Chippa Wilson, who could be considered a new heritage lifestyle icon, turned to Triumph veterans British Customs to have them build a bespoke custom motorcycle for him. What they ended up with was called ‘The Beach Sled’.
To understand how the customized Triumph took the shape it did, readers should look to British Custom’s inspiration. Wilson is a symbol of the new heritage movement that respects a past when times were simpler and quality craftsmanship was deeply admired. That era brings thoughts of riders working on their motorcycles by hand with their friends and family, and such legends as Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins were still pioneers of the adventure-seeker lifestyle.
Wilson is considered an ambassador of the growing maker movement of people who love to work with their hands and do things themselves as well as a community leader who has led successful charity drives to help other communities in need around the world. The challenge British Customs faced was to create a motorcycle that combined all of this while still reflecting Wilson as a person.
The foundation of their build was the iconic Triumph Bonneville T100 with its elements taken from the desert sleds and scramblers that icons such as Steve McQueen, Bud Ekins, and Eddie Mulder rode in the 50s and 60s.
From the outset, British Customs wanted the build to fit into their Weekend Projects, which are packages of high quality parts grouped together to allow riders of any skill level to easily customize their motorcycle. They promise each Weekend Project package eliminates the guesswork from what is needed to customize any section of a motorcycle, and helps save installation time by even being designed to install together. Every part in a Weekend Project is designed to work together to vastly improve the looks and functionality of a motorcycle. Weekend Project packages cover:
- Appearance (seats, relocation kits, and trim)
- Controls (ergonomics, handlebars, and footpegs)
- Driveline (sprockets, chains, and driveline covers)
- Handling (suspension)
- Lighting (turn signals, headlights, and taillights)
- Performance (exhaust systems, air box removal kits, air injection removal kits)
To support the growing modern retro motorcycle community, British Customs created an expansive Resource Center where they have a continually growing list of curated installation instructions, how to guides, buyer’s guides, and Triumph 101 guides.
Each guide is rated by difficulty, list what tools are required, how long an installation takes, and for what models the guide works. The British Customs Resource Center is designed to help riders ranging from new first time owners to experienced custom builders learn how to customize, work on, and maintain their Triumph motorcycles. Users can also leave questions or comments on articles in the Resource Center, where British Customs experts or other community members can respond to support each other.
In the case of the customized motorcycle for Chippa Wilson the Beach Sled looks like one of the old bench seats from the 60s, but features a medical-grade gel insert to keep the rider comfortably in the saddle for all-day adventures.
The Slash Cut TT Exhaust Featured Project gave the Beach Sled a vintage look and sound while simultaneously maximizing the bike’s horsepower. The Mule Tracker Bar Featured Project swapped out the stock handlebars for more ergonomically-focused handlebars designed by legendary custom motorcycle builder Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles.
While much is said about customizing motorcycles with a multitude of methods for riders to 'make it their own' looking at the end result of this particular build, its hard to imagine how a Triumph owner isn't booking up the next few weekends to give the same level of biker love to their own ride.
As with other projects British Customs complete, the aftermarkets company have released the full build notes for The Beach Sled, and have uploaded them to their site to inspire enthusiasts and show them that unique custom motorcycles can be built with only bolt-on to factory-spec parts.