Triumph Trident T160V
After writing off my Norton Commando at Kilby Bridge and doing a great deal of damage to my arm, I decided that three hospitalisations were enough and I should give up motorcycling before it killed me.
I got over such dismal thoughts at about the same time that I came out of plaster.
My claim against the other party had resulted in compensation for the bike but I never received anything for my injuries because the driver skipped the country and my solicitor said it would be not be worth the cost of tracing and suing him.
So it was with a light heart and a heavy arm that I began to cast around for a suitable replacement motorcycle.
Foreign tours with the IMTC had given me an insight into the reliability of various makes of motorcycles and their suitability for what had become my main interest - FTing.
I rejected BMWs immediately because my observations indicated that they were unreliable, then difficult and expensive to fix.
There were three bikes that were head and shoulders above the rest of the field. The big Honda 750/4, Triumph/BSA Rocket 3s and the MZ 250.
I never saw an MZ 250 break down. The guy who rode one on IMTC tours was always first to arrive at our next hotel due more to persistence than speed!
The Americans sum it up:
There's no substitute for cubes! That put an MZ out of the running.
Leicester Phoenix club nights were the ideal place to discuss and form a balanced view of the wide range of available bikes. The other Japanese manufacturers were introducing their own large capacity motorcycles after great success with their lightweight two-strokes. There was the Suzuki Kettle for instance. Dave Scattergood had one of those and gave me a lift home from the Antelope Rally at indecent speeds (considering his punctured rear tyre was held up with Finnalec). Couldn't fault the performance.
A motorcycle that I did seriously consider was the Yamaha XS 750. Shaft drive had a strong appeal because serious FTing required daily chain adjustment and lubrication as well as carrying a spare. Ron Rutherford at the club had a Yamaha 750/3 and it proved to be a good choice.
The Yamaha XS 750 had a lot going for it: Triple DOHC engine, double discs on the front and alloy wheels, effective electric starter and a shaft drive.
The Triumph T160V was still obtainable although the Meriden blockade had effectively stopped their production at Small Heath. There was a batch of police spec bikes returned from Saudi Arabia that were being refitted for the UK market and finding their way into dealers. I knew this bike was pretty unburstable because Big John Lewis campaigned a BSA Rocket 3 on our IMTC tours; if it withstood Big John's 24 stone plus luggage ...
Kevin Brewin revealed that speedway rider Norman Hunter had opened a dealership on Frog Island and was expecting delivery of a few ex-Saudi T160Vs. The fates had conspired to make my mind up. I felt as if this was my last chance to own a new big British motorcycle. We visited Norman Hunter and agreed to buy one each! Thus we came to own Tridents, registrations SAY 956R and SAY 957R.
Standard trim, cherry red tank with white flashes.
- Ben Crossley