I owned a 1991 Trident 750 that I customised following an argument with the tarmac after I ran out of talent. Slow-revving and industrial with an exhaust note like nothing else, these bikes were massively over-engineered, apparently in an effort to rid the brand of any legacy prejudice around reliability. It really felt like an event every time you rode one.
I'm of the generation that doesn't really remember much pre-Hinckley. My respect for the brand is mainly borne of its phenomenal rise from the ashes (literally) almost 30 years ago. The re-launch has seen the brand rise from practically zero to become a force to be reckoned with once again.
The products that Triumph make now are night and day different to those of the early 90s. Back then few could have predicted the success Triumph would enjoy towards the turn of the century.
I was once told a great story of a staff member running in to the burning factory to rescue one of the last 1200cc four-cylinder engines. This engine, along with every other Hinckley motor, now sits proudly on display in the impressive Visitor Experience Centre at the revived Hinckley plant (which is free to the public and well worth a visit).
While four-cylinder Triumphs have been long consigned to the history books, the triples live on. An intoxicating soundtrack and a blend of usable torque and peak power makes for what to my mind is the perfect road engine.
And so to our T595. Launched in 1997, this generation of Daytona was the bike that Triumph hoped would take the fight to the Japanese. In terms of engineering and outright performance it fell short of its oriental superbike rivals. At least on paper it did. What the Daytona had though was bags of character. And while that won’t win races, it’s a trait that won the affections of patriotic road riders. Along with a balanced chassis and a phenomenal front brake, on the road the Daytona was a surprisingly capable package.
Then there’s the aesthetics. The unusual tubular aluminium frame, stunning single-sided swinging arm and slightly bulbous styling set it apart from the competition in its day. Today, it's strangely beautiful and a refreshing change in a world of increasingly angular styling and sharp, minimalist edges.
Many of these bikes have not aged well. Flaking paint and corroded fasteners aren’t uncommon. But happily ours appears to have seen very little in the way of rain or road salt in the 21 years since she rolled off the Hinckley production line. Sure, she has a few battle scars and a few scuffs here and there, but for a bike that was one of the very first of the breed she's not in bad shape at all.
She's got some service history and is undergoing a major service at the time of writing. All in all she's a tidy example of this classic superbike and we're excited to have her in the Retro-RR garage.