Me and the Triumphs
So there I was, riding along, when this little white van pulls out in front of me... end result was both me and the bike, a British Racing Green Trident 900 with a Sprint fairing fitted, getting somewhat bent. It was at this point that the bike acquired the nickname 'the Dent'.
Insurance took an age to sort out, and I put my old CX500 back on the road. Unfortunately, after 9 months of Trident, the CX seemed a little lacking in certain areas - speed, handling, etc. Then I saw another crash-damaged Trident for sale...
- The Sprident - how it came to be
- How to build a Sprident
- The Speed Dent - its recovery
- How to build a Speed Dent
- The Daytona 900 - the bug bites
- The coming of the T5095
- How to build a T5095
- The Tigger - time I sold something
- Tigger 2 - no really, I will sell something
- Trophy 1200 - someone's said he might buy something
- Sprint ST 955i - for fat weaklings
- Bonneville SE - back relief
- Tigger 3 - I can touch the ground
- Scrambler - finding legroom
I bought the Trident, rapidly rechristened 'le Dent' (it had come back to the UK from France), and set about returning it to the road. One week after bringing it home, I had it MOT'd. At this point it was another British Racing Green Trident, but I'd now become rather enamoured with the idea of a faired bike. So a set of candy-apple red Sprint bodywork was purchased and le Dent became the Sprident.
For the most part, plain sailing. The instrument mounting is the only real problem. I think my solution wasn't ideal, as it means that putting genuine Sprint (or Daytona, they're the same) instruments onto the bike would be more difficult.
I mounted the instruments by grinding off the pillars which the standard instrument panel screws into, then mounting the instruments onto a bar running from one of the tabs on which the pillars mount to the other. This enabled the lever reservoirs to clear the instruments when turning the bars.
On reflection, I think a better approach would have been to leave the pillars on, and use two longer bars from fairing frame to instruments, putting them further forward and clearing the reservoirs.
Finally, in August 1996 (the accident was in April), an engineer from the insurance company visited to check the bike out and we agreed a sum of money, which meant I could rebuild the bike. As I now had a Sprident, I decided to make an ersatz Speed Triple out of the Dent.
The Speed Dent is very simple to make... first, take your Trident. Remove the headlamp, instruments, handlebars, and exhaust system. If you have a later model Trident with lower footpegs, move the footpegs into the higher position on the mounting plate.
Attach a pair of early Trophy or Sprint Sport handlebars. Attach the instruments direct to the top yoke and use universal headlamp brackets (preferably not the quick-rust type…) to mount the headlamp. Drill additional holes in the headlamp brackets to take the indicators. I did experiment with mini-indicators, but they kept blowing (very expensive) bulbs. Now add an alternative exhaust system (I used a 3-1 Yoshimura system) - this may require that the centrestand is removed. I also added a carbon-fibre front mudguard (which I later broke, rather unfortunately) and had the bike resprayed in cherry black metallic - the final touch has been the three-spoke wheels.
I have now put the original downpipes on and I'm thinking about putting Daytona 900 silencers on, since I have a spare pair. The Yoshi 3-1 was very nice but rather illegal.
Now I had the two Trident-based bikes, but I started feeling that maybe I wanted something a bit faster. I started reading the adverts in MCN - and then I saw it, a damaged Daytona 900. Off I went to Scotland to collect it (from a breaker who'd bought it off my local dealer - damn!) and the rebuilding commenced. Chassis was straight, as were the forks, silencers pretty much unscathed, fairing and tank knackered. However, a friend of mine happened to have an unpainted fairing knocking about which he let me have very cheap.
The bike had been red, but was now to be yellow. I took the bits and pieces along to the place where the Speed Dent had been sprayed, but it had been taken over by someone else who convinced me that they could make as good a job of it as had been done on the Speed Dent. Suffice to say, the job wasn't as good and cost much more than the original estimate. See the saga of the T5095 for a well-priced and very capable repairs and spray man...
Anyway, after a bit of messing around (it was really just bodywork that needed sorting out), the Daytona 900 saw the light of day. It makes a very good gentleman's express, but I found the handlebars a bit low, so I've now moved them above the front yokes. To go with the sports-tourer approach, I also have a full Nonfango luggage set on it, plus a Baglux harness.
I took a T595 out for a test ride, and though I loved the engine, I found the riding position far too committed for me. What I wanted was a T595 to convert into a T509 - and very obligingly, someone started me on that path by crashing a T595 and breaking the fairing. After a short negotiation with Ideal Garage, the bike was mine...
