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Triumph Trophy 650 1971

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by iliketoride, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Anyone have knowledge of these bikes? Opinions?

    Love my old school bikes and I have the opportunity to get one of these, they are aesthetically pleasing to me but are they piles of shit?

    Any idea on what they are worth?

    PS- I'll be riding it on my L's but I don't care for opinions on that :p I expect it to be relatively heavy and sluggish.. for me its all sound and style.
  2. Owning a beautiful old classic will offer great rewards and great trials. This is not a consumption bike - something you ride for so many miles and then toss - it is (capable of being) a bike for life; as you say, it has an aesthetic unlike anything else.

    My SR500 gives me the shits often enough, but more than that I absolutely love it! Class and beauty, a bike I can work on, a biker's bike. But you have to go in with your eyes open. You have to be prepared to frequently get grease on your hands (and to do plenty of study prior to that), you have to be prepared - if this is your only or main transport - to get stressed at times. You can't just jump on it and tour without (moreso than other big bikes) a bit of planning and a preparedness to take your time, and to put up with some anxiety about getting there without obstacles. But it's worth it! Looked after, the bike will generally get you there and, when it stops by the roadside, it will have taught you enough to get it going again yourself. And there's nothing like the feel, the sound, and the looks! If the bike is good, I'd do it, definitely!

    (Read the thread about the 'ape' in general discussions today)
  3. +1 to Matt's post.

    So glad to hear you are after the old school angle - a classic without buying a new one and thinking it is :wink:

    Once you get anything that needs sorting on it sorted i.e. carbies, brakes, tune the donk, tighten everything up (caveat emptor: they vibrate), you'll not find them sluggish nor crap in handling. They are a character-filled piece of history to ride and maintain. They are more than capable of keeping up with city traffic, won't be in the way on a highway and are taught and fun in the twisties. And when you'll pull up you'll get heaps of admiring looks and misty-eyed old codgers who'll regale you with tales of woe and delight of their own experiences!

    It's not the most desireable year in terms of collectability, but if you are a regular rider who really cares? Whilst these Triumphs were superseded long, long ago, they were the superbike of their time. Most Trumpy owners tend to hang on to them for years - prolly because they owe their owners headaches or much $, or more that they are a bunch of fun to ride. Bit of both...

    Maintenance will be required more than something modern, but should not be something too difficult. Find a good Brit bike mechanic or a mate that knows a bit about them to guide you. Expect to replace the wiring loom if it hasn't been done in the last 10 years or so - easy & cheap to get one from www.britishspares.com There's not a lot of moving parts, and the ones that do (and you don't lose through vibration :LOL:) like points, plugs etc are easily located and are often cheaper than their Japanese equivalent. They respond well to tuning, carbs and extras such as an oil cooler and improved oil filtration. Speaking of oil, change it regularly, what doesn't leak out anyway :)

    I suggest jumping onto a Triumph forum such as http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/BonnevilleOwnersClub/ or www.the59club.org.au or www.tonupboys.com - you'll find plenty of advice around.
  4. 650 Triumph twins are by and large very good bikes; the Bonnevilles are good, but in my opinion the Trophys are better. Reason being, the Trophys were just about as fast as the Bonnies, but so much easier to tune with the single carb. 1971 never used to be a collectable model because it was the first year of the Oil in Frame bikes - although nowadays, now that the older models are drying up, the '71 is getting a bit more sought after for that very same reason: because they were the first.
    Nevertheless Triumph ownership is very rewarding. Treat the bike right and you''ll get an awful lot of miles out of it. Amongst the many positives are that most engine parts are readily available, cheap and often being made brand new; the engines are so simple a child can work on them; cycle parts can be easily repaired or replaced; you'll be riding something somewhat unique - people look and say 'must be a Triumph'. The old pommy twins are just fun, simple as that.

