A bitter labor situation in England during the 1970s was largely responsible for production problems and the implosion of the Triumph dealer network in the United States. While the popular Bonneville models were virtually unavailable, a way was found to build the T150V Trident. “Thanks to the success … in re-tooling to counteract the Meriden factory blockade, Triumphs—the experts’ bikes—are here again,” read an ad. Besides yellow flashes replacing red ones on the black tank, there were few changes to the 1974 Triumph Trident from the previous year.
Nevertheless, as grim as things were at the West Midlands factory, the bike still had a serious presence to it. The rider found the usual upright seating position with pulled-back handlebars. The air-cooled 741cc overhead-valve three-cylinder engine generated about 60 horsepower and was smoother than the parallel-twin engines that were Triumph’s mainstay through the 1950s and 1960s. A nice howl comes from the pipes as redline of 7,500 rpm is achieved.
All bikes now had the five-speed gearbox, which paid benefits in relaxed cruising or when aiming for the estimated top speed of around 125 mph. Despite the lack of electric start, the triple could be prodded to life without too much effort. Motorcycle Classics calls the ’74 Trident “an excellent motorcycle and a classic example of what the British did best, which was extending existing platforms and technologies to their absolute limit.” Once again, a Trident won its class at the Isle of Man TT, prevailing over competition from BMW, Kawasaki, and Laverda. The Trident was the right Triumph motorcycle for the coming Disco era.