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I met the owner of this site, John Healey, once at a bike show in Maine. He told me about the time he and his wife Susan traveled two up, 900 miles in one day on a Triumph. I have to assume that it was a long time ago. I would wager that if you asked him today what he would ride, he would say Goldwing.

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Across France and Spain on a Beamish Suzuki? The trials bike? That was an achievement.

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Originally Posted by Dibnah

It only feels like it's a long way because UK roads are far more challenging.


And we have the Rocky Mountains to cross - unless you take the "southern route", which involves hundreds of miles of desert.




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Originally Posted by MikeinBiddeford
I met the owner of this site, John Healey, once at a bike show in Maine. He told me about the time he and his wife Susan traveled two up, 900 miles in one day on a Triumph. I have to assume that it was a long time ago. I would wager that if you asked him today what he would ride, he would say Goldwing.

John doesn't own the site but is a major contributor....I don't think he would ride a Goldwing.... grin..

There was a time when I rode a 650 Triumph daily.....But I can't remember riding it more than about 200 miles total in a day and never on a long trip..Today I have several more modern and far smoother bikes and don't ride long distances...In fact I hate driving a car/truck long distances.....


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
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Last time me and my daughter went to Florida she said "No more road trips, Dad, from now on we fly" Smart girl.


When given the choice between two evils I picked the one I haven't tried before
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Hi Steve, I like long rides. 60 miles is my coffee run. Lunch run 150-200. A good all day ride 300-350 miles. 300 mile day on my '73 TR7RV, no problem.

Cross the USA is about 3000 miles. That's a long way on a bike seat. You want to do many practice rides to condition your body & prove your bike.

2 questions. First for comfort I find the T140 type bike to be a little better. To my butt the seat is more comfortable & the high US type bars tend to be easier on my back. I don't use windshield, but that really reduces fatigue. I find wearing ear plugs really reduces fatigue also. Cuts wind & bike noise. I like the cheap rollup soft foam type. The seat is a killer for many on long rides. There are various seat pads available that seem to really help especially if your padding is not enough. They just strap on over the normal seat.

Regarding reliability all the unit motors are similar in construction so no huge advantage. Even preunit motor is similar in concept & from what I observe on club rides is about the same it reliability.


As Hawaiian Tiger says it's the build quality that counts. His best bike was made of used parts. Good used parts are good & work good. However, again the build quality is everything. Build quality is not just installing new parts, but how the parts are installed. This goes from end to end on the whole bike. Some new parts are junk. Every part must be examined on its own merit used or new.

If I may I'll state some observations on reliability. First, will this be a supported ride with a parts truck that has spares, oil, & can haul your bike in case of break down. If yes that's easy.

Remember parts will often need to be ordered when you're on the road. You'll have to carry all your tools.

If no you are 100% on your own. I've traveled much in this land & even today many (most) remote areas & many canyons have no cell phone service. Fuel stops can be a good 100+ miles apart. Then they may be closed or have a power failure & can't pump gas. I recently ran into that, then a 50 mile detour with no gas. I was sweating it, but was ok.

First thing I see is parts falling off bike on the road. Various Fasteners came loose. Lock nuts & Loctite can pretty much prevent that as well as proper tightening. No telling what might fall off.

Next is electrical issues that cause not spark. Almost always looking at bike the wiring is substandard. Frayed/cracked insulation, loose connections. Connector nuts coming loose like on points, coil, battery connections. Many times fuse holder problems. Very often bike works ok in dry, but in rain or wet fog bike starts running poorly. Again poor connections & when wet get too bad to work. Also water in points housing is often found. Short circuits where wire chafes through insulation & blows fuse. That is fairly common. Most of this is 100% avoidable by examining every last inch of wire & all the connectors on entire machine.

Broken cables is seen. Most often the clutch cable end pulls off unexpectedly. This had been my bikes only failing. Pulled end off of 4 cables. Barnett cable has been only one to last with the swaged steel ends. I still am gun shy, so carry a spare.

