Justin Holmes of Popbang Classics and his Triumph Bonneville America

Wide Of The Mark

Justin Holmes from Popbang Classics dedicates his life in the pursuit of building speed. You’ll see how passionate he is with the detail put into

the modifications list for his custom adventure bike. Over the years He’s become a great friend, with a “why not” approach no matter how wild the task, we knew we wouldn’t have to ask twice when we pitched the idea for Wide of the Mark.

What we didn’t know, is that Justin had never really ridden off-road until we pulled off the bitumen and headed for some coastal trails in Tasmania. Because of this, through the course of our adventure, Justin grew incredibly as a rider. being understandably cautious at the start of our trip, by the end he was sending up any track we could find always with a huge smile on his face. At the end of the trip, he extended thanks to everyone as the journey we’d taken had allowed him to grow so much as a rider. We thanked him for letting us witness it.

Here’s Justin’s Take on his trip, and the insane Triumph Desert sled he built to do it.

So my main gig has always been building and restoring classic and vintage motorcycles. I love them most of the time, just not when they’re sitting on the side of the road not playing the game. I decided it was finally time to build something that started at the press of a button and I could comfortably take long distances without fear of springing a new oil leak. In my head, I had envisioned a sleek modern “sports chopper” with a bit of early 80’s styling. Low, stripped-down, performance suspension, big brakes, and modern rubber. I had it all planned out until Tom threw a spanner in the works.. “Nah, fuck that idea, we’re going to Tassie!”.

Thinking cap back on, I had to totally redesign the frame mods I had planned. With a little inspiration from the Triumph desert sleds of the late 50’s I started chopping. The 2010 America frame is a bulky, heavy, and freaking ugly frame, so I ditched most of it and made a new Chromoly backbone and a completely removable rear section that copied the styling of the PreUnit triumphs of the era. The end result was a lighter and far more simplified frame.

I had to switch to a T100 Bonneville swingarm to get the proportions just right and then linked it up to a pair of Gazi Sport Lite shocks.
The front forks are 2006 GSXR 600 clamped into my custom made triples (which took way too long to make!! I already had this front end planned for the previous design, so I had to make 2” extensions for the top of the legs to get it up off the ground. Looking back now, I definitely should have chosen a front end with a bit more travel. The front end got well abused.

The rims are AMF Harley alloys from a ’79 Ironhead and where probably one of the most time-consuming parts of the build. They had to be machined out for metric bearings and then needed custom adaptors for the rotors and sprocket. The adaptors were all manually machined from solid 6061 and the sprocket adaptor even acts as a cush drive. The rims were painted, then fitted with Vee Rubber Benissimo trials tires. Soft as f#ck, but handled all the terrain. Even mad burnouts!

Wide Of The Mark

The rear brake setup uses two Triumph calipers mounted on a one-off pentagram bracket and fed by a Brembo 14mm master cylinder to grip a 260mm Suzuki GSX1400 rotor.
The front setup uses the GSXR600 calipers to grip a pair of 310mm Triumph 675 rotors. The matching GSXR master cylinder was modified to be used as a remote cable operated setup that mounts under the neck of the frame. This keeps the handlebars super clean. I also thought “I’d rather break a $30 cable brake lever than a $300 master cylinder when I throw the bike in the dirt”, which seemed to happen a lot.

The tank was an original 1963 Triumph tank that was a bit worse for wear. The perfect candidate to attack with a grinder. I chopped about 30mm off the bottom, welded in a pop-up gas cap, and retrofit a 2016 Sportster fuel pump assembly neatly underneath.
The rear fender is a modified Wassell blank and the front fender was just some rolled aluminum, simple, but again a throwback to the early desert sleds.
The fender brackets, along with the rear rack and tank rack, are one-off stainless items.
The handlebars are Burleigh Bars 1” stainless steel Knuckle Bars fitted with flush mount buttons and old Amal style levers and throttle to keep it classic.

All the lighting was supplied by Purpose Built Moto. The 4.5” spotlight and Dome 3in1’s are all powered by a PBM black box.
The spotty is housed in a one-off aluminum nacelle that also hides the Acewell CA80 speedo.

The seat and side bag were trimmed by my twin brother from another mother, Jamo, of Timeless Auto trim. Using a tough canvas that definitely stood up to the conditions and kept me comfortable along the way.

The motor required ahead replacement as the front engine mount had been previously broken off. So while apart it got a good top end clean up and a valve re-shim before reassembly. The 865cc twin breaths in through a pair of DNA filters XV Series oval filters and out through pair of custom made 316 stainless high pipes and mufflers (leg burners..) The primary cover was also swapped out for a slimmer more aesthetically pleasing version from a 2003 T100.
Another major modification was converting the removable frame tubes into oil coolers. This required welding up a heap of holes, welding on a heap of fittings, and making up a heap of custom oil lines. But.. In the end, added an extra 1L of oil capacity and proved to be pretty damn good at keeping it cool.

Wide Of The Mark

When it came to painting I wanted to cross a bit of modern with a bit of classic.
The Claret Red on the tank was a classic throwback, while the dark grey and gold geometric pattern brought the modern. The red pinstripe just mixes it up a little.
My favorite part is my Tasmanian take on the Triumph “Leaping Tiger” on the tank. Once all the design was laid down I covered in all in 2 pack matt clear.

2010 Triumph Bonneville America:
865cc EFI parallel twin.
Chromoly backbone and a rear frame section
Lower frame rails converted to oil coolers
GSXR600 fork legs in custom triple clamps
Gazi Sport Lite rear shocks
GSXR600 front calipers, 310mm Triumph 675 rotors.
Twin Triumph rear calipers, 260mm GSX1400 rotor.
Modified 1979 AMF Harley 9 Spoke alloys with custom sprocket & rotor adaptors
Vee Rubber Bennisimo trial tires, 4.00×18 & 4.50×19
Modified 63 Triumph fuel tank with Sportster fuel pump assembly
Custom seat and side bag
Purpose Built Moto LED lighting
Acewell CA80 Gauge

Quadlock Moto Phone holster and Charger
DNA air filters

With the customer workload I already had along with trying to carry out 99% of the work on this bike myself, time crept up and I really didn’t think I was going to make it.. But thanks to some last-minute late-night help from Tom and Dylan of PBM we managed to get it all assembled by 1:30 am the morning we were supposed to leave. We got the bike loaded up, got me packed up and got on our way to Tassie at 2 am.
I didn’t even get to test ride it until we got to Melbourne. Luckily it only needed a few minor tweaks and it was ready to go get thrashed in the wilderness, and that it did!

The Thylacine Dream Sled was tested to its limit time and time again, with some weak spots showing through early.  a few minor issues on small parts, and the suspension especially. Learning a lot from this trip about the bike and my skills as a rider. At the end of the day it came home in one piece… well 2 if you count the broken kickstand, but it lasted well. ran strong through all the weather we went through and I had a tonne of fun doing it.

Time to get building for round 2!

Wide Of The Mark