Triumph T150 1000cc Special

And so it starts!​

The brief is to basically build a Triumph T150, but with a slight design twist. I want the Triumph to look as though it came out of the factory, so nothing radical, more of a styling update perhaps.

I think the original styling is a bit staid, so I'll be adding Suzuki GS1000 twin disk forks, Hinckley Triumph rear mudguard, grab rail, indicators and fuel tank. Perhaps a custom made seat to blend better with the tank than the original and re-positioned footpads. I'm going to go for a 'darker' feel with satin black hubs, wheel rims and fork sliders and a dark blue paint job with custom tank and panel transfers.


In the engine department I'm going all out for a Neil Beadling 1000cc big bore kit with new 82mm standard wight crank, Hyde half-race camshafts, oil pump and oil way upgrade and smoothbore carbs. I'm not going to race, but just want a strong, torquey road bike for two up riding around the Rye marshes.

Just a note to the 'purists' out there, I'm not butchering a complete, original T150. I'm literally starting with nothing more than a frame and matching crankcases.


And yes, it's going to be expensive! 

The first job is to get alterations made to fit non-standard parts to the frame. So the almost new 2018 Hinckley Bonneville fuel tank needs to be cut to fit the frame as it sits at the wrong angle and too high up. The Suzuki fork yokes need to be adapted as well. I will also need brackets added for the rear mudguard, grab rail, rear master cylinder and reservoir. I also need to re-position the oil cooler.

While the frame is away I strip the wheel hubs. I get quotes for the wheel builds, including tyres. Comes in at a massive £850!!!

Already I feel this is going to be the most expensive bike build I've done to date....

When the wheels come back I have to say I really like them. Glad I went the satin black look this time rather than chrome. Just need to fit the bearings and discs then I'll move on to the forks.

Forks are stripped down and the sliders sent off for powder coating. The stanchions, although good, are sent off to check for straightness and to be re-hard-chromed. New seals, dust caps and valves are ordered from CMSNL and a rather tasty fork brace soured from FASTEC.


The 'upgrade' of 'modern' parts necessitates some custom fabrication. Templates are made for the instrument bracket which will house the ignition switch. That most invaluable of companies - Sciss in Staplehurst, Kent - water cut the parts for me.

The Hinckley fuel tank dictates that the original, and rather ugly, oil cooler will have to go. I have decided to replace this with a unit from a Suzuki VS1400 Intruder which will sit in front of the frame down tube rather than behind. The Suzuki oil cooler comes with a nice chrome surround and, rather appropriately, has side reflectors echoing the original Trident unit. I draw up templates for mounting brackets which will be welded to the frame tube. Additionally, I will put a mesh gauze front and back of the cooler for aesthetics.

painted sliders.jpg

Sliders back from Triple S Powder Coating

With COVID affecting everything, build progress is very slow. I can't retrieve my frame, tank and seat as it's not deemed a necessary journey. This means I can't start a dry build and, more importantly, work out where I'm going to get brackets attached for horns, coils, rear master cylinder etc. It's all a bit 'chicken and egg'.

I can however spend money! So I buy what I can to go into storage come the time of the build. Even small parts help and gives a sense of progression.

One thing I can do is concentrate on the brakes. The rear is sorted - a new Grimeca type caliper. My slight dilemma is the front. An 'upgrade' to the GS1000 calipers are GS1100 or GSX1100 calipers. However, they're still not brilliant, although they are a direct fit. The GS1100 calipers are single piston made by Aisin. I use a single caliper on the TRIBSA and it works OK, but could be better. I'm hoping that a pair will work much better on the Trident. I have an option of using twin piston Tokico calipers as used on many Japanese bikes. I have a pair from a Suzuki SV650. These would need custom brackets made for them to fit. As I can't make up my mind which to use I'll strip both sets down and send them off for powder coating.

I have never ridden a Trident before, so I have now idea of the power output, especially as mine will be 1000cc. However, with our poor roads, and bearing in mind I'll be using the bike for 2 up riding, I want the brakes to be up to the job.

May 2021 Update - disaster looms

Progress is painfully slow, although I think I shall be getting the frame back soon. This will mean I can concentrate on the extra brackets I will need brazing on and so I'll be able to progress to some form of dry build.

Unfortunately, and it this could be disastrous, my crankshaft, which had gone off for finishing, is now locked up in the makers' workshop and there are rumours of receivership.

Luckily I haven't paid for the crank yet. Trouble is I have to have one otherwise my very expensive big bore kit is going to be nothing more than an expensive garage doorstop. I'm relying on the same supplier for the shorter conrods as well. This is not good news. I can only hold my breath and hope that the company resumes business soon.....

August 2021 Update - disaster averted?

Looks like the company making the crank are back in business. So I have sent off the pistons, rings etc for balancing.

The other good news is I finally have my frame and tank back so I can fabricate the brackets for the rear mudguard, oil cooler, horns etc. Once this is done I should be able to progress the build somewhat quicker.

December 2021 Update

I have the crank! It's a work of art. I also have 99% of the engine parts. I spent November working out the rest of the brackets for the rear master cylinder and reservoir, electrical tray, foot pegs, grab rail, seat, head steady etc.


I did a partial dry build which proved invaluable in working out what went where and what didn't fit or needed altering.


The frame has once more gone for the last alterations. When it's back I can get it powder coated and then the build can commence.

Engine & frame fitting.JPG

A bit of a gamble, but it looks like after some cutting of the modern Triumph tank it will actually fit the frame nicely. Note Suzuki fork yokes already adapted and fitted.

suzuki front hub.jpg

Suzuki front hub internals are shot! Rear T160 hub is new.


Worth £850? They do look the business. Fitting of bearings and discs finishes them off a treat.


Front fork forks ready to be stripped

fork parts.jpg

New fork components from CMSNL in Holland. Not cheap, but still a lot cheaper than from UK ebay sellers.

instr template.jpeg

Loo roll & balsa wood instrument

bracket template. Just like in

Blue Peter!

instr comps.jpeg
oil cooler1.jpeg
instrument bracket complete.jpeg

Steel bracket with tube and end cap from a stair rail! 

Mock up of the finished component

Stair tube needs welding to bracket.

End cap is a tight push fit. 

Suzuki VS1400 oil cooler and paper templates for brackets and steel mesh support.

cooler front.jpg

2 pistons or not 2 pistons?

cooler back.jpg
Oil cooler.jpg

Back from Triple S. Very pleased

with the finish.

Oil cooler brackets zip tied into position

Rear seat 2.jpg
Oil cooler 2.jpg
Rear seat set up.jpg

Getting the rear lights and indicators level is challenging. Could all change when the weight of the engine is in!

Rear frame brackets.jpg

Rear mudguard brackets ready to be brazed on. Metal bar to left is just temporary to hold the two sides of the rear loop in place.