Featured this month is Robin’s 1970, 650cc TR6C Triumph.
The Triumph TR6C Trophy Special was produced between 1968 and 1972. In 1970, a total of 1880 were made. The 1970 model originally would have had high pipes – a low pipe version called the TR6R Sport was also offered. Displacement was 649cc in a parallel twin producing about 46 HP at 6500 rpm. It had a 4 speed gear box and drum brakes front and rear and in the USA was marketed as the ‘Desert Sled”. 1970 was the last year before the ‘oil in frame’ models came into production. The original tank colours were Spring Gold (really a green) with a black centre stripe.
Q:Perhaps a bit of background to begin with ?
A:This bike was not very original when bought and had ape hangers, a rattle can grey paint job and TT pipes. I’ve had it for 30 years and it seems it needs to be rebuilt/restyled about every 10 years. I’ve done it up with flames on a blue tank, with a Harley rim on a Triumph hub with a sissy bar. Then a large tank with wide valence fender, and finally painted deep red and silver like a 1967 Bonnie.
Over the years I have ridden this bike from Kenora to Calgary a few times, once straight through. I was on my way to Kenora when it blew in Moosomin, Sask.
Q: Why this bike ?
A:I had an ill handling 350/4 Honda ,and used to visit the bike shop nearby outside Kenora, Ont. I enjoyed sitting on this bike as it fit me, and the shop owner talked me into trying it, so…I started it (he showed me how to tickle the carbs), revved it up and rode the clutch as per the Honda, it moved forward a bit and then the clutch caught ….6 feet sideways..then 4 then 2, then stop just short of the chain link fence in the gravel parking lot !! Whew …I loved it and did not fall down. It was so unlike the Honda. I went to the bank the next day and bought it. That was in 1974 I think.
Q: What is the bike’s history ?
A:I knew the original owner and approached him about whether he still had the pre-mod parts – no luck. I had a couple of issues early on, and he did come to my house and help explain things. The original dealer was the fellow I bought it from, and he told me that it was imported as a natural fit for that neighbourhood. It did not sell until a year later, at an abridged price.
The bike was known locally as the only Triumph that did not leak oil. Even 20 years later on trip back to Kenora an enthusiast who knew the bike stopped when driving by to reenforce the fact. I have not always been able to accomplish this.
Q: What have you done so far ?
A:This is the third engine rebuild. I’ve added tapered roller bearings in the steering neck, chrome swing arm and engine mounts, Morgo plunger oil pump, Boyer ingnition, Podtronic voltage regulator and rectifier. I’ve had to have the cases welded after throwing a chain once.
I was in a denial as I knew it had a slightly bent push rod, but I rode it for a few years anyway. I finally burnt out the piston and had catastrophic cylinder damage. It now has new barrels and pistons, valves, guides and springs. And I’m presently re-wiring it, changing it to a negative ground. I also want to change it to an electronic speedo as I’ve had trouble with the speedometer gear box failing over the years.
Q: What about parts availability for a 40+ year old machine ?
A:Engine parts are not hard to find – I have dealt with Waldridge Motors for the barrels and pistons when they were on sale as well as a bunch of rebuild supplies. I like British Isles Motorcycles in Duncan B.C. for valve guides, incidentals, occasional advice, and ! bought my Podtronics off the shelf Old Motorcycle Shop here in Calgary.
UPDATE 2016 – Robin has finished the bike and is looking forward to riding it once the roads are ready in the Spring!