2023 Author: Nicholas Abramson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 02:44
Curiously, the times I have been in London I have visited some of its technological museums, such as the Science Museum or the RAF in Hendon, but until yesterday I had not heard of this small private museum in which it is collects much of the history of the latest motorcycles made in the UK. They comment in the article in The Vintagent that this was a museum of those little ones in which motorcycles are stacked on top of each other and you can hardly appreciate what you are seeing. But luckily the owner, Bill Crosby, has just opened a new room in which this does not happen and you can see some of his interesting pieces.
Among those pieces you can find a Triumph collection that I think that not even the brand itself has. Thanks to the fact that Mr Crosby was a Triumph dealer between 1978 and 1983. A time when the British motorcycle industry was fighting to save itself from the attacks of the Japanese brands. Fight that we all know that the Japanese won, but we are going to see through a history of the experiments that Triumph did at that time how the "British army" was lost.
At London Motorcycle Museum We can find one of the prototypes that Triumph manufactured under the BSA brand with an engine that mounted an overhead camshaft. To control this camshaft, a simple toothed belt was used. A simple and relatively reliable system, but with the technology of the time it became a headache, since the irreparable leaks of engine oil made it almost unfeasible. And that the motorcycle drivers of the time were more than used to oil-seeping gaskets.
But the nonsense of the design does not end there, since being a three-cylinder motorcycle with a simple overhead camshaft, the central cylinder spark plug could only be replaced if you raised the aforementioned camshaft. And with the reliability of the electronics of that time, you can imagine how long one of those spark plugs lasted. The solution would have been to mount a double camshaft, how it was mounted a little later on the Triumph Trident or BSA Rocket3 but it didn't occur to anyone at the time. More than anything because they were involved in endless financial problems.
Problems as absurd as that the machinery to machine the cylinder heads was rented, and when the owners of the brand failed to pay, the owner recovered their machinery and destroyed it so that no one could take advantage of it. Not even when the meeting of British brands Norton / Villiers / Triumph ended up in the hands of the workers under the name of Meriden Co-op was able to revive the motorcycle manufacturing business. The bottom line is that in the seven-year period that Triumph Trident were on the market, only 27,480 were sold, while over a quarter of a million Honda Goldwing were sold in the same period.
Going back to the topic at the beginning, it seems to me that for the next time we go to London, we will have to plan a visit to this interesting museum as part of the trip, in addition to visiting the mummies of the British Museum again.
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