TriBSA motorcycle: ‘The Bitch’

TriBSA motorcycle
In the UK, this bike—nicknamed The Bitch—is something of a legend. Probably because it’s been around a long time and it looks good. And maybe because it also contains bits from nearly every iconic post-war British motorcycle maker. Steve ‘Swede’ Clark built his TriBSA in 1968, using a BSA frame and a hotted-up Triumph engine. Why? “I always argued that a BSA frame was better than a Norton frame, but no-one seemed to put a Triumph engine in one of those,” said Clark. “So that inspired me to make the TriBSA: a 750cc Triumph Thunderbird engine in a BSA frame instead of a Norton one. It’s a bit like a Triton but more interesting because it’s much more unusual.” The cylinder barrel is a Mk1 Morgo 750cc unit, mated to gas-flowed T140 heads and Amal GP carburetors. A lightened crank and BSA Gold Star RRT2 gearbox get the power down with minimum interference. The rear brake is (somewhat alarmingly) a stock BSA item, but the front is taken care of by a massive, rare and strong 260mm Fontana four-leading-shoe drum. The forks are Norton Roadholders and the oil tank is an equally original Gold Star item. Does the British ‘bitsa’ get any more classic than this?

  • Carson

    It’s always great to see original style cafe racers that are more than just a UJM with clubmans. British bikes rule.

  • Adrian

    I have never really understood the point of this bike, when at the same time that the T150 was around, BSA also had the Rocket Three. Was the Triumph frame at that time so much better ?

  • Erik Knudsen

    BSA frames of the ’60s including the ones for the triples were more rigid than Triumph frames and provided better handling with the low-profile tires that became available in the late ’60s. BSA frames moved the weight distribution forward compared to the Triumph which also helped handling. BSA twins had bottom end oiling problems and Triumphs didn’t, so it makes sense to put a Triumph engine in a BSA frame. The better engine in the better frame.

  • Nige

    Adrian,

    Both the T150 and Rocket 3 were triples……………This is not only a twin but is also in a BSA frame so what exactly are you on about?