Trison: TRIumph/Harley-davidSON


Editor’s Note: On our official Facebook Page, I offered to give away a “The Horse embossed leather wallet from Anvil” to whoever could post the most appealing picture of a chop. Appealing to me, that is. There were some kickass Shovels and Pans posted, but this one grabbed my attention for some reason. It’s owned by Adam Barnett who lives way up on the north coast of Scotland and I asked him for some words and shots and so here it is, I hope you like it as much as I.

– Englishman

A bit about me

My name is Adam Barnett and I’m a 40 year old ROV Pilot (easiest explanations is that I fl y remote control robots under the sea, looking at assets for the Oil and Gas industry). I’ve been riding bikes on the road since I was 16, with a predominant history of sports bikes. I currently own a KTM RC8, a KTM 690sm, KTM 990 Adventure Dakar , Triumph Rocket Touring, and this Trison (or whatever you’d call it). I’ve sold bikes in the past, that I now regret, so I’ve decided to hang on to these ones, and just add to the collection if anything else takes my fancy. I work 4 weeks on, then take 4 weeks off, so I make the most of my free time, and try to get out most days on whatever bike takes my fancy, although the Trison is strictly for sunny days only. She’s 50 next year, and deserves a little bit of respect in her old age.

History of the bike

The bike was originally built over a 3 year period by a guy called Lyndon Poultney, in his small garage, in Wales. Starting with a 1964 Triumph T5A hardtail frame and a fully reconditioned 1976 Ironhead engine and gearbox, he went about marrying the 2 together. Finding a variety of parts from different cars, or bikes, he started bringing more to the project, and anything he was unable find, he would fabricate. All the brass on the twin shock girder forks (which are airfoiled), and the brass levers, which are half wrapped in copper, were machined by hand. The levers alone took over 30 hours make. The headlight was adapted from a 1930’s Riley, and fitted with brass buttons for the horn, and headlight dip switch, plus led indicators for oil pressure and main beam. The rear light was originally a Bleriot PHI marker light from 1903. It has had a red glass lens made to replace the original clear one, then a brass mount machined to fi t to the contour of the Triumph Hardtail rear fender. The brass work doesn’t stop there, but continues on through the MG axle spinners, the struts for the 1950’s Schwinn bicycle front fender, headlight bracket, rear view mirror, caps on the wooden hand grips and foot controls, oil tank mounts, tax disc holder, golan fuel tap, and the Adams oiler sitting on top of the chain guard. Most of which was again hand made, and one-off.

The engine runs a Vulcan works electronic ignition with an Ultima coil and stock H-D plugs. Fed from the 1959 Triumph tank, it all fires up on the first or second kick, and loudly burbles through the straight through pipes, that are also capped in brass. The tank has a KOSO DL digital speedo mounted into it, flush fitting pop-up gas cap, and the original Triumph tank rack. Twin leading shoe conical front hub up front and a Triumph rear drum help slow it down.

 Lyndon wanted to move onto his next project, so put the bike up for sale to raise funds. I was working on a ship just north of Norway, when I found out, and tried to buy it. Understandably, he was a little skeptical about some bloke saying he was living in Scotland, calling from out of the country, and wants to buy the bike unseen. The deal almost fell through straight away. Fortunately I had family about 90  miles away from Lyndon, including my Uncle, a biker, who knew enough about Harleys to give it a good looking over, they went through and collected it for me. It was then taken back to Cheltenham, where it holed up in a family friends garage, whilst I arranged for a bike delivery company to collect it and transport it up to me in the North-East of Scotland. A few weeks later, I was back home, and the bike was on its way. 

Personalizing the bike

When the bike arrived, I wasn’t disappointed. As great as it looked in the sales pictures, they really didn’t do it justice. The bike had a slight metallic element to the paint work that the photo’s didn’t pick up on and the brass work looked amazing in the sunlight. However, I knew it wasn’t quite perfect for me, and wanted to add my own touches to it, so after starting with the simple things, like changing the seat springs, rubber kicker pedal for brass, I looked into adding something to the tank and getting the chrome front rim painted red to match the rear. For the tank, I didn’t really want anything that was too over the top, or would distract from the workmanship that had gone into the rest of the bike. Already having the Triumph logo on the knee pads and oil tank, I thought something with a Harley reference would go well, but it needed to be subtle. I always liked the lone star that the Military Harleys wore in the war, so I thought that painted on with a red pinstriped border, to match the wheels, would look right. The bike got taken to a local company, Loch Ness Restorations, who, although specializing in classic British and Japanese bike restorations, said they would be happy to help with what I wanted. With me being out of the country with work again, and the bike away having the work done, it was several months before I would see it again, but that suited me anyway, as with 4 other bikes in the garage at the time, it was going to always be a juggling act getting any of them out. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results when I did get it back though. Even my 6 year old son, who was always a bit wary of my bikes, thought it was “cool.”

The bike is so different to ride from any of my others. It makes you want to ride slow and really enjoy the scenery, which is fortunate, as jumping from one of my more modern bikes onto this, you have to be wary of the right foot brake and left foot gear change. The sound in unmistakably Harley, and turns heads long before it arrives on the scene. It’s not a bike you can go anywhere in a hurry on though – not because it’s slow (it’s fast enough to keep up with traffic), but because every time you stop, people want to talk about it. (Nobody knows what it is. Triumph? Harley? To be honest, I’ve no idea what to call it either, but I’ve settled on “The blue one”).

Just about everything is one-off, modified, or custom made for the bike, and everyone sees something different in it – The attention to detail is amazing, from the grease nipples on every moving part, the chain tensioner which is a jockey sprocket, it even wears the Triumph plate on its frame with the correct numbers for the Ironhead engine. People spend ages looking over it, and everyone wants to take a picture. Calling it a one-off is a little cliché, but I have never heard of another Triumph framed, Harley engined motorbike out there.

Tech Sheet

Front end

  • 19×1.85 rim with Triumph (1971/72) Conical front hub
  • Avon Speedmaster 19×3 tyre
  • 1950’s Schwinn pushbike front mudguard
  • Twin-shock Girder forks with hand-turned brass fittings
  • Biltwell 1” risers
  • Biltwell throttle control
  • Hand made brass and copper reverse mounted brake and clutch levers with Venhill cables
  • Headlight – 1930’s Riley headlight with handmade brass mounting brackets.
  • Brass mirror
  • Wooden grips, and matching brake and gear shifter

Rear End

  • Triumph rear wheel and drum
  • Chrome rear brake sprocket
  • MG Midget knock-off style axle covers
  • Triumph Hardtail rear mudguard (fender)
  • Adams drip feed oiler
  • Rear Light – 1903 Bleriot PHI marker light, with handmade red lens
  • Brass tool box concealing battery and electrics

Bits in between

  • 1964 Triumph 5TA frame
  • 1976 Ironhead engine
  • 1959 Triumph fuel tank fitted with KOSO DL digital speedo and flush pop-up fuel cap Single fire Ultima coil with electronic ignition
  • Keihin CV Carbs
  • Dragtron Air cleaner
  • Justified Defiance Triumph Oil tank and Norton Command oil filter
  • Harley custom wiring harness
  • Golan Brass fuel tap
  • Brass Kicker pedal
  • Bates style seat with 2” seat springs
  • One-off wrapped straight through exhaust system

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