It’s not quite a barn find, but not far off. When photographer Damian McFadden was shooting the Buell RR1000 in the UK for Bike EXIF last month, he spotted this Triton lurking in a shed. Built in 1998, it’s a beauty. And like the Buell, it’s owned by Steve Ledsham of JAL Restorations—so we hit Steve up for the story. “I wanted to build a small, lightweight bike with good geometry and a short wheelbase,” he says. “One that would have a good power-to-weight ratio. According to my estimates, I needed a bike with a genuine 70 hp that tipped the scales at no more than 300 lbs wet—to give me 4 lbs per hp.” Ledsham’s yardstick was the Honda Fireblade, with around 110 rear wheel hp and 445lbs wet, giving around 4.1lb/hp. A tall order. So Ledsham built himself a Norton ‘Domiracer’-type chassis, using lightweight aircraft steel T45 Tube.
The tanks are alloy, as are the Seeley yokes. The forks and shocks were made to Norton Manx length, and both wheels are 18”—with the front hub cast in magnesium—and AP Racing brakes. The motor is seriously trick: it’s a Triumph T140 with a 89 mm longstroke race crankshaft, Carrillo rods, lightened pistons, a flowed cylinder head and Megacycle 1065 cams. The entire valve train is full race spec with timing wheels, tappets and rockers all lightened, hollow pushrods, oversize race valves, race springs and titanium collars. Gas is supplied by twin 34 mm Mikuni VMs and the exhaust headers are Thruxton MK3 on short, unbaffled megaphones. The gearbox has a full close-ratio cluster and belt primary, with a 14-plate race clutch. The primary ratios are 15% longer than standard, and the engine will pull 7900 rpm on this gearing. Steve’s taken it through the speed trap at Brands Hatch at 142mph (“but almost lost my teeth due to vibration”). Oiled up and carrying two gallons of fuel, this Triton weighs in at 295 lbs. Peak rear wheel horses are 72 at 7600 rpm, using 105-octane race fuel. That’s 4.15lbs per hp. Any Fireblades care to take this one on?
[Special thanks to Damian McFadden for the images.]