The great escape artist

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that when these bikes were new they were bought to be ridden all the time and thrashed off-road too.

THE TR6 WAS born for the USA and enjoyed its moment of glory in an American movie.

It was the Americans who pressed Triumph for a bigger capacity machine than the 500 twins and the Meriden factory was happy to supply the 650 Thunderbird in 1949.


The Thunderbird was a Harley-beater in terms of performance, but its all-iron engine was really designed for the street.

In competition, everything from scrambles to the Clubman’s TT in the Isle of Man, Triumph riders relied on the all-alloy 500s which were light and fast.

However, the 500s were underpowered for the West Coast, particularly for desert racing.


So in 1956 the pre-unit Trophy arrived, equipped with the alloy cylinder head from the Tiger 110, a high-comp piston, small petrol tank, chunky rear tyre and QD headlamp.

Read more in February’s edition of CBG

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