1968 Triumph 650
Frame no. TR6GDU32615
Engine no. BD40816TR6R
Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, America fell in love with Triumph motorcycles. Almost every single one, it seemed, was customized to one extent or another, much like Harley-Davidsons are today. On the far end there were stretched and spindly choppers, sometimes so exaggerated as to be all but unrideable. More often, though, Triumphs received mild styling touches aimed at individual personalization, mods that accented the riding experience.
That's the case with this tidy Triumph, a single-carb 650 that looks like it was ridden straight from a 1960s bike rally. Inspired by the company's exploits in flat-track racing, the bike's builder removed the stock front fender. A ribbed Avon Speedmaster tire was spooned onto the shouldered alloy rim, itself laced to an air-scooped twin-leading-shoe front brake, considered by many to be Triumph's best-ever drum stopper. Out back another alloy rim, this time with a Dunlop Gold Seal K70 fitted.
There's more flat-track flavor in the leather-covered sprung solo saddle and rear fender pad. These are genuine period pieces from Bates, and have themselves become ultra collectible in recent years. Other items from the Bates catalog include the 5½-inch chromed headlight and stylish alloy taillight, again both highly desirable collector pieces today. More period touches include the finned points cover and finned valve-inspection caps.
The stock gas tank is painted with Triumph's trademark scallops but in a strikingly non-standard white and blue, the latter color carried through to a stripe on the rear fender. Shorty megaphone mufflers add visual and aural flair, which the current owner puts to good use on short hops to local ride-in bike shows, where this period-perfect mild Triumph custom always draws more than its share of attention.
- The title for this motorcycle is in transit.