Once upon a time I was out for a ride with my Aprilia RS125. I was a highly impressionable 17 year old and in the distance I heard the unmistakable rumble of a hard-ridden Ducati. It was being chased by something else, something altogether more soulful, something angry with the world, an anger which caused it to wail at the universe. At first I thought it was a Porsche, but sequential upshifts called that into question (this is 2002, no PDK for a while). They finally came into view, a Ducati 996 being chased by a British Racing Green bug-eyed lunatic which sounded like Satan had stubbed his toe on the fireplace. One of these.
It sounded insane, I was in love, the day would come, when I would own a Triumph Triple. I didn’t care how long it took, it would be mine.
It took four years. While on holiday at the beach I heard the sound again, only much much louder, much much coarser and entirely more antisocial. It came from an evil-looking cafe racer mashup and I needed it. I found it stashed in a local dealer and spent the rest of the summer annoying him until he sold it to me. It was mine, it was rougher than a pile of sandpaper, utterly illegal and to be honest, fairly ugly, but it sounded like the day of judgement and I had finally got my triple.
There was a reason the dealer owned it and rode it on temporary plates. It was utterly illegal, no lights, no horn, no silencing and no intention of ever sorting it out. So what did I do? I spent thousands of Euros in an attempt to right those wrongs!
The end result looked remarkably similar, but a lot was different.
I rode it four times and got bored with it. To be fair, one of those times was for three days straight.
It was a lot better but the handling was still wayward and I was still riding around on someone else’s project. The time came to make some changes. First thing was to get some new bodywork to preserve the stuff it came with.
Then I started getting ideas above my station and started buying silly bits, magnesium wheels, brake calipers, Ohlins suspension, flat slide carburettors, braced swing arm, titanium exhaust, and umpteen more thousands of euros went down the toilet.
And then it was finished.
Unfortunately in the intervening five years since buying it, cafe racers had become all the rage and I had started to hate the damn things. So I did the only logical thing I could, I took all the good bits off for a future project and sold the bones.
I only ever rode the finished bike twice. But it didn’t matter, the Trident had cemented my love of all things Triumph and it sent me down a path that I’m still on today, where the big triples still feature prominently in my life.
I love all my bikes, but to me absolutely nothing can compare to a large-capacity Triumph when it gets into that juicy part of its mid range, lifts its skirt and runs away. It’s so amazing you can fucking taste it.