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Triumph Bonneville T140 – Yuri Shif Customs

Posted on February 17, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 38 comments

It’s hard to believe its been a year since we featured Yuri Shif Customs (YSC) jaw-dropping creation they called ‘The Machine’. What we love about this builder from Belarus is he is always experimenting with different styles of bikes, and this time it’s right up our alley. Yuri’s exquisite Triumph café racer is so clean and lean with everything being shortened, hidden or removed. At a glance it may seem like a relatively easy look to achieve but when you take a closer look you see the amazing attention to detail. The kind of detail you’d expect from a guy who has won the AMD World Championship and also the Best International Builder award at the Verona Expo. We were surprised to learn that Yuri actually found building a café racer a real challenge. “Standards of building café racers have been developing for decades and seem to be now fixed as undeniable laws” says Yuri. “That’s why it naturally gives much less space for free creativeness than, say, building of a bobber or a chopper.” Even though building a café racer might be a little bit restrictive for a creative guy like Yuri, we still think he’s managed to stamp it with his individual style.

The donor bike was a 1976 Triumph Bonneville T140. Although by the time YSC had finished with it there was not much of the original bike left. The immaculate 750-cubic twin (53 HP) sits effortlessly in the open frame with a pair of classic 30mm Amal carburetors, an integrated 5-speed gearbox and a front fork. YSC made this frame very geometrical — its tubes are parallel to the lines of the front fork and the rear shock absorbers. All the rubber hosing was swapped for a more visual pleasing copper piping. The exhaust system, gas tank, seat, clip-ons, foot controls, swing-arm, electric system were all made exclusively for this motorcycle by the YSC crew. The moon disc style wheels are 16” plates from a Harley-Davidson. Finally, the bike was painted in a color Yuri calls “gypsy racing green” – it’s like a more glitzy version of British racing green. The combination of the green, gold, brown leather and copper is a match made in café racer heaven.

Yuri tells us their objective was to bring “maximum aesthetic and performance features to the motorcycle with really limited means” as the café racer style doesn’t allow any “extra” or non-functional parts. We think Yuri and his team have done a great job building this faultless Triumph in the true spirit of the café racer. Which leaves Yuri only one thing left to do on this bike… crack the Ton.

  • GERmoped

    The wheels and tires dont really fit that bike in my opinion, the wheels look too heavy for such a thin and small bike, the tires are ok but with these white stripes they dont look good with the wheels.

    but really good job on the bike, i like that kind of handy, thin and small looking bikes !

  • Sweet and simple. The solid wheels put me off a little. Beautiful bike.

  • Tigger

    Nar, for me it is fantastic. Personally, 2″ lower front and back (maybe 3″) is all I would have done (or asked for) different.

  • Pablo @ Evolution


  • Brien

    Can’t see any oil tank?
    The T140 was oil-in-frame originally
    More info please!

    • Writejim

      Looks like a separate oil tank in the front of the gas tank.

    • 45Garage

      If you look closely at the pictures you can see the oil lines coming down at the rear of the fuel tank. I’d like more info on that as well. Looks nice and clean like that.

  • James Luce

    no exhaust collars… I wonder how they’re secured on there?

  • Generic1776

    Ahhh… car tires!   Let me guess they “ought to get 40,000 miles out of them… if they make it around the next curve.”

  • Thomas773

    Saw this a while ago here…

  • Ugh

    “Guys , I have a concept for a bike! Make the top half as light and narrow as possible and the bottom as heavy and wide as possible!”
    Apart from that it looks pretty good, though.

  • Bobwark

    Technically and visually a winner. Regarding the tire choice, i have used those tires once, never again for me, horrific handling. But, as i always say it is his bike and if he likes it then he has met the number one goal.

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    Very impressive.  And I do appreciate a builder that acknowledges that a cafe racer has strict and well defined parameters…which is frequently a huge error with bikes featured as “cafe racers”.  

    And then, even after citing the rule of eliminating everything that doesn’t serve a purpose, there are the moon disk wheels.  Nice looking, but I’m thinking the weight and steering effects aren’t truly in keeping with his own words.  And those Slim Jim pipes sure add some style, but at that length of plain old straight tubing, the upper rpm Hp for doin the ton is being stifled.  And the bigger than necessary front tire (do I even need to mention the tread) is just more bulk than a trim CR needs to haul around. Just sayin.

