Macco Motors The Hustler
By James McCombe - 13 Jan 15
The reborn Hinckley Triumph company was growing at a steady pace by the end of the '90s. As the century was closing out they had a triple whammy of retro-cruiser styled bikes with which they attempted to breach the American market. The Thunderbird, joined by the Adventurer and in 1998, the Legend, paved the way for the new Triumph leaning on it's legacy; and in many ways the Hinckley Bonneville range that was to appear a few years later. Like all Triumphs of that era, the modular engine and chassis layout was modified to suit the bike's specific purpose; but they all shared a common 77mm spine frame and liquid cooled 3 or 4 cylinder power unit. Other than some of the rarer models, any of the T300 bikes now make great donors at exceptional value for money. And in this author's opinion you should all go and buy them so prices skyrocket... Ahem. Tito and Jose of Macco Motors noticed just that and, with the request for a brawny cafe racer, turned their heads a little sideways in the search for a suitable donor. Rationalising the shortlist and taking the plunge led to them having a 14 year old Triumph Legend in their workshop. This satisfied Istvan, the client who's brief was for something with a bit more punch than the Bonneville manages to pump out. The most cruisery of the Triumph's '90s offerings, would mean a little more work than just tarting up a Thunderbird Sport. But with the quality suspension and the classic tank providing curvaceous lines, the challenge was accepted. Plus the Legend represents greater bang for buck over it's siblings. And so work on 'The Hustler' began. First up was to alter the stance of the bike, for a quintessential cafe look the standard 17" front wheel just wouldn't do. A 19" item from a Bonneville was drafted in, spindle and spacers altered to fit between the Showa forks. The rear wheel worked just fine, and both were stripped, powercoated and rebuilt with stainless spokes for contrast. This pairing allowed fitting of a Pirelli Route MT66 110/90/19 up front and a Bridgestone G548 160/70/17 out back. The increased inches up front sat the rear of the bike down further so the subframe was subtly modified to sweep back up toward the tank, gaining a looped rear end at the same time. That rounded rump aesthetically now ties in much closer to the tank. A one-off Macco Motors seat stretches the length of the subframe, clad in tuck and roll black vinyl there's plenty of room for two. With a barrow load of early '90s electrical gubbins to hide, a new battery box was fabricated to live below the seat. Along with the book sized CDI, the relays, fuses and Lithium cells have a new place to call home. Thankfully, the cooling reservoir was already hidden under the tank by Triumph, a neat solution to a potential headache on a watercooled bike. It's that tank that catches your eye; Macco really have a knack for creating sleek, classic paintjobs for their bikes. The deep red, grey and black scheme, picked out by white pinstriping lifts the whole bike, the detail swooping around the riders knee scallops. Turning to rider ergonomics, new footsrests draw the rider's legs back a touch, making the stretch to the inverted Tarozzi clipons more palatable. Right way up, the new bars created a riding position a little extreme for this side of a purple babygrow, but flipped over, they were bent-elbow right for Istvan. Moving from riser bars to clip ons left unecessary mounting holes in the top yoke though, nothing a quick blast of weld couldn't fill. Ground back and brushed flat, after a coat of satin black you'd be none the wiser; redundant functionality be gone! With the overbearing presence of Meriden-built reliability casting a shadow, the reborn Hinckley operation ensured that the build quality of it's early bikes erred on the side of over-engineered. The 885cc engines were solid, reliable powerplants and in the Legend incarnation put out a useful 70 bhp and gobs of torque. Factory finish crackle black paint on the engine is exceedingly hard wearing, meaning other than a service and a scrub, there was no reason for Macco to go digging through it's innards. It was treated to some easier breathing. The convoluted airbox assembly was cast aside and replaced with a brace of K&N's; alongside a thorough setup with a DynoJet kit. Biltwell grips and bar end mirrors butt up against the original handlebar controls, no awkward thumb stretching for misplaced switches here. Lighting up front is taken care of by a quality 5" 3/4 LSL headlight, now tucked up under the ignition and mini indicators peer around the sides of the stanchions. The cats eye rear light and number plate bracket hang off the end of a heavily chopped original rear mudguard. In contrast, the front is a custom fibreglass piece; Macco Motors must be commended to maintaining much of the daily functionality of the bike without compromising the lines. Now I may be biased, but I reckon that the sonorous bark of the early 885cc triple is up there with some of best motorcycling noises around. The wrapped standard headers on The Hustler launch the gases out through a pair of blacked out Dunstall rep silencers to what I know is a semi-inducing roar. This also negates the need for a rev counter, a solitary speedo gives all the necessary information; you'll know when to shift when you reach ear-gasm. As can be seen in the atmospheric photos, The Hustler looks planted. Despite the radiator and mono shock, the classic lines shine through showing that air cooling and twin shocks are not prerequisites for a retro ride. The Spanish duo can be contacto'd via their Website or Facebook page and be sure to follow their rather lovely Instagram account as well, for sneak peaks, build pics and other behind the scenes goodies. Thanks must also go to Sergio Ibarra from Semimate Agency for the beautiful photos.