February 7th, 2012
Roy Norton and Tom Kasher had an interesting thesis project for their final term at Northumbria University. They sought to design a bike taking retro themes in a modern direction.
The pair started out with concept sketches. These developed into the final renderings that earned them internships at the Xenophya motorcycle design studio.
The concept was based on a Triumph Bonneville. This caught the eye of Simon Warburton, the Product Manager of Triumph Motorcycles. Warburton was so impressed with their design, that he offered factory support for building their prototype. Triumph provided a Bonneville and technical support for the design.
Norton and Kasher said the factory “provided huge amounts of support and guidance through the design stage.” Technicians from Triumph helped them create a digital tape to make sure the proportions of the motorcycle would be ride-able and street legal.
The students first built a full-sized mock-up using mostly polystyrene foam and clay. The rear suspension was cut and replaced with a shortened swing arm and a single shock. The front forks were replaced with a retro girder replacement that at first glance looks like an antique solid set of forks. There is a hidden shock mounted between the forks for suspension play, however.
Product Manager Warburton was happy with the result. “The bike looks great and there are some elements of it that may have an influence on some of our future projects.”
Kasher had this to say about the experience: “It has given us an insight into working within the motorcycle industry at the highest level.”
Norton and Kasher are now employed full time at Xenophya.