Alp Design Transforms an old triumph motorcycle into a 200 mph landspeed racer
alp design takes a 650 cc triumph pushrod motor and supercharges its output from 33 to over 150 horsepower. the LA-based studio normally deals with industrial design, but its really feels at home when building land speed motorcycles. its most recent target was to reach 200 mph (322 km/hh) at the bonneville salt flats, on the stripped back ‘kneeler’ bike it designed and built.
all images © alp racing design / derek althen / mikey revolt
this was not a completely new project for alp racing design. its previous build, dubbed the ‘A bike’ (illustrated below), holds pushrod engine class records—at a blistering 175 mph (282 km/h). alp has reset its sights on 200 mph using a pre-1956 bike. for ‘T200’it has created extensive bodywork to streamline the bike’s profile. with a passion for everything aluminum, it decided to use that to build the body by hand. the whole build, excluding plating and painting, took over 1,500 hours in total. the cylinder head work alone took even longer than building the frame from scratch. every last part of this triumph is designed or fabricated for a purpose — sometimes to meet the rulebook, and sometimes for aerodynamics or functionality.
the engine is a triumph iron head 650 cc, which it’s now ‘fuel cooled’ by running a nitro methane mix. a ‘total loss’ oiling system sees oil simply pass through the engine, rather than being recirculated. the bespoke cylinder head has been flipped around 180°, so the intake is now at the front and the exhaust pipes are at the rear. the exhaust pipes were hand formed of stainless steel using oxy-acetylene as single pieces, rather than the common approach of welding together mandrel bent tubing.
during the ‘T200’s’ first visit to the salt flats, both its frame and bodywork performed well during test runs. only four runs could be attempted due to course conditions, which left the engine with piston damage. despite not being able to get into its power band, the racer eventually reached 170 mph (274 km/h), and recorded an official timed speed of 149 mph (240 km/h). alp’s idea is to customize the chassis so that the bike can race in may at el mirage, a dry lakebed located just outside los angeles.