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1956 Triumph TR5R

1956 Triumph TR5R

Triumph offered the TR5/R in limited numbers in 1956 as a top-of-the-line 500 twin, and it was certainly one of the market’s finest. Factory records indicate that just 112 TR5/R engines were built in ’56 and just 104 were installed in complete bikes. The other 8 were presumably spare engines for parts inventory. While clearly a roadster, the lights were quickly-detachable (QD) units allowing the owner to quickly strip the street bike down for racing. The factory started with TR5s as the basis for their Daytona race bikes, because they came with all the lightweight running gear and the state of tune was closer to their needs. These 112 TR5/R engines were essentially pulled off the production line and send over to Triumph’s racing shop where they were fully disassembled, blueprinted and reassembled to what they called “Red Seal” standard. This meant hotter cams, racing tappets, higher compression pistons, a Lucas competition magneto, twin Amal racing carburetors and a model-specific racing exhaust system with reverse-megaphones. They came from the factory with folding rearset footpegs, and they simply turned the shifter around facing back, which reversed the shift pattern. Most 1956 Triumph TR5Rs were shipped to Johnson Motors, the US distributor for Triumph, where they were intended and designed to race at places like Daytona, Watkins Glen and Willow Springs. They carried the heavy (for the times) pricetag of $959.00.


Model designation

Engine type


Bore & Stroke

Fuel system

Ignition system

Primary drive



Final drive

Suspension, front

Suspension, rear

Brake, front

Brake, rear

Tire, front

Tire, rear


Seat height

Ground clearance

Fuel capacity


1956 Triumph TR5R

Air-cooled OHV parallel twin

498cc / 30.4 ci

63mm X 80mm

2- Amal racing carburetors

Lucas racing magneto


Multi-plate, wet

4-speed constant-mesh, right-foot shift


Telescopic forks, hydraulic damping

Swing arm w/2 Girling shocks (dampers)

8-inch SLS drum

7-inch SLS drum

3.25″ X 19″, Dunlop

3.50″ X 19″, Dunlop

55.75″ / 1416mm

30.5″ / 775mm

5.0″ / 127mm

4.8 US gal / 18 L

375 lbs / 170 kg