Dresda Triton

Dresda Triton 1960s British classic motorcycle

It has no doubt been argued - in refreshment rooms around the world - that the Dresda Triton is the best café racer ever made. Dave Degens would probably agree. His company - Dresda Autos - was based in west London. As well as being a highly-regarded engineer, Degens was a race rider of repute. It followed, then, that he would be on the lookout for 'go faster' tips and techniques. A logical way to go, in that regard, would have been to take a well-sorted engine - and install it in an equally well-sorted chassis. And indeed - since the mid-'50s - certain two-wheeled tech-heads had been doing just that. Specifically, they had been syncing up Triumph motors with Norton frames. Hence, Triton! Triumph engines were patently the most potent powerplants around ... certainly, in Britain, at any rate. And Norton's 'Featherbed' had rewritten the rulebook when it came to firm, but flexible frame geometry.

Triumph's mid-'60s parallel-twin engine was pukka, to put it mildly. The 650 unit was kicking out 50bhp - at 6,500rpm. It paved the way for a top speed of some 120mph. That exceeded 'ton-up boy' requirements by 20%! And from an air-cooled four-valve twin! But - as Dave Degens knew - when it comes to speed, horsepower is only half the equation. Handling, too, needs to be factored in. Enter the Featherbed! Norton's steel twin-cradle frame had excelled on both road and track. Norton's TT rivals, for example, knew all about it! So, Triumph engine, plus Norton frame, equalled high-performance motorcycling.

By the end of the Sixties, the Triton 'brand' had expanded beyond its geeky beginnings. The dream team duopoly - Triumph and Norton - had garnered a substantial share of the 'Brit bike' market. But, 'mass-production' brought a sting to the Triton's tail. Down-market - if not dodgy - deals increased, both in parts and the way they were put together. Of course, Dresda Autos - with Dave Degens at the helm - never lowered their standards. For decades to come, they continued to provide bespoke bikes to discerning buyers. A genuine legend in the specialist motorcycle world, the Dresda Triton took on - and beat - all comers. Brit bikes ruled ... for a while, at least!

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