Tom Kasher (left) and Roy Norton (right) are recent graduates of Northumbria University Transport Design who’ve created the Triumph Speed Twin Concept.
Roy Norton and Tom Kasher (a.k.a Rod and Todd) are two Northumbria University Transport Design graduates who took to designing a motorcycle for their final year thesis project. The duo have a passion for all things automotive, especially when it comes to motorcycles. During their final term, the pair created the Triumph Speed Twin Concept, a bike taking retro themes in a modern direction in order to appeal to younger riders. This is achieved through the blend of classic proportions, crisp, modern surfacing and well considered details.
In 2010, when on placement with Xenophya Design, the pair contacted Triumph Motorcycles regarding a possible collaboration during their project. They got the perfect response: to design a modern classic. Their initial brief was set by Triumph Motorcycles Product Manager Simon Warburton.
“For the direction of the project, how about a modern re-interpretation of a classic theme? A bike based around our 865cc air-cooled parallel Twin, styled to appeal to younger riders. Maybe it would be the bike the Bonneville might have evolved into in an alternative universe?”
To begin, the duo aimed to learn as much about the era and culture that the original Bonneville was born into. After in-depth research and visits to the likes of the Ace Cafe London and the National Motorcycle Museum, Roy and Tom were inspired to create a really special bike. Taking inspiration from Cafe Racers and Bobbers, as well as the Triumph bikes
of old, sketching began. Feedback was provided from Triumph until a final design was settled upon, which in turn led to a ‘digital tape’. This tape is a Photoshop image of the proposal in side projection, which allows the design to be evaluated against the vehicle package and check constraints such as seat height, tank volumes and ergonomics.
Triumph provided huge amounts of support and guidance through the design stage, advising the pair on engineering, manufacturing and homologation issues. Whilst keen to aid the project Triumph aimed to give Roy and Tom as much freedom as they could, to allow the concept to develop to its full potential.
During the research it became apparent that a product aimed at younger motorcycling generations showed great potential to create new markets. The fashion and culture which surrounds retro products plays a huge role in its desirability, this led to the pair approaching Barbour Outdoor Clothing. It was obvious from the outset that Barbour was the perfect brand for the collaboration. With the company’s strong British heritage and rich history in motorcycling it provided the opportunity to reunite the two influential companies. A meeting was arranged with members of the design and marketing teams to discuss their potential involvement in the project. After hearing the plans, Barbour were very supportive from the first meeting and throughout.
Once a design direction had been chosen and defined the process of building the concept model began. Unlike a running prototype the model was created using a mixture of materials including model board, foam and Automotive Styling Clay. Using the Bonneville as a basis, provided by Triumph, an armature made of foam and model board could be made to ensure a secure foundation for the clay to be applied to. The clay is a wax like substance which can be
Built using the original Bonneville as a reference, the concept includes moders features such as a chopped rear section and updated Girder forks.
shaped by a range of tools to replicate the intended tank, seat unit and swing arm forms. The advantage of using clay to build the bike means that a design can become a 3 dimensional object quickly and, due to the nature of the material, it can be moulded and sculpted very easily to refine and perfect the design.
The original frame of the Bonneville saw a major change with the rear section being chopped and re-fabricated to achieve a strong modern look. This also applies to the Girder forks which replace the conventional telescopic setup to give the concept a distinct aesthetic appeal, as well as being a small homage to the bikes of the past. Details found around the concept also give the bike a unique character. The seat fabric and grips were created using Barbour cloth, adding durability and style to the finish of the Twin. The filler cap and instruments were given a redesign too giving the whole user experience a new touch and feel. Once the basics of the model were in place the bike was transfered from the University studios to the facilities at Xenophya Design. The bike was then refined and painted, transforming it from a blend of clay, foam and metal into an full scale appearance model. Firestone tires, inverted levers and Thruxton brakes round out the build, and add to the overall statement of the bike.
As a joint project, and the first full scale motorcycle built by Roy and Tom, the outcome has had excellent feedback from everyone involved. “We’re very pleased with the result of the project; the bike looks great and there are some elements of it that may have an influence on some of our future projects” says Simon Warburton. The graduates are also very pleased with the projects outcome. “The feedback we’ve had from the project has been great and I really feel we achieved what we set out to. We’ve learned new skills as well as improve upon those we already had” Tom comments while Roy believes “working along side Triumph has been a fantastic experience, and has given us an insight into working within the motorcycle industry at the highest level.” Since completing the project the pair have since joined the team at Xenophya Design, continuing to work on exciting projects for a wide range of clients which will be seen in years to come.