7 GREAT TRIUMPHS
PRE-HINCKLEYHINCKLEY Because the first 89 years of Triumph’s history should never be left behind. Neil Murray makes a living buying & selling pre-loved metal – and he’s on your side
X75 Hurricane (1973)
The striking X75 is an aside to the whole BSA Rocket 3/ Triumph Trident story. More BSA than Triumph, it was the result of BSA USA commissioning customiser Craig Vetter to restyle the Rocket 3 to put one over Triumph. Its unique swooping bodywork, extended forks and triple pipes did just that. Unfortunately, by the time the Hurricane entered production, BSA had closed forcing an ironic re-badge, albeit still using BSA (inclined cylinder) engines and other parts. Expensive and impractical, just 1152 were made.
‘Les Harris’ Bonneville (1985-89)
After Meriden’s collapse in 1983 parts specialist Les Harris bought the tooling and parts and was granted a licence to build the T140. From 1985 to 1988 (when the licence expired) he produced 1255 machines, mostly distinguished by having Magura switchgear, Paioli forks, and Lafranconi silencers.
Thunderbird 650 (1949-1966)
Big-bore, semi-cruiser version of the 500cc Speed Twin was originally launched in 1949 and aimed at the US market. It was the Meriden firm’s most powerful (until the 1959 Bonneville) and flagship machine throughout the 1950s and gained fame by being the bike ridden by Marlon Brando in the 1953 movie The Wild Oneone.
What you’ll pay today But should you?
Less celebrated than the later Bonneville but just as classy and arguably better value.
T160V Trident (1975)
exposed the roads are. I kept an eye on the horizontal windsocks that lined the route, making sure I kept as relaxed as possible. The Harley’s not designed to travel at speed but I wanted get to my fuel stop as quickly as possible so I was pushing on. When I filled up the higher speed had reduced my fuel economy to a disappointing 42mpg. I found my fingertips were tingling because of vibrations through the handlebars − not pleasant, but bearable.
Turning off the motorway at last to find drier roads and a few sweeping bends, I was able to lower the speeds, lift my head and enjoy the final 20 miles of the ride. Seeing La Maison du Foster come into view, I couldn’t wait to get off the bike, stretch my rather weary legs and enjoy a chilled glass of rosé!