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#834532 12/26/20 3:54 pm
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Mr Mike Offline OP
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Last night I watched "An Officer and a Gentleman". Richard Gere and his Triumph brought me back to the days when I would have given my pinkie for a Triumph Twin. I was trying to get through college in the sixties and after a Harley Hummer, a Honda 90, and a brief introduction to a Triumph Cub, I then got a BSA 250. I got drafted and went to Officer Candidate School and had a Tactical Officer just about like Lou Gosssge in the film. I had to go 23 weeks in Army OCS rather than the Navy version of 13 weeks. Triumphs were always more pricey than their BSA counterparts. Well after 4 more BSA's and a Royal Enfield Interceptor, I never did own a Triumph Twin. Probably not a a lot different than my A65 Lightning, but still that image of a Triumph twin from the sixties is ever present in my head. With age creeping up on me I am relegated to an occasional ride on my BSA B50, now my only motorcycle. Having never owned a Triumph twin and turning down a 57 Corvette for $1200 are a couple of life's regrets..

Maybe the movie brought back similar memories for others.

Mr Mike

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...in USA there are Triumph a plenty and in different conditions so one way to "solve that sadness" is to buy a cheap bike to re build. Doing that by yourself without any celerity, would be good and when finished you do not even need to ride it if your body does not cooperate. Only starting it and then contemplating it in the living room or like that.

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As I remember you survived riding the BSA 250 on I'llkillya Highway while you were in college.
You deserve to upgrade to a Triumph. laugh


Knowledge speaks. Wisdom listens.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
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Quote: "probably not a lot different to my A65 Lightning..."

The 1970 Lightning (pre OIF) I had from brand new pretty much shook itself apart. Having had the succession of Bonnevilles you see in my signature I thought I'd go over to the 'dark side' and try a BSA. The A65 was a great looking alternative, but none of the Bonnevilles had vibration problems like the A65. It was actually painful to ride above 4,000 rpm. It ate 3 rev counters and two speedos under warranty until Smiths said 'no more'. It went back to the factory three times to be rebuilt under warranty to try and sort the vibration, but it was never fixed. Bits used to fall off every day; headlamp and tail light bulbs would be lucky if they got through the week. In the end I swapped it for a beaten up old Bonnie just to get rid of it.

Mr.Mike, you really owe it to yourself to try a 'proper' 650!


Current bike: 1969 Daytona
Previous bikes: '59 Tiger Cub, '62 Bonnie, '67 Bonnie, '69 Bonnie, '70 BSA Lightning, '71 OIF Bonnie, '73 Honda 500-4
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Originally Posted by Stanier8F
Quote: "probably not a lot different to my A65 Lightning..."

The 1970 Lightning (pre OIF) I had from brand new pretty much shook itself apart.

An interesting comparison; in June of 1970 I went to England with two of my friends and we all bought new BSA's. Mine was a Lightning. I rode it 10,000 miles over three months, from the Isle of Mann to France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Greece, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, and back to England. Not a single problem.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Tom


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Originally Posted by DavidP
As I remember you survived riding the BSA 250 on I'llkillya Highway while you were in college.
You deserve to upgrade to a Triumph. laugh
David,
I did survive the Kingston Pike (7 miles one way) for a year and the Alcoa Highway(12 miles one way) for my second year when I was at UT Knoxville. Couldn't afford the city rents. I had to jump the curb one time on Kingston Pike to get out of the way of a lady who cut me off, but I never dropped it in two years of daily riding. The BSA 250 got it done for me. I am sure the BSA/Triumph debates still rage on. I might get me a basket case Bonny sometime. I rebuilt 4 of my 5 BSA's and they all ran well for me. I still have my homemade lift if I get back into it. Spent many a great day in my workshop working on those old bikes. Those old bikes were like the first time you got in the back seat of a car with a girl. Jusr memories now.

Mr Mike

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Originally Posted by Mr Mike
Spent many a great day in my workshop working on those old bikes. Those old bikes were like the first time you got in the back seat of a car with a girl. Jusr memories now.

Mr Mike

Maybe my memory is not what it was, but I remember the girls as being MUCH softer and warmer than the bikes ..... ?

Lannis


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Hi Mike, 650 Triumphs are good starters. With LF Harris 7.1 pistons easy to kick as well.