    I like to look at it though.

    • Pablo @ Evolution

      two into one is the best for power, but if you run seperate pipes, longer the better. the travelling exhaust pulse helps pull the inlet charge in while the cam is on overlap.

      • AlwaysOnTwo

        You need some serious education on exhaust tuning.

        When using straight pipes with no collector to scavenge exhaust by pulses in the cam overlap and exhaust velocity from the previous cylinder firing, SHORT pipes are the best. NO ONE that builds serious performance engines has EVER used long skinny pipes.

        The long pipes will generate multiple resonance back pressure waves and standing waves. The longer pipe will increase backpressure as a function of volume resistance.

        There are several exhaust tuning calculators that are available, many online. Try them and you’ll see that SHORT pipes(when individual) are always better because they can be quickly tuned to a length that will coincide with the engines desired operating rpm.


  • Jesper

    Too skiny for thoes tires!!! 

    That is all 🙂

    With regards,


  • Laurent Batisse

    To me it’s like a mix of Falcon and Wrenchmonkees… I love both of them but not sure about this mix. The first cafe racer Yuri make is way better than the other clown choppers he did, and the work and the details are amazing, I m just waiting for the next one, maybe it would be more personnal on the style!

  • Dave

    nice statue

  • Vachequipis

    The proportions are as near as dammit  perfection the only thing that I would change are those fatboy disks, I like spokes and sometimes snowflakes, but hey ho thast easy to change! Feck I want to own this bike, if only I could afford it!!!!!! 

  • Briton Bees

    Excellent !

  • Sean

    Tough crowd… Tough crowd today… Change the wheels and the tires (off a ’42 Buick) and I’d ride it all day. Cafe seat is sweet.

  • Steve Ducharme

    Decent enough I suppose bit the Corker tire trend is going to get someone killed one of these days.  That is IF they intend to  ever actually ride what are essentially vintage concept bikes.

  • Philip Pointer


  • Phil g

    this is the first “cafe racer” that i have actually stopped to look at in a long time, im a big fan of the minimalist look, no fenders, lots of open spaces, a long skinny fuel tank and a classy but not too flashy paint reminds me a lot of my own build but those wheels are killing me!!!

  • Cliff Overton

    Tend to agree with the good folk here on the heavy tyre and wheel look – I think I would have liked to see some spokes on this classic looking bike. By the way – where can I get velocity stacks with those dome mesh filters to fit my Black Bomber?

  • Artem

    It looks pretty heavy and unproportioned in person – I saw it at Motopark 2011 in Moscow, when we exhibited our caferacer there. “The Machine” is much more stunning…

  • DindarTheGrey

    A gorgeous bike once again ruined by the stupid tyre choice. I dont know when or why this fashion started but I do know that when we were building 'cafe racer' style bikes in the seventies and eighties we chose the stickiest rubber available, profiled for cornering. TT100's , Pirelli Phantoms , Avon Roadrunners , Michelin PZ2 ( or PZ4 if we could get them).

    I like cornering.

  • matt muellner

    Fat bottom girl that’s also too tall.  Drop it a few in, put on more visual pleasing tire/wheel combo & it would be a stunner.  The exhaust could be better with a few minor tweaks such as reverse mega’s.   The stance reminds me of this:    

  • mickdaly

    I’m an OLD biker (yes, I rode cafe racers in the 60s!) and I love that bike! You can be a purist or an admirer .. great job Yuri!

  • Love it!

  • Too heavy of wheels for that bike. And the white walls have to go!! Needs a good set of 19″ spoke wheels and some brickyard tread black walls. 

  • Steve

    Overall I like it a lot. Pipes look a bit too small in diameter and too straight for my liking. Wheels and tyre choice could be improved, but again a minor thing. Nice work!

  • FFL

    Awesome craftsmanship!

  • Popssss

    I want to do a green and brown bike, and I love the green you picked.
    please tell me what it is!!

  • Erik Harland Ludwig

    Very nice, id put some good ol spoke rims on it though.

  • beno dobes

    very nice, clean, simple. but im shure it never gets ridden. beautiful bike but not realy my style…