Apparently “Nice blokes finish last”. Well that’s a load of bollocks. We met Kris Reniers of Deep Creek Cycle Works, virtually at least, a couple of years back when he was working a tough day job as an industrial electrical engineer while bike building in the evenings and trying to maintain a regular family life. Oh, and classic bike racing when time allowed.
Chasing the elusive dream is a familiar tale and it would seem that hard work and dedication look to have paid off but the rest of the equation can only be put down to Kris being a great guy to go for a beer with, shoot the breeze and talk bikes. His customers must agree as Deep Creek is now a full time venture and the order book is getting thicker.
One such customer from St. Tropez was looking for a surprise birthday present for his wife and rather than blow a load of cash on a soulless boutique gift he picked up the phone to Kris and got chatting about building a retro-custom Triumph. An ex-Dutch Army Triumph 3TA from 1966 was purchased as the donor, shipped back to Deep Creek’s Belgian HQ, where it was named Spiller by Kris due to it’s inability to hold oil.
First job was to seal-up the incontinent old girl to save any embarrassing leaks outside fancy coffee shops on the Promenade de la Croisette. Kris overhauled the motor, fitted new gaskets and hand-sanded the cases as the build brief was “rough and back to basics”.
One thing the birthday girl wasn’t going to deal with too well was the British right hand gear shift so Kris had to fashion an intricate yet subtle linkage to swap the lever to the left. And of course persuade the rear brake to work from the right. Despite this being a major head-scratcher you have to crane your neck at these pictures to work out what goes where. Neat job!
A bobber-ish look was required so the frame rails have been lopped off and new shock mounts grafted in much further forward in an effort to give a slightly hardtail aesthetic. Shocks were a must as the roads up in the mountains are no place for a rigid frame, especially when the sea mist rolls in and turns the asphalt slick.
Kris’ mate Stephen from Motokouture (another top bloke- they must brew them in Belgium) is a genius with leather and knocked-up this tidy cross stitched saddle which perches atop the new subframe arrangement. The mudguard is mounted to the swingarm to keep a tidy gap between it and Firestone tyre further suggesting traditional bobber styling. The original tank had nearly half a decade of patina beneath the army paint and it seemed a crime to hide the metal beneath so Kris roughly Scotchbrited it back and lacquered over. A similar finish for the mudguards completes the look. Further headaches came by way of trying to persuade a Motogadget system to mate to the Triumph’s original wiring system. Kris stuck with the swapping process and changed over to negative earth, upgraded from 6 to 12 volts and fitted an electronic ignition to reduce maintenance and ease starting.
Despite there only being a small, low compression piston in the little Triumph motor the bike is still British and with that likely to have an off day and not like starting. Perhaps because the breeze is 12 and not 15 kph and coming from the north east, who knows. So rather than have the birthday ruined by a lot of red faced kicking a sturdier centre stand was fabricated and a Shimano cycle pedal attached to the kickstart. There’ll be no slipping off that in flip flops.
Kris doesn’t appear to have a set formula to work to and has of far produced an array of different customs, each one with a bit of his positive personality shining through. Spiller is enjoying a leak-free summer on the French Riviera and already has thousands of kilometres under his belt, without upsetting any café owners.