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Hi forumites
This is my first post, so, a brief overview

Having given up riding, when serious ties with a lady occured, back in 1971, I am now looking to rejoin the 2 wheeled Triumph community.

I'm retired, with less time on my hands than I hoped, but, happy to be out of the rat race.

However, I need a project for my smallish workshop and a T90 or 3TA, needing a little TLC would fit the bill
I'm in no rush, but feel that being on Triumph fora will help me connect with the right people

John

Last edited by Janner; 10/01/21 7:58 pm.
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The 350’s are really sweet little bikes, but no easier to maintain or work on than any of the larger ones (or even cheaper for spares).

Spares are most plentiful for the 650 & 750 twins, followed by the 500 units.
Most 350 bits are the same as for the 500, except obviously some of the top end bits like pistons/bores/valves/head.

Is it important to you to have a small engine?
A smaller engine isn't necessarily an easier project.

Just thoughts.

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Originally Posted by koan58
The 350’s are really sweet little bikes, but no easier to maintain or work on than any of the larger ones (or even cheaper for spares).

Spares are most plentiful for the 650 & 750 twins, followed by the 500 units.
Most 350 bits are the same as for the 500, except obviously some of the top end bits like pistons/bores/valves/head.

Is it important to you to have a small engine?
A smaller engine isn't necessarily an easier project.

Just thoughts.

Hi
It's a mix of thoughts really.
I've been off bikes for 40 years, I'm 70 and don't need the added performance
My wife decreed, a week before she passed away, that I could not buy another bike or another boat. Our daughter has promised to ensure I am kept in line.
I've convinced her (I think) that an old, 20bhp bike would be acceptable.
The T90 is pretty and nicely scaled, not heavy.
It needs to go into my workshop

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Hi Janner,
My condolences, I could not have envisaged such personal motivations, which I now appreciate.

Just thoughts to throw at you, unless you already have a particular 350 in mind, they are much less common than 500’s, so not necessarily lower purchase price.

But the 20 hp limit is an issue, I understand. The fact is that a bike capable of modern road speeds is safer than one that isn’t. Would that argument make any sense to your daughter?

Away from fast roads the 350 is a lovely bike, so go for it! Maybe it’s like being young again, in an upside down sort of way prove you’re safe to your daughter, to maybe get your full license, again!

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If life with any woman is like what it is in the USA, when the 350 is complete offer her a ride, then convince her that you need a BIGGER bike.

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Size matters. That and availability of parts. It's better to have a bike that is safe and fun to ride than one that sits in the shop while you search for parts. Besides, I thought speed was controlled by the person twisting the grip?


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I am 77. My brother is 82. When he was 18 he bought a Harley and hid it in the bushes so my Mother would not find out. She found out and made him sell it. When I was 18 I bought a 56 Triumph T110. I drove down the driveway and said " Hi Mum, want to go for a ride? She put on a pair of my brothers jeans, I had never had seen my Mother in pants before, and we drove around the neighborhood for 15 or 20 minutes. She always had a love/hate relationship with motorcycles but she understood where I was coming from. It's your life, live it.


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...Hi; beware of the pre unit 350 (3T) that is not the same as the unit 350 (3TA) I mean; the engine is completely different and is not so good in comparison with the other twins. Spare parts are very difficult to locate too. There is no new current production.
I used a lot a 3TA and is not an slow bike; is pretty good; also has the bathtub side covers in some iterations.

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I had a 3TA and it was a good bike. It was light, low and went well enough. I wonder if a Tiger 90 would not have as even a spread of power as a 3TA? It is low down power that is the most useful when you don't want to race around. Of course you can just tune a T90 to be like a 3TA with the right parts.

Dave

Last edited by dave jones; 10/02/21 7:55 am.
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Welcome to the fold Janner. I just got rid of a herd of 650s ( 5- XS650s) and to be completely honest they were getting to a point where they were to heavy for me to roll around the garage safely. I just rolled my B44R out to get ready for a short ride and I can still slide/drag the rear end around by hand if need be. 100+ lbs or so make a big difference in my case.

I would think that you've thought this over and made your choice for a reason. Parts availability is a valid point but what's the point of having just another 500-650 on the road like everyone else......pretty much anybody can do that.

I hope you enjoy whatever bike you end up with, good luck and welcome aboard. (pun intended)

Gordon in NC, USA

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 10/02/21 1:00 pm.

