Bad Winners takes the Thruxton 1200 from good to great
Four years ago, the Paris workshop Bad Winners wowed us with a custom Thruxton café racer called ‘Zero Gravity.’ Company founder Walid Ben Lamine has now released v.2.0 of that killer build, and he’s planning a limited production run of 25 units.
The new kit is based on a current-model Thruxton 1200 RS, and the stats are impressive. It lops just over 30 kilos from the curb weight, and adds over 20 horsepower—so it’s not just a very pretty face. A fully kitted-out Thruxton will weigh around 165 kilos (364 pounds) and pump out 125 horses, which sounds like a recipe for amusement.
The engine has been hot-rodded, starting with a TEC cam that has more lift, duration and overlap than the standard cam. A high-flow air intake kit from Free Spirits increases power still further, with gases exiting via Termignoni exhaust pipes and a stubby, custom-made muffler from SC-Project.
A Dynojet Power Commander V with a custom Bad Winners map keeps the liquid-cooled parallel twin in optimum tune.
Power is only one half of the performance equation, so Bad Winners have also focused on ‘adding lightness.’ Ultra-light 17-inch Dymag CA5 monobloc carbon fiber wheels make a big difference to the handling dynamics, and weigh less than three kilos apiece.
The wheels are shod with Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa road-legal race tires, in the SC2 compound. The 180-section rear tire and slightly wider rim than stock means that Walid had to fit an offset front sprocket to ensure proper chain alignment.
The tank cover, headlight cover, seat unit and front fender are all carbon fiber too. But there’s a traditional touch with the black leather seat, complete with angular pleats echoing white painted stripes that partially conceal the beautiful carbon weave on the tank.
The cockpit gets not-so-subtle upgrades too, with discreet Motone switchgear, plus Renthal clip-ons attached to a custom triple tree with an integrated digital dashboard. And that’s where most of Bad Winners’ development work has focused in the past few months.
“The electronics on modern bikes are a massive issue when you’re planning a build,” says Walid. “That’s why we decided to work on our dashboard. We have developed our own motherboard and software—we have an electronic engineer in-house—so we can communicate with any CAN Bus system.”
Bad Winners already have setups for Triumph bikes, the Husqvarna 701s, the Ducati Scrambler, the BMW R nine T, and the Yamaha XSR700/MT-07. “It’ll be on the market at the end of April,” says Walid.
It’s a high tech approach to a build that still looks decidedly analog on the outside, and we love the contrast. But Zero Gravity 2.0 almost didn’t happen.
Bad Winners hit a shaky patch due to Covid-19, but is now on solid ground as a business. “In March 2020 we almost closed the company when the first lockdown arrived,” Walid reveals.
“There were too many problems for us to work properly, finish projects or deliver to clients. Our cashflow was dying. But we decided to focus our effort on the digital side and the webshop. It worked, and we doing well now.”
Walid is now working out of a big new 560 sq. meter (6,000 sq. ft.) space, and the company is nine-strong. “We now produce kits and series runs of bikes,” he says. “It’s the only viable business model.”
If you’ve got a recent model Thruxton and fancy something a little lighter and more nimble, hit up Bad Winners via their website. We reckon they’re onto something here.