Category: custom

Triumph 3TA

My dad’s legendary Triumph 3TA

Being awesome since 1967

Triumph 3TA
The 3TA in it’s current habitat, Tourrettes, south of France

The legendary Triumph 3TA celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year! A good reason to share this awesome classic motorcycle by writing this post. First, a short introduction and a piece of history about the former Dutch army bike.  The 3TA came to existence in 1957, under code name Twenty One. The number referred to the 21 years existence of the Triumph Engineering Company as well as 21 American inches which equals the 350 cc engine size.

The very first 3TA models featured the famous bathtub rear frame covers, but the army bikes were stripped down until only the ‘nacelle’, the headlight unit, was left. Not only did this save on weight, it also made the 3TA cheaper to produce. On some of the prototypes, even the upper frame tube was replaced by the gasoline tank! A mistake Triumph restored quickly, as the original frame was already struggling with the incredibly strong 18 (!) horsepower engine.

Epic roadtrippin’ through Europe

My dad and four of his mates bought their 3TA’s in 1993. They planned to use the bikes for traveling. The top speed of the 350cc’s lies around 100 km/h, going any faster and it’ll explode. So the bikes had to be put on transport towards a nice destination in Europe where the weather’s good and and the roads are winding.

But still, riding long distances wasn’t the 3TA’s thing, so the group of friends thought of a new way of traveling. Instead of bringing the Triumphs back home to The Netherlands every year, they decided to leave the bikes behind. There was always a local farmer who had some space in a shed, or a transport company with an empty corner in the warehouse where the bikes could stay for a year.

It’s a matter of trust

In this way, from 2003 onwards, my dad and his friends have travelled from France to Spain, to Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Greece, Albania, Macedonia and so on. They even tackled the Top Gear famed Transfagaras route in Romania. If you don’t know what i’m talking about, check the episode on this bucketlist-worthy road here. This epic road trip lasted about 10 years time, leaving the bikes behind every year. Talk about good trust in humankind, as these bikes are army bikes, they have no keys nor an engine immobilizer, so everyone who has some basic technical knowledge can start these bikes and take off. Luckily this never happened and the guys were able to take these vintage bikes through the majority of South- and East Europe. In 2013 they brought the old veterans back to their homecountry. A welcome home party was organized, and an article in a well known Dutch motorcycle magazine was published. The article can be found here (Dutch). Check out some pictures of the epic trip below.

The 3TA’s retirement

After the big trip ended, some of my dad’s friends sold the bikes, as they knew they would not be using it anymore. My father thought it would be a shame to sell a motorcycle with such a story to tell, and I fully agree with him. So nowadays the 3TA is enjoying his old days in the garage at the house in Tourrettes, South of France. The Provence area bursts of endless winding roads through ancient villages and towards mountains and lakes. In other words, a perfect area for the good old Triumph veteran to enjoy his well earned retirement.

Oil

The 3TA still needs to work hard every now and then when I visit and take the 3TA for a spin, but that keeps it young and flexible! The olde English bike features all the classic bike clichés, like the wobbly frame, lack of proper suspension and of course; spitting oil. Like my dad always says, if you’re wearing a fancy white outfit, stay at least 3 meters away from the Triumph, as it will literally spit oil towards you! Another piece of advice; when there’s no oil dripping from the bike, it’s about time to start worrying. The 3TA will always leak oil, especially when you have been pushing it to it’s limits. It’s mainly the gearbox oil that will leak, so it needs to be refilled every now and then. 

What’s it like to ride the 3TA?

Another typical olde English tradition is that the position of the rear brake and the gear switch are reversed. Meaning that you shift through the 4 gears counting gearbox using your right foot and you operate the rear brake with your left foot. This takes some time to get used to, but after a couple of kilometers it feels natural. I always have to think twice when slowing down for the first roundabout, as a clutch-less gear drop will slow you down a lot less subtile compared to some light rear breaking! Once used to the stubborn Olde English way of doing things, it’s a lot of fun riding the 3TA. Probably only 10 of the original 18 horses are still with us today, but there’s still plenty of torque coming from the 350cc twin. It’s no crutch-rocket however the good old veteran grants you a big smile every time you kickstart it and you hear the typical brave and loud two cilinder Triumph sound. Happy anniversary Triumph 3TA, may you rock on for another 50 years!

 

 

 

 

 

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Malamadre Motorcycles sets the bar high for Bali’s custom scene

The custom motorcycle scene is more alive than ever. When on Bali, I was astonished by the number of cool custom creations cruising the streets of Canggu. I paid a visit to Malamadre Motorcycles, the guys that set the bar high for Bali’s custom bike scene.

The Malamadre Motorcycles workshop wasn’t hard to find. With numerous great looking custom motorcycles parked in front of the shop on Canggu’s main street; Batu Bolong. Add the open workshop and the awesome oldschool gasoline pump, and this place couldn’t get any more attractive to a petrolhead like me.

Malamadre sign
The Malamadre sign outside makes the shop hard to miss.

When entering the shop I heard a conversation in rattling fast fluent Spanish. I was then noticed and welcomed by owner Dirk Goetz. After expressing my enthusiasm and interest in his workshop’s creations he was more than happy to share his story with me.

