Conceived as a high-performance machine, like the factory triples of the 1970s, the Hyde Harrier has been described as a sleek road-legal 130mph cafe racer. It was the brainchild of Norman Hyde, who started work at the Triumph factory in Meriden in 1965, and was part of the team that developed the three-cylinder 750cc BSA and Triumph racers of the early Seventies. He was also a successful drag racer and record-breaker. Unveiled at the 1987 Motorcycle Show, the Harris Performance-made chassis was a revelation, enabling riders to cope with the big increases in engine performance from tuned Triumph engines and advances in suspension and tyre technology.
Lester and Steve Harris utilised their experience of high level racing to produce a radical new frame and swing-arm that would accept the engine and running gear from a donor Triumph Bonneville twin (or triple-cylinder Trident). Handling was transformed with superb frame bracing, steeper fork angle and the use of a longer swing-arm. However, the new design also allowed the engine to be moved forward, which, to the surprise of many experts, provided a more stable ride. racers immediately realised the potential of this machine and the first Harrier race bike won its inaugural race at Scarborough in 1988, in the hands of TT legend Geoff Johnson.
Hyde Harrier chassis kits for Meriden Triumphs are still available today and there is a stunning example on display in the National Motorcycle Museum. One of the more modern machines in the collection, it is powered by the electric-start 750cc T160 Triumph Trident unit made from 1975-1977. A prototype design for Hinckley-built Bonnevilles (the Jubilee) was unveiled at the 2008 Motorcycle Show.