Triton - why?

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Jul 18, 2004
Alright -

I just picked up the September issue of Classic Bike Guide and it features a nicely done Triton (and an over the top 19R - IMHO).

I was wondering why people make Tritons in the first place... is the Turnip a stronger/faster/better motor ?!

Not having had the luxury of comparison rides - and missing the cafe scene by 30 years, what was the reasoning?

I'm going to take two wild guesses and see if I'm in the ballpark.

1) (Less likely) 500cc triumph for racing displacement rules (I know they run against Manx's, etc - and hate it - in the 500cc class.) Cheap to run against AJS 7R's, Velocette Thruxton's, etc.

2) (More likely) the Featherbed is a better handling chassis than the early-mid 60's rats. So they keep their unit triumph and use Norton bits to make it "rideable".

Am I close?
The Triton grew out of the British cafe racer scene. In the '50's the Formula 3 car racers found that the best 500cc engine was a double knocker Norton Manx. They pulled the engines out of the frames to build their Cooper Nortons, so there was a supply of Manx frames lying about. Since the pre-unit Triumph frame was not a particularly good handling machine, the Triumph cafe boys slid their engines with either the Triumph gearbox or retaining the Norton one into the discarded Manx frames. Lo and behold they had a fairly inexpensive machine that handled like a dream (or is that a featherbed?) that they could "do the Ton" to the Ace cafe.
Don't know how much of the story is true, but that's what was told to me and I kind of like it!

Having grown up??? in the the UK in the 60's I have real fond memories of Tritons-- some very fast and smooth handling, some sheer death traps!, the idea was / is to take the best of both worlds, Nortons feather bed frame--good handling, Triumph motor 500cc / 650cc, fast and tuneable,got yourself a real roadburner lots of tasty bits available from Dresda, Tickle,Hyde etc., ah the good old days!!. Ride safely. James.
The Triton was a natural outgrowth of the quest for the best. The featherbed frame was better than the early Triumph frame, especially the rigids with the sprung hub. The Triumph engine and gear box was better than the Norton mills of the day. Bingo. The ultimate hot rod of the 50s, if you couldn't afford a tricked out Vincent or MV set up for the street.
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