Gordon Gray in NC, USA.........my son says..... "Everybody is stupid about something"
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Gents
I have, indeed, thought about it.
A Bonnie (T110 or T120) was always my dream bike as a youngster, but, with age comes wisdom.
A Bonneville would be big in my workshop.
It would also be heavy I think, although, I havn't actually tried to lift one.
My RH side is weak, I have PPMS annd whilst I live the life I want, within the bounds of reason, I have to keep one eye on tomorrow.

We moved 3 years ago, to a wreck of a bungalow, with no garage and no way of locating a garage.
I was persuaded by my kids that we were young enough to do it up and we didn't need a garage, I could sell my TR6 PI

Why? The plan was, I would die first and this houses' location was ideal for their mum; 3 minute walk from local shops and pub, close enough to walk into the city and on a bus route.
Unfortunately, that plan didn't materialise.

I feel that the 350 will be fast enough
If I'm wrong, then I hope to have added a bit of value and can trade up to a 500

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Hi Janner, are you a Devonian by the way? Your user name suggests that you are!

Don't know if you've seen this, an excellent website dedicated to the Triumph unit 350/500 models https://triumph-tiger-90.com/

Good luck with your search for Triumph twin.

Regards, John
Living in Devon but not a Janner


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1971 BSA B50 Project
1972 BSA A65L
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A 5ta is more common and is really just a better 3ta
There shouldn't be more than a few pounds extra as it is the same bike
There's a far better choice of 500's than 350's and possibly same price of cheaper?

Whatever you choose, get the best you can as everything is more expensive than you think
(Paint/rims etc)
A do'er up costs more than someone else's work

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Plus 1 for AngloBike

Whatever you choose, get the best you can as everything is more expensive than you think
(Paint/rims etc)
A do'er up costs more than someone else's work

Both my bikes were supposed to be "As close to show condition as you can get." Yeah. They looked good but I spent thousands on parts and many, many hours of my free labor to get them to run right. But, when they are good, they are very, very good. Good luck and have fun.


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In my time, I've had a few of the 'C' range (350/500) bikes. They are a physically more manageable bike than the larger machines (I've currently got a TR6SS). My take would be to get a late a bike as possible, as they seemed to get a bit more robust as time went on, and the frames got better. Early T21/3TA had 17" wheels, whereas later bikes had 18" ones. The 63/64 on points on the side was an improvement and can be readily converted to electronic ignition if that's your thing. I didn't think they were quite as robust engine wise as the bigger bikes, but later 500s, at least, had a ball or roller main bearing (this is from memory) on the timing side to replace the more fragile bush of the early bikes. None of the early bikes I had still had their bathtub, but now all 3TAs I see for sale have them, so I don't know where all the bathtubs were hidden in the '70s! I favourite conversion was turn a 3TA into a 500 with the addition of top end bits from the larger model, this gave the bike more oomph, but with the same bottom end. A 3TA should be a relatively unstressed bike. I eventually ended up with a T100T Daytona, but if I was to pick a favourite now it would be a late T100S, a relatively light, simple, reliable, well engineered bike, but unfortunately a bit over your 20bhp limit.

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Originally Posted by John Harvey
Hi Janner, are you a Devonian by the way? Your user name suggests that you are!

Don't know if you've seen this, an excellent website dedicated to the Triumph unit 350/500 models https://triumph-tiger-90.com/

Good luck with your search for Triumph twin.

Regards, John
Living in Devon but not a Janner

No, eye from Barkshur
Moved to the far East (Essex) in 1982, following the need to earn a living

Taken a 2 minute look at that website
As soon as I've finished this, I'm going back, to have a proper look, thanks for the heads up

John

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As has been previously said, there is little difference between the 350 and 500.

If anything, I would think the 500 engine would be slightly lighter than the 350, by a few ounces, because there are bigger holes in the heavy iron barrels.

By far the biggest difference will be whether the bike has skirts, or not.

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I’ve owned a couple of C range bikes. I completely agree with DUHC.

The bathtub Triumphs are lovely bike’s but painful to work on. The bathtub gets in the way of chain oiling, air filters, checking tyre pressures. They are a low compression bike ( 7.5:1 I think ) and easy to kick over. Parts in the UK should be easy enough to find. I found the 3TA a bit light on power on the highway even with a fresh engine. It was lovely on the backroads.

