Tag Archives: dreaming of Jupiter

David Beckham Overlanding Triumph – Brazil, S America

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Last year, in the run-up to the football world cup, David Beckham and a couple of his mates decided to take a bike trip into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. 32 years as a footballer meant that David had never really embarked on any kind of adventure holiday. Of course, he had travelled the world, but nearly always in his professional capacity, and invariably on a tight schedule. This was to be the first time he would visit places where nobody knew his name.

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For the trip, the boys didn’t ride the kind of BMW or Yamaha off-road bikes that one might have expected. Too obvious, and too Charlie and Ewan. Instead, they mounted themselves on modern, customised Triumph road bikes. Much cooler. And much more retro. The bikes were worked on both in the UK and Brazil and, in truth, the exercise involved taking bits off as much as putting bits on. An all over black paint job, the removal of mudguards, a custom exhaust and seat, and a new set of off-road tyres was all it took.

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Despite the apparent unsuitability of the bikes, they held up well in even the toughest of conditions, demonstrating perhaps that modern Triumphs are just as rugged and dependable as their famous antecedents. Recently, Motolegends decided to make a replica of the Beckham bike and better yet, decided to give it away in a competition.  This is their build story: They acquired a donor bike, a 2001 model, from a local ex-policeman. Even though it was over 10 years old, it had been meticulously looked after, and so presented an excellent starting point for the project. The build was actually incredibly simple, and although the end result is quite dramatic, the work is well within the scope of any budding , ‘bike-shed’ mechanic.

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Part one was the strip-down. Off came the mudguards, the indicators, the rear grab rail, the exhaust, and so on. What was left was treated to a matt black paint job that included the wheels, fuel tank, engine casing, cylinder head and, handlebars on. The wheels were re-shod with Metzler Karoo 3s as per the original bike; rubber fork gaiters were added, the seat was re-trimmed, and a new rear mudguard and number plate holder was fabricated. The pièce de résistance, and the most expensive single part on the bike, was the Arrow exhaust. But it only comes in a metal finish, so it was sent off for a black ceramic coating. A bracket was fabricated, to allow it to hang correctly off the side of the bike.

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Final touches involved moving the rear brake master cylinder to a new location, as the rear brake positioning couldn’t have been at all convenient on the original bikes. Discrete indicators were then fitted front and back. On the Amazon bikes there were no rear indicators; just front ones. The end result is a bike that somehow seems more than the sum of its parts. There are hugely complicated and intricate builds out there that sometimes fail to hit the spot. With the baffle removed, the bike sounds far better than a Bonneville has any right to. Being lighter than the original, it handles well, and the Metzeler tyres give a purposeful look, without any real detrimental effect as far as rideabilty and comfort are concerned. This bike is simplicity itself, yet has an undeniable wow factor to it.

Motolegends are running a publicity competition and will give their bike to the winner; details on how to enter competition: http://www.motolegends.com/beckham-bike

High-Tech Bags: Motorcycle Luggage Buyers Guide

High-Tech Bags: Motorcycle Luggage Buyers Guide | Rider Magazine. Very thorough run down on the luggage options for your bike. As kit technology improves our options the choices we have to make become more complex. So, amongst all this don’t forget the basics, weight up front is good; it balances the suspension and improves handling. Ted Simon knew this and had a great pair of cowhide tank panniers made in Nairobi – way back in the seventies on his first trip.

Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels

Ted Simon speaking in 2012;

“A long time ago I heard Truman Capote describe his idea of a short story as, “a scrap of lightning that briefly illuminates the landscape.” The image is so vivid that it has stuck with me over many decades, and I can’t think of a better model for Journey Insights. Ideally they should be short and unpretentious. They should deal with a single event such as an incident, a meeting, a confrontation, a revelation, but within the telling there should be something that illuminates the landscape, and that landscape could be the local environment or culture, the journey of which it is part, or it could be the human condition. Some Insights may stray a long way from this prescription, but whatever it is it must be simple, honest and genuine, and to write something honest and genuine is already a triumph.” 

Ted is the original Jupiter’s traveller. On his trusty Triumph he showed us all how to travel simply, and as a co tributing and whole part of the local cultures he visited. He remains a strong inspiration for me and us all.

His blog is linked on the right – have a look!