I don’t feel Triumph was best Brit bike. More like the least worst. Thing is Triumuph parts are very easy to come by. Possibly Triumph parts can be slightly led costly also. Sure is fun to build up old bikes especially since covid has limited so many activities in my area.
Don


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Yeah, I really enjoyed rebuilding those old bikes. I found a little machine shop just 20 miles from my house that could do anything I needed done...headwork. boring, crank grinds etc. It was also nice to talk to the man doing the work so it would come out right. Also Ed V does great work too but I have to foot the freight both ways.. Anyway, my cousin had a Triumph, a 74, I believe that he didn't know how to fix. Maybe I'll contact him to see if he still has it and if I ever get back to New England, I can drag it home. Parts for BSA and Triumph were always easy to get...that's what made restoring those old bikes so much fun....you don't have to search all over the country to find what you need.

Well we kind of got away from "An Officer and a Gentleman", that started this thread, but it has been fun. After I was commissioned my wife and I were transient so I didn't have a bike till just before i got out and I have had one ever since. Good memories,
Mr Mike

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Yep, Kingston Pike and Alcoa Highway, my old stomping grounds.....riding a Tiger Cub there back in the early sixties.

Then a new 1969 Ram Air GTO convertible a few years later.....the good ole days!!!

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Don't do it, Mike. I been working on a couple of these Triumphs and they are just a complete PITA.

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Leon,
Good to see you are still messing with the bikes. Not often do you see a guy that crosses the line, especially from BSA to Triumph. I kinda got out of the hobby and replaced it with sailboats. I've always been a waterman but never a sailor. I traded a jet ski for a sailboat and got hooked the first time I took it out. My fleet grew to 4 sailboats...just like the BSA disease. Despite a number of capsizes out there, I learned. It is a bit more cerebral than a motorcycle but for me it had to all the attractions of the bikes. You go at it with a passion, learning everything you can. It it gives me more reasons to get out of the house and off the couch. I even got myself a drysuit for winter sailing.

I contacted my cousin and he sold the Triumph and all the other bikes he had dragged home. He couldn't fix them anyway.

Well you guys have a good New Year and keep the bikes upright. First nice warm sunny day that comes, I am gonna crank the B50 and take it for a spin.

Mr Mike

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Originally Posted by leon bee
Don't do it, Mike. I been working on a couple of these Triumphs and they are just a complete PITA.
You mean like NOT having to disassemble the primary and the timing covers to get into the gearbox? Or spending half an hour removing the head steady and valve cover before you can even begin to set valve clearances because they always make too much noise? Or remove the exhaust rocker shaft just to torque the head bolts?
Pulease!


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Originally Posted by DavidP
Originally Posted by leon bee
Don't do it, Mike. I been working on a couple of these Triumphs and they are just a complete PITA.
You mean like NOT having to disassemble the primary and the timing covers to get into the gearbox? Or spending half an hour removing the head steady and valve cover before you can even begin to set valve clearances because they always make too much noise? Or remove the exhaust rocker shaft just to torque the head bolts?
Pulease!

I think David they both had their advantages and disadvantages, the A65 compared to the T120/TR6 had much better combustion chamber shape and had the potential to produce good power with its short stroke. The gearboxes were more substantial yet unlike the triumph you can’t fit a 5 speed box from a later bike in a much earlier bike. (Accepted that there are options on the market to do this)

My current build could be much further on if I could seal up the timing side whilst still having access to the gearbox.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

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...cannot beat the beautiness and subtle details in most Triumph.

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Mr Mike Offline OP
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The debate rages on. I always liked the looks of those Triumphs better than the BSA twins but that is just preference. When I went out looking for something to make a rider out of, there just seemed to be better deals for BSA's. A lot of both Triumphs and BSA's were not running, neglected, out in the weather and
many guys didn't know how to keep them running. So they were pretty easy to find real cheap. I bought my B50 as a basket case with a frozen piston and water in the transmission all in pieces. The only thing missing was the crummy exhaust and I didn't want that anyway. I paid $250 for it. I reckon I had two grand in it or more before I had it running like it should. That included rebuilding, head, crank, cylinder sleeve, clutch and gearbox. About everything needed some work and a paint job. I had some B44 transmission stuff that kept the cost down, but it was a fun project.

I always felt fortunate that I could find these old bikes today at bargain prices and satisfy that lust I had for them in the sixties. It doesn't get much better than that.

Hope all you guys have a good New Year. It's nice to see so many familiar names still on the site that I joined about 20 years ago.

BTW, I called my cousin and he parted with that 74 Triumph to the first guy that showed up with cash. Could of got it for a song.

Mr Mike


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