Triumph TR6

Sweet 1970 Triumph TR6 Trophy, with high pipes (on the other side).

THE ORIGINS OF THE TR6
The story of the Triumph TR6 starts, as does virtually every British vertical twin, with the seminal 1938 Triumph Speed Twin. This 500cc cast iron twin started it all & after WWII when civilian production was resumed, it was quickly copied by other 500 twins from BSA, Norton, Royal Enfield, Matchless & others. Triumph bored & stroked it out to a 650 in 1950 with the Triumph 6T Thunderbird. The horsepower race was on. The performance ante was raised again with the 1953 Triumph T110 Tiger, so named for its reputed ability to hit 110mph. And all this with the same old cast iron top end & one carburetor. Before long, even this wasn't enough.

1956 Triumph TR6/B Trophy, the off-road version with 2-into-1 high pipe running along left side.

DELTA HEAD
In 1956, Triumph introduced a new aluminum alloy cylinder head, named the "Delta Head". It had bigger valves for better flow, it was lighter & it had more fins for better cooling, which would allow higher compression ratios (now raised to 8.5:1 in non-competition bikes). It still breathed through a single Amal Monobloc carb. With the new head came a new model, the TR6.

LEAN AND MEAN
Unlike the Triumph Tiger T110 and the Triumph 6T Thunderbird, both of which came with a bulky headlight nacelle & well-valanced mudguards (fenders), the new TR6 looked very stripped down by comparison. This was meant to suit the huge U.S. market which was clambering for desert racers. The hot new TR6 not only came sans nacelle, it had slim alloy fenders & even a removable headlight, with quick-detach wire connectors. It could literally be ridden to the races, raced, then ridden home.

1958 Triumph TR6/B Trophy, with one high pipe on each side.

OFF-ROAD ROOTS
The original 1956 Triumph TR6 Trophy was intended to be a street-legal scrambler, not an all-out street bike. That was the territory of the Thunderbird (touring) & Tiger (sport). In fact, the TR6 was quickly named the "Trophy-Bird" because, in the public's eyes, it was a cross between the off-road Trophy 500 & the 650cc T-bird. Of course, most people who bought a Triumph TR6 didn't strip it down & race it. Most were perfectly happy with the TR6 as a lean-looking street bike. The look stuck & became the trademark look of fast motorcycles from then on. Interesting to note is how Triumph itself, the authors of this new look, missed it altogether with their next big performance bike, the 1959 Triumph Bonneville, which came dressed out more like a 6T Thunderbird, with big fenders & a nacelle. It only took them one year to see their mistake & by 1960, the Bonneville looked just like the TR6, but in different paint combos. From that point on, the Triumph TR6 & the Triumph Bonneville became sister-bikes. In fact, many considered the TR6 to be a "Bonnie with one carb", and this was pretty much true. But the TR6 came first & established the look, so perhaps a more accurate description would be that "the Bonneville is a TR6 with two carbs".

1961 Triumph TR6C Trophy with one high pipe on each side.

MODEL DESIGNATIONS
The Triumph TR6 would borrow the name "Trophy" from the 500cc TR5. The 650cc TR6 Trophy was essentially the same kind of dual-purpose motorcycle (street & trail) but with a 650cc Tiger T110 engine in it, fitted with the new Delta Head, 8.5:1 compression (soon dropped to 8:1), E3325 sports cams & single 1-1/16" Amal Monobloc. Before the first year was up, Triumph Motorcycles were already tailoring the bikes to the differing needs of the East & West Coasts of the U.S. Starting in 1957, there was a TR6A (street roadster with downpipes), TR6B (with a 2-into-1 siamesed exhaust like the '56) and a TR6C (for "Competition" or off-road). The TR6 was the hot rod of the Triumph line & as such received constant refinements to its non-unit-construction engine, primary & gearbox through 1962. But big changes were coming. One thing that never changed however, was that a Triumph TR6 always had one carburetor & a Bonneville always had two. Pre-unit TR6s were known as "Trophy", but after the unit-construction machines arrived in 1963 & the Triumph Tiger T110 disappeared, the street version of the TR6 became known as the TR6 Tiger & the street-scramblers with high pipes were called TR6 Trophy.

This 1963 Triumph TR6SS is the first year for unit-construction.

