** Please note, this bike was subject to a CAT-C insurance write off in July 1997 **
・Low milage example
・Blending the best of both Triumph and Norton
・Wonderfully usable classic bike
In the 1960s, British-produced bikes were all the rage. Names such as Triumph and Norton were household names, however each manufacturer’s products had their strengths and weaknesses. So, what if you could combine the two together, to create the ‘ultimate’ sports bike?
Well, that’s exactly what happened. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, the ‘Triton’ aimed to combine the best of both worlds, by using a reliable Triumph ‘Twin’ motor within a more stylish and better-handling Norton frame, and combining the names to form ‘Triton.’
Unusually, none of these bikes were factory-built, meaning it was very rare for dealerships to offer fully built, ready-to-ride models, though a few of these do exist.
This particular example was constructed and registered in 1969 and combines the desirable and well-respected Norton Featherbed Wide frame with a Triumph 650 pre-unit engine, known as the 6T Thunderbird. The so-called ‘pre unit’ engines were sought-after due to the separate gearbox and engine block, with the gearbox on this Triton also being a Triumph unit.
Bought as a light restoration project during the first ‘lockdown’ in early 2020, the vendor has replaced the RPM system, silencers, headlight, rear light and numerous other parts. The side stand has been remade, and the seat has been restored. In addition to this, the speedometer has been reconditioned, and most of the cables have been replaced with new items.
Included with the bike is both a Triumph and Norton manual which covers both aspects of this ‘hybrid’ bike, which should make maintenance a doddle. There are also a number of invoices and documents pertaining to work carried out during the vendor’s ownership, and the expected V5 ownership document, which shows the bike registered as a “Triton Historic Motorcycle” on 20 October 1969.
The seat on this Triton is in good condition, and shows no sign of any rips or tears to the material. There are some signs of typical age-related wear and minor cracking to the high-traffic areas on the side of the saddle, though this is commensurate with the age of the bike.
The speedometer and gauges have been refurbished and present in fantastic condition, while the speedometer retains its original internal mechanisms in order to preserve the accurate mileage. There is also a cork plug on the reverse of the dial to prevent any water ingress.
Of note is the fitment of a key-operated throttle lock which adds an additional layer of security to the bike. When this is activated, the throttle is isolated in the ‘idle’ position.
The paintwork on the tank, arches and engine ancillaries is all in good condition, with no signs of major stone chips or scratches beyond the usual age-related wear-and-tear which is to be expected on a nearly 60-year-old bike. The graphics on the top of the tank in particular are beginning to show signs of wearing away, though it certainly adds a true ‘patina’ to the appearance of the bike.
The chrome bars, exhaust and wheels are all in good condition, but would benefit from a thorough refurbishment to bring them back to their best. The exhaust shows a small dent on the uppermost bend, just forward of the rider’s left knee.
This is not a concours-standard bike by any means, but it is a good, honest and usable classic bike which can be enjoyed without worrying about stone chips or the paintwork every two seconds.
Starting with ease and showing no signs of smoke while idling, this is a mechanically very sound example of a ‘Triton’ which is ready to be ridden. The engine required only two or three kicks to get started, and settled happily into a smooth idle during the photographer’s inspection. The four-stroke engine is fitted with a separate tank that automatically mixes the correct oil:fuel ratio before feeding it into the engine for combustion.
Keen-eyed viewers will note that the bike has been shot with a drip tray below - this is simply due to the carburettor needing to be drained before the bike is started, and the vendor didn’t want to get any fluids on their clean driveway, as opposed to the tray being required due to leaking.
There are no reported mechanical issues or problems with the bike however after a run there will be a few drips of oil, nothing major and certainly nothing unusual but a dip tray is required, making this Triton ready to hit the road once more. The last MOT took place on 11 September 2016, and resulted in a clean pass with no advisories. In fact, the MOT history shows no failures between 2006 an 2016, and the bike is now exempt from mandatory MOT testing due to its age.
If you’re looking for something a little ‘left field’ from the heyday of British sports bikes, this could be just the ticket. Combining the best of Triumph and Norton into one unusual and usable bike, this Triton is certain to get the conversation flowing at any local bike meet, event or even just down the local pub car park!
Presenting in wonderfully patinated and largely original condition throughout, this Triton is ideal for any motorcycle collector or enthusiast looking for a usable, honest and reliable classic bike with plenty of history and style.
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