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Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
Regular readers will need no introduction to Richard Pollock. Better known as Mule, the irascible Californian is opinionated, blunt, and probably the best builder of tracker-style bikes in the world today.

Pollock is entitled to his opinions. If you were planning to write the textbook on how to create a high-performance street tracker, you’d save time by analyzing the components of (and thinking behind) a Mule build.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
This silver dream machine is Mule’s latest creation, and powered by a hot-rodded Triumph T140 engine. Like many Mule bikes, it’s grounded in the present but with a nod to the past: the frame and swingarm are rare Panther items, crafted in British Columbia in the mid 1970s.

“The bike arrived—as so many do—with a list of simple, desired upgrades,” says Pollock. “In the end, the only parts we retained from the donor were the swingarm and the main frame loop, both of which got multiple repairs.”

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
“The other request was a less than one-year turnaround. No!” Three years and an entirely new bike was the result.

Fine-tuning the frame was only the start of it. Pollock has installed a 1973 Triumph T140 engine, which puts out considerably more than the humble 54 hp it achieved in factory spec. The 750cc parallel twin has been built by Charlie Barnes of Branch-O’Keefe, one of the best performance engine builders in California.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
As well as the usual internal magic, Barnes replaced the standard 30mm Amal carbs with 34mm Mikunis. For the other end, Pollock enlisted the services of Mark McDade for a full custom exhaust system.

Modern electronic ignition helps deliver the power smoothly, but the gear changing is decidedly traditional. The T140 was the first Triumph twin with a left-side gearshift, but on this machine it’s been moved to the right side. The pegs are Mule’s own design, fitted with Bates rubbers.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
A tracker needs to be good in the twisties, so Pollock has installed a set of 43mm Showa adjustable forks from one of Buell’s better handling bikes, the M2 Cyclone. They’re held in place by triple clamps from Barracuda Racing, lightened and black anodized. A pair of Hagon shocks suspends the rear: simple coils, nuthin’ fancy, but you can guarantee they’ll work.

The bike rolls on a fine pair of Sun rims, 19 inches of course, built up with spokes and nipples by the legendary Buchanan’s of Azusa, California. The front hub is from a 1978 Yamaha XS650, with Mule’s own custom bearing carriers, and the calipers are from a 2007-spec Triumph Bonneville.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
There’s a Barnes-style hub at the back with Mule’s own adaptors, and Brembo has supplied the calipers—along with both front and rear master cylinders, which are hooked up to Crown Performance lines.

The rubber is from Goldentyre, and despite the chunky flat track tread pattern, it’s DOT legal.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
The new bodywork has that lean, unfussy tracker look and sits on the old frame just perfectly. The tank is a Storz unit originally designed for the Harley Sportster, and the seat/tail section is a modified Ron Wood Rotax tracker design.

There’s a custom pad from Saddlemen and, just under the rear frame loop, an LED brake light. The side panels are especially neat, with covers to protect the substantial cone filters.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
The headlight is another Sportster part—tucked in nice and tight against the fork tubes with the help of a modified Joker Machine mount—but the stainless bars are Pollock’s own design.

It’s all finished off with a low-key lick of paint applied by SBKPaint, one of California’s best paint shops and a specialist in fiberglass prep.

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker
We’re betting that this Triumph is a long way off what the owner expected when he first contacted Mule. And it’s hard to imagine waiting three years for a bike to be built. But it looks like the result was worth it, doesn’t it?

Like they say, good things take time.

Mule Motorcycles | Richard Pollock Instagram | Images by Olivier de Vaulx

Fast cat: Mule’s Panther-framed Triumph T140 tracker

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