Insider’s View: Randy Baxter on Triumph Tridents

Randy Baxter of Baxter Cycle in Marne, Iowa, gives his opinion on Triumph Tridents.

Randy Baxter and Craig Vetter on an X75 Hurricane

Randy Baxter (top) with Craig Vetter on an X75 Hurricane.

Photo By Richard Backus

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Randy Baxter
Baxter Cycle, Marne, Iowa
(877) 343-9816
Baxter Cycle Website 

Randy Baxter opened Baxter Cycle in 1977, becoming the last franchised Triumph dealer with the old Meriden firm in 1982, the year before it went out of business. New Hinckley Triumphs fill his showroom today, and he ships vintage Triumphs and Triumph parts around the world. After almost four decades associated with the brand, Baxter’s name has become synonymous with Triumph, and he knows a thing or two about the Trident.

“I’ve always liked the triples, but they’re not for everybody,” Randy says. “They’re more maintenance intensive, especially in stock form. The engineering was pretty good, but they were dealing with limited resources.” Randy says the 4-speed gearbox was pretty bulletproof, but notes that early 5-speeds (1971-1972) were weak; they were upgraded in 1973.

He thinks Triumph Tridents can be solid, reliable bikes. “They’re fairly well made,” Randy Baxter says, noting they just need proper maintenance and a few essential mods. Number one on his list is ditching the stock ignition. “Electronic ignition is a must,” Randy says flatly, noting he’s had good luck with both Boyer and Tri-Spark electronic ignition systems.

He says the stock alternator is fine but recommends a solid-state voltage regulator, and if you don’t mind non-stock items Randy suggests a good 3-into-1 header. “They look good and sound good.” He also suggests a top end inspection as a matter of course, including a valve job and a fresh set of cast iron rings. The bottom end rarely requires attention, and he says to ignore the myth that the center cylinder always burns up. “That’s not true.”

He dislikes the stock trio of Amal carbs, and when we spoke he was finishing up a two-carb conversion kit he’s set to release, complete with new manifold, linkage and a pair of new 30mm Amal “Premier” series carbs to replace the 27mm units.

“I’ve always said that someday triples will be extremely collectible,” Randy Baxter says. “It’s starting to show.” MC 

Learn about what it’s like to own a Triumph Trident in Classic Experience: Life with a 1974 Triumph Trident T150.