While his name doesn’t give it away, Dirk is originally from Spain, from where he used to work for Volkswagen AG on international management level. It only took one surfing trip to Bali for Dirk to fall in love with the Island. He decided to leave Spain and his professional career behind and to start living the good life and enjoy the beautiful island.

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Check this beauty out, definitely my favorite!

How Malamadre was born

Malamadre Motorcycles was born in 2015, when Dirk decided he wanted to ride something more exiting than a scooter. After browsing through several options, he ended up buying a Suzuki Thunder 250. Fortunately, Dirk didn’t just stop there, he had a desire to customize his bike in to a vintage brat style motorcycle. So, guess what, that’s just what he did, he rebuilt the bike at a good friend’s garage in Canggu.

Then, there was one more thing Dirk desired: owning a brand. Together with his wife, Elo and some good friends they decided on the name and logo. Malamadre is the name of a bad ass character from the Spanish movie Celda 211, as well as Dirk’s preferred nickname during games of poker. And I must say, it has a badass ring to it.
Malamadre Motorcycles was born, and Dirk’s Suzuki Thunder was the first official Malamadre custom; the MM1.

Malamadre all over the world

Riding around on his bike, Dirk soon got noticed by other motorcycle fanatics, wanting to give their standard bikes a similar custom treatment. By a combination of word of mouth and a strong social media strategy, Malamadre Motorcycles has grown extensively. Until today, over 50 motorcycles, ranging from 200 to 1200cc, have been delivered to satisfied customers living all over the world, as far as New York, Belfast and Sydney!

IMG_0022
This shop is awesome, and the quality finish on the bikes is insane!

Look great on your bike

What’s probably one the best things about Malamadre Motorycles, is that a selection of their creations are available for rent. So, in case you want to look a whole lot cooler than the other tourists on their lousy scooters, you now know where to go. To complement your swagger, Malamadre has recently launched a clothing line: The Essence 1.1, available online and in their shops in Canggu and in Galleries Lafayette in Jakarta

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Look cool on your bike wearing the Malamadre Clothing line

 

 

 

 

A rare custom motorcycle discovery in Hoi An

Check this out to learn where to find two true hidden gems for motorcycle fanatics in Hoi An!

While travelling you often randomly meet awesome people with shared interests. This happened to me once again last week in Hoi An. While discovering the city on our bicycles we decided to cross the bridge to the other side of town to find out what’s there. We found the very cool and original designed Knoy Bar. It was the custom Yamaha SR400 tracker motorcycle parked in front of the bar that mostly got my attention.

Custom SR400 tracker
Roc’s custom SR400 tracker

 

After a chat with the extremely kind owner Fong and his brother from another mother Roc we soon learned that we all shared the love for motorcycles.

Piston head ashtray
A piston head that serves as an ashtray is a clear hint that this bar is runned by motorcycle enthusiasts.

Fong told me that he had only opened his bar 3 months ago. After he had been traveling in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia for a while he started building the bar all by himself, using mainly recycled vintage resources, which give the bar it’s unique and cool vibe. Check the bar out here!

Doggie bar surveillance
The Knoy Bar is under constant surveillance by this curious little doggie

After having shared our stories on motorcycles and travel, Roc told me about his friend with a unique custom motorcycle workshop at his house in Hoi An. Naturally,I was stoked to see this place so we agreed on going there the next day for a meet and shoot.
The day after we met at the Knoy Bar again and Roc took me on the back of his cool SR400 to his friends’ place. It was a wild Vietnamese style ride. Roc didn’t bother using the horn at all, as the amazing exhaust sound would let the other road users know that we were coming and that they had to make way.

Let's goooo
Let’s goooo!

 

10 minutes later we arrived, all hyped up from the short but exciting ride. However I had to let the adrenaline rush go when I got introduced to Tientran, probably the most zen and introvert Vietnamese man I have met so far. After an awkward, eye-contact-avoiding handshake, Tien let me enter his amazing workshop. It was full of old school helmets, retro biker jackets, and heaps of leather bags which Tien was apparently making and selling.

Leather bags
Tiens’ business on the side, leather bags

 

I spotted a cool custom Yamaha SR bobber in a dark corner of which I attempted to take some photos. But it was to dark for getting good shots. Then, the doors on the street side  went open and I was absolutely stunned by what I was presented with! There was a 1972 BMW R71 army sidecar. After about three firm kicks on the kickstart Tien got it to run. Roc told me that this was something really special as Tien had never done this for anyone before. The fist exclusive ReisPost item here guys!

Custom Hoi An
Tien rolling out his precious creations

 

After that he also started up the SR bobber custom and rolled it outside allowing me to take some nice shots of that too. Soon a small crowd gathered to admire Tien’s creations. Not a big surprise if you check out my pictures below!

Yamaha SR bobber custom
Tien and his cool SR bobber custom
Customs in Hoi An
These bikes soon gathered an admiring crowd!

 

Follow Roc and his friends on Instagram, as they are soon leaving on a motorcycle road trip!