Triumph trident. What's in a name?

Auto Motor Klassiek » Engines » Triumph trident. What's in a name?
Purchasing classics there

A trident. A spear with a personality disorder. Or cutlery for a lover of five pound steaks. And traditionally the weapon from the PSU of Poseidon, a God from the time when people still believed in Gods. And the unimaginative ones. But dramatically charged type name for three-cylinder combustion engines. The Triumph So trident.

Triumph made Tridents

That was based on some fiddling by staff members who had tinkered an extra cylinder on a 500 cc twin. That bit of self-motivation was picked up by management when the Japanese four-cylinder invasion threatened. The three-cylinder pushrod engines consisted of an annoying amount of castings, the production quality left something to be desired and they were quite maintenance-sensitive. They tended to inhale pieces of air filter.

In Autobahn confrontations with Honda CB750, the Triumphs harakiri

Many engine blocks finally died between 2500-10.000 km. But the Triumph Tridents were beautiful. They sounded wonderful and were the ideal dance partners on secondary roads. My used bought Triumph Trident T150 got a ton of TLC and continued to serve me faithfully for something like 50D miles. He was followed by another used machine... A Honda CB750 Four. It cost me $2.000 by the way.

Books have been written about the demise of the British motorcycle industry

And then came John Bloor, a real estate entrepreneur. He had a crush on a piece of former Triumph factory site to build new construction and invested more than £1983 in 80.000.000 in the trademark rights of the deceased Triumph and the construction of a new engine factory in Hinckley. To learn how good motorcycles should actually be made, he looked at how Kawasaki did it. After that he was consistent: He didn't continue building the outdated parallel twins, but he made modular three and four cylinders that more than resembled the Kawasakis from a few years before. The new Triumph Trident, together with a good marketing strategy and with the shine of the brand still in mind, turned out to be a great motorcycle.

And of course the three-cylinder 750 cc version of it became a Triumph Trident

In addition, the 750 was the 'savings model'. The 900 cc version of the Triumph Trident was clearly more richly equipped and allocated. But the three-cylinder had a nice appearance. Mine Triumph Trident from 1991 looked slickly stylish. I bought it with a dealer-unsolvable malfunction. After much searching, the chokes turned out to be operated, but not to work. The 1 in 11 compressed three-cylinder with two overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder delivered 90 horsepower at 10.500 rpm. That took some getting used to, because my old T150 delivered 60 horsepower at a suicidal 7250 rpm, but thought it was nice enough at 5000 rpm. Also, the new Trident was a lot bigger than its namesake, who looked slender, slender and almost moped-like compared to its youngest relative.

The old one delivered a maximum torque of 72,5 Nm at 6900 rpm. Dressed in British Racing Green sportswear, the Hinckley Trident delivered 67 Nm of torque at 8500 rpm. And extending it to above 10.000 rpm was no problem at all.

The original or the new?

As a former owner of both an 'old' and a 'new' Trident I can only say: “nice machines those Tridents”. Oh, yes: the early Hinckley models are also very nicely priced in these times.

The youth photo was taken by Frank Pekaar, still Triumph rider


Select other newsletters if necessary

We won't send you spam! Read our privacy policy for more information.

Triumph Trident
If you like the article, please share it...


  1. The concept of the BMW boxer is as old as the English twin, the age of a good concept is irrelevant, the BMW boxer still exists. I think it's more because of the wonderful people there on that rock in the North Sea. Technically they had already thought of everything, overhead cams, boxer twins, tandem 4 cylinder, monoshockers, etc. And yet they were always of less quality, their engines, tanks, planes and other weaponry were of less quality than those of our neighbors. The concepts were good, but the quality…. Was it the measurement system, inches vs mm? or to their Anglo-Saxon (caste) society. Hierarchical and authoritarian! After the war, of course, the losers had the advantage of being able to start with new machines. The Japanese copies of the twins are well known, they were even better. That Triumph was working on the successor to the twin from 1963 to 1968 has everything to do with the blindness and laziness of management and management (the English caste system). Not interested, because it still sells well! The design (Ogle) is also an example of management blindness. But it's remarkable that on the racetracks this bike could beat that revolutionary CB 750 design, Daytona, Bol d'Or, Angelo-American races, race of the Year etc. (with pushrods and a hopelessly outdated cylinder chamber concept (hurrah bureaucracy ) ). The short history of these Triples (69 – 72) is legendary, but even now there are more Tridents on the track than CB750s. Thanks to modern technology with better knowledge of machine technology and good parts, the Tridents have now become wonderful and reliable engines and get nice horsepower from that old block. (The plague is that you sometimes have to replace a light, connector or switch, which stops working after 50 years).
    With LowlandTriples we still ride the aforementioned demo events and we have been racing in Belgium and Germany for years (there is nothing to do in the Netherlands, the KNMV or CRT were never interested in this class of 750 cc or in classic racing). Or we drive a pleasant tour to the Stelviio for a week.
    We are now old men, but with Ton Everaers as our youngest teammate and a very technical man, we are still active. Under the name of KRUK engines, he keeps many Tridents in top condition. (PS We have been inside with a crate of Corona for some time now)

    IMG 20190727 WA0018

  2. Hi Dolf, Ls., have you never watched a classic race 'on the other side' of the water? Ex works, well the technology was outdated, although the Americans in Nascar still have a special arrangement for push rod engines. There drove a 'Honda' with a V8 with push rods, Porsches, Chevys and Fords to smithereens. In the UK, thermally/mechanically optimized Tridents are racing around, and they're going hard there, hard as hell! If that stubborn E… well…

  3. Such a 120-degree three-cylinder sounds fantastic, although I am more into the Yamaha three-cylinder…
    The pushrod block of the old T150/160 (and BSA Rockets) was already hopelessly outdated when it was released; no match for the (D)OHC blocks from the land of the rising sun..

  4. I've been riding a motorcycle for over 50 years and I'm not picky or brand loyal. Have ao DKW, Honda, Moto Guzzi
    Had LeMans, Mz Skorpion Replica and also 12 years Triumph Bonneville driven. I thought this was a nice, quirky engine. The problem, however, is that the block design dates from before the war and has always been embroidered on. In the 50s there were no highways and only winding and hilly roads and there is such a Triumph feel at home. Accelerating, engine braking and downshifting, etc. Prolonged highway use at a constant speed is unsuitable. At the top, the block then gets too little oil. Shutting off the gas at a high speed creates a vacuum and creates some oil at the top of the head and that's what those things live on. max. power of the Bonnie was 50 hp at 6500 rpm. But this couldn't be too long.
    Participated in a track day at the TT circuit. !0 laps of 4 km. (short circuit).
    So 40 miles. and as hard as possible. Up to 6500 rpm in any gear. The block continued to perform well but the damage was considerable; broken indicator light bracket, broken km. counter, half-torn license plate and a bunch of lights. Still had a lot of fun with it. And according to the RDW my old one exists Triumph still! License plate VR 40-30. Maybe someone knows this engine with oil in frame and gold tank and conical hubs.

Give a reaction

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Maximum file size of upload: 8 MB. You can upload: afbeelding. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here