UNIT CONSTRUCTION ARRIVES IN 1963
At the close of the 1950s, Triumph & most of the British motorcycle industry, were still building motorcycle engines pretty much the same way that they had been for 50 years. A separate engine crankcase was bolted to a primary chaincase (usually on the left), which in turn bolted to a separate gearbox, which could be rotated in its mounts as a means of adjusting the primary chain tension, all bolted together in a set of heavy steel plates. It was complex, expensive, difficult to mass produce on a large scale & heavy. And with so many joints, the whole thing tended to flex & move around with vibration & heavy loads. As power increased, it got worse. By the late 50's Triumph had already converted it's 350cc 3T & it's 500cc 5T to unit construction with excellent results. Unit Construction houses all 3 major component sets (engine, primary & gearbox) in one common set of cases. It was only a matter of time before Unit Construction reached the 650 line. In 1963, the new Triumph TR6 was introduced along with the 1963 Triumph T120 Bonneville line, with their new Unit-Construction engines & a whole new frame.
ABOVE: 1967 Triumph TR6 Tiger, with down pipes.

TRIUMPH'S HEYDAY
The 1960's were good times at Triumph Motorcycles. They were selling lots of bikes, they were popular, trendy & much sought-after. Unit Construction allowed motorcycles to be assembled faster, for less cost, than before & production shot up to meet burgeoning demand, mostly in the US. Development & refinement of the entire Triumph TR6 line continued throughout the 1960s, until it reached its zenith with the 1969 & 1970 model years, widely regarded as the best years (same for Bonneville). The 1970's opened with Triumph on top of the world. Hopefully they enjoyed it while it lasted.

OIL-IN-FRAME FIASCO
At the close of the 1970 model year, there is not doubt the Triumph TR6 & the Bonneville needed some things. Top on the list would have been a 5-speed, a front disk brake, an electric starter, reliable electrics & a way to quell the vibration. By this time, parent company BSA had stepped in & was fouling things up via its overpriced & over-rated 'technology center', Umberslade Hall. This new think tank scratched the 'wish list' above & decided that what the Triumph 650 needed was a way to carry its oil within the frame itself, devoid of an oil tank. What's more, this new oil-bearing frame would have to be shared by the Triumph 650 twins & the BSA 500 A50 & 650 A65. It took too long & cost too much to finish, costing valuable production time. Then when it finally arrived, it was found that the engine couldn't be installed in the frame without first removing the rocker boxes. Even this required new rocker boxes & head bolts. But, some 11th hour workshop engineering got it done, actually improving on the old design. The new frame that started out in 1971 had a seat height of 34-1/2 inches, but was lowered to a more reasonable 32 inches. The TR6 continued until replaced by the 750cc TR7 Tiger in 1973, when it finally did get a 5-speed & front disk brake.

BELOW: 1971 Triumph TR6 with oil-bearing frame, conical brake hubs, new forks, shocks & cycle gear. Just about everything we new except the engine.

Triumph TR6 YEAR-BY-YEAR


TRIUMPH TR6, PRE-UNIT
1956-1962
Introduced in 1956 with the new Delta Head, as an off-road/enduro model only. The TR6 enjoyed great success in the late 1950s, in showrooms, on racetracks & out in the deserts of the American West.

TRIUMPH TR6,
UNIT-CONSTRUCTION

1963-1970
Gone are the separate crankcase, gearbox & primary, replaced by Unit Construction. The new engine was lighter, more compact, stiffer, more powerful & cheaper to make. An all-new frame & cycle gear too.

TRIUMPH TR6, OIL-IN-FRAME
1971-1972
While the engine carries over from 1970, everything else is new: frame, suspension, brakes & bodywork. TR6 gets 2 model years like before being replaced by the 750cc TR7.

TRIUMPH TR7
1973-1983
Like its stablemate Bonneville, the TR6 got bored out to a 750 becoming the TR7. It also got a 5-speed & front disk brake.


MORE TRIUMPH TR6 PAGES:
Triumph TR6
Triumph TR6, Pre-Unit (1956-1962)
.....1956
.....1957
.....1958
.....1959
.....1960
.....1961
.....1962
Triumph TR6, Unit-Construction (1963-1970)
.....1963
.....1964
.....1965
.....1966
.....1967
.....1968
.....1969
.....1970
Triumph TR6, Oil-in-Frame (1971-1972)
.....1971
.....1972
Triumph TR7
.....1973
.....1976

OTHER TRIUMPHS:
Triumph Bonneville
Triumph Trophy
Triumph Tiger
Triumph Thunderbird
Triumph Trident
Triumph X-75 Hurricane


Check out these TRIUMPH BOOKS


TALES OF TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES & THE MERIDEN FACTORY


COMPLETE BOOK OF CLASSIC & MODERN TRIUMPHS


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES, THEIR RENAISSANCE & THE HINKLEY FACTORY


TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN & THUNDERBIRD BIBLE


HINKLEY TRIUMPH TRIPLES & FOURS ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


TRIUMPH PRODUCTION TESTERS’ TALES FROM THE MERIDEN FACTORY


TURNER’S TRIUMPHS: EDWARD TURNER & HIS TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


TRIUMPH TROPHY BIBLE


HINKLEY TRIUMPHS, THE FIRST GENERATION


BONNIE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TRIUMPH: A CENTURY OF PASSION & POWER


