Retrograde’s white hot Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
It’s hard to express just how much Mark Drury loves vintage Triumphs. In his own words, he’s a “self-confessed Meriden groupie,” but his love for the marque is even more evident in the projects he takes on.

Based in Northampton in England, Mark runs the workshop Retrograde Mechanica as an after-hours endeavor. And more Triumphs pass through his doors than any other make… regardless of the condition they’re in. This 1967 Triumph Daytona 500, for example, was pretty trashed when Mark took on the rebuild.

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
“This little one all started in a straight swap with a mate of mine,” he tells us. “I fancied another Daytona, and he wanted a 350 ‘Tri-Greeves’ that I had. The stock Triumph looked tidy enough, so a straight swap was done.”

“Of course things are never quite as they appear: my mate had obtained the bike in another deal and not really looked at it too much. It wasn’t a runner, the swingarm had seized, the subframe was as bent as a nine bob note and the tank was leaking from the usual spots.”

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
“The plan was hatched to build a tidy little desert sled-influenced bike for green-lane fun and the odd loony toons race, like the Malle events and Race the Waves.”

Surprisingly, when Mark tore into the motor, he discovered that there were new pistons, rings and rods inside, with a 60 cc over-bore. “The reason it was sold as a non-runner seemed to be a broken cam follower and a bent push rod,” he explains.

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
“So the sludge trap was cleaned and everything vapor-blasted or polished. Then reassembled as per Mr Turner’s specifications—albeit with quite a few tuning tricks from the pages of Stan Shenton’s awesome Triumph Tuning book, and an Electrex World ignition.”

“It’s truly a first kicker, every time without fail.”

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
Mark had some help from his friend Nick Dyble on the bottom end work, but did the rest of the rebuild, and the tuning, himself. The motor now sits on custom CNC-machined plates; other fixes include a new gear selector mechanism, and new clutch plates and rollers.

“Later I’d find that the head was more than a little warped” says Mark, “and I’ve since installed a NOS single carb head.”

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
To sort out the frame, Mark loaded it into his van and headed over to his buddy Neil Adams’ place, Made in Metal, for some TLC. The guys lopped off the headstock mounts and a bunch of brackets, then fabricated new ones.

They also straightened and braced the subframe for added rigidity at the back, remade the shock mounts, and replaced all the hardware with stainless steel bits. Neil also helped Mark shape the stainless steel exhausts, and he got rid of the leaks in the fuel tank, too.Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde

The running gear wasn’t neglected either. The front forks were upgraded to a newer shuttle valve setup and treated to progressive springs. And the rear shocks were swapped for a set of Betors, dialed in for Mark’s weight.

Mark refers to the OEM 7” TLS front brake as his brake of choice. So he gave it a full refresh, which included lathing the parts true, polishing them, and fitting stainless arms and green compound trials pads. Then he laced up new Excel rims with stainless spokes, with an Ensign trials tire up front, and a Dunlop MX tire at the back.

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
Up in the cockpit, Mark has polished the yokes smooth, then modified them to tidy up the steering lock hole and add a new cable guide. The steering damper (and matching brake rod adjuster) are his own parts, turned on his lathe.

The handlebars are one-off stainless steel units from Front Street Cycle in the USA, fitted with a Tommaselli throttle, Amal levers, Biltwell Kung Fu grips and color-matched Venhill cables. The lanyard-equipped kill switch is from Pingle.

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
Mark also added a fork brace (not yet fitted in these photos), and a rear fender of undetermined origin that happened to fit.

“The number plate is spring loaded and quickly detachable as I have a habit of clocking it with my boots,” Mark jokes. “The bike’s three inches taller than stock and I’m a shortarse, so it was kinda inevitable.”

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
The Daytona is now sporting a really nice oil tank, too. “It actually came from little John Hateley, no.99 himself,” says Mark. “If you’ve never heard of this man look him up, he makes fascinating reading and is an absolute top chap. He had a small run of these Webco copies made and it suits the bike perfectly.”

Finishing touches include a seat from Hayden Roberts at Hello Engine in California, and a killer flake job on the tank by Flakey Dave Addis, who’s done about ten of Mark’s bikes already. Gwizz Cycles in Australia sent over a new gas cap, and a bunch of parts were sent off to Redditch Shotblasing for powder coating.

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
“The crowning touch is a set of NOS Barons Speed Shop white rubber pegs and shift kit,” says Mark. “If anyone has any more of these, I will pay generous amounts of money!”

“The bike’s now fully run in and I have to say I love those Daytona cams. It’s fast, light and a lot of fun on the green lanes, and is by far the most used out of the five Triumphs I’ve currently in the garage.”

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde
“A few more changes have since been made, some quickly removable baffles in a ‘snuff or not’ style to make it a little more polite on the UK’s green lane network. And a bit more lock wire, as it does get thrown around quite a bit, and a nylon chain tensioner.”

There’s not a lot of desert in Northamptonshire, but we’d happily ride this Daytona absolutely anywhere—sand or no sand.

Retrograde Mechanica Instagram | Images by Ben Roome

Triumph T100R Daytona desert sled by Retrograde

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