Taylormade Saxon Triumph | The Bike That Changed My Life

Rider: John Keogh
Then: Emerging motorcycle stylist
Now: Director, John Keogh Design

"The bike that changed my life has to be the Taylormade Saxon Triumph, a unique racing machine built in a London back-garden shed to take on the world. I met Paul Taylor in a South London pub and agreed to assist with the bodywork and aerodynamic design, which led me to pit lane at Daytona in 1996. There I was forced to rethink everything I thought knew about motorcycle design...

"I stepped off the transatlantic flight at Orlando International Airport and headed straight to the ’60s-era monolith that is Daytona’s speed bowl. It looked nothing like the European road courses I was used to at home. But I had little time to contemplate the surroundings; there were just minutes remaining before first practice and the bike was still without numbers. I needed to hand-cut decals, and sharpish!

"Multi-time AMA Champion Scott Zampach was riding the bike in BEARS (British European American Racing Series) competition, against our chief rival Andrew Stroud on the all-conquering Britten. The Saxon, based on a 980cc Triumph triple and featuring an eccentrically adjustable chromoly tubular frame, was almost as radical under the skin as the Britten. Both had so-called funny’ front ends, the Saxon’s a Telelever-like design that allows far greater control especially under hard braking, and both had unique underseat radiators as well.

"More importantly, both unconventional machines worked quite well, and both had a lasting influence on my career as a motorcycle designer."