I decided not to go for the totally unfaired T509 look, but to use a small twin headlight fairing. It took some time to find one that looked right, but I eventually finished up with one from Acrybre. Although the moulding is OK, the fairing had been cut out asymmetrically and needed a bit of tidying up, while the screen isn't very well cut - this reinforces my experience of Acrybre from an attempt to fit a flip-up screen on the Sprident, when two separate examples both failed to fit properly.
The bike was Strontium Yellow, which led to a right old game getting it colour matched. The man who came through in the end is also excellent at plastic welding - Brian Emery at Autospray in Coventry. 01203 443078 is the number.
I used a T509 top yoke and bar risers, plus the T509 instrument bracket. I used a pair of small fairing indicators to overcome the problem of the absent bracketry. As for handlebars, originally I used the T509 bars, then got a pair of adjustable Jota bars. I've now gone back to the T509 bars, but I'm thinking of a pair of straight or maybe ace bars. I've also used the low bars clutch cable, but the high bars brake pipe.
More recently, at 13500 miles, fourth gear failed. This was a problem with one batch, though Triumph never admitted to the real scale of the problem. The bike was 6 months out of warranty by then, but Triumph consented to paying for the repair.
So here I was with a garage (almost) full of Triumphs, and people on the Triumph list keep talking about Tiggers as if they're the most wonderful bikes in the world…
Honestly, I tried to part-exchange the Sprident for a Tigger. However, the 'nice' men at Carnells ensured my undying hatred by offering me £1000 for it. Pah, scum. Still, I finished up buying another one privately, on which I have written yet more stuff.
What happened from 2005 to 2008 was a divorce, and the bikes all got put away for a while. Rather a long while, actually. Pragmatism meant that to keep playing bass (see the music pages), I had to keep a car on the road, and I never seemed to have the impetus to do anything about the bikes.
Finally, in 2015, I was made redundant and immediately got another job. I decided that the bikes sitting in the garage would go and I'd start again. They have yet to go but the restart has commenced.
I used some of the redundancy money to buy a Tiger 1050. I was looking at the 955i but found it rather tall, and a low mileage 1050 turned up for a bargain price.
I made a few modifications to the 1050 - a centrestand, a 25mm lowering kit, a touring screen, a Givi topbox plate, mirror extenders, and LED running lights and headlights. It is a comfortable bike, with a wonderful engine, but even with the lowering kit, it proved a bit too tall for me and I dropped it a couple of times at a standstill.
It turned out that the Tiger was a bit too tall for Kaz to get onto, as I'd be on tiptoe trying to keep it up. So a Trophy 1200 was brought in for mainly touring duties.
The Trophy 1200 was still a bit on the tall side, and significantly heavier than the spineback triples. Plus Kaz didn't find it terribly easy to get on and off, and when she was on, it all felt a bit precarious at low speeds. After a few months it became obvious that the Trophy wasn't the ideal tourer, so we went and had a look at a Sprint ST 955i. The more recent Sprints have rather high and slopey pillion seats, so they got ruled out straight away. The 955i proved a much better fit than the Trophy, so that was bought and the Trophy sold (yes, sold!).
I added a gel seat and the Triumph touring screen. The bike had done about 30k miles and the engine was lovely - with the very effective touring screen, I had to be careful as it was easy to get my speed up to the point where it could attract unwelcome attention.
Also sold around the same time were the Daytona 900, the Tiger 900, and the Sprident, leaving me as of July 2016 with a Tiger 1050, Sprint ST, T5095, and Speed Dent.
The trouble with the Sprint ST was that, although I was comfortable on it, my back didn't like the leaning forward position. I tried spacers to raise the bars but couldn't get them where I really needed them. So I decided to get something with a bench seat suitable for pottering around on. This turned out to be a Bonneville SE. Even Kaz was able to adopt the riding position.
This stayed with us for a holiday in Ireland.
I was coming to the conclusion that the Tiger 1050 was just slightly too tall and heavy with me, after dropping it a couple of times at a standstill. So I tried out a Tiger 800 and decided that that would do me. A Tiger 800 XRx with full luggage and lots of extras came up at a good price so I bought that and, with some sadness, sold the 1050.
The Bonnie seemed a bit too cramped, and despite experiments with changing footpeg brackets and a king & queen seat, I couldn't quite get comfortable. The Scrambler offered a bit more room, and a local shop had a very low mileage one that I could part-exchange the Bonnie SE for, so the deal was done.
So far it hasn't had a lot of use as I'm trying to keep it dry - the Tiger 800 does the wet running.