Overall carb issues are few. Most I see are carb flooding out tickler hole continuously. Almost always removing needle & flowing fuel flushes out the dirt & all is well. Examining bowl often shows tiny rust particles. Tank often has rust. A real fuel filter, not just the screens can reduce this a great deal. Of course a clean tank is a must.

Regarding carb drains, the later Concentric bowl with drain is what I'd call a must. It's almost impossible to ride across country & not encounter rain. While I don't see water actually entering carb while riding I've seen it get wet parked in heavy rain. The drain allows one to drain out any water & loose dirt. I've ridden in rain many times & many miles. Seen lots of water in carb, again can't say how it got there. Maybe even through gas cap hole? My tank had light rust & caused me carb problems.

The large gas tank on some of the Tigers is very helpful when fuel stations are hard to come by. To my ears I think the wider tank deflects some engine clatter noise also.

The later trans cover with the oil filler plug allows very easy access for clutch cable.

The 1970 & later primary breather makes the oil level in primary self leveling so you never have to worry about primary oil level. Not a big deal, but saves some time & hassle.

Oil filter is a good idea on the long haul. Personally I'd ride 3000 miles across country without oil change using filter & synthetic oil.

Electronic ignition or points is an issue only you can decide. Well serviced points will go 3000 miles no problem. Electronic needs no service. You can start & ride bike with dead battery with points, not with EI. So it's a personal choice.

Regarding 1 or 2 carbs. I've serviced many Bonnies & Tigers. When I needed a commuter bike I bought a Tiger due to servicing was a little easier. A little easier to access intake adjusters, no carb syncing. I don't think 2 carbs actually make the bike less reliable. Just a little more to work on.

Rear chain wear can be an issue. You need to find a chain lube that actually reduces wear. I can't figure that one myself. This chain I've been using 85w GL5 differential fluid. A big mess, but seems to wear well. I'd like to do better though with less mess.

For sure I'd ride a vintage Triumph across USA. On a well prepared bike I'd expect to do the trip without a single break down. 60-65 mph is no problem on these bikes. I like 20t front sprocket. When temps get near 100f ping can be a problem. Never lug the motor, keep it spinning freely, even if you have to ride at 55mph all day in 3rd. West bound highway 10 in California with a 35 mph head wind comes to mind. Vicious!

My personal choice would be the 1970 Tiger, especially an early production with the plunger for shift cam, for the reasons I stated. But again all these bikes are very good well prepared.
Don




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I've toured on a '71 Triumph 500. Biggest day was 240 miles. Wouldn't recommend it. The bike is a great machine but just not big enough physically or in terms of torque or power. Headwinds, bad weather, hot days are tough on the little motor. Ted Simon must have been more aerodynamic than me....

Best advice I can offer is go with what you will enjoy riding. It's your trip.

Also, ride your chosen steed as a commuter every day in fair weather or foul for a few months before you set sail. That will tell you what is going to cause you trouble on the road. I carry some minor spares, puncture kit and small tools. Anything I can't fix gets the credit card thrown at it. I'm not rich, but I'm not prepared to carry extra gear for the sake of it.

I'm chasing a Norton at the moment for this very purpose. If I can't get one it'll be a 5 speed Triumph twin. Single carb incidentally...



'51 C11 in a '54 C10L frame. Back on the road...
'70 Triumph Trophy 500. Next on the bench for a refresh!
'72 Triumph Tiger 650. Back on the road...
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Ginge's comments mirror mine. About 150 miles a day was all I could stand with my '72 500.

The 500 is like a sports car; quick, maneuverable, and fun to ride on curvy roads.
But, like a sports car, it gets uncomfortable rather quickly on a long ride. Too hard-sprung. It can "beat" on you.

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Originally Posted by Mark Z
Originally Posted by Dibnah

It only feels like it's a long way because UK roads are far more challenging.


