Certain works of art, when scrutinized in great detail, simply speak to the viewer and tell them that the artist is a master at his craft. Few custom motorcycle builders have achieved the status of Nicola Martini. Known in the custom scene as Mr Martini, he is one of the original custom motorcycle builders—a pioneer in the custom scene, he’s been creating custom machines since 1994. Adopting the Mr Martini label in 2003, he has an extensive repertoire of stunning custom motorcycles.
His career with motorcycles goes beyond the custom scene, however. He used to be an importer of Triumph motorcycles in Italy. Based in Verona, this gave him the opportunity to experiment on various Triumph motorcycles as platforms for his custom creations.
Mr Martini’s latest creation is based on a 1998 Triumph Legend TT. He wanted to build a machine that could compete in sprint races, stating that he had always wanted to participate in sprint racing, but had yet to own a bike suitable for the endeavor. As such, his choice of a Triumph Legend TT, is somewhat of an unusual choice.
Triumph enthusiasts would know that the Triumph Legend TT was designed primarily as a cruiser, rather than a sportbike. With the Harley-Davidson Sportster as its main competitor, the Legend TT featured a relatively low powered engine with a docile power curve. Released as a less expensive variant of the Triumph Thunderbird 900, the Legend TT sports the same engine, albeit less chrome trim and accessories to lower the price.
Powered by an 886cc triple, its engine featured overhead cams, liquid cooling, unit construction, and a five-speed gearbox. This gave the bike 69 horsepower—rather friendly for an engine of this displacement. As such, Mr Martini knew that the first order of business was bumping the power up in whatever way possible. He also needed to find a way to work around the bike’s cruiser setup and make it more of a sportbike by reducing weight and drastically altering its ergonomics.
The result? Well, Mr Martini happened to have a pile of parts from a Suzuki GSX-R. So he fabricated new triple trees and mounted the Japanese sportbike’s inverted forks to the front of the Legend TT. Along with the front end, the GSX-R’s front wheel and dual disc brake setup was fitted. The GSX-R’s rear wheel and brake assembly was also fitted onto the Legend’s stock swing arm. Lastly, the Legend’s subframe was trimmed to remove the pillion seat and provide a racier aesthetic.
As far as performance is concerned, a set of three high-flow air filters and some tweaking of the carburetors improved the bikes fueling. This, paired with a new free flowing exhaust system bumped up the bike’s power to 90 horsepower, a whopping 20 horsepower increase from its stock form.
When looking at this build in its entirety, it would almost be unrecognizable as a Triumph Legend TT. In fact, one would think that this bike is a classic TT racer from the eighties. Truly the perfect marriage of form and function, this build speaks volumes about Mr Martini’s talent.