Triumph twins times three: Keith Martin's RPM cycle

Meet Keith Martin, a Triumph specialist in Texas with three very different takes on Triumph’s classic parallel twin.

| November/December 2007

Meet Keith Martin, a Triumph specialist in Texas with three very different takes on Triumph’s classic parallel twin.

You’d think with his background at Big D Cycle — the famous Texas dealership that built the 1956 world record-holding Triumph that launched the iconic Bonneville — that Keith Martin would be a Triumph man through and through. But you’d be wrong.

Yes, he owns a Triumph franchise. And yes, there are Rocket IIIs, Scramblers and Daytona 675s on the shop floor, with classic Triumph twins tucked away in most corners of his Dallas store. But Keith is a man who gets passionate about anything on two wheels, whether it’s a Honda step-thru or a Bonneville racer.

“When I was a kid with a Honda 100, I used to skip school with a bunch of friends to ride over to Big D and look at the Triumph streamliner that hung from the ceiling above the mechanic’s workbench,” Keith recalls. “Jack Wilson was in charge then. We’d mess about in the workshop until he got bored with us and then we would ride off to get a beer — the town I grew up in was dry.” Wilson, of course, was the man who tuned the 650cc Triumph engine that powered the streamliner to a world record of 214.40mph in 1956. That bike was the genesis of the model that made Triumph a best seller in the U.S.

After Keith got out of school, he took a job in the satellite industry that involved a lot of traveling. “But that gave me three or four days off at a time when I got home, so I started hanging around Big D in my spare time, cleaning up stuff mostly. Then I went to Daytona in 1987 and saw the vintage races. I was hooked.”

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Buck Craft
10/23/2012 6:05:39 PM

I knew Jack and Pete from 1949 until their deaths. Pete died in the mid '80's and Jack died in the late '90's I believe. The last time I saw Jack was at Big D. He was not well then. He said the gas fumes over the years had destroyed his heart. Jack built a 1962 Bonneville for me and it is to this day the fastest motorcycle I ever owned. By the way. Is Jon Minano, Joe Minano's son, still around?

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