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If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... #717307 12/01/17 12:50 am
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SteveM Offline OP
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If you wanted to cross the country on a vintage Triumph, say pre-1971, what would be your choice of mounts? I'm interested in opinions on the best bike for reliability and comfort, with speed (for highway segments) secondary.

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Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717312 12/01/17 1:32 am
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htown Offline
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70 TR6R Trophy, most improvements, single carb, add an ei, podtronics, upgraded alternator, oil filter and keep us posted.


1978 Bonneville T140E
1974 Trident
1970 BSA Thunderbolt
1971 Norton Commando
1972 Norton Commando
1973 Norton Commando
1974 Norton Commando
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS


Everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end.
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717314 12/01/17 1:36 am
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desco Offline
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Depends on how old you are. I used to travel long distances on whatever I happened to own. 56 T110 at 18/21. 65 Bonneville. 72 Bonneville was the the best bike ever in my 40s & 50s. At 73 a vintage 727 is the only way I can make it cross country and I don't even want to do it non stop. I want to get out and walk around for an hour about half way.


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: htown] #717316 12/01/17 2:05 am
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SteveM Offline OP
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Originally Posted by htown
70 TR6R Trophy, most improvements, single carb, add an ei, podtronics, upgraded alternator, oil filter and keep us posted.


I was thinking the same thing. However, having never owned a pre-unit I was wondering if someone would recommend a 6T or a T110.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717321 12/01/17 2:45 am
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Well I'm sure everyone knows of Ted Simon on his T100 in 1973 (Jupiters Travels), even though the bike was rebuilt more than once along the way, it was still matching numbers at the end.
I would have little doubt that back in the hippy 60's that many folk would have done trips to India for example, without making a big deal of it.
I've been running the same triton since 1979.
In '81 took my girl round France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy then back through France to home in 8 days.
In '84 with a pal on his bike, went from N France to Morocco and back through Portugal to home, over ~8weeks. This was about 4000 mostly gentle miles (say 50-60mph), without any mechanical or electrical problems, other than we were stuck in pouring rain for several days, so I had to drain my carbs.
When I look at a pre-unit TRiumph, I don't see that much to go wrong. I'd avoid dynamos, and magnetos (that will stir it up!) mine was an alternator pre-unit with Lucas Rita at the time.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: htown] #717325 12/01/17 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by htown
70 TR6R Trophy, most improvements, single carb, add an ei, podtronics, upgraded alternator, oil filter....


+1 for this....and TLS front brake and ONE carb, so half the problems of a bonneville! laugh

Cheers,

Steve


'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717329 12/01/17 4:10 am
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Steve, I can only assume that you find twin carbs beyond you?
That you find 2 carbs so much trouble does suggest that you stay in single-world.
Sure you wouldn't prefer the single leading shoe brake?
To say "half the problems" is absurd, a little extra care and understanding is all that is required to bring the edge out of these lovely animals.
Has your "half a bonneville" ever gone anywhere of significance? Dave

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717331 12/01/17 4:31 am
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65 Bonnie got me through my long distance phase quite nicely. Lots of mods, though. I can't imagine anyone riding a perfectly original 650 Triumph any distance unless it was an iron head 6T. Maybe a bit biased tho.....

Twin carbs no way restrict long distance riding. In fact, the best fuel economy I've ever had was a Bonnie. Average 69 mpg on my trip.

I keep looking for something to do maintenance wise on my 57 6T. Never needs points adjusted. Never needs carb adjusted. Never needs valves adjusted even tho I check all these. They just don't seem to drift out of adjustment.

I suppose I've had a few little issues. Recently I had tighten up on the clutch spring adjusters a full turn because the thing started to slip a little on me. I've had a couple of wires break on me. Nothing serious.

Oh, I've adjusted the rear chain a couple of times.

However, this can't be typical. Just good luck. I've had the best luck with these bikes I've assembled from spare parts. Don't know the reason for this...

