MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY
TRIUMPH TRIDENT

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY-
TRIUMPH TRIDENT THROUGH THE YEARS

One of the most exotic motorcycles to ever come out of Britain, or anywhere for that matter, was the Triumph Trident and its stablemate, the BSA Rocket 3. First off, they had three cylinders at a time when no one had more than two. The cash-strapped Brits cobbled together three of their 250 singles, devised an incredibly complex set of engine cases (with lots of seams to leak through), and an amazing new crankshaft tying it all together. The performance of these British Triples were nothing short of game-changing. Unfortunately, it took them so long to finally introduce the Trident and Rocket 3 that they hit just a few months before the next big game-changer, the Honda 750 Four. Intense competition from the Japanese Big 4, and endless financial and production problems at home kept production numbers low. And unfortunately, poor workmanship and even poorer quality control in the Meriden Factory led to myriad reliability issues that gave the bikes a bad reputation. Over these many years since production ceased in 1975, many talented people, with the benefit of all the latest technologies, have solved virtually every inherent problem with this engine. Today, they are fast, reliable, and also expensive to rebuild. Ouch. The Triumph Trident was produced from 1969 through 1975. The following, our Motorcycle Photo Gallery dedicated to the Triumph Trident is our humble attempt at a brief photo history of this legendary machine, year-by-year. Enjoy.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1969 TRIUMPH TRIDENT, AN UGLY BEGINNING

When the Triumph Trident was introduced as a 1969 model, it came with this boxy styling. Parent company BSA, had decided to give the styling job for both the Trident and the BSA Rocket 3 to an outside design firm, Ogle, which had only done cars in the past, never a motorcycle. This is what they came up with. The boxy tank is called a “shoebox” tank. And dig those crazy “ray gun” mufflers! They’re so big and heavy that they need their own support strut running vertically to the grab rail at the back of the seat. Lots of people got home and immediately pulled all the ugly stuff off and replaced it with Bonneville parts (tank, seat, mufflers, side covers). Because of this, original Ray Guns are now quite rare and valuable. And as it turns out they offer freer flow than almost any other muffler.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
THE HEART OF THE TRIUMPH TRIDENT

The heart of any motorcycle is its engine. But the Trident engine is a thing of beauty. Note the oil cooler under the nose of the tank. All Tridents and Rocket 3s had them. The gear-type oil pump moved so much oil so quickly, that it would fully circulate before ever having time to cool off. Hence the oil cooler. Just one more very novel (for the time) feature of these unique British Triples.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1969 TRIUMPH TRIDENT

The ’69 Trident used mostly Triumph Bonneville hardware, the wheels & brakes, the front & rear suspension, even the frame was similar, but with heavier gauge tubing. You can see the excellent 8-inch TLS (Twin Leading Shoe) front brake from the Bonneville here, probably the best front brake Triumph ever built, including the disk brakes that came later.
MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
KICKSTARTING A TRIUMPH TRIDENT

There were a few key areas in motorcycle design at the time, where the Japanese had clear superiority. By 1970, most Japanese heavyweights had front disk brakes, 5-speed transmissions, and most important of all, electric start. It took Triumph until late 1972 to get a 5-speed, until 1973 to get a front disk brake, and 1975 for an electric starter. Until then, you had to kick that baby. It’s not as hard as it sounds, once you develop your technique, and its running spot-on.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1970 TRIUMPH TRIDENT, A RETURN TO NORMALCY

BSA brass finally came to their senses and the 1970 Triumph Trident came out with more normal, typically Triumph, bodywork, taking on the look of the Bonneville.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY: 1970 TRIUMPH TRIDENT
A novel solution to getting 3 pipes around a single downtube, these early Tridents had a 3-into4-into-2 exhaust header, visible here. This is also a good view of the oil cooler.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY: 1970 TRIUMPH TRIDENT, A HANDSOME MACHINE
Just look at this thing. It’s gorgeous! Classic Triumphs have always had great lines, well other than the ’69 Trident perhaps. The classic Triumph styling cues are all there: teardrop tank, cigar silencers, slim fenders.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY: 1970 TRIUMPH TRIDENT ENGINE
Some people mistakenly refer to the Trident as a “Daytona-and-a-half”, referring to the Triumph Daytona 500 twin. But that’s not what they built the Trident out of. It’s too bad too, because the Daytona 500 had a slightly oversquare bore and stroke, which would have allowed the Trident to wind. Instead they used the undersquare 250cc single from the TR25. They decided on this one because its smaller bore helped to keep the total engine width to a minimum.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1971 TRIUMPH TRIDENT

Another year, another total styling redux. The Trident benefited from some of the new hardware introduced on the radically-redesigned Oil-in-Frame Bonnevilles, forks, lights, gauges, mufflers, and don’t forget those wild conical hubs. They have to be the coolest looking brake hubs ever. They didn’t stop all that well, but man they looked tough. And the Trident really looks great.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY: 1971 TRIUMPH TRIDENT
Here is an even better angle of that lovely conical front hub. Note the chromed-wire headlight brackets, straight off the 1971 Bonneville. They were prone to cracking from vibration, but they looked really cool.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1972 TRIUMPH TRIDENT

The 1972 Trident was pretty much carried over as is from 1971, with the exception of the color & the chromed fenders.
MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1972 TRIUMPH TRIDENT

The 1972 Trident was the last triple with a 4-speed gearbox and a front drum brake. Another major makeover was right around the corner.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1973 TRIUMPH TRIDENT

The biggest changes for the A HREF="http://www.classic-british-motorcycles.com/1973-triumph-trident.html">1973 Trident were the adoption of a 5-speed gearbox and, at long last, a front disk brake. Still no electric starter though.
MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1973 TRIUMPH TRIDENT

1973 is a personal favorite of mine. Having graduated high school in ’73, my mind is must stuck in that era. In my humble opinion, the 1973 Trident and 1973 Bonneville for that matter, are among the best riding Triumphs there are. Not as collectable as the pre-70 Bonnies, but much easier to live with on a long trip, or the day-to-day.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY:
1975 TRIUMPH T160 TRIDENT

In its final year, the Trident got a new nomenclature. Following Triumph tradition, the number after the "T" was supposed to signify the top speed of the machine. The first 500 Tigers were called T100 because they could presumably break 100mhp. The later 650 Tigers were called T110, and the 650 Bonneville became the T120, bumped to T140 in '73 when it was enlarged to 750cc. Hence, the original Trident T150 was supposed to do 150mph, and this new T160 must then be good for 160mph, right? Doubtful. But that's the story.

MOTORCYCLE PHOTO GALLERY: 1975 T160 TRIUMPH TRIDENT, THE FINAL CHAPTER
Triumph had to reengineer the Trident anyway just to move the shifter from the right to the left. So, they just went ahead and added an electric starter (finally). They decided to use the BSA Rocket 3 as a base, because its forward-canted cylinders gave more space behind for the starter. Alas, it was too little too late, and with pressure mounting from the Japanese, and the mounting problems within the factory, this was the final year for the mighty Triple.


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