1957 Triumph TWN BDG125L
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A closer look at the chassis reveals a forged headstock riveted to round tubes, which form a double-cradle frame. Tubes bolt together under the engine and under the seat nose, yet despite this low-tech construction the frame feels solid on the road.
The bike’s four gears are widely spaced, and progression uphill is moderate. Once headed downhill, the bike’s precise handling and solid feel are not easily unsettled by rough pavement, while the tiny drum brakes reveal themselves to work well enough, with easy lever action and good stopping power. One German magazine tester in the Fifties said they were the best ever: a sad commentary on braking technology of the time!
As for suspension, the rider is more aware of the movement afforded by the dual seat springs than the much more solidly sprung plunger suspension.
Paint is classic black, though red was available. Pinstripes provide relief, and there are bizarre and typically German touches, like rear hydraulic dampers equipped with dipsticks.
Above all, this is a practical machine, a point underscored by the fully-enclosed chaincase to keep the chain clean and extend chain life. Riders expected these tiny 2-strokes to cover thousands of miles with only basic maintenance, which you could carry out with the tools in the tank-top tool bag. Opening that toolbox reveals the original tool roll, which includes a grease gun, handy for the zerk fittings found everywhere on the bike.
Otto says the only change he may make is to replace the dual seat — an extra-cost option at the time — with an original-equipment solo seat, if he can find one. Otherwise, the bike suits him just fine. Of course, he doesn’t plan to commute on it: he doesn’t need to do that any more. He’s retired, and his TWN125 retired before it ever started work. MC
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