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717333 12/01/17 4:43 am
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Bill, absolutely I concur.
Simply put together with care, and not thrashed these days, but still used enjoyably, they are as dependable as a brick. Triumphs don't blow their bottom ends, mains or bigs, and the tops will rattle on for ever. I've become fussier about the details with age, but the same bike forgave so much of my ignorance 25-30 years ago! Dave

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: koan58] #717337 12/01/17 5:17 am
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I would use my 1953 Speed Twin due to it's reliability and relaxed pace that allows for sightseeing.

Oh I should mention the superior ride provided by the Mk II Sprung Hub, an engineering masterpiece for sure.


The roadside repairs make for the best post ride stories.
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717347 12/01/17 6:23 am
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What a delight it would be to offer tea and biscuits to all the stranded riders, as one bounces by in a rocking horse fashion!

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717365 12/01/17 10:24 am
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Definitely an all iron 6T, or a unit TR6 with low comp pistons. Home market big fuel tank, on other hand smaller tank would encourage more cooling stops. Stick with points, but as said, add an oil filter and be prepared for at least a couple of oil changes. 2LS is a good mod.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717370 12/01/17 12:45 pm
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Dave -

Not the first time I've been accused of being a poor comedian. My comments about twin carbs and "half problems" was very much 'tongue and cheek'. wink

If you look closely at my signature, I own a Bonneville. Like Bill, I've had good luck with mine over the last 17 years. Never been completely stranded, but I DO have experience with a single carb: one of my floats sprung a leak one evening about 10 miles from home. I fashioned a plug out of a piece of a twig to block the fuel line going to the bad carb and limped home on 375cc.

Wouldn't have been able to do THAT with a Trophy!

Cheers,

Steve


Last edited by JubeePrince; 12/01/17 4:37 pm. Reason: grammar

'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717371 12/01/17 1:01 pm
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Was talking with a lady at the local county museum a while back. She's in her mid 80's now and she told me how she used to ride solo from Miami area up to Moultrie, Ga on a Knucklehead, back and forth trip where her husband made port in and out during the war. Said she never thought much about it, they didn't have a car, only the bike. Also rode it out west. She may have been a tiny girl back then, but she had balls!
What's more, she's the sweetest little old lady school teacher you'd ever know.

What was your question again, I got sidetracked...

Last edited by slofut; 12/01/17 1:03 pm.

'68 Bonnie
'74 CL360
trail 70's and minitrails
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717372 12/01/17 1:16 pm
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Least vibration would be a good start. 500 twin? Low comp early 650?

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717374 12/01/17 1:28 pm
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A 500 twin, with it's shorter wheelbase, will beat you half to death on a long trip.
Plus, the shorter-stroke engine is "buzzy."

I've ridden some distance on both a 650 and a 500, and I'll take the 650 every time.

The USA is a land of long distances.
My state of Illinois is 150 miles wide and 400 miles long. Pennsylvania is similar.

SteveM, you know how big your state, Kentucky, is.

Dibnah, In the UK a hundred miles is "a long way."

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717391 12/01/17 4:04 pm
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It only feels like it's a long way because UK roads are far more challenging.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: Dibnah] #717397 12/01/17 5:04 pm
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+ 1. If you're referring to their condition the minimum you need is a TR5T!

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717404 12/01/17 5:24 pm
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...man if you want to cross US you better go more cc´s. That s the way HD does to cruise at normal speed with low rpms and loads of torque.
I have a 500 and 750 and like Irish Swede is saying, the 500 is not the way to go; yes, of course you can do it in a 125cc but rpms without torque is not good enough.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717412 12/01/17 7:05 pm
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Something long legged, smooth, reliable and economic. I don't think Triumph ever advertised these qualities, but Norton did, and the advertisement HAD to be aimed squarely at Triumph and BSA.
Go far, faster.
Forget the 500 unit unless you're headed out on less traveled two lane roads. The pre unit 500 is another story.
Some of the 650's could really be used for highway cruising, but selecting an arbitrary cut-off point at 1971 eliminates them.

