I think that if you asked most drivers of three-wheelers, apart from the real oddballs, which three-legger they really aspired to and I’d bet the farm on the fact that they’d answer – Triking. It’s the equivalent I suppose of the Caterham Seven in LSIS circles. With all due respect to Tiger, Dax et al, what most customers probably aspired to originally was the original – Caterham Seven.
Tony Divey, Triking boss, cut his teeth under Colin Chapman at Lotus and is a technical illustrator by trade. There’s a good chance that all those superbly detailed cutaway drawings of sixties Lotus F1 and road cars we drooled over as schoolboys were his handiwork. He has fond memories of those days and enjoyed his time at Lotus, and says that although Chapman was no angel he was a thoroughly gifted man, and I don’t think there’d be many who’d argue with that.
The first Triking appeared in 1978 and during that time over 130 have been sold, and although it was always compared to the equally superb Buckland B3, Divey’s product was marginally the better in my opinion. Tony’s rivalry with Dick Buckland was always quite intense, and the fact that Triking is still around tells its own story. Mind you the Buckland B3 was a real mean machine in its own right, but ultimately it perhaps could be slightly criticised for being so labour intensive, with much of the componentry being bespoke and painstakingly made in-house.
Triking still have their first ever car.
These days most of the Triking production is ordered fully built with the majority of the cars going to the USA or Germany, however kits are still available. Out on the road the Triking is a deity and handles like no other three-wheeler I’ve ever experienced, and is superbly stable even under the heaviest corning. Road holding too is remarkable, and although there’s a definite knack of hustling a Triking really swiftly, it is still easy to make extremely rapid progress.
I remember a three-wheeler group test we conducted for another magazine about five years ago and the venue was the MOD test track at Chobham. We had arranged ourselves conveniently at one end of the track in a little corral resembling General George Custer’s last stand. As Tony arrived we beckoned him over, but he duly headed in the opposite direction and set up as far away from us as possible. I drove over to him and asked what he was doing and he replied, “I don’t want to be anywhere near that lot”!
The Moto Guzzi engine
The traditional Triking engine fitment has always been the Moto Guzzi unit in either 850, 950 or 1100cc guises and with around 70-110bhp a realistic expectation, and you can see why performance is so lively, especially in a vehicle weighing just 350kg. Worth remembering that there’s also an even lighter version called the SuperLite and that really goes like the clappers and shaves a further 25kg off the standard car’s weight. There’s also a new option on that model of a six-speed sequential gearbox.
Basically the Triking is built on a chassis/body structure with an integral floor to which the one-piece GRP body is mounted and you can go for self coloured gelcoat ready for spraying which forms the majority of orders or choose from a range of gelcoat colours.
Triking boss Tony Divey
The Triking rides superbly well on the bumpy Norfolk roads, that traditionally have a high centre crown, and the front suspension providing the Rolls Royce-like ride comprises chromed arms with pivot bushes and ball joints, with uprights and adjustable dampers, and those gorgeous wire wheels poking out either side of the body also help with the ride while the chrome-plated rims on alloy hubs, fitted with bearings, with 283mm discs and Avon SM400x18-inch tyres do a superb job and look fantastic. Another really excellent attribute of the Triking is the really positive and direct steering, which is of the heel and boss arrangement, quite unusual these days. Incidentally the single rear wheel uses a fork arrangement connecting to driveshafts and works very well.
2003 was quite a momentous year for Tony and his partner Anita as they’re celebrating Triking’s Silver Jubilee and that’s quite an achievement especially in an industry such as this formed on shifting sand.
A work of art
Unlike many three-wheeler manufacturers, the introduction of MSVA will not cause undue problems for the company as the shape is pretty ‘SVA testers probe-friendly’ and exterior projections are not going to be an uphill battle to solve. Obviously, there are things to address but it’s only straightforward stuff that needs sorting. It’s worth noting however, that Triking have full type approval and a VIN number so therefore regulations are not an undue bother for the world’s smallest manufacturer to be found on the International VIN numbers list.
Something I’ve noticed over the years is that Triking owners just don’t seem to sell their cars and cherish them with a rare passion, although any that do come onto the market invariably end up back with Tony Divey so he pretty much controls the second-hand market, so if you do fancy a pre-built example then your first port of call should be Triking themselves.
Kit price start at £6535 inc VAT for the complete kit leaving the customer to source separately the Guzzi engine and gearbox, rear fork assembly, rear wheel, speedometer and brake calliper’s and Triking can supply you directly with any Moto Guzzi component. You can however purchase the kit parts separately as space and budget allows and the chassis on its own costs £390, with the body at £655 and windscreen a further £155. To get a good quality self built car on the road you’d need to budget for around £9000. Fully built car prices start at £18,750 for the Triking 1100 with 73bhp rising to £19,900 for the 90bhp Triking Sport model.
What’s the secret of Triking’s success? Put simply it stems from one man’s talent and dedication and also his attention to detail and a single-minded desire to supply trikes of the highest quality, and one cursory glance at the level of workmanship put into the Triking product will tell you all you need to know.
Triking are an institution and I hope that the Norfolk company continue to always produce their superb vehicles, and you just have to put it on your list of things to do at least once in your life to drive one, but be warned as you’ll be totally smittened by this absolute sweetheart of a three wheeler.