    BUT, there are some things to be careful of entering Triumph ownership, some of which Ezyrider already mentioned - take care of the oil and maintain regularly, neither of which are hard. A couple of more model-specific points to note in this case:
    1) The brakes. The front brake on the early OIF models is feeble. The actuating arms are too short and the cable is too easily stressed. If you have this type of hub (the conical hub) on the front, I suggest you change it to the '68-'70 full-width hub/twin-leading shoe. The rear brake is fine.
    2) The bores. Unit-model 650s have 9-stud heads. This isn't a problem until you start to bore them out and you get less meat between the cylinders. If there isn't enough room between the bores the ninth head-stud will push itself into the bore and root the piston. Don't over-bore and you'll have no problem with this.
    3) The electrics. Not usually too bad, but most people prefer to fit electronic ignition to simplify life. The headlights/indicators can sometimes be weak, but easily fixed.

    Thing is with old English bikes is the value doesn't deteriorate and there will always be someone who can point you in the right direction if there's a problem. And if you DO ever have a major problem, theres really only about 4 moving parts to check!

    Good luck, and if you do buy the bike feel free to ask any questions at all, even if they seem like simple ones.

  5. Sadly the bike was sold just as I was arranging a time to go see it. Feel I might have missed a beauty at 4500 ONO and it looked very clean..

    Thanks for the information it simply inspires me further, totally dig what you guys are saying and agree wholeheartedly. I think I've found my style, now just to find another somewhere. How hard are these to find?

    When I told my girlfriend I wanted to buy a bike, she said in the most sarcastic of tones, "Whaaat? Like a Kawa-saki?".. in reference to bright green race bikes. Hehe, seems she has good taste too.

    Can't wait to get one!

    Listening and watching youtube videos of these era bikes get me all juiced up :p!

  6. $4500 is pretty good. Damn...

    Dan, I don't know your location, but try www.centralmotorcycles.com.au for a good, clean bike. Also ebay have had a few examples come along. Use the time in between the next potential one to build up your knowledge :cool:
  7. Just Bikes magazine is good for the older bikes, much more so than Motorcycle Trader.

    Do you have anything specific in mind - marque/capacity/handling, for example?
    If you're buying an old bike more for the style (and there's nothing wrong with that) I suggest you stick to pre-1970. Norton Commandos are rubbish, and the OIF BSA/Triumphs just don't have that flair that the earlier models do. Try to avoid 750cc twins altogether. If you want to buy BSA, be very careful with the twin-cylinders; there's nothing wrong with them as such, but the high-performance models suffer badly from wear in the bottom end - and anything over 250cc in the unit-single department can be unreliable to say the least. Most Triumphs are fun, the Tiger 100s in particular, and if you can stick to single carb so much the better. Also Triumph Trident 750cc are usually available at good prices, but are perhaps not advisable if your only starting to ride. Featherbed Nortons are expensive nowadays but very much worth the investment - again, the 500cc twin in particular - and handle better than just about anything else on the road. Consider Royal Enfields too; the 250cc unit singles such as the Continental GT really look the business and are great fun to ride, although the twin-cylinders need a bit of looking after.

    Anyway, food for thought. If you have any determined criteria, such as mentioned above, let us know and maybe I can offer some specific models to keep an eye out for.

    Good luck,
  8. I'd add that, depending on how far your taste stretches, some of the Jap bikes of the 70's are worth considering, especially the Yamaha SR500 and the various XS models (which respond well to mods such as making a cafe racer); not nearly as good-looking and charismatic as an old Brit, but you're much more likely to find a reliable one and at half the price, and they are still good-looking and look like a 'real' motorcycle. You won't get the same kudos with some people and some Brit bike guys will down right snub you if you try to walk up and have a chat, but most riders will look on it with respect and I love the experience of always having people come up to talk when I get off the bike.

    I went riding with Quarterwit on his cafe racer SR400 yesterday, him dressed up in full Rocker gear with shiny black leathers...he looked damn cool!