1955 Triumph T110 Tiger 1955 TRIUMPH T110 TIGER CONTINUALLY IMPROVES True to the British style at the time, steady, continuous improvements were applied to all their bikes. The 650cc T110 Tiger was their hottest bike in 1955 (the TR6 wouldn’t topple its top spot until 1956), so much attention was lauded on it. 1954 Tigers …

1959 Triumph TR6 1959 TRIUMPH TR6 NOMENCLATURE 1959 was the last year that the TR6 did not carry a letter designation after it. Starting with model-year 1960, the TR6 model line split in two, with the TR6/A being the low-piped street version and the TR6/B the high-piped dirt bike. But for 1959, it was still …

1952 Triumph T100 Tiger 1952 TRIUMPH T100 TIGER LEADS THE PACK At the end of World War II, civilian production of motorcycles ramped up quickly to tap into the tremendous pent up demand for transportation. 1946 was Triumph’s first postwar model year. The 5T Speed Twin, its best seller prior to, and after the war, …

1971 Triumph TR6 The 1971 Triumph TR6 saw the introduction of the new oil-bearing frame & all new cycle gear. This photo is of a ’71 TR6 Tiger. The TR6 had a single carburetor while the Bonneville had two. ABOVE: Everything was all-new on the ’71 TR6 and Bonneville, except the engine. The new oil-bearing …

1947 Triumph T100 Tiger 1947 TRIUMPH T100 TIGER LEADS THE PACK At the end of World War II, civilian production of motorcycles ramped up quickly to tap into the tremendous pent up demand for transportation. 1946 was Triumph’s first postwar model year. The 5T Speed Twin, its best seller prior to, and after the war, …

1963 BSA A65 NEW MODELS The 1963 BSA A65 was, of course, the second model year of the new unit construction BSA twins, the 500cc A50, and the 650cc A65, which had replaced the very successful pre-unit A7 (500) & A10 (650) in 1962. BSA was very conservative in the new machine’s configuration, as was …

1970 Triumph TR6 1970 TRIUMPH TR6 BY THE NUMBERS For 1970, the Triumph TR6 was again known as “Tiger”, as the single carb twin would continue to be known, even beyond the switch from 650 to 750. But for the 1970 model year, there were 4 models in the TR6 lineup: The standard TR6, Roadster …

1957 Norton Dominator Dominator 88 – 500cc 1957 NORTON DOMINATOR BACKGROUND Norton designed the legendary “Featherbed Frame” for the single-cylinder Manx racer in 1950. In 1953 they dropped the Model 7’s 500 twin-cylinder engine into the Featherbed frame, and created a new bike, the Norton Dominator, in fact a whole new line of bikes. As …

1953 Triumph T100 Tiger 1953 TRIUMPH T100 TIGER LEADS THE PACK At the end of World War II, civilian production of motorcycles ramped up quickly to tap into the tremendous pent up demand for transportation. 1946 was Triumph’s first postwar model year. The 5T Speed Twin, its best seller prior to, and after the war, …

1950 Triumph T100 1950 TRIUMPH T100 TIGER LEADS THE PACK At the end of World War II, civilian production of motorcycles ramped up quickly to tap into the tremendous pent up demand for transportation. 1946 was Triumph’s first postwar model year. The 5T Speed Twin, its best seller prior to, and after the war, had …

1958 Ariel Square Four 1958 ARIEL SQUARE FOUR – GETTING LONG IN THE TOOTH Alas, the world was changing, and with it the motorcycle market. The Ariel Square 4 designed decades before, was keyed to another age, one where acceleration and all-out top speed weren’t as important as smoothness and reliability. Hence the Square Four …

1948 Vincent Rapide Series B 1948 VINCENT RAPIDE BACKGROUND Vincent built its reputation on it’s robust 499cc Comet single. Prior to the war, they figured out that if they doubled it, they could create a 998cc V-twin and the series A Vincent Rapide was born. Few were built prior to World War 2, which curtailed …

1941 Matchless G3 1941 MATCHLESS G3 BACKGROUND Just prior to World War 2, Matchless was on a roll. Their middleweight singles were selling as fast as they could be built. In 1939, Matchless introduced the next evolution in their single-cylinder design, the 349cc Matchless G3. Just as production was ramping up, the British Army got …

1948 Triumph T100 Tiger 1948 TRIUMPH T100 TIGER BACKGROUND Immediately after the end of World War II, Triumph quickly reverted back to civilian production and hit the ground running. Prior to the war, their two top models were the 500cc 5T Speed Twin and its hotter cousin, the T100 Tiger, also a 500 twin, but …

