Death Machines

Death Machines of London have brought life to the remains of a 2007 Triumph Thruxton 900i and turned it into something truly exquisite

Front on, James Hilton’s Triumph café racer ‘Up yours Copper’ looks conventional enough – low bars, big headlight (admittedly LED), and high level pipes snaking out of a Hinckley Triumph twin. It’s only when you start to walk around the bike you realise how different this machine is from the traditional street racing Thruxton. The first thing that grabs you is the headlight cowl. Fabricated in-house in brushed aluminium, it holds a 7in, military-specification LED headlamp and a custom-made speedometer made from solid brass that’s been precisionetched using photolithography, a process more often used in microfabrication and watch making.

The sweeping bars, also manufactured in-house, are welded from underneath to a slotted custom top clamp. This continues down through the yokes into copper spacers which hold the light cowl. On the bars, the right grip conceals an internal throttle assembly, while the left has finger-tip controls for the lighting and horn. Both feature machined grips with in-house levers in brushed aluminium. The grips, as well as the foot pegs and copper washers, feature the signature Death Machine of London (DMOL) single-spiral knurling pattern which is then finished smooth. All cables are custom made. The fuel tank, an in-house modified item, is fitted with an aero-style filler which is covered with a brass plate engraved with the Hunter S. Thompson quote: ‘Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.’

‘The engineering and attention to detail sets this Triumph apart’

The hand-stitched and tanned leather tank strap is made from the finest saddle hide and was styled and manufactured at DMOL. The entire assembly is completed with a brushed aluminium strap clamp that was made in-house. The seat is the show-stopping conversation piece. Designed by DMOL, it was hand-carved from American walnut by Ben Heeney at Ian Dunn Woodwork and Design in London. Meticulously shaped, it is made out of 17 parts to maintain a consistent grain pattern within the highly complex compound curves. The wood is finished with several coats of Danish Oil. The bespoke exhaust system features ceramic-coated pipes and a carbon fibre muffler exiting through the rear light cluster in a DMOL designed copper-plated nozzle. The ceramic pipes expel as much heat as possible before entering the muffler and the nozzle itself features further heat-shielding and is designed so no parts touch the light cluster.

At the point of exhaust, sufficient heat has been lost to be within the heat tolerance of the light unit. For the wheels, both shod with Avon trail rider tyres, a front 100/90 x 19in was used on a 2.15in mild steel rim, with a 160/60 x 17in on a 3.5in mild steel Harley-style rim for the rear. Both rims were electroplated in copper, then laced in-house using black anodised spokes and nipples. The front brake is a custom Fontana four-leading-shoe item. The rear of the original hub, along with the sprocket carrier and sprocket, were powder coated black. The fork lowers underwent remodelling with re-valved internals uprated with progressive springs. The shocks are 20mm over stock Hagons. For electrics, an in-house designed loom feeds to the main switch, in this case a 1940 Supermarine Spitfire Mk1 magneto. The first magneto makes the bike live, while toggling the second engages the starter motor. The battery is held in a custom case situated between the footpegs. The frame, finished in a deep coat of Beluga Black paint, has been de-lugged and extensively modified with an entirely new subframe. Engine work comprised a gas-flowed cylinder head and remapped fuelling to suit the custom exhaust system.

The fuel pump and injection system have been remodelled and uprated with the oil cooler removed as a weight reduction measure. DMOL’s own velocity stacks were developed to assist the remapped fuelling programme and they feature a brushed outer and mirror polished interior surface with etched brass grills and DMOL logo inlays. The sprocket is protected by DMOL’s Sprocket Cage Type 1, which features solid brass grills and an engraved nameplate. Custom designed and copper coated injection caps, together with powder coated engine covers and a copper plated cam cover, complete the reconditioned 900. The final paintwork was kept as simple as possible to highlight the beauty of the materials used in the build. The tank carries a satin black finish with gloss hairline delineating it from the hand-brushed aluminium. The polished engine fins feature the DMOL logo and is also finished in satin and matt black. We love it. Like we said from the outset, it may be a Thruxton café racer but the engineering and attention to detail sets this Triumph apart.