I have been riding older "other brands" for over 40 years. But, the only Triumphs I have every owned were way back in my youth in the late 60s and early 70s. Back then we were young and stupid and rode the heck of our bikes till they died, then went and got another beater.
Now, after riding mainly older BMWs for the past 30 years, I have been offered a couple of Triumphs. So I figure I better get in touch with the real experts. These 2 bikes have been sitting for a long time, over 15 years, in a warm dry garage. I know that there will be a lot of stuff I will need to tend to before even thinking about riding them. The present owner has offered these bikes to me at a very good price, from what I can figure looking at the fact that they will probably have to be torn down and gone thru. She got these bikes from her Father and Brother when they both died. She has kept them, not knowing what to do with them. She cannot find any paperwork on these bikes, but is going to get some documentation so that I can purchase.
My biggest problem right now is identifying what year they might be. I do not have the VIN number at the moment, and the bikes are over 500 miles away. I was wondering if I described them, if someone might be able to get me in the ballpark, year wise.
Bike one: Oil in Frame Bonneville. Paint looks totally original but does not match any paint schemes I can find. it is Gold with Red swoop (or whatever it is called). Front and rear fender are also gold. Drum brake on front. Has shorty mufflers on it, but comes with a set of original mufflers that were swapped out at a very early age by her brother. Black sidecovers and airbox with gold Bonneville lettering on them.
Bike two: Oil in Frame Trident. Paint again looks totally stock, but again does not seem to match up with any schemes I can find on the net. It is Red with Black below the Triumph badge on the tank, as well as black teardrop shape on back lower part of tank. The sidecovers are red on top and black on the bottom. This bike has a single disk on the front. It also has a 3 into 1 exhaust (aftermarket) that exits on the left side. Also there is a complete stock and barely used stock exhaust system has a muffler for each side. Not the "raygun" style. I think this one has an aftermarket ignition as well.
I can forward photos if someone would like to try and id these bikes for me. I am interested in finding out what actual year they are as well as what they may be worth when brought up to good riding condition. Are they sought after bikes, or just typical early to mid 70's Triumphs. I am not afraid of doing the work to bring these bikes back and making them good ridiers. They appear fairly original in most areas. I have rebuilt numerous old BMWs from similar era, and from a lot worse condition. Getting bored and now need a new challenge.
The 650 OIF with drum brakes were made in '71 and '72, maybe an early '73. They changed to a single front disc then. Single disc T150 trident were '73-'75. '76 was the T160, last year of triples. The rayguns were '68 & '69.
OK, finally got a little further info. Present owner states that both bikes are 1971. I am thinking that the Trident must be a late 71 as it has the front disk brake. \as to it being Oil in Frame, that is probably showing my ignorance about Triumphs. It is most likely in it's original frame, as everything else appears to be original. Knowing the person that originally owned it, he would have done some minor upgrades such as an electronic ignition and the exhaust. But to actually swap frames, would have been well beyond his realm and needs.
Now to negotiate a final price. If I could figure out how to add a couple of photos, it would probably help. Will look into this.
OK, now I have another problem. The present owner does not have a Title for the Trident. It was her father's and she got it when he died. That was over 15 years ago and she cannot find the title. I guess she can request a replacement thru her state DMV. She is in Washington state. She does have the title for the Bonneville. I will need titles on both to export them from USA to Canada, US Customs demands a good title. So, she is going to see about that.
Now, to determine what is a fair price to offer. She has agreed that she will sell them to me, but I don`t want to rip her off. I want to be fair to her, as she does have some emotional attachment, being bikes that her Brother and Father bought new and rode together. I see prices all over the place on bikes like these. Everything from $500 for a complete basket case to well over $5000+ for good riders and even higher for fully restored.
The more I read about Triumphs, and look at them, the more I want to do both of these bikes up nice and ride them both. Not so worried about full restorations, but very good looking riders. We will see.
I am thinking of maybe offering somewhere between $1000 to $2000 each. Realizing that I am going to have to put in probably $2-3000 into each one. Might be more, might be less. They have been sitting for over 15 years.
Read the article on cranking old bikes bikes first. Save this page. You'll need the others sooner or later. Can't help you on prices, I always pay too much, but you're sounding a bit cheap. Especially if they are runners.
Last edited by desco; 07/06/1210:16 pm. Reason: s
1968 T120R 1972 T120RV Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Hey, I resemble that remark. Of course I am cheap. I have been riding BMW Airheads for over 35 years. One got me almost 400,000 miles before I had to get rid of it. Frame was pretty much Swiss cheese and engine had never been opened up, except for an oil pan gasket and to adjust valves. So yeah, I am cheap. But I don't scrimp on regular maintenance.
I have brought plenty of old BMWs and Moto-Guzzis back to life, after sitting for a lot of years. Looking forward to doing the same with these Triumphs.
In amongst all the speculation on the bikes' ages, no-one seems to have mentioned the obvious - read the bikes' VINs.
Being Triumphs, both should have the engine number stamped on a raised 'pad' on the drive-side (left-hand as you sit on the bike) crankcase just below the block.
Each VIN should consist of five figures (the Trident's will probably start with a zero, or possibly a '4'), preceded by two letters, all that either preceded or followed by the model code (T150-something on the Trident, probably T120-something in the case of the twin).
The aforementioned two letters preceding the five-figure number equate to the calendar month and 'season year' (not always calendar year) of manufacture. Tell us those and the model codes and any number of posters will tell you what they equate to.
You have to look fairly closely at the engine number to be sure you read the letters and numbers correctly - as a further anti-theft measure, the 'pad' was covered with a series of small 'Triumph' logos, then the VIN was stamped over them.
The frame number should be on the left-hand side of the headstock along the line of the front downtube and, as standard, was the same as the engine number.
Re: Noobie here with some questions.
#443577 07/07/1210:37 am07/07/1210:37 am
The Bonnie is, as others have said a '71 or '72 model. The red flashes are non-standard - if you find black under the red then it's a '71 (most likely, as the white outer pin stripes would be right for this year), if white paint under the red then it's a '72.
On values, the Trident is worth more than the Bonnie. The early OIF Bonnies aren't considered the cream of the crop - the fact is that '68-'70 models are considered by many to be the best of the T120 models and the later T140 is a better bike. However, as most older bikes are now classed as collectable and therefore "valuable", (asking)prices are climbing for them as much as anything else.
At the end of the day, they're worth exactly as much as you're prepared to pay for them and as little as she's prepared to take. Check out current and completed listings on eBay to arrive at realistic figures you're both happy with. At the end of the day we all like to get a good deal but it sounds like this lady should get the right sort of money for bikes that mean something to her.
Good luck with them.
Current Bikes '79 T140D - modified. Owned 25 years. '81 XJ650 - built from £90 rustheap. '97 VFR750 - my "modern" bike
Thanks for the info guys. I am going to go visit the current caretaker of the bikes in a couple of weeks. We will check things out carefully and negotiate prices. I will let you know how it goes. Of course, if it all comes to be, I will probably be bugging the heck out of all you guys for help on fixing them up. The basic and obvious stuff is not a problem, but I am certain there will be some Triumph only stuff to learn about.
They will both be winter projects, which is when I like to also do my major going over on our old BMWs. Nice warm garage with beer fridge close at hand, is much better than running around on cold wet or frozen streets.