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1950 Triumph Indian – Peace Frog

Posted on July 21, 2013 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 34 comments

Triton. The name raises the hairs on the neck of any dyed-in-the-wool café racer. Often cited as the genre’s ultimate engineering expression, it came into being due to the fact that the 60’s best engine and frame just so happened to exist in two completely different bikes. Norton’s Featherbed frame was more than a match for their temperamental 650 and 750 twins, yet Triumph’s T120 650 engine was well known for reliability and a fondness for mods, but alas it was trapped in an average frame. Then hey presto, the Triumph-engined, Norton-framed ‘Triton’ was born. And the Tribsa, the Norbsa, the Norvin… and the Trdian. No, we hadn’t heard of it either, until a few days ago. And now we can’t get enough. Meet the world’s first Triumph Indian, Peace Frog’s rather amazing new ‘Trdian’.

We guess the real story here, apart from the fact that we aren’t aware of any other Triumph/Indian hybrids in existence, is that Peace Frog’s build is also an amazing cross-pollination of British and American engineering, and it was imagined and created by a bunch of guys in Kumamoto, the capital city of Japan’s southern-most island, Kyushu. It’s like the United Nations, but with bikes instead of hot air. And much cooler, too.

Now, we’ll readily admit that the bike has a rather peculiar retro style at first glance. The meaty 500cc engine. The delicate Indian frame. It’s one that somehow manages to look both delicate and mean in the same blink of an eye. Then you notice the seat cowl that also serves duties as the bike’s oil tank. Expected? No. Delicate? Uh-uh. Full of win? Yes and yes. And look at that svelte rear profile.

Closer inspection of the bike’s details reveals a raft of hand-made items adorning it including the ‘bars, fuel tank, and foot controls. In fact, most of the bike’s body bits are bespoke, yet somehow they manage to look so simple and work amazing well in harmony. Which is quite an impressive asthetic statement from a country that also created the bōsōzoku craze.

The bike’s fed the all important go juice through a new set of Keihin CR carbs. We;re guessing they’d be some fun to open wide sitting on an engine like that, you think? Holding up the front end is an original set of Indian telescopic forks spinning Dunlop ArrowMax rubber, and holding up the rider’s feet is a set of custom-made foot pegs protecting what has to be the most original oil filter placement we’ve ever seen.

For more on this rather enigmatic Japanese shop, be sure an visit their blog here. And if you like what you see, their previous build was featured over at EXIF a few years back.

(Spotted on

  • Septic the Sceptic

    Sweet baby Jeebus, that seat thing or whatever is repulsive. Idea: Good Execution: Fail

  • revdub

    Entirely unique. The custom work is outstanding. The details will have me looking at these pictures over and over again.

  • arnold

    …..” and now for something completely different……”

  • James

    Sweetly cool bike. I love the oil tank idea.

    • Why ??
      And to be more specific, do you like its proportions, its shape,or its location ??
      And what about the oil filter and its location ???
      There’s something about this bike that doesn’t work for me, like Bob says…

      • James

        why i think it’s a cool bike or specifically the oil tank?

        in regards to the bike, it’s simple. the thin tires, wheel colors, exposed frame due to the small fuel tank. it’s unique.

        as far as the oil tank is concerned, it’s different. while the proportions are way off and the execution of the idea needs to be refined, it’s still thinking out of the box in a neat way.

        • I was asking only about the oil tank, because I was thinking the same thing about the proportions and the execution, especially about this oil filter.

          • James

            honestly, i didn’t even see the oil filter. i think that’s a horrible
            idea to put it there. i know the walls of the filter are pretty thick
            but to close to possible damage for my taste. what’s the point of having
            an oil filter that’s actually lower than rearsets? plus it pretty ugly
            sticking out there

          • itsmefool

            Ya’ll had to ruin it for me…I didn’t notice that filter until I read the comments; now it’s all I see! Thanks a lot.

      • Silk68

        What don’t work for ya is U wouldn’t know where to start nor have the Imagination !!! Bad Ass

    • bob hesh

      The location of the oil tank on this bike is not a new idea, but lately, Shinya Kimura has been doing it and doing it well. I’m happy to say that the quality of custom builders, both professionally and a new garage builder has grown ten fold. It’s what keeps me coming back everyday. What separates great builds from ground breaking ones these days is simple attention to lines, materials and details.

