You’d expect a motorcycle journalist who has reviewed scores of bikes in 46 nations over four decades to have a penchant for luxury.
But when TV and magazine writer/photographer and charity philanthropist Neale Bayly seeks a return to the ‘spirit of his youth’, there are only ever two choices. The British-born adventurer, now a native of Charlotte in America, spent a carefree youth circling the world with adrenalin-seeking pals from Alaska to Marrakech and Florida to Nicaragua.
He reminisced: “The tachometer of our lives stayed buried in the red. We lived to ride and rode to live. We lived the night, raging at parties till dawn.”
It came to an abrupt end in the late 90s as his two sons arrived… until their teenage years sparked a fresh yearning.
“By then the iconic Speed Triple was born and I wanted to recreate a style that dominated my youth. I’d already started to modify my bright yellow ’97 Daytona T595 with an aftermarket rear shock and re-valving in the front forks, so it was time to get busy,” he said.
“It’s amazing how different two machines with the same basic engine, frame and riding position could be. The ‘97 gets the nod for its uncivilized raw feel but there’s something to be said for the smooth, sophistication of the red one.”Neale Bayly
With a complete Speed Triple conversion and other modifications including lengthened cables, an AP master cylinder and fold up race unit clutch, the past was being recreated.
Neale, who has also taken a spanner to the smoother 2008 Triumph Speed III, added: “The project kept taking me home. Rear sets and passenger pegs went on next and a Corbin seat for more comfort and a better look. This isn’t about what you can do throwing ludicrous amounts of money at a motorcycle. It’s about what a little imagination and some good old-fashioned horse-trading can create.”
With a Triumph Sprint RS belly pan modified to fit and a favour begged from a bike buff painter friend, the transformation was complete.
“Sure it doesn’t run like a modern bike and the fuelling is questionable, but it looks fantastic and always packs a punch for an old girl when the throttle’s twisted to the stops,” said Neale.
“Blasting out on to the highway under a crystal blue sky I’m lost to the spirit of my youth, transported back to those halcyon days of motorcycle madness on an aggressive, naked, three-cylinder Triumph built with that sole purpose in mind.”
Where have you taken yours, how have you changed it and what are your most vivid memories? The Speed Triple is turning 21 and we want your memories of this iconic bike.
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