The Best Vintage Triumph Motorcycle
Over the years of being in business we have received a broad range of questions
Some basic, some interesting and some that really make "think"
Most general questions range from "what type of oil does my bike need?" or "how do you rebuild a motor?"
Since we can’t address all those questions in a single post we would like to cover one question in particular that seems to come up during "project season"
“Which vintage Triumph motorcycle is the best?”
Right off the bat, that’s a very broad question and will be extremely difficult for me to answer but I will throw in my personal opinion of what I "think" The Best Vintage Triumph Motorcycle is
Let’s dig in..
Lets starts off with some history and background of the original Triumph motorcycle company
The Triumph motorcycle company was founded in 1885 in Meriden, England
The Triumph company made and produced motorcycles through the 1900's until the factory finally closed there doors in 1983 due to bankruptcy
Triumph motorcycles gained popularity here in the states right after the Second World War (WW2)
From the beginning and to the end of Triumph, most can agree that Triumph motorcycles where not perfect, but where designed for the average chap to afford, fix, ride or race on any budget
I personally believe that is why Triumph has such a strong following today
Ingredients For The “Best” Triumph Motorcycle
Over the years Triumph made many different models that all have there very own unique perks
We saw the swing-arm frame introduced in 1954, unit construction 650 motor in 1963, disc brakes in 1973 and telescopic forks on most models in 1950 just to name a few
Below I will cover a few points and observations that will help you better understand my choice for the best vintage Triumph motorcycle
- Parts availability
- Technical support
- Eye appeal
- Overall performance
Keep reading below too see what the Best vintage Triumph motorcycle is..
Parts a Availability
Most folks feel that if parts cannot be found, are too expensive or hard to obtain that alone may be a deal breaker when contemplating a new project or purchase
For myself, I put parts availability at the top of my list
I understand that old vintage Triumph motorcycles require time, attention and detail, but if vintage Triumph parts cannot be found in a reasonable manor then I could possibly walk away from a project
I would like to spend time riding the bike, not spending 2+ years finding parts...
If you prefer that method or have a rare model, I accept that and admire your willingness to restore an old machine
There’s nothing better when everyone speaks the same language
With support through manuals, online forums or even help through clubs, it is ideal that a particular model has a good technical support all around
Sometimes mechanic's and builders need a reliable source to turn as well
Finding an attractive vintage British motorcycle isn’t a hard task at all
In fact, most British motorcycles all have there very own unique appearances and features that may be proprietary to its maker
I mean, who wants to ride around on an “unattractive” motorcycle?
Motorcycles have “looks” too..
Performance is a critical aspect when selecting or choosing the best “vintage Triumph motorcycle”
Although these bikes where made over 40+ years ago, the demand for performance then is not the same to today’s standard
Triumph offered engine sizes from 250 all the way up to 750 3-cylinders
Depending on your riding style, weight and riding location, performance is ideal and key
Mind you that most classic Triumph motorcycles can be “hopped up” with large cams, HC pistons, and so forth should your demand for more performance be a driving factor
Drum roll please......
My personal choice for the "best" vintage Triumph motorcycle would be a unit construction 650 made from 1963-1970
Are you surprised?
The reason why I think the 650 unit models from 1963-1970 are the best choice is because 7-year range meets all the criteria above that some other Triumph models simply don’t
The “dry frame” or PRE-oif 650 models have the largest selection of parts available, technical support, eye appeal and good performance with many upgrades available
Don’t get me wrong here, I admire all Triumphs from the triples, 750 twins down to the Cubs, however I believe the Triumph 650 from 1963-1970 is the better overall choice should you be willing to make a purchase or perform a restoration
Do 1963-1970 models have any pitfalls? Yes - many
However, the positives outweigh most pitfalls
Do you agree or disagree?
So what do you think of my choice? - do you agree or disagree?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below should you agree or disagree
Thanks for reading
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Seeing as I ride a 1969 650 TR6R Tiger fully restored, I agree.
Best? Best for what purpose? I love my ‘72 T120V, can’t beat it for around town and on the back roads here. Not so much on the interstate.
My favorite will always be a well-sorted T150V. Might be a bit heavy, but I can ride it faster through the twisties because it feels more stable, inspires confidence. Nothing like it when you downshift to fourth at 80mph and whack it wide open!
I bought a 1970 TR6R in 1978 – It has seen Many changes over the years Including the chopper craze !! — It now has a conical rear wheel, a t140 disc front end, a 750 top end etc etc, But “Every” Time I look at that bike even after 42 years, I can’t help but thinking “That thing is Beautiful !!!”
I agree, generally, with the outlook regarding the ‘unit’ Triumphs. I have a 1968 TR6R and 1971 R75/5 and I ride both regularly. The differences are: a gazelle and a Clydesdale, both have purpose and should be used accordingly.
OK, I’m a little late to the comment section but here goes; I graduated from high school in 1959 and I had the only Ariel Square Four in the student parking lot. However, one of my high school classmates was Gary Nixon who had the habit of doing wheelies on his Triumph over the lunch hour in the school parking lot. When Gary went pro, I bought his 500 flat tracker and drove it on the street till my license was suspended. Had to sell it, but eventually bought a new ‘66 T100SC to take its place. I still have that bike some 54 years later. My vote goes to the Triumphs that dominated flat tracks across the country in the ‘60s.