Wide of the Mark Rider – Keeley Pritchett

Keeley was the youngest rider in our group, but also probably the most ambitious in terms of his build. Choosing the vintage bike route and building a 1972 Triumph trophy for the ride.

Wide Of The Mark

To his credit and our amazement, any breakdown suffered on this bike (there were quite a few) Keeley was able to push through, work late into the night and get the job done with minimal tools and nothing more than a headlamp for light. the whole top end of this bike was rebuilt on our trip and it ended more reliable than it began!

A running joke on the trip was that any time Keeley started touching tools, swearing was soon to follow. With a mouth like a sailor, and a reckless attitude towards his bike. We were always entertained whether he was fixing his bike or trying his hardest to break it again on any track we went down. One of the best moments was seeing Keeley triumphantly (saucy triumph pun) return to the ride group after breaking down and going missing for hours on end trying to repair it.

So here’s Keeley to take you through his vintage triumph adventure build.

 

Wide Of The Mark

The bike started life as a clean example of a 1972 triumph trophy. I bought the bike of an elderly owner down in Melbourne. After a quick couple round the blocks and one or two hot laps. I dropped the oil and went through and checked everything, the bike seemed good. Little did I know it had a big underlying issue. So on a nice pristine day on the road out to Mudgee, she let go. Oil pump relief valve unscrewed itself and with no oil pressure light alerting me. The damaged unfolded as such, blown big end and a lot of extra drama. 

I was approached by Tom to do Wide Of The Mark and I had the triumph stashed away ready to be worked on. It just came to mind that I’d love to turn it into an adventure bike. With experience working on triumphs I knew it wouldn’t be straight forward. I rebuilt the motor from the ground up. All done properly. I wanted to style it like a Rickman Metisse, but the tanks on them are built for trials and short enduro tracks. So I took the profiles of the tank and added a lot of weight to it. The tank holds 20L even with the wide tunnel for the oil in frame.

I did away with all the other excess weight. And kept most of the stock bike, just with little touches here and there to refine it. With the smallest wiring harness ever the electrics were foolproof for the trip. The upgraded internals on the suspension and tires, the lite weight aluminum bodywork and fenders meant for a bike I’d dig to ride, especially with the stainless exhaust giving it that awesome carburetored triumph note. I’m happy to say the bike performed well, with no testing prior to the trip. There were hiccups and a lot of roadside fixes but I know the weak points and I am keen to correct them. Learning on the adventure is what it’s all about.

Adventure bike Wide of the Mark Triumph Trophy

Engine work – .010” under on the crank with .010” pistons. The rest of the motor is quite stock, I had issues with the head on the trip, it’s a metal allergy is not Existent. The age of it and how many times it’s been machined made it sit the valves lower into the barrel when opening. So at high RPM and a little valve bounce she touched and started to snap rods. Well, that’s my educated guess anyway.

  • Gearbox – The Gearbox was more than likely my weakest point. The gearing I had chosen wasn’t up to the task of higher speeds (Highway). I didn’t have a chance to test ride my bike on the highway with the unraveling of the bike’s progress right before we left off. But with a grit of my teeth and a bit more confidence each day the bike went faster and faster on the tarmac. The Oil’s care package provided from Motul came in Handy more than once keeping up with the notorious triumph oil leaks.
  • Suspension – The vintage Triumph suspension had minor work done to it. Stronger rear shocks to carry the load. Upfront my shocks had fork seals did and progressive springs.
  • Styling This is where I love to play. I made an airbox to take twin DNA filters off a quad bike. To give it the 60’s desert sled look and keep it breathing in tough conditions. Stainless exhaust Asymmetrical that came out one side. Aluminum everything, I spent weeks hand shaping the aluminum tank. I made the fenders to suit the tire profile perfectly. On the Trophy I also changed up regulator mounts, battery box, speedo mount. Pretty much everything was improved or changed.
  • Adventure Mods – Making the old Triumph adventure-ready didn’t take too much work, more a little planning. Some custom bag rags were made for the rear, and the rest of my camping gear was strapped on top of the custom seat I built. For the long stretches of off-road navigation, I set up a Quadlock mount and charger, and some super bright LED lighting. All that was left was to ride the thing after that.

Having the oldest bike in the team presented a lot of challenges, but it perfectly suited me. each rattle and clunk I got to know and have built the motor myself I could fix anything that went wrong. Something that you can’t say for modern adventure bikes. Wide of the Mark was a really unique experience, I’m glad I was a part of, there may not ever be anything quite like this trip, and I’m overwhelmed with the adventure we had and the memories we created as a team.

 

Wide Of The Mark