How to Restore Triumph Trident T150/T160 & BSA Rocket III by Chris Rooke | Review

How to Restore Triumph Trident T150/T160 & BSA Rocket III | Rider's LibraryJoining the ever-growing list of Enthusiast’s Restoration Manuals from Veloce Publishing is the latest and perhaps most unique of all so far. How to Restore Triumph Trident T150/T160 & BSA Rocket III by Chris Rooke takes the novel approach of making the narrative less like a technical manual and more like a conversation—an interesting and informative one, at that.

This approach is not only particularly engaging in explaining the technical aspects of the work, it seems particularly well-suited for the unique motorcycles he covers: the Triumph Trident T150/T160 and BSA Rocket III. The book does not include a full restoration of a Rocket III, but, as Rooke explains, there are enough similarities between the bikes to allow the book to benefit the restorer of the BSA.

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The book could find a welcoming audience based on data published in 2015 by Hagerty that revealed the T150 Triumph Trident was the fourth most prevalent of British Classic bikes insured by the company, which specializes in insuring classic and antique motorcycles, among other things.

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Rooke had not restored these models before, so each restoration was a real learning experience.   Rather than bury the pearls of hard-earned wisdom gained in the process in the book’s extensive narrative, Rooke created a very handy set of “Lessons Learnt” bullet points at the end of each chapter. This creates the opportunity for the user to read through those salient points even before diving into the chapter, alerted to key items that are expanded on in the chapter.

Many of these key points arise from some degree of difficulty Rooke encountered in his hands-on restorations, profiting the reader by allowing avoidance of the same fate.

Divided into no less than 64 chapters (44 devoted to the T150V, 20 to the T160), the book provides some in-depth guidance on disassembly, refurbishing and reassembly of key sub-assemblies. Several hundred color photographs illustrate many of the key components and steps in the process. The book is littered with cautionary tales of what can happen and how to avoid some problems, including the “buyer beware” of buying vintage motorcycles.

The book’s second chapter is particularly valuable in that it provides “Ten golden rules for a successful rebuild.” The rules cover how to document disassembly to facilitate correct reassembly—photograph, bag, label—everything; assess condition to know what parts should not be reused; remember to be patient, well-equipped and face the fact that mistakes will be made, and so on. He advises the prospective restorer to not rely on this book alone, but also have model-specific shop manuals and parts catalogs/supplier information available.

How to Restore Triumph Trident T150/T160 & BSA Rocket III is an interesting read, even if you don’t own a Trident or Rocket III or do own one, but don’t plan a restoration. It could serve very well as a repair manual, as well. It includes insights that are of potential value in any motorcycle restoration, but for those lucky enough to own one of these classic triples and giving serious consideration to doing their own restoration, this book could be a time, money and frustration-saving asset.

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