1959 Triumph TR6 Trophy

1 / 5
The 1959 Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle was designed to be a desert racer, but I works well on the street too.
2 / 5
The author crouches low and opens the throttle.
3 / 5
The TR6 Trophy at rest.
4 / 5
The TR6 Trophy’s single-carb aids reliability while its aluminum head keeps engine temps down.
5 / 5
The fuel gauge and speedometer/odometer of the TR6 Trophy.

1959 Triumph TR6 Trophy
Years produced:
1956-1973
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 42hp @ 6,500rpm
Top speed: 110mph (approx.)
Engine type: 649cc overhead valve, air-cooled parallel twin
Weight: 180kg (396lb)
Price then: N/A
Price now: $6,000-$10,000
MPG: 45-55

Even Steve McQueen himself couldn’t have looked much cooler than that, I thought with a grin, as the 1959 Triumph TR6 Trophy came to a halt, its rear wheel waaaay out to the left, with what must have looked like a perfectly planned and executed rear-wheel skid.

In reality, it hadn’t been planned at all. I’d been following a car at slow speed in traffic (and keeping a reasonable distance, I might add), when the driver suddenly braked for no apparent reason. Squeezing the front brake lever made almost no difference to the Triumph’s speed. So I stepped on the rear brake pedal with my left boot, at which point the contrastingly over-powerful rear drum locked the wheel, sending the bike to a gentle, sliding halt without ever feeling out of control.

That skidding stop might not have been planned, but when you’re riding a high-piped Triumph TR6 Trophy twin like the one ridden by movie icon and biker McQueen (on the silver screen and in real life, too), acting cool comes with the territory.

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