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Bike of the Month
March 2023
Rob North Special
Triumph T150
By Robert Jordan

I was first exposed to Rob North triples in my early Triumph riding days when living in Los Angeles. Around 1984 I visited a shop that had a couple of Rob's frames in various stages of build and vowed to myself that one day I would own one of these beautiful machines. Nearly 30 years later, Jerry Liggett, renowned builder of Triumph and BSA triples and proprietor of Triple Tecs, had just finished building me an authentic replica of Slippery Sam. Jerry mentioned that he was in contact with Rob North, and offered me an introduction.

Meeting Rob, I explained how I had lusted after one of his bikes for half of my life, and of my desire to replicate his early works bikes documented in the many Triumph books in my library. The brief to build the bike was to make it virtually indistinguishable from the originals built for the factory race team in the early 1970’s. Rob agreed to replicate one of his original builds for me, as well as reviewing the hardware and fitment of components to ensure that all parts were period correct.


Jerry offered to provide a fast road/race engine and was well poised to construct such a machine. He had built and supported the racing Triumph triple campaigned by Gary Nixon in the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA)in the 2000’s


The frame arrived from North, who now resides in Los Angeles, in October of 2017 as a roller ready to receive the engine. Jerry fitted the T150 engine, race ready, which he had spent the prior year building. The components are listed below and with the benefit of 5 decades of engineering progress the engine is probably more powerful and durable than the originals and certain to produce the unique howl of a racing triple in full cry.


Engine Components

  • 750 cc capacity

  • Johnson J280 camshafts

  • Lightened and re-radiused cam followers

  • Heavy duty pushrods 

  • Carrillo connecting rods

  • Lightened and balanced crankshaft

  • Lightened clutch and primary drive

  • Lightened rocker arms, cam and idler gears

  • High-capacity oil pump

  • 30 mm Amal carburetors

  • Electronic ignition


Considering the Rob North Special was going to be ridden on the roadways of northern Nevada and California, concessions had to be made accordingly:  A side stand was fitted and the fairing modified to accommodate it; electrics were added to support a lighting system with a remote, contactless key fob secreted from view and the ignition timing moderated to permit the use of pump gas.


The original 19” wheels were used and the exacting Rob North frame geometry was evident in the stability of the machine at speed during testing.


This bike is much more modern in its handling and overall feel when compared to my other 60's and 70's motorcycles. It certainly has a lot more power, requires one to be focused at all times, and is best enjoyed pushing the limits on twisty mountain roads, rather than a casual ride.


The bike was exhibited at the May 2018 Quail Motorcycle Gathering to great acclaim.

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