shiro constructed the aluminum seat pan, after which handed it over to Razzle Dazzle for foam and fabric.

The rear part follows the normal desert sled system of a three-quarter seat, a kinked subframe, and a protracted alloy rear fender. On the reverse finish of the bike, Shiro replicated the model of fairing and fairing brackets discovered on McQueen’s bike, however with a stubbier design.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
The dual shotgun-style exhaust pipes are one other nod to the TR6 sled, proper right down to the way in which that the ends are stacked. They’re additionally a testomony to Shiro’s craftsmanship, since he hand-bent the headers out of titanium. Aluminum quantity boards add to the bike’s classic attraction (and provides the proprietor someplace to stay his race numbers).

Different particulars embrace a Setrab oil cooler with Kinokuni fittings, a home made oil catch tank, and a battery mount that gives fast and quick access. Shiro wired the bike from scratch too.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
The cockpit sports activities low-rise handlebars fitted solely with essentially the most fundamental controls. A {custom} dashboard hosts a Stack tachometer, a single warning gentle, and a Daytona temperature meter, whereas a lap timer sits atop the bar clamps. There’s nothing pointless on this T140; each final inch of it has been fine-tuned for Shiro’s buyer, “in order that he can win races.”

Even the livery is all enterprise. Quite than totally mimic the McQueen bike, this Triumph opts for a easy coat of jet black with period-correct logos. Prime work by common 46Works collaborator, Drops Design Works.

Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works
46Works’ {custom} Triumph T140 may not be the very first thing we image after we consider a traditional Triumph observe bike, however that’s what we love most about it. It’s additionally refreshing to know that it’ll be used as supposed—as we write this, Shiro’s at Tsukuba ensuring it goes nearly as good because it appears to be like.

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Triumph T140 race bike by 46Works