If you’ve ever wondered to yourself, how long does the pursuit of perfection actually take? It appears we have the answer: fourteen years! That’s how long Dutch builders Aad Heemskerk and Mark van der Kwaak have spent painstakingly building this incredible show machine. Mark is the man behind DBBP Design and specialises in product development and computer-animated design. Aad on the other hand, is a metal worker who plies his trade making parts for very expensive boats. Together, they’ve built a number of show-winning bikes, but it is this Triumph that is their shared magnum opus. Designed in CAD and built literally by hand, this T120 Triumph Bonneville Bobber is custom bike building at its best.
Both men are now in their 50s and have spent a large number of those years riding and building bikes. From an NSU scooter to a BMW, plenty of Japanese bikes, and the best of British and Harley-Davidson, there is little they haven’t laid their hands on. This bike was picked up in relatively original and ratty shape fourteen years ago, and in between other builds, it’s been an on-going love. “Aad and I have been working on this project together from the start, I mainly do the ideas and design, such as the whole motor in 3D and the wiring, and Aad mainly the metalwork and polishing,” explains Mark.
The name of the bike, CAD 49, comes from the fact that this is the 49th complete custom that Mark has designed, many of which the pair have brought to life. But this has to be their cleanest custom, and the first step after stripping the bike down to its bones was to give the rear end a full hardtail conversion. The front end uses the original forks, which have been shortened for the build, with the lower legs turned down so that the fit with the stainless upper shrouds is as exacting as possible. These pieces, like many on the bike, were done multiple times until they were absolutely perfect. In fact, even then, the clamps and stem have been modified once more to better hide one single wire.
The bars are handmade from stainless too, with an internal throttle and nothing more for an uber-clean look. The bodywork starts with a Japanese tank, which is all but completely rebuilt and hides the ignition coil, while also sporting a cool custom filler with a friend’s old glass eye placed in the top. Look out!
The rear fender is hand-rolled on an English wheel, with hidden struts that are incredibly beefy so as to take the weight of that stunning leather seat, made from an old motorcycle jacket. Behind it, the sissy bar and the incorporated light housing are completely handmade from more stainless, and you begin to understand where all those years went.
The oil tank is a part some will recognise, it is mounted upside down and then has a convex shape cut out of it to allow the chain to pass through. There are simply so many beautiful details; you have to let the pictures tell the story and drink them all in. The wheels are 21in for the front with a custom hub from Flying Choppers and an Avon Speedmaster tyre, while the original rear hub sports an 18” rim and Firestone Deluxe tyre. The years of polishing are all done by Aad, while KustomBart laid down the absolutely incredible paint work and graphics, designed by Mark, which feature an ivory white and three shades of green finish.
The powerplant is a 1964 T120 unit that has been completely overhauled by Jos Reijnders with some trick modifications. The bottom end utilises the factory crank and rods, which have been balanced back to perfection. These swing an all-new set of oversized 20-thou pistons that slot into honed bores. The top end is all new, with the head featuring new valves, seats, and guides, which allows the engine to run without an issue on unleaded fuel. Having completed the long block, Aad spent a full three days smoothing out the exterior of the engine, polishing the cases, replacing the left cover, and removing any rough edges around the seams for a truly stunning result.
The outside of the engine is just as impressive and is fuelled by an Amal carb on a highly polished intake, which features a homemade velocity stack with a brass-grilled entry. The exhaust system then takes things to another level. All hand-made from stainless steel for longevity, the headers flow with a seamless finish to those gorgeous rounded ends.
The electrics have been neatly hidden, and there is no need for a battery on this bike; just kick and ride. While the gearbox is the original, it has been customised with a one-off hydraulic clutch. But the way you shift the gears is now very different from a stock ’64 T120!
First, the old British style of right shift has been moved to the more common left of the bike, and the braking is now over on the right. Then, using a bunch of stainless steel parts, a homemade pedal clutch has been fabricated, as well as a sweet jockey shift with a black ball that falls easily into the hand. The rest of the pegs and pedals are also handmade from the same stainless steel, with beautiful brass bushings and a clever pivot off the rear fender.
By now, you might have noticed what you think is a second jockey shift, but no, it operates the hidden side stand, polished stainless steel, that swings out from under the bike. Yes, this bike is not only built and not bought; there is a level of genius that deserves a standing ovation and has been honoured with plenty of trophies for the cabinet.