      For example, I don’t always love what Rolland Sands does but the kid knows how to clean up a project and finish it with his own stamp of style. Even the kids paint endears simply because it is obvious how much thought goes into it. I don’t love this build from peace frog but I know I have loved others that they have done. All I can wonder now is what will they do next.

      • bob hesh

        A second thing to remember is that in the past 10 years Japan has been re-injecting America with new styles. They’ve won a lot of us over in the past while, even if we didn’t know the origins. That being said, just seeing something new that they are offering, even if it isn’t a lot of our own cup of tea, still shows how much creativity continues to pour out of Japan.

  • bob hesh

    There’s something about this bike that doesn’t work for me. Craftsmanship may be there but proportions and lines seem too odd. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed Peace Frogs work, even if their site is crap to maneuver, but this bike, if it were mine, would be rolled back into the garage for a little rethink and rework.

    • revdub

      I know what you’re saying here. I agree. I think the whole look would be much improved if the oil tank/seat were half it’s size and redesigned. Honestly, the oil tank put back where it belongs under the seat would do a lot to fix what “doesn’t work” visually.

  • d-bike

    Yup…oil tank is too big compared to gas tank…reminds me of some super hero’s head.

  • The Ogre

    I love everything about this bike, with the exception of the front brake. I’d be afraid to ride the thing with that tiny drum.

  • AWLongmeyer

    See now, if you’re young and virile, as I’m certain most of you are, the combination of that hard tail and the heat put out while sitting on that tank will nip your little swimmers right in the bud.

    Low tide in the loins for sure.

    For an old guy like me sending smoke signals, the oil tank / seat is just too far out of proportion.
    DAMN fine craftsmanship from what I can see though.

    • taka-tz

      I don’t think he needs to worry about the swimmers. Dude must have more balls than a bowling alley, just to post it.

  • That has to be one of the weirdest customs I’ve seen lately. But if they swapped the proportions of the tail unit with the tank, it might suddenly start to ‘work’ visually.

    • taka-tz

      If he would give it a regular oil tank, put a rear fender on it, add a Bates solo seat and pillion pad, It would get back its Thirty-Fifty Trumpet vitality.

      • …In other words you recommend to skip this project as it is now, and have a new one, right ??
        …Well, I second that 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, mate. Got to agree about swapping the tanks, too. But I just can’t get over how much character it has. Rock up at a bike meet and I bet it’d draw a crowd like no Triton ever could.

  • Random thought – how would it look with a rider on it? I can see how the lines would work much better with someone crouched down over the tank in low-profile race position.

  • Cliff Overton

    Hmm – yeah, it’s posing a real challenge for me with that big oil tank rear. Kinda looks a bit like a spider with a big abdomen shaped body. But points for being different – there could be something in rear ends bigger than tanks from a design aesthetic. Actually – I think the CR’s stand out more than anything else.

  • Very strange looking!

  • I’m staying out of this one.

  • John in Pollock

    Fugly. Sorry….

  • Davidabl2

    I hate to make this joke, but this Indian says “ugh” to me…

  • arnold

    Oil temperature of 210 F to 260 F will easily blister your hand (first ‘hand’ knowledge). The oil tank location has me thinking of my tender parts. Maybe it has that super ceramic exhaust coating that I read so much about and it was not mentioned due to modesty.

    • arnold

      Ah, grasshoppers……frogs, I begin my journey to see the light:

      (Actually, I’ve already seen the elephant, I don’t need to see the light on this. )

    • Mike

      You gotta be kindin` with the wussy oil temp thing. Triumphs `till `71 & Sportsters `till about `79 had oil tanks you`d come in contact with all the time.

      • arnold


  • Daoud

    To each his own, but it looks like ……….. (fill in the blanl).

  • John in Pollock

    I just googled this Bōsōzoku thing, and hit images. These guys are doing it so wrong. They made a wrong turn back at Elvis… SMH.