1972 Triumph X75 Hurricane

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It seemed to hit all at once. In 1967 a big, high performance bike was a 650 Triumph or a Harley Sportster. Then all hell broke loose about 1968 with the Norton Commando Fastback, and soon after the 750cc Triples from BSA and Triumph followed by the Honda CB750 and H1 Kawasaki. By 1973 there were the H2 and then Z1 Kawasakis, and the Suzuki GT750 Triple thrown in for a little flavor. Never had motorcycling seen such rapid evolution, and one-upsmanship in such a short period of time. In 1969 in an effort to extend the niche of the new BSA Triple, the Rocket III, and keep up with the pace of change, American designer Craig Vetter was given a BSA Rocket III to experiment with. The fantastic X75 Hurricane was the result.
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BSA was out of business by 1973 and Norton was nearing its end. Competition from Japan was strong. The American market was extremely important to British bike manufacturer Triumph. It’s said that what Triumph was after was a chopper version of its 750cc triple to feed the styling trend fueled by Easy Rider; extended front ends, skinny front wheels and upswept exhaust were happening in the motorcycle scene. But working in glass fiber reinforced resin and plenty of chrome, schooled and knowing Craig Vetter gave them instead a more lasting look.
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The standard Rocket III’s front end was slimmed by removing the fork gaitors and using an abbreviated chromed fender with light wire stays. Keeping the headlight high adds to the impression of long forks, which were extended about an inch over stock. The fuel tank, a sleek but too small two and a half gallon sculpture necked down to transition into integrated side-covers, then a seat pan. Upswept exhausts add motion and visual weight to the rear of the bike, though right side ground clearance was a problem.

A somewhat impractical styling exercise that hit late in the reign of the British motorcycle, more expensive than a standard Triumph Triple, the Hurricane was slow to sell. About 1200 Hurricanes were made. They are now highly collectible for their unique style by an American designer, Craig Vetter, and today prices are increasing rapidly.

Engine OHV Three Cylinder
Bore & Stroke 67mm x 70mm
Displacement 744cc’s
Carburetors Thre 27mm Amals
Horsepower 58
Primary Duplex Chain
Transmission 5-Speed
Electrics 12 Volt
Suspension Telescopic Fork / Dual Shock, Swingarm
Wheels/Tires 3.25 x 19 / 4.25 x 18
Wheelbase 57 Inches
Brakes Drum; 200mm / 175mm
Weight 465 Pounds
Top Speed 115 MPH

On Loan to the National Motorcycle Museum from Jerry Rewerts   –   L35

Featured Rider: Dick Mann

1963 & 1971 Grand National Champion
Looking back at racing in the 1950’s through the early 1970’s, Dick Mann is often  thought of as the hardest working man in GNC racing. He did it all; was a world class racer, tuner, frame builder and went head-to-head with the AMA in political matters like increased safety, motorcycle homologation and purse money for the racers.
Mann was tough and versatile on the track, loved scrambles and excelled on rough tracks that slowed most riders down, even raced motocross! He was also one of the smoothest and fastest road racers through the 1960’s & ‘70’s.
At heart Dick Mann was an independent soul and though he had factory support for most of his career, he won the 1963 title aboard both BSA’s and Matchless machines, he was not a “true” factory rider for either brand. Though still winning Nationals into the late 1960’s, BSA considered him over the hill and began recruiting younger riders. Mann found a ride with Honda for the 1970 Daytona 200 and riding a kitted CB750 won his first race there after years of trying. He re-signed with BSA for 1971 and his career was reborn. In 1971, he won his second Daytona 200 and went on to win the GNC title again.
Mann’s win at the Homewood Mile in Illinois made him the first rider, one out of four ever to complete a GNC Grand Slam. He had won in every discipline on the GNC trail; short track, mile, half-mile, TT and road race. He won a record eight TT Nationals. His first (1959) and last (1972) wins were at Peoria, notching a total of 24 GNC wins.
Still competitive in 1974, Mann decided to hang it up. He continued to ride motocross and enduro events and began building a successful line of frames. Contracted to help design a short track racer, the OSSA DMR (Dick Mann Replica) is based on his chassis design. Mann has been heavily involved in vintage racing of all motorcycle sports right up to today and was instrumental in the early and continuing success of AHRMA, the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association.