One man’s triple fascination has led to the bike he always wanted to build. Totally unique, clever engineering means it could be put back to standard if so desired.

Words and photography: Stuart Urquhart

While admiring this stunning 750cc Trident Special, I could have sworn I saw ‘Insurgent’ ripple fleetingly across its luscious blue petrol tank.

Article continues below...

Enjoy more Classic Bike Guide reading in the monthly magazine.
Click here to subscribe & save.

A rich blend of Ducati, Yamaha and Triumph DNA has transformed this sedate classic triple into a feral and muscular motorcycle that screams attitude from every fibre of its alien form.

A year in the making, John Syme’s superlative triple is the result of one man’s ideas being forged into existence, with the help of his clued-up friends.

Not that John is in any way ‘handless’ when it comes to undertaking serious fabrication work, or solving mind-bending engineering problems – as we will learn as the story unfolds.

Article continues below...

‘Insurgent’ started life as a standard 1975 Triumph T160 when John was earning his crust in London.

He used his Trident for the daily commute and for pleasure rides at weekends. But following a lucrative job offer, John decided to move back to his home town in Scotland.

Of course the bike went north too, and since his time in The Big Smoke, John has remained a devoted Trident fan, attending countless Beezumph Rallies.

Article continues below...

The Trident continued to give reliable service and after joining Perthshire’s Scottish Classic Motorcycle Club, John decided to turn his standard Trident into something more special.

John takes up the story:
“I’ve owned several long-term Tridents and I bought my first triple in 1984. I have always been impressed with Slippery Sam’s record of winning five consecutive IoM Production TTs from 1971-75.

“But much as I loved the factory models, I always dreamt of building a special that could offer a richer experience of these iconic triples.

Article continues below...

“In the late Nineties I secured a custom rolling chassis complete with a lattice-style frame, swinging arm, petrol tank, seat unit, Ducati UD forks, front mudguard, tri-spoke wheels and Brembo brakes – all intended for a future build.

“I wanted to create a classic street machine but with a modern edge. I knew from the outset that a key requirement would be coupling the Ducati front end with the lattice frame.

“Crucial too, was the alignment of the Trident engine and rear wheel sprockets; but when I realised that the Trident engine and lattice frame were not going to work, I decided to revert back to the original Triumph frame.

“I also wanted the capability of returning the bike back to standard, therefore any original components not intended for the build would be stored for this purpose.”

Read more and view more images in the August 2019 issue of CBG – on sale now!

Subscribe to Classic Bike Guide Magazine Enjoy more Classic Bike Guide reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.