And we have the Rocky Mountains to cross - unless you take the "southern route", which involves hundreds of miles of desert.




An adventure crossing the Rockies or filtering along the A14 past Cambridge on a wet Monday morning? Not a difficult decision to make

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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
Ginge's comments mirror mine. About 150 miles a day was all I could stand with my '72 500.

The 500 is like a sports car; quick, maneuverable, and fun to ride on curvy roads.
But, like a sports car, it gets uncomfortable rather quickly on a long ride. Too hard-sprung. It can "beat" on you.


We Brits are made of tougher stuff, see earlier post re: UK to Morocco and back on 250cc trials bike.

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That was my mate on the 250, I was on my triton with the clipons.
On the way south through Spain we just about kept ahead of the looming rain clouds. After a few days in Morocco we started the return trip, choosing to go over to the Algarve and up through Portugal. From that moment it was rain pretty much all day, every day - horrible! For the 1st time we took to staying in rooms, otherwise we'd have died of wet rot. We were well into November by now.
When we got about half way up Portugal, my mate said he'd had enough and suggested we dump the bikes and fly back. I didn't care to throw my bike away and he gallantly wouldn't desert me, so we compromised and caught the ferry from Santander to Plymouth, rather than go up through France, saving about 400 continental miles in exchange for 150 very cold and still wet miles back to the IoW.
I stuck a few pics in this onedrive folder:

https://1drv.ms/f/s!AoiOPRO1kWdxgRj44bhGWeeZiQ0r

I'm the hairy one, someone pls let me know if you can see them as it's the 1st time I've played with onedrive.

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We must be getting old and forgetful. Wasnt to many years ago Semper Gumby rode his 650 BSA from Atlanta, Georgia area to the BSA Intl. meet in California. After the meet he rode all the way back to Georgia! Very few modifications if I recall, windshield, and large accessory fuel tank mounted to the back of the bike.

Hopefully he will come along here and can add to the details.

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Link isn't clickable, but copy and paste works.

This should be clickable

https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=...5133D8E88%21152&cid=716791B5133D8E88

Edit: Crash helmets when riding camels! Quite right to.


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Thanks Dib, your ammended link worked for me, how do you get that, it is completely different to mine?
Yes, helmets, but is wasn't staged like a photo show, the chap was just herding his few camels along the way and we gesticulated with a camera and he complied. We fully expected to tip him a quids worth of Dirhams for his trouble, he wanted 10 times that much, and offers of 2 and 3 only riled him more, so it turned out good that we had our helmets on, so we could just kick our bikes and get out of it.

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Originally Posted by SteveM
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.



I would like to go on the last year of the Thunderbird please 1966:

[Linked Image]
Courtesy: RealClassic co uk This one has the later brake which is fine, plus and extra carb.

Drifting a bit, but this guy seems to talk some good sense about long bike rides, eg:

[video:youtube]https://youtu.be/DsO1L5VujfA[/video]

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Originally Posted by doug748
Originally Posted by SteveM
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.



I would like to go on the last year of the Thunderbird please 1966:

[Linked Image]
Courtesy: RealClassic co uk This one has the later brake which is fine, plus and extra carb.

Drifting a bit, but this guy seems to talk some good sense about long bike rides, eg:

[video:youtube]https://youtu.be/DsO1L5VujfA[/video]


Pretty much what I was thinking when I made the original post.

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:bigt


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If I were 20 something I'd like to go around the world on that. Edward Turner got "the look" right the first time.


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I know it's Triumph thread, so I have resisted. But I do long trips on my A65. Best one yet 2000 miles over 10 days with some stopovers. 250 miles a day is easy & comfortable, 350 is a hard day's ride (for me). Did 150 miles in one sitting last trip (about 3 hours) so the old girl is pretty comfortable. Semi rear-sets and british touring bars. Gets comfortable with the wind support for the upper body at 60-70 mph. Bit of a load on the wrists around town.

