With a name as resounding as Old Empire Motorcycles, that U.K. motorcycle shop surely has a lot to live up to, and boy does it do just that and much more. With an outward ease and seamless flair that only come when practicing your true calling, the British bike builders, located in Norfolk, pour their love for everything two-wheeled into the design and creation of handmade custom motorcycles, parts and attire.
Old Empire Motorcycles and its mission are driven by the very same thing that fuels our love for custom bikes – the unlimited ability for individual expression they offer through a timeless blend of art and engineering, which is as functional as it is beautiful and unique. In that spirit, Alec Sharp and Rafe Pugh never confine themselves within set stylistic rules but rather strive to show that a strong vision will always prevail over a big name or abundant resources. This is what makes them so good at bringing clients’ dream rides to life – they can work with almost anything to create a bike that is really something.
With Britain deeply rooted in their vision, the builders express their admiration for Great British automotive, aeronautic and maritime history by annually naming a handful of one-off custom bikes after momentous machines. They do their best to design and craft as much as possible entirely in Britain and with the help of British manufacturers. Slogans are rarely as truth-inspired as is theirs – British Made British Pride.
And if all this doesn’t show how personal and intimate the idea of bikes is to this shop, consider this: they took time from their busy schedule to travel over 1,000 miles in just a couple of days and deliver a custom bike they created for their friend in France. The full film of the journey and the priceless reaction of this lucky son of a gun is called “The Delivery” and you can see it on the shop’s website. It captures the sentiment that unites bikers around the world and these talented builders live and breathe: “Duo animum movent rotis” – Two wheels move the soul.
One project that perfectly embodies the fluidity of their approach, akin to using bike parts like clay and modifying the end creation dynamically like an avatar in an RPG game, tailored to specific purposes and environments, is the Old Empire custom Triumph T120.
“After being inundated with enquiries following the release of our T120 collab build with Triumph last year we decided to build a more useable and more refined motorcycle based around the aesthetics we created for that build but tamed and integrated with creature comforts…like lights,”
It still captures the same signature primal feel but incorporates it within a more functional and sophisticated design that includes some everyday commodities.
2017 Triumph T120 Black
Metzlers all round
Shortened front end
Modified top yoke
Integrated indictors LED headlight
Custom headlight clamps
Custom guards front and back
Custom seat pan and leather seat
Custom stainless steel big bore exhausts
Custom radiator cowling/bashplate
Custom empire controls and leather grips
Remote master cylinder
M unit and partial rewire
Integrated indicator LED strip
Custom rear frame hoop
Custom Fat Bars
Fox piggy back shocks
Custom gloss black paint and armour black ceracote