Restoring a 1971 Triumph TR6C Trophy Special: Part 1

The inveterate tinkerers at Motorcycle Classics have chosen a Triumph TR6C Trophy Special as their first in-house restoration project.

Triumph TR6C - bike on white background before restoration

The editors at Motorcycle Classics tackled this 1971 Triumph TR6C Trophy Special as their first in-house classic Triumph restoration.

Photo by Richard Backus

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Note: This is part 1 of a 4-part series of articles on the Motorcycle Classics restoration of a 1971 Triumph TR6C Trophy. You can read part 2 here, or go here for part 3 and here for part 4. 

1971 Triumph TR6C Trophy Special Restoration
What we know is wrong
Straight but leaking.
Tires: Rock hard from years of sitting.
Engine: Basically sound, mostly needs a good cleaning and new gaskets.
Exhaust: Non-stock two-into-one is blued, dented and rusted.
Wiring: Original loom is tired and frayed.
Bodywork: Mostly good, but desperate for new paint.
Carburetion: The old Amal is worn out.
Shocks: Sagging and leaking, they have to go.
Seat: Looks OK at first glance, but the metal pan is badly rusted.

If you’re under the impression that the staff at the opulent offices of One Motorcycle Classics Towers are just a bunch of ink-stained wretches, you should know that we’re always looking for an excuse to get away from our desks and into our shops. While associate editor Hall squeezes his way through his garage-full of classic Honda motorcycles, editor Backus is forever dinking on some oddball German or Italian motorcycle.

But we’ve found something we’re all interested in working on - a classic Triumph restoration. So for our first in-house restoration project, we'll be working on a 1971 Triumph TR6C Trophy Special.

Our TR6C, the first year of Triumph’s oil-in-frame design, is the spiritual successor to Triumph’s spectacular “Desert Sleds” of the late Fifties and Sixties. High pipes and raised fenders suggest offroad prowess, and Triumph’s legendary 650cc parallel twin provides (or will soon) plenty of oomph to move the bike’s roughly 400lb down the road. A clean, minimalist machine with barely a hint of plastic to be found, there’s simply no denying the bike’s classic British motorcycle appeal.

Our TR6 is pretty typical of what’s available on the open market. Unridden for at least four years, it’s been buried in the back of a woodworking shop. It’s a bit ratty and mildly altered from stock with a two-into-one exhaust and Boyer ignition, but it’s otherwise complete. Wearing rock-hard tires and looking pretty tired in its present state, it appears to have good compression and ran the last time anyone tried. It is, in other words, a perfect candidate for rejuvenation.

Setting Up

We use the word rejuvenation purposefully, because this won’t be a nut and bolt, perfect-to-the-last-detail restoration. Instead, we’re planning a sympathetic reawakening of this classic Triumph motorcycle, using readily available parts and deviating from stock when we want and where we want. Our goal is to end up with a clean, good-looking, rideable and reliable classic, a bike the average guy can buy and get on the road.

Helping us reach our goal are a number of the experienced restorers and parts providers who advertise in these pages and who many of you rely on to keep your classic motorcycles on the road. To the last, the folks helping out are excited about the project and they’re giving us the benefit of their years of experience working with old Triumphs.

The outward changes will be pretty obvious, including a new dual exhaust system from Mac, a set of Coker tires, Hagon shocks from Dave Quinn Motorcycles, a complete seat assembly from Walridge Motors, a Mikuni carb from Sudco and a custom paint job from Precision Motorcycle Painting.

We know the wiring harness is baked, so we’re getting a headlamp harness from MAP Cycle and a main wiring harness from Klempf’s British Parts. M&S Cycle is supplying needed engine gaskets and a set of mirrors, Britech is helping us get down the road with a new final drive chain, and Baxter Cycle will help us stay safe with a new set of turn signals. All the old rubber is trashed, so we’re getting new shift and footpeg rubber from Countryside Cycle Shop and Baxter, and Countryside is also supplying the headlamp bracket we need. A new set of fuel petcocks courtesy of Job Cycle will make sure the fuel flows from the freshly-painted gas tank.

Over the next three issues, we’ll fill you in on how it’s coming together — or going apart, as the case may be — and give you a look at how the bike’s shaping up.

When we’re done, we’ll be taking it on the road and showing it off at the shows we visit across the U.S. Now, if we can just find that set of Whitworth sockets we had around here .…

Project TR6C Trophy
Complete seat: Walridge Motors Limited
Headlight wiring harness: MAP Cycle
Tires: Coker Tire Co.
Mikuni carb conversion: Sudco
Final drive chain: Britech New England
Hagon shocks: Dave Quinn Motorcycles
Fuel petcocks: Job Cycle
Paint work: Precision Motorcycle Painting
Footpeg rubber/front turn signals: Baxter Cycle
Engine gaskets/mirrors: M&S Cycle
Main wiring harness: Klempf’s British Parts
Headlamp bracket/shifter lever rubber: Countryside Cycle Shop
Exhaust system: Mac Products 

On to Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.