Beezer Behind the Badge: 1968-1970 Triumph Trophy 250

Comparing the Triumph Trophy 250 with its primary 250cc competitors, the Ducati 250 Scrambler and Suzuki TC25 Hustler.

| July/August 2017

  • The 1970 Triumph Trophy 250 as shown in a contemporary ad.
    Motorcycle Classics archives
  • 1967-1974 Ducati 250 Scrambler.
    Photo courtesy
  • 1968-1970 Suzuki TC250 Hustler.
    Motorcycle Classics archives

Triumph Trophy 250
Years produced:
22hp @ 8,250rpm (24hp @ 8,250rpm/1969-1970)
Top speed:
90mph (approx.)
247cc air-cooled OHV single
4-speed, chain final drive
285lb (dry)/75-85mpg
Price then/now:

In the late 1960s, the adventure motorcycle was still a decade away, so if you wanted to play in the dirt with a road bike, you’d choose from the street scramblers then on sale — like something from Honda’s CL range, for example. These were by no means serious dirt bikes, just street machines with a high-level exhaust and maybe braced handlebars.

Triumph’s entry into this market was the TR25W Trophy. Intended to replace the 200cc Tiger Cub in the catalog, the baby Trophy was essentially a BSA Starfire 250 with “Triumph” on the gas tank, high bars and a high exhaust. It represented one of BSA-Triumph’s last desperate attempts to keep their superannuated quarter-liter singles relevant. The 1971 B25T and B25SS “Gold Star” was their swan song.

At the heart of the Trophy was BSA’s overhead valve 4-stroke single, developed from the unit-construction C15 of 1957, and pumped up from its original 15 horsepower to 24 horsepower for 1969. And while mid-1960s BSA 250s had a built-up crank with a roller bearing big end, this was changed to a plain bearing and split connecting rod for 1968.

The Trophy’s 67mm piston ran in an iron-lined alloy cylinder and drove a one-piece crankshaft with bolt-on flywheels and a 70mm stroke. The main bearings were roller on the drive side and ball on the timing side, with drive to the wet multiplate clutch and 4-speed transmission by chain. The pushrods were lifted by a single camshaft, and the rockers had eccentric shafts to adjust valve clearance. A 28mm Amal Concentric fed fuel and ignition was by battery, coil and contact breaker, with automatic advance.

The drivetrain fitted into a single downtube frame similar to that of the contemporary Victor, and also shared its BSA hydraulic fork, paired coil spring/damper units and 7-inch single-leading-shoe drum brakes. The high level header pipe was on the right side in 1968-1969 and on the left for 1970. The gas tank (and side panels) were also unique to the TR25W — fiberglass for 1968, and steel for 1969-1970. Other changes during production included a compression boost to 10:1, and an upgrade for the front brake to twin-leading-shoe for 1969.

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