TRIUMPH TWIN RESTORATION


CONENTRY’S BICYCLE HERITAGE


HOW TO RESTORE YOUR BSA ROCKET III/TRIUMPH TRIDENT


TRIUMPH & BSA TRIPLES: THE COMPLETE STORY OF THE TRIDENT & ROCKET 3


TIGER CUB BIBLE


TRIUMPH SINGLES: EARLY DAYS TO 1974 BY ROY BACON


BRITISH MOTORCYCLES: TRIUMPH


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION, PRE-UNIT


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TR5, 5T, 6T, T100 & T110 FACTORY SHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION


ILLUSTRATED TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE BUYER’S GUIDE BY ROY BACON


FACTORY ORIGINAL TRIUMPH TWINS 1938-1962


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: PORTRAIT OF A LEGEND


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWIN REPAIR MANUAL 1963-1983, BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES IN AMERICA


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 2001-2012 REPAIR MANUAL BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: THE ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES TWINS & TRIPLES


TRUIMPH MOTORCYCLES: FROM SPEED TWIN TO BONNEVILLE


BOOK OF TRIUMPH TWINS BY CLYMER


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BIBLE, ALL MODELS 1959-1983


TRIUMPH TIGER CUB & TERRIER 1952-1968 REPAIR MANUAL BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH RACING MOTORCYCLES IN AMERICA


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES ILLUSTRATED WORKSHOP MANUAL 1945-1955 BY CLYMER


TRIUMPH 675 DAYTONA & STREET TRIPLE REPAIR MANUAL, 2006-2010


TRIUMPH TRIPLES & FOURS 1991-2004, HAYNES REPAIR MANAUL


TRIUMPH 350 & 500 UNIT TWINS ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


TRIUMPH TWIN RESTORATION BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6 MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION GUIDE


TRIUMPH: RETURN OF THE LEGEND


BSA & TRIUMPH TRIPLES: GOLD PORTFOLIO


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION GUIDE: BONNEVILLE & TR6


TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD 6T ROAD TEST 1966


TRIUMPH 500-750 TWINS 1963-1979, SERVICE, REPAIR & PERFORMANCE MANUAL


TRIUMPH TRIPLES


HOW TO RESTORE TRIUMPH TR5/250 & TR6


HOW TO RESTORE TRIUMPH TRIDENT T150/T160


TRIUMPH THRUXTON BONNEVILLE 1959-1969


TRIUMPH TIGER 800 SERVICE MANUAL 2010-2014, HAYNES


TRIUMPH TT600 MOTORCYCLE SERVICE MANUAL


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


ORIGINAL TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TRIUMPH, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH ILLUSTRATED WORKSHOP MANUAL 1937-1951 BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH 500 UNIT TWINS 1958-1973 REPAIR MANUAL, BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH T110R DAYTONA 1966-1969


TRIUMPH OWNERS MANUAL: UNIT CONSTRUCTION 350 & 500 TWINS

TRIUMPH INSTRUCTION MANUAL: TRW 499cc SV TWIN


TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR 1939


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE YEAR-BY-YEAR


CHILTON’S TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE REPAIR & TUN-UP GUIDE


2010-14 TRIUMPH TIGER 800 HAYNES SERVICE MANUAL


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWINS: BONNEVILLE, TIGER, TROPHY & THUNDERBIRD


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION: PRE-UNIT, BY TIM REMUS


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION, BY TIM REMUS


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE ROAD TEST PORTFOLIO, 2001-2008


TRIUMPH TRIDENT & BSA ROCKET 3 OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL, BY HAYNES


HINKLEY TRIUMPHS: THE FIRST GENERATION


TRIUMPH FUEL INJECTED TRIPLES 1997-2000


TRIUMPH SINGLES: EARLY DAYS TO 1974, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL, BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH DAYTONA, SPEED TRIPLE, SPRINT & TIGER 1995-2005 HAYNES SHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH TIGER 100 & DAYTONA


McQUEEN’S MACHINES: THE CARS & BIKES OF A HOLLYWOOD ICON


TRIUMPH TWENTY-ONE TO DAYTONA: THE C-CLASS 350 & 500 TWINS


TRIUMPH 750/900 TRIPLES & 1200 FOUR 1991-1999 HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL


TRIUMPH, THE LEGENDS SERIES


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES & CUSTOM BIKES


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES TWINS & TRIPLES, BY REMUS


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: THEIR RENAISSANCE & THE HINKLEY FACTORY


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES FROM 1950-1988


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: THE GOLDEN YEARS


THE SCRAPBOOK SERIES I - TRIUMPH


TRIUMPH DAYTONA 1991-2006 ROAD TEST PORTFOLIO


CYCLE WORLD ON TRIUMPH 1967-1972


TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN & THUNDERBIRD BIBLE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: T120/T140, BY HAYNES


