Café-racers, cool, yeah? I’m with ya on that. But have you spent any time on a pukka (sorry, Brit-speak for genuine) example? I have. Start speed-tuning on an old Triumph motor, say hello to unreliability, not to mention pesky oil puddles wherever it’s parked. And while my ample ass is pretty good at prodding a kickstarter, I’m up to snuff on the Ceremonial Tickling of the Amals, know how to divine TDC, hold my tongue just right, etc., every once in a while the bitch just won’t light off – usually when a crowd of gawkers has assembled to view your expert technique at the lever.
Think of the Brighton, then, as a café-racer without the cross to bear. Says Streetmaster boss Richard Varner, “We wanted the style and panache of what the Rockers and Ton-Up Boys used to ride back in England, but with the power, reliability and push-button starting of a modern motorcycle. We think we’ve struck the perfect balance between heritage and haul-ass.”
Unveiled alongside the So-Cal Miler at this weekend’s Quail Concours, the Brighton is named for the British beach town famous in the 1960s as the end point for café runs and the site of many a punch-up between Rockers and the scooter-riding Mods. It was fabricated by Richard Pollock, best known for his Mule street-trackers, of which he’s built 75-80, mostly with Sportster or Yamaha XS650 motors. He’s also turned out a few trackers with new Bonneville motors, but the Brighton is his first café-racer. The goal is to go into limited production, with the bike being sold in Streetmaster’s catalog along with the Miler and a line of accessories for stock Bonnies. One of those parts is a primary cover that incorporates hydraulic clutch actuation, as seen on the Brighton.
Streetmaster’s proprietary frame is used, along with alloy tank, tailsection and sidepanels. Those are left bare with panels painted Amaranth Red, an old Triumph color. The bike hasn’t been put on scales yet but it shouldn’t weigh much more than the Miler’s 350 pounds dry. Moving what mass there is down the road is the 790cc version of the Bonneville engine, hotted-up with headwork, flatslide Keihins, re-mapped ignition and free-breathing exhausts to produce 74 hp.
The paint was still soft on the Brighton prototype at the concours, so the price tag is still being figured, as is the number of bikes in the production run. Next stop for Brighton and Miler is the Dutch TT at Assen to gauge European reaction.