In an attempt to get my mind off of this country of monkeys flinging their poo around, I've decided to start a new segment on my favourite (you like that spelling?) motorcycles, specifically British motorcycles. The British motorcycles were the world's best until the early 70's when Japan thundered in a new era. Triumphs, BSAs, and Nortons are my big 3.
So I'm going to start with the Triumph bathtubs. There were three models: The unit 350cc 3TA Twenty-One (1957-1962), Triumph's first all unit twin (transmission and motor in one casing), the unit 500cc 5TA Speedtwin (1958-1962), and the pre-unit 650cc 6T Thunderbird (1960-1961). Meant for cruising around England's back country roads rather than bombing down the highway at 100mph, they the last of an era. In 1959 the Triumph Bonneville came onto the scene and literally changed everyone's perception of the motorcycle: fast, sleek, modern. What young man would want a Speedtwin or Thunderbird when he could now have the 46bhp 650cc T120 Bonneville twin? Also in 1961 the Austin Mini debuted. There wasn't a need for a gentleman's motorcycle any longer, now they could drive and stay out of the elements.
The 3TA, 5TA, and 6T were now outdated machines. In 1963 all Triumph motorcycle were now unit construction, more more separate transmissions and motors. To make matters worse, they were trying to compete with the rising scooter companies, which explains the enclosed rear section or "bathtub." Most of these bathtubs were removed to give the bike a more sleek appearance. And the headlight nacelles (enclosures) were removed and replaced with a more modern looking single chrome headlight, similar to the new Bonneville. Which, ironically, are all now reasons why I love this motorcycle so much. Oh how times change. These bikes are rare but not ridiculously unobtainable yet. You can find a 3TA or 5TA in England for around $5000 American.
1960 5TA Speedtwin