SAVE THE BONNEVILLE: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE MERIDEN CO-OP


TRIUMPH: THE RACING STORY


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS


LITTLE BOOK OF BRITISH MOTORCYCLES: TRIUMPH


CHILTON’S NEW REPAIR & TUNE-UP GUIDE FOR TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


THE TRIUMPH STORY: RACING & PRODUCTION MODELS 1902 TO PRESENT


TRIUMPH 1050 SPRINT, SPEED TRIPLE & TIGER, HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL


ILLUSTRATED TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE BUYERS GUIDE POST-1945, ROY BACON


COMPLETE BOOK OF CLASSIC & MODERN TRIUMPHS


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TIGER 100/DAYTONA: DEVEOPMENT HISTORY OF THE 500 TWIN


TOURING TRIUMPH TWINS, 3T, 5T, 6T, 3TA & 5TA, 1938-1966 BY ROY BACON


FACTORY TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE SERVICE MANUAL


TRIUMPH CYCLES PATENT COLLECTION


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE OWNERS HANDBOOK, ALL MODELS 1937-1951


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ALL MODELS FROM 1937




CHILTON’S REPAIR & TUNE-UP GUIDE, TRIUMPH THROUGH 1972


OVERHAUL MANUAL FOR TRIUMPH 3-CYLINDER ENGINE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE T120, 1959-1974, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH TIGER T100 & T110, 1939-1961, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH T90 & T100 UNIT TWINS, 1960-1974, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOGUE, 1972 TRIDENT T150


TRIUMPH TRIDENT SUPER PROFILE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE GOLD PORTFOLIO, 1959-1983


1969 TRIUMPH TROPHY 250 REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOGUE


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWIN OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH: RED HOT BIKES


1966 TRIUMPH REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOG #6: 3TA, 5TA, T90 & T100S/S


1961 TRIUMPH REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOG: TWNETY-ONE, SPEED TWIN, TIGER 100


BONNEVILLE: THE WORLD’S FASTEST MOTORCYCLES


TRIUMPH WORKSHOP MANUAL FOR 750 BONNEVILLE & TIGER


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6 BY TIM REMUS


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 UNIT TWINS 1963-1983, HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL


TRIUMPH OWNERS HANDBOOK FOR 1973 BONNEVILLE & TIGER


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH 350/500 TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL



Please visit our
MOTORCYCLE BOOK STORE


Take a tour of our site...

HOME PAGE
Triumph Motorcycles
.....Bonneville
.....Tiger
.....Trophy
.....TR6
.....TR7
.....Trident
.....X-75 Hurricane
.....6T Thunderbird
.....5T Speed Twin
BSA Motorcycles
.....A65
.....A10
.....A7
.....Gold Star
.....Bantam
.....Rocket 3
Norton Motorcycles
.....Commando
.....Atlas
.....Dominator
.....Manx
Matchless-AJS Motorcycles
.....G3
.....G9
.....G12
.....G80
AMC-Associated Motor Cycles
Royal Enfield Motorcycles
.....Interceptor
Ariel Motorcycles
.....Square Four
Vincent Motorcycles
.....Black Shadow
.....Comet
Velocette Motorcycles
.....KSS
.....LE
.....MAC
Rickman Motorcycles
Japanese Motorcycles
.....Honda
.....Kawasaki
.....Suzuki
.....Yamaha
Cafe Racers
....Triumph Cafe Racers
.....Norton Cafe Racers
.....Other Cafe Racers
Choppers & Bobbers
.....Choppers
.....Triumph Choppers
.....BSA Choppers
.....Rat Bikes
Classic Racing Motorcycles

Classic Motorcycle Events
.....Auctions
.....Shows
.....Rides
Classic Motorcycle Restoration
American Pickers TV show
Classic Motorcycle Shops
Classic Motorcycle Clubs
Classic Motorcycle Photo Gallery
Send us Pictures of YOUR BIKE
YOUR BIKE Pictures

HOME PAGE
.....About Us
.....Site Map
.....CONTACT US
.....Please visit our BLOG
.....Subscribe to our FREE e-zine BRIT IRON
.....BRIT IRON E-zine Back Issues

Visit our STORE
.....Motorcycle Books
.....Motorcycle Magazines
.....Motorcycle Calendars

Crazy about cars, too? Check out our sister site:
www.American-Muscle-Cars.net

Back to top - Triumph TR6
1/27/16

Learn how to BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE, like I did.

Visit our
FACEBOOK PAGE
and "LIKE" us!





ULTIMATE MOTORCYCLES
2015 Wall Calendar


Check out all our
MOTORCYCLE CALENDARS


Visit our
FACEBOOK PAGE
and "LIKE" us!