1954 BSA A10 Pre-Unit 650 Twin 1954 BSA A10 Golden Flash 1954 BSA A10 BACKGROUND Like every other British motorcycle manufacturer at the time, BSA was following Triumph’s lead in the parallel twin race. Triumph introduced the first parallel twin, the 500 Speed Twin in 1938, but World War II intervened, curtailing all civilian production. …

1965 BSA A65 1965 BSA A65 LIGHTNING The Lightning was the high-performance roadster in the 1965 BSA A65 lineup, with twin Amal Monobloc carburetors and downswept pipes. In 1965, it was still running 6 volt electrics, its last year before converting over to 12 volts in ’66. The new-for-1962 unit-construction engine had started out rocky, …

1973 Triumph TR7 1973 TRIUMPH TR7 BY THE NUMBERS 1973 was the first year for the new 750 twins, in both the single-carb Triumph TR6 and Bonneville lines. When punched out to a 750 (724cc or 744cc), the 650 TR6 Tiger became the Triumph TR7; and the 650 (649cc) T120 Bonneville became the T140 Bonneville …

1939 Vincent Rapide Series A 1939 VINCENT RAPIDE BACKGROUND Vincent head engineer Phil Irving was working on some tracings of the firm’s 499cc single cylinder engine in 1936. As things got moved around, two of the tracings lined up roughly in the shape of a V-twin. With a little cajoling, he quickly lined it up …

1967 Triumph TR6 1967 Triumph TR6C Trophy 1967 TRUMPH TR6C TROPHY Triumph built two basic versions of the 650 TR6, the TR6C “Trophy” and the TR6R “Tiger”. The Trophy had high side pipes running along the left side and was set up for off-road use. The Tiger was the roadster version with down pipes, one …

1961 BSA Gold Star Clubman 1961 BSA GOLD STAR CLUBMAN While the BSA Gold Star was famous for its off-road and desert-racing prowess, when properly fitted out, they also made excellent road-racing machines, on par the a Norton Manx. The Clubman edition got a 36mm bellmouth Amal Grand Prix carburetor, hotter cam and timing, higher …

ABOVE: This 1958 Triumph TR6 Trophy features the optional twin high pipes, very popular in the US Market, which could replace the 2-into-1 side exhaust. 1958 TRIUMPH TR6 BY THE NUMBERS 1958 Engine/Frame Numbers: 011861 to 019244 Production Dates: October 10, 1957 to June 25, 1958 ENGINE CHANGES Early Delta Heads were prone to cracking …

ABOVE: 1956 Triumph TR6 Trophy w/2-into-1 “siamesed” high exhaust running along the left side. TR6 BY THE NUMBERS 1956 Engine/Frame numbers: 70199 to 82797 Production Dates: August 8, 1955 to July 27, 1956 1956 TRIUMPH TR6 – THE NEW KID IN TOWN Triumph Motorcycles were on a roll in the 1950’s, with one hit after …

The 1965 Triumph TR6 is a beautiful, graceful machine. This, however is a 1964 TR6SS, very similar to the ’65, as no photo was available of a ’65. HELP!! Got a ’65 TR6? Send us pictures of your bike! 1965 TRIUMPH TR6 BY THE NUMBERS There were four basic models of Triumph TR6 for 1965, …

1961 TRIUMPH TR6 BY THE NUMBERS Gone was the previous “A” & “B” designations introduced in 1960. The new nomenclature was TR6R for ‘Roadster’ with low pipes & TR6C for ‘Competition’, the enduro version with high pipes. All went by the model name “Triumph Trophy”. 1961 Triumph TR6 engine & frame numbers run from D8432 …

FRITZ EGLI & THE EGLI-VINCENT Fritz Egli was born in Switzerland in 1937, spent his early years motorcycle racing and building motorcycles, including frames of his own design. He opened his own shop in 1965 and began building modern cafe racers with 998cc Vincent Black Shadow V-twin engines and Egli-designed-and-built frames, dubbed the Egli-Vincent. Three …

1939 Triumph Tiger 100, first year for this hot new model. Note Rigid frame & girder front suspension. A TIGER IS BORN The Triumph Tiger was the natural evolution of the constant & relentless quest for more & more power. The <a href=”https://www.classic-british-motorcycles.com/triumph-speed-twin.html”>Triumph Speed Twin</a> had literally changed the motorcycle world in 1938, and was …

