IT’S A Triton—a Triumph engine in a Norton frame. It’s a 1963 Norton Atlas Featherbed frame, a Slimline that’s now been widened through the centre which allows us more room for an oil tank. It’s got Norton Roadholder forks and a 1973 Triumph Trident T150V, five speed, engine in it. The T160 had electric start but I prefer the kickers—real bikes have kickstart.
I wanted to build a Triton but something different than just putting a twin in there or a 500 single. It’s not the only one in the world. I wanted a 60’s style café racer—like a cross between a ton-up boy and a race bike.
It’s got Akront valanced rims laced to a ’68 Triumph conical hub on the rear and a ’68 twin leading shoe front, both on 19 inch rims. Mufflers are reverse megaphones from British Spares with the connecting pipe made by Scruffy Mufflers for a six pack of Tooheys Red.
It’s basically a stock engine. It’s had the top-end all rebuilt by myself. It’s running a set of 28 mm Mikunis on it—three of them.
The tank is a race cell—it’s a fibreglass tank with an aluminium tank underneath that was acquired at a swap-meet at Ballarat. Same with the seat.
The front and rear guards are from a Norton Manx that came from eBay. The same guy had the footpegs—Unity Equipped.
All the engine mounts were personally made by myself in the bracketry section.
The aluminium oil tank was custom made from scratch. A mate of a mate welded that for me.
Aftermarket tailight and number plate holder from (Jim) Eade’s. Clip-ons are from the Ballarat swap-meet.
During the build the biggest difficulty was probably putting the engine into the frame because there’s only 6 mm clearance from the head to the bottom of the cases, and that’s after taking the sump off. You’ve gotta make sure it’s parallel when you’re putting it in, which is a real bitch because you can’t take the rocker boxes, the head, or the barrels off without taking the whole engine out of the frame.
Getting alignment right for the rear sprocket was a hassle because you don’t want such a heavy engine sitting too far over to one side. Plus the centre exhaust pipe tends to look stupid if it’s off centre in the frame. Because it comes out of one and splits into two to the outside ones, you want it sitting in the centre of the two front down-tubes. Another pain—you can’t pull the exhaust manifold off until you pull the whole engine out of the frame. Very minimal tolerances on this thing.
Tuning the triple isn’t so much harder than the twin. I got the base settings off a guy on the internet so I had something to start with. They’re still not 100 percent bang-on but they’re pretty close. There was a dead plug in it this morning—the gnomes had been in there running around. Other than that it all seems to be running fine. If anyone would like to sponsor me 1500 pounds, maybe Mr Norman Hyde, I’d like to put a big bore kit on it and take it to the thousand. Ha ha! I’ll promise to race it around Eastern Creek.
The power on the top-end is twice as dramatic as what a twin is. At high RPM it starts to sound like a propellor aeroplane. It’s generally a bit quieter than my other bikes but that can easily be changed with a big spike through the baffle. Maybe I’ll do that; don’t know. I don’t wanna go and fuck my mufflers; make it sound like a dirty fart. Anyway, it sounds pretty loud when you’re on the herbs.
My next project is a supercharged flat-tracker. I think I’ll call it “Flat-Outta-Hell”. It’ll be a 750 twin with single carb head; run the blower and stuff. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll use an aftermarket frame or an original ’68 Bonnie frame. But yeah, just looking for parts at the moment…
words & pics by Wasko