Cheers,
Bill

Last edited by HawaiianTiger; 12/01/17 7:06 pm.

Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717424 12/01/17 9:03 pm
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John Young completed the Iron Butt Rally on a T150 some years ago. A well built triple would be my choice. Having said that, I rode up and down this country (Norway) on a 71 750 kitted Bonnie for years, often 300, some times 400 or even up to 500 miles in a day. Mostly hills and bends, poor surfaces and pi$$ poor weather, and we all rode like we were in a race. The bike coped far better than me!
In 17 years with that as my main, or only bike, I had two break downs, both repaired roadside. One was a main jet that broke off. (Can't remember why I carried a spare main with me though??).
The other time it was a an alternator wire that broke inside the resin, Found a garage, borrowed a soldering iron, carved the resin away and soldered the wire back.
I guess I was lucky, but the lessons I learned was to use more brain and less brawn when working on these things.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717426 12/01/17 9:37 pm
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500 miles on a 650 Triumph is some advanced level of self abuse.
I did 375 in one day and right after I might have been heard to say I never want to ride a motorcycle ever again.....


It occurs to me that Stein is a rather handy guy and probably one of the few around I would let work on my bikes.

Just happened to have a main jet with you? Wow. Hows that for advanced preparedness. Two breakdowns? I thought my record was special....
Coudda knocked me over with a feather...

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717443 12/02/17 1:35 am
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...well HT, I did 750kms in a day in my rigid customized oldie several times and when I arrived home, I was so excited that I wanted more (or another trip) but normally most here are working so no time to take the road.
Last time was with a guy that has a Moto Guzzi 1000...he was a good partner and rode at my pace (that s not so slow for a 70 years old bike but slow for that other newer bike)

Sunday ago I only did 150kms but kind of cross country; I have couple of photos of the bike covered in dust but I cannot post them here; with an eclectic bikes like a Z14R! (one of the fastest bikes ever) a Chinese cafe racer, a virago and even a new Honda 125. Kind of motocross with an almost chopper bike.

There s a guy that has a 78 T140 that always fly on the road; he rides at 150km/h as cruising speed. Previous owner traveled with new bikes at 160-180 to go to a meeting in other country, so plenty of kms on one day.
Late 750s with the ex changed is the way to go; fast and with torque.

Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717487 12/02/17 8:06 pm
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Most I've ever done on mine in a single day/ride is about 350 mi., all secondary roads/US Hgwys. At the end of that ride, I was never so happy to get off a motorcycle in my life. I must be insane, because (if the definition holds true: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results) the next day I was ready to ride some more! Not 350 mi. more, but more.

Cheers,

Steve


'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
Re: If you wanted to cross the country (USA)... [Re: SteveM] #717496 12/02/17 8:46 pm
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When we did the trip from UK to Morocco and back (initial intentions were only to go grape picking in Bordeaux) I was on my Triton with clip-ons, my mate on his Beamish Suzi 250. We only cruised at ~50-60 mph most of the time. It wasn't a race, we were savouring many new things to us in 1984. Non-tourist Spain was still quite wild.It was October by this time, at the close of one day, after passing 3 closed campsites, we could go no further, so camped on the side of a large reservoir.
To be awoken at silly hour by lots of fierce lights and unintelligible shouting. Clambering out in underpants, to find loads of machine guns pointed at us. After some while, it became clear that they thought we might have been Basque separatists intent on sabotage. Having checked our IDs and that the nearest campsites were indeed shut, we were left in peace. Jeez we needed a spliff after that!
Because I had a sleeping bag rolled round my tent on the tank, clipons were actually comfortable!
I doubt we did more than 200 miles in any one day, we were just looking for the next interesting place to explore, and if fun then stay a few days. It was about 8 weeks and 4500 miles all told. Spain and Morocco were eye openers then!

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