I find it easier than when I was young - must be all the dead nerve endings smile As Don said ear plugs are the way to go.

Ray


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...yesterday I was talking with a guy that even do not know to read a spark plug so he sold his old bike long time ago, then few months ago bought an almost new Kawasaki 1700cc with windshield. After a while he removed it and told me that "now feels like riding a bike"...
So, I suggest to many of you guys to quit riding bikes without firing and great cushioning or get up on a car and forget about it because you are missing all the great points of what is to ride a motorcycle. This is not a thing related to age because I see it with young guys too.

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Originally Posted by BrizzoBrit
I know it's Triumph thread, so I have resisted. But I do long trips on my A65. Best one yet 2000 miles over 10 days with some stopovers. 250 miles a day is easy & comfortable, 350 is a hard day's ride (for me). Did 150 miles in one sitting last trip (about 3 hours) so the old girl is pretty comfortable. Semi rear-sets and british touring bars. Gets comfortable with the wind support for the upper body at 60-70 mph. Bit of a load on the wrists around town.

I find it easier than when I was young - must be all the dead nerve endings smile As Don said ear plugs are the way to go.

Ray


Does this have a five speed gearbox? My mongrel Triumph 650 (4 speed box) would probably shake itself to bits at a prolonged 70mph

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Originally Posted by BrizzoBrit
I know it's Triumph thread, so I have resisted. But I do long trips on my A65. Best one yet 2000 miles over 10 days with some stopovers. 250 miles a day is easy & comfortable, 350 is a hard day's ride (for me). Did 150 miles in one sitting last trip (about 3 hours) so the old girl is pretty comfortable. Semi rear-sets and british touring bars. Gets comfortable with the wind support for the upper body at 60-70 mph. Bit of a load on the wrists around town.

I find it easier than when I was young - must be all the dead nerve endings smile As Don said ear plugs are the way to go.

Ray


I do about the same on my A65 and A10. Nowhere near as easy as it seemed when I was young! Didn't used to pay attention to anyone, including nerve endings, back then, so that probably explains it ...!

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I also would choose a T-150 or A-75

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Originally Posted by Dibnah
Originally Posted by BrizzoBrit
I know it's Triumph thread, so I have resisted. But I do long trips on my A65. Best one yet 2000 miles over 10 days with some stopovers. 250 miles a day is easy & comfortable, 350 is a hard day's ride (for me). Did 150 miles in one sitting last trip (about 3 hours) so the old girl is pretty comfortable. Semi rear-sets and british touring bars. Gets comfortable with the wind support for the upper body at 60-70 mph. Bit of a load on the wrists around town.

I find it easier than when I was young - must be all the dead nerve endings smile As Don said ear plugs are the way to go.

Ray


Does this have a five speed gearbox? My mongrel Triumph 650 (4 speed box) would probably shake itself to bits at a prolonged 70mph


21/47 final gearing. Pulls about 4k at 60mph which is close to the sweet spot. 65 - 70 is my preferred cruising speed. Gets a bit vibey over 70mph. Too many Mr Plods around these days to do long periods at much faster. Funnily enough, without wanting to jinx myself the only trouble I have on long trips is things cracking, exhaust pipes, mudguard stays, coil brackets. Nothing a good stock of cable ties cant fix. smile

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Originally Posted by bodine031
I also would choose a T-150 or A-75


I think I would, too, but the question was which 650 would be best.

And I just remembered something. Bill Getty of JRC fame once owned a late model 650 Thunderbird (early 80's I think) They weren't imported here in any numbers and I can't remember ever seeing one at the local dealer's.

He raved about it. He said it was the smoothest Triumph he ever owned and racked up some impressive miles on it.

Looking at that motor, it seems pretty squat. I think the de-stroked the thing to make it 650cc.....

Making it closer to nominal equal bore vs. stroke....just like the modern bikes...

Cheers,
Bill


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