I wouldn’t buy another 3TA. I’d buy a 5TA instead.

The later C bike’s post ‘66 ( or thereabouts) have the higher compression engine. (9:1 ). They are still quite mild to kick over though and lighter than the 3TA/5TA. They have better brakes, better suspension but still maintain the same Triumph look.

I think a T90 will suit you, but if you can’t find one buy a T100. They are cracking bikes. Predictable for a returning rider, easy to work on and capable in modern traffic. I would have another T100. Single carb with electronic ignition. Very reliable bike’s.


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'70 Triumph Trophy 500. Next on the bench for a refresh!
'72 Triumph Tiger 650. Back on the road...
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I also agree, with both DUHC and Ginge.

The 350 and 500cc unit Triumphs are nimble bikes, easy to handle and fun to ride on curvy roads,and easier to start and get on and off the center stands than their 650 and 750cc broithers.

Although my '72 T100R is a dual-carb "Daytona" the addition of a Boyer electronic ignition made it easier to start, and less temperamental regarding the
lower quality octane gasoline we have to use now.

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I too agree with DUHC, Ginge and Irish, and have little to add other than there's a BIG difference between a 350 and a 500. I remember being chased by a humble MZ 125 and the 3TA I was on barely walked away from it! I pretended to be simply cruising along of course, but held the throttle firmly against the stop! But the 3TA was very frugal, even more so when fitted with 9-1 pistons and a 27 mm Concentric that someone gave me. It consumed around half of what my Bonnie did, even if my (former) wife held the throttle wide open most of the time to keep the 18 wheelers behind. The 3TA was good fun all the same, and if that's what you're limited to, enjoy it. They won't tear themselves apart for sure, dependable and durable as few others.

SR

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"Underpowered" bikes are generally good for economy and long life because they aren't stressed as much.

Not "thrilling," but dependable.

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But maybe not so good for accelerating out of trouble?

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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
"Underpowered" bikes are generally good for economy and long life because they aren't stressed as much.

Not "thrilling," but dependable.
Originally Posted by TinkererToo
But maybe not so good for accelerating out of trouble?

Indeed, but there are ways around it... : https://www.accessnorton.com/NortonCommando/worlds-fastest-bathtub-praps.33222/

SR

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Hi Janner,

Welcome back to 2 wheels.

Thought I'd throw in my 2 pence worth.

I have had a 3TA for 20+ years that my father-in-law gifted to me. When I first had it I really didn't like it. I also had a CBR600 at the time and liked to tear around everywhere rather than tinkering with engines.
However, age (I'm 55 now) and responsibilities meant the CBR had to go, so I have spent more time working on the 3TA as well as riding it more. It is now pretty much sorted (in no small part thanks to some of the fine chaps on this forum).

Earlier this year I also fulfilled a life time dream and bought a '68 T120 Bonneville. Ownership to date has not been problem free and it has been in bits far more than I had anticipated. However, the little use I have had out of it so far has revealed something that surprised me...I really like my 3TA.

The 3TA is different (half bathtub) so you don't see so many. It is lighter and easy to move about the garage. It is certainly much easier to start and has never tried to take my leg off! I am sure once I have the T120 running well I will love that too but I will certainly keep riding the 3TA.

I'm not totally convinced by the "accelerating out of trouble" argument. I don't ride the 3TA on motorways and keep dual carriage way riding to a minimum. On other roads it is quick and agile on the twisty bits and the only time I find some more acceleration would be good is if I'm stuck behind someone on a single carriageway, but I try to chill a bit and wait for a suitable opportunity pass. I have ridden a few times with my son, who is learning on a modern Yamaha 125, and the 3TA is quicker 0-50ish and they both top out at around 65-70 on the flat.

One thing that I would say you might want to consider. Whilst the bathtub does make the bike standout a bit, as Ginge says above, they are a pain when it comes to maintenance, as is a headlight nacelle. If you are looking to spend more time riding and less time tinkering then you might want to consider that.

I don't think you'd regret buying a 3TA. Let us know what you decide.

Peter


1963 3TA (TwentyOne) Half Bathtub
1968 T120 Bonneville
(Long gone - 1975 Puch VX50, 1976 Suzuki BZ120, 1983 Honda CBR125 TDC, 1991 Honda CBR600)
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