Gilsons Type 1: New Brit café racer

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Owned by a trio of die-hard biking enthusiasts, this is Gilson’s first creation: the Type 1 Café Racer, yours for £12,500. Jules and Mike Gilson and Mark Robbins have based the retro custom on an 07/08 vintage, carburetted Triumph Thruxton, although it would be easy to be fooled into thinking it’s a 1964 machine.

Gilsons are planning to put the Type 1 Café Racer into full production after the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC (19th-27th November). They say they’ll produce enough parts to ensure that they can build your bike within a week of placing your order.

The Triumph’s engine remains stock, although K&N filters replace the airbox and the twin carbs are re-jetted. Standard exhausts are replaced by stainless steel predator-style items, made by British Customs. Geared for motorway cruising, the Type 1 Café Racer has a one-tooth bigger front sprocket and a one-tooth smaller rear. 

To make the used donor bike feel like new again, the chassis has been completely stripped and fitted with new bearings, seals and bushes and rebuilt with a powder-coated frame, swingarm and fork legs.

A hand-made aluminium fuel tank, seat and custom rear mudguard and light assembly gives the Type 1 Café Racer its distinctive, retro look.

It’s a lovely machine to ride and lighter than standard, thanks to the new wheels, bodywork, exhaust and shock. The riding position is nice and roomy – ideal for a chap in his advancing years and dodgy knees, like me. The engine retains the Thruxton’s solid meat-and-potato grunt and its lovely throttle response.

Read the full story in this week’s MCN (12 October), on sale now. Don’t miss out, subscribe to MCN from just £1 per issue.