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A page or two than usual, due to a space constraint, but we always want to hear from you!
I was inspired by the article in RC171 about Triumph Tridents and the longevity of the owners’ relationships with these bikes. I am the current owner of a very late model T150V which was made in October 1974, just a month before production switched to the T160V. Most of our bikes have names and for some reason my wife named this one ‘The Beast’.
Little did I know when, somewhat to my surprise, I won the eBay auction for a used T150V in August 2007 that I was basically taking on a legacy. What attracted me to the Trident was that it was obviously a bike for riding rather than polishing. It was affordable and only had two previous owners at that point. The then-current owner had owned the bike for approximately 10 years.
It didn’t occur to me to ask about the mileage of the bike. After all, a classic bike is only as good as its last rebuild. Right? Only once I was handed the thick sheaf of documents that came with the bike did I find out that the original owner, one Martin Jones, had purchased the bike from Copes of Birmingham in February 1975. He then used the Trident for the next 20 years as his sole transport, eventually replacing it with one of the new Hinckley triples.
Over such a long period of time, the T150 inevitably went through a number of iterations. An Avon fairing, Craven panniers and a big bore kit all came and went, while a Hyde seat, raygun silencers, RITA ignition and stainless mudguards arrived and stayed. I have an article from the Triumph Owners Club magazine of June 1983 when the bike was just eight years old, extolling the fact that it had just clocked 100,000 miles. Then an article from MCN when the bike hit 200,000 miles in 1994, just a few years before Martin swapped it out.
The secret to its longevity? Obviously the Meriden triples must be a tough design and the previous owners all added Wynns oil treatment to the engine oil, which I have continued. On buying the bike it needed some recommissioning and fettling, but I tried to respect the bike’s history. It may not be totally factory standard, but many of the replacement parts themselves have been in place for well over 30 years. The raygun silencers are not factory original but have been in place for most of the bike’s life. They now have very little of their original baffling, so sound superb. The gold paint may be faded, but it still has its original factory paint job on the tank after 43 years of use. The previous owner had fitted an additional front brake caliper in the fore and aft style of Slippery Sam, but these were the original, heavy Lockheed cast iron calipers which made the steering very strange at slow speeds. I have replaced these with alloy Grimeca items, so the excellent Trident handling is restored.
Compared with its early life the Beast is now in semi-retirement, but it still gets used. I have done around 20,000 miles during my ownership. It’s used for long distance commuting and club runs, has been touring around the UK and Europe, and goes out when I feel the need for the occasional blast. Sure, the clutch requires the hand of Hercules, neutral can be difficult to find (read ‘impossible’) while stationary, and both the pushrod tube seals and rocker spindle seals leak some oil, but it can still rattle along quite smartly enough while providing a great soundtrack. With new Avon Roadriders, the handling is excellent. So, it is now 242,000 miles up and still going strong. One day I will do some work on the engine, but nothing is pressing at present and other projects are ahead of it in the queue.
I wonder if Martin Jones, the original owner, is a RealClassic reader?
Paul Digweed, member 5970
Thanks for this, Paul. If any other readers have bikes with similar high mileages, we’d love to hear about them. Frank W