MATCHLESS G9 BACKGROUND Like everyone else in the British motorcycle industry at the time, when Triumph rocked the world with their 1938 Speed Twin, the world’s first modern 500cc vertical twin, AMC (Associated Motor Cycles), parent company of Matchless, and AJS, developed a new 500 vertical twin for both brands. As always, there would be …

NORTON MANX BACKGROUND The Manx was developed in 1937, in both SOHC and DOHC form, to compete in and win the Isle of Man TT. Before fully developed, World War II intervened, and production of the Manx was delayed until 1946. The Manx quickly gained a reputation for its speed and reliability, allowing it to …

VELOCETTE THRUXTON BACKGROUND By the 1960s, the motorcycle market had clearly shifted away from practical, economical commuters, and toward high-performance bikes with sporting aspirations. Triumph and Norton were killing in this market, and by the mid-60s, the Japanese were taking a major bite out if it for themselves. Velocette, never having developed a vertical twin, …

MATCHLESS G12 BACKGROUND Just prior to World War II, Triumph rocked the world with their seminal 500 Speed Twin, but the world had to wait for the war to end before the rest of the industry would have a chance to catch up. At war’s end, BSA was first to respond with their own 500cc …

NORTON MODEL 7 BACKGROUND Following Triumph’s lead, Norton, along with nearly every other British motorcycle manufacturer, entered the parallel twin race with its own new 500 twin in 1949. Known as the Model 7 and also the Model 7 Dominator, it was Norton’s first twin, and the first in the storied Dominator line. It was …

ABOVE: 1974 Norton Commando 850 Roadster. BIRTH OF THE COMMANDO While the Commando was a direct descendant of the the Norton Atlas & the Dominator line before that, the Commando was definitely not evolutionary. It was revolutionary, a true game-changer. Not because of some amazing new engine, not because it was all that faster than …

TRIUMPH TRIDENT: AHEAD OF THE CURVE? The story of the Triumph Trident and her sister-bike, the BSA Rocket 3, is one of the most interesting, and at the same time most exasperating, tales in all the annals of Classic British Motorcycles. Interesting because the Triumph Trident might actually have been one of the few instances …

VELOCETTE KTT BACKGROUND Velocette built the KTT expressly for racing, hence the “KTT” designation. “K” for Kammer, which is German for ‘cam’, which indicated an Overhead Cam (OHC) in Velocette’s parlance. The “TT” differentiated it from the other Velos in the K-series, TT denoting its purely racing intent. They were essentially factor racers which were …

ABOVE: This 1965 Triumph Bonneville represented Triumph and the Bonneville at its peak, and was one of the fastest bikes on the road in 1965. The Japanese hadn’t started building fast bikes yet, but they were coming. BONNEVILLE BACK-STORY While the first Bonneville hit the streets in 1959, the story hardly begins there. Triumph motorcycles …

VINCENT COMET BACKGROUND Vincent was a very low-volume producer of premium motorcycles. During the entire span of the company’s existence (1928-1955) they barely made 11,000 bikes. The big V-twin Rapides and Black Shadows may have been the stars of the show, but the 499cc single-cylinder Comet was their biggest seller, by a wide margin. So …

BACKGROUND OF TRIUMPH 350 TWINS Triumph rocked the world with the introduction of their seminal 1938 5T Speed Twin. Designed by the legendary Edward Turner, the first ‘modern’ parallel twin was copied by nearly every other British motorcycle manufacturer, but World War II intervened before any reached production. But when civilian production resumed in 1946, …

GREATNESS Norton Motorcycles are among the most popular, fastest, best handling and sexiest of all Classic British Motorcycles. The Norton Commando (1969-1977) was the world’s first production Superbike, and one of the most desirable machines of all time. It represented the best that the British motorcycle industry had to offer at the time. It was …

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Velocette Motorcycles, the company, was originally called Veloce Ltd. Founded by John Goodman (born Johannes Gutgemann, then changed to John Taylor, and then finally to John Goodman) and William Gue in 1905 as “Taylor, Gue Ltd.”, it’s first motorcycle was called the “Veloce”. Within a year, they had renamed the company …

SMALL VOLUME, BIG REPUTATION Vincent Motorcycles have an aura & a cache to them that is vastly out of proportion with their production output. Vincent produced less than 11,000 motorcycles total from the end of World War II until their demise in 1955. It’s amazing how much attention a Vincent Black Shadow, or a Vincent …