- February 15th 2018
Celebrating over 80 years of motorcycle heritage, Barbour International worked with Adam Kay, founder of Untitled Motorcycles on a custom Triumph for British GQ, where is won the Best Custom Bike in London.
Adam gives us some insight into how the collaboration came about and where he would like to take the bike if he could test it anywhere in the world.
For those who don’t know Untitled Motorcycles can you tell us more about yourself, the business and its origins?
After working in fashion from the age of 18 as a garment tech and pattern cutter, I went back to university to study sculpture, and started a career exhibiting.
After some time my work returned to fashion and product design, and I decided to build my own custom bike in my 40’s, after two decades of riding. The bike was aptly called ‘Mid Life Crisis’. Whilst building the bike I created a blog and Facebook page that chronicled the process, going on to build two more bikes on spec, with no one to buy them! These bikes were exhibited at a show at Alexandra Palace, consisting of mostly Harley Davidsons and they got very little attention. Luckily the second bike we very built (UMC002) a scrambler rebuilt for the road, was featured on the custom bike site; Bike EXIF and the requests that followed enabled bike building to become a part time job.
In 2013 I worked with Anthony “Dutch” van Someren from Bike Shed to put on the first ever Bike Shed Show. We had three bikes to display, and this enabled Untitled Motorcycles to go full time. Today, Untitled Motorcycles is based in both London and San Francisco building custom bikes that can be used every day, but have an individuality to their styling.
What does Barbour International and its legacy in motorcycling mean to you?
Barbour International has always been there, its timeless and quality clothing you can rely on. If you ride motorbikes, especially classics and customs, you just know it!
How did the customised bike for Barbour International and GQ come about?
GQ were looking for a bike builder with history, one that makes interesting usable bikes that are a slightly exotic and British – to keep that link between Barbour International, Triumph and British GQ.
After a meeting at the Bike Shed where we discussed; what bike, what style and the design ideas that represented the two sides of the GQ man, we concepted a front end that was sportier with a racing look, and a rear end that was more urbane; stylish with the leather overstitched seat representing the leather seat of a private members club and custom bags so the GQ man could ride to work with all the business kit he needed for the day ahead.
What was the process to create the custom vehicle and how long did the work take?
From initial meeting to photoshoot for the magazine we had only 5-6 weeks for the build which was really short. Whilst I waited for my illustrations to be approved by GQ and Barbour International, I actually started the build, confident that the customisation would be accepted and to make sure the bike was finished in time. Luckily they liked it!
Initially stripping parts off that weren’t needed like big indicators and mudguards were the starting point. Then creating the custom parts like the CNC top yolk with an integrated tachometer, hand-building the head light mount, so the light now doesn’t move with the handlebars, stripping the stock seat to slim-down and make it snugger to the frame. The seat was crafted by Glenn Moger and features a leather diamond stitch cover.
Paint jobs included painting the side panels and tank, all black to make the details such as the Barbour International yellow and GQ logo stood out. This was finished by Greg St Quintin of Blackshukkustom. We always referenced classic racing machines, to give is an authentic look, but wanted to make it look more aggressive than the stock bike we started with.
Spoked wheels power coated gloss black. Combined with the tyres this makes the wheels look bigger and more solid. With so many bespoke changes being made on the original Triumph, we wouldn’t have got the bike to run without electronics genius Steve Hallam.
What was the most satisfying part of the process?
Realising that vision imagined in a sketch coming to life in metal and in the limited time.
What would be your dream ride on the bike?
Taking the bike along the beautiful tarmac and empty sweeping bends of the Pyrenees Mountains, on the Spanish side – The bike has a real presence, much sportier with its more aggressive riding position – it would be a joy to ride it there.
What is the next exciting project you will be working on at Untitled?
I have another Triumph coming in and I would love to do a series of Triumphs this year – with hopefully one for Bonneville Speed Week in 2019!