Although Triumph’s three-cylinder motorcycle had come out in 1969, and the racing bike that derived from it was winning the Isle of Man TT production class from 1971 through 1975, it took until the 1973 Triumph T150V Trident to sufficiently refine the bike. The air-cooled 740cc overhead-valve triple was slightly undersquare with a bore and stroke of 67x70 mm, and with three 26mm Amal Concentric carburetors, it produced 58 horsepower at 7,250 rpm. Despite the fine powerplant, though, the early bikes still had a four-speed gearbox (with right-foot shifting), and the conical front drum brake brought the 460-pound bike to a leisurely stop. But with triple-outlet “ray-gun” mufflers, at least it had the coolest-looking exhaust pipes this side of the six-cylinder Benelli 750.
For 1973, the Triumph Trident’s 19-inch front wheel put on dancing shoes with a 10-inch Lockheed front disc brake and 2-piston caliper. A five-speed gearbox was also incorporated in the 1973 T150V. Although it still lacked electric start, the Trident was otherwise the equal of the large-capacity Japanese street bikes. When it came to performance, success in the TT translated to the street. The Trident recorded 12.7 seconds and 106 mph in the quarter-mile, and magazine comparison tests rated it as the best handling. It was also the best-looking Trident so far. Painted Jet black with red highlights and white pinstriping, the rectangular tank now wore a flat badge rather than the familiar “eyebrow” insignia. The seat was trimmed with a chrome accent, the chrome fenders increased in size, and there was a sturdy grab bar for the passenger.