XTR Pepo’s BSA might be a thinly-disguised Triumph, but this latest gem from the man in Madrid evokes great british racing heritage beautifully
We featured Pepo Rosell’s amazing Bultaco street racer in the May issue of Classic Bike and couldn’t resist finding space for this ‘BSA’ that he’s created. Pepo prides himself on building aggressive-looking café racers – bikes that are jacked up at the back and pivot on their nose. His sharp-steering ethos comes from his passion for the race track. His ‘BSA Rocket 3’ – which is actually built around a Hinckley Triumph – captures all his passion and also encapsulates the heritage of two of Britain’s most famous motorcycle brands. Time for a little history lesson...
In 1969 Triumph’s racing engineer Doug Hele began development work on a new 750cc three-cylinder machine to race in the burgeoning Formula 750 class. The triples, run in BSA and Triumph colours, featured special racing frames made by Rob North. They were hugely successful for a short period in the new class, racing against bikes like the 750 Norton twins, Honda CB750 and two-stroke screamers like the 500 Kawasaki triples, 500 Suzuki twins and the giant-killing 350cc Yamaha. Dick Mann won the 1971 Daytona 200 on one of the BSAS, while Gene Romero and Don Emde completed the podium on Triumphs. But probably the most famous victory came at the Mallory Park Race of the Year when local hero John Cooper took his BSA – which was a production-based machine – to a legendary victory over Giacomo Agostini on the mighty and exotic 500cc MV Agusta Grand Prix racer.
Pepo Rosell’s café racer triple pays homage to Cooper’s Rocket 3. The donor machine is a year-2000 Triumph Legend TT 900 with Ohlins fork and yokes from a Triumph Daytona 675R, Brembo radial calipers and brake discs. The rear caliper and disc, as well as the carbon-fibre front mudguard are also from a Triumph Daytona 675R.
Pepo’s personal interpretation of the ‘Rocket 3’ has the same graceful curves as Rob North’s racing Triples – but the Spaniard’s creation features a massive, arching backbone whereas the original race bike sported a more traditional tubular frame. The stock frame has been modified and Pepo has added an XTR ‘monotubo’ subframe with a tiny hump seat with styling cues taken from early Yamaha TD2/3 and TR2/3 two-stroke seats.
The swingarm is also modified and takes a YSS shock. Wheels are Triumph Daytona 675R aluminium forged items, front and rear.
Pepo is renowned for his attention to detail and eye-popping parts. The clip-on handlebars were Cncmachined and then treated to Brembo radial brake and clutch master cylinders from a Ducati 1098, XTR adjustable and foldable levers and Domino quick-open throttle. The brake lines are by Frentubo. He opted for a Motogadget dashboard inside the XTR fairing and windshield. The fuel tank is from a Suzuki Bandit – though it’s so heavily modified you’d be hardpressed to recognise it – and he’s added a Laverda filler cap.
The motor is basically standard, although Pepo has ported the cylinder head. The exhaust system consists of modified downpipes from a Triumph Speed Triple, finished off with one of his much-loved Supermario megaphones.
The old-school BSA livery was applied by Pintumoto, to underscore what is a great tribute to John Cooper’s Agostini-beating BSA Rocket 3 of 1971. *If you want to see more of Pepo’s work, there’s a portfolio of his recent Ducati custom builds in issue six of Built magazine, one sale now.
‘HIS ‘ROCKET 3’ HAS THE GRACEFUL CURVES OF A ROB NORTH RACING TRIPLE’
Above: A fine source of inspiration – a BSA Rocket 3 with John Cooper on it