Collectable: Triumph X75 Hurricane-News & Reviews-Motorcycle Trader

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BSA Prototype

20 Aug 2013 | The Triumph X75 Hurricane is now one of the most sought-after triples Ian Falloon

Words: Ian Falloon

It as an American skunkworks project and the world’s first factory and, as flawed as it might be, the X75 is now one of the world’s most sought-after

Secret Service

The ‘factory is taken for granted as an integral of today’s mainstream motorcycling. has almost made it an art form and all other manufacturers have suit.

But it was BSA that pioneered now-successful formula, with Vetter’s strikingly styled X75 of 1973. Not only was the X75 the world’s factory custom, it also later mainstream motorcycle

The Hurricane grew out of the lukewarm to the original BSA Rocket Three in the US. was considered ugly and overweight so, in BSA in the US approached a young designer and manufacturer, Craig Vetter, to a prototype custom Rocket

There was already a growing in customised machines among American motorcyclists and the directors of BSA in the US something that evoked the US-specification Triumph Bonnevilles of the

Vetter’s own philosophy was to contrast the traditions of the British motorcycle with the American underground culture.

Vetter set to work on a 750cc BSA Rocket Three, a single curvaceous moulded tank, seat and side Although the 67 x 70mm three-cylinder was standard, Vetter modified the head by enlarging the fin area. was done purely for aesthetic as were the black-painted cylinder

With three 27mm concentric carburetors, the power was (58hp) at 7250rpm.

The distinctive silencers exiting on the right derived from those of the BSA flat tracker. These may worked well on left-turn but they severely limited ground clearance.

Going for a lean look, installed separate instruments and a chromed headlamp. The gaitered also made way for cleaner units, although these later lengthened 50mm by Coleman at BSA in the UK. Painting the prototype in Hugger Red’, Vetter had up and running by September, 1969.

BSA approved a limited-production run of the Vetter during 1971 to test the which, at the time, was surprising the precarious financial state of the Vetter hadn’t even England at that stage and the from prototype to production required the one-piece tank and to be modified to incorporate a steel cell within the fibreglass. didn’t change was the tank and the tiny 9.0-litre fuel

As the BSA engine was hardly noted for frugality, the Hurricane was definitely not for long-distance touring.

However, poor management saw the Triumph and BSA line-up miss the US season and it wasn’t until 1971 that the pre-production Rocket appeared. This was close in specification to the prototype but for a hub, twin leading-shoe brake from the A75 that

The Vetter Rocket also Borrani light alloy 19- and wheels and an ‘Aztec Red’ scheme.

Unfortunately, the finalisation of the version coincided with the of BSA’s Small Heath so the Vetter was transferred to the Triumph at Meriden for further development. when it finally went production in September 1972, the model name was the Triumph X75 although it was still essentially a BSA Three, as evidenced by the forward-slanted The name also carried on a BSA of meteorological themes: Cyclone, and Thunderbolt being others.

The general specifications were of the four-speed BSA A75 but some Hurricanes also based on the five-speed

The dry weight was considerably less the standard Rocket Three at and, although the longer increased the wheelbase to 1524mm, the of the Hurricane came in for some

There was also a problem the noise from the three-pipe not passing the new 1973 US regulations.

a claimed top speed of almost doubts over the handling and the price meant that of the limited-edition Hurricanes languished in for some time.

Today, the Hurricane is one of the most coveted triples. Vetter’s styling was and few designs have withstood the of time as well as the X75 Hurricane.


Original price:

Current valuation for one in average $20,000

Current valuation for one in mint More than $30,000


• Craig Vetter in 1965 and began building motorcycle fairings. By 1969, his had 10 employees.

• BSA in the UK initially knew of the Hurricane project. It was conceived by Don director of the BSA Group’s eastern BSA INC. in Nutley, New Jersey. The was financed from office cash and kept secret BSA Group management in England it was completed.

Brown resigned BSA in 1970.

• In April 1969, called Vetter and offered to fly him to New to talk about the project. The on June 3, 1969, went and Vetter rode home to on a Rocket 3.

• The Hurricane prototype was to England where it remained October 31, 1969, to June when it was shipped directly to World magazine in the US.

• The Hurricane was primarily a US-market and production ended in January with just 1172 built.

Want to know

Have a look at Craig website here:

A resource for older Triumphs:

A Triumph Hurricane forum:

A site dedicated to Triumph and BSA

Join the Trident and 3 Owners’ Club:


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