On a warm sunny day five of us made the ride. As it clashed with the meeting at the Raven, I expect some members went there in preference. In the window is a Triton and inside, two concours machines are behind glass cases, a T120 and a T90. Various memorabilia adorn the walls and a pleasant sitting area is outside as well. On the way, in the Snowdonia area is a section of resurfaced road with a temporary 40 mph restriction. At a steady speed almost upright the traction cut in on the Trophy, first time ever. Bit odd I thought until later discovering we had all had an issue with the surface. So new tarmac really can be very, very slippy. There was a fair bit of traffic about on the A5 and A55, but we had a pleasant day
We were kindly invited to the White Helmets training camp before their show season starts and watch their final preparations. During their rest period, we had a play with some of their toys.
Ken with a Tiger 750
Let’s have a go at this pyramid thing, Dave is first one on Andy’s Tiger
Oh err, starting to get a bit more difficult.
Trust me, It is harder than it looks, and these bikes are not moving.
On a previous visit by Ken and Jan, the R.A.F. came to play and bought their own little toy.
Very special thanks to club member Flt. Lt. Mark, chinook pilot, seen here with ken.
Boys of the White Helmets and armed forces, you have our enduring thanks for this wonderful day.
The tradition of the Dragon Rally, held in February in Snowdonia, requires it to be cold and miserable, preferably snowing. Why do we go, pay too much and then moan about it? This year the site was a mud bath to enter or leave the field and not for my Trophy, oh no. This year, we left bikes on the road, walked in, had a nose around, then left to go to the pre-booked cottage with log fire and central heating. Try both ways and see which you prefer. Second method means you can take your own food to cook and beer to drink without having a cold nose. I still admire the individuals on oddball machines, nice to look at, and then go and sit somewhere warm.
Looks a bit warmer than a tent, doesn’t it?
I’ii have a pint of that, says Jason, ex White Helmet of backwards riding fame, cheers Keith
This tent looks alright, Mal deciding where to be comfortable.
Nice view outside as well. Wonder what we will do next year? and a thanks to Jan and Julie for the home cooked food.
We started from Bridgnorth on a dry and cold day and made our way to Wistsanstow via the Ludlow road. As usual there was more to see on the hall car park than inside the hall. After a stroll around we left to find suitable refreshments and finished a pleasant day with a short tour around.
Here we are at Wistanstow on a village pub car park.
This Triton was seen at Wistanstow. Is this the one you want to take home? For me oh yes.
We met up as usual at Llangollen as seen here and prepared to move off after a bite to eat.
The check in point was on the A5 at Capel Curig at the well known cafe and outdoor centre. Tickets on the day were available at £30. Prepaid £25. We were directed to the campsite at Llyn Gwynant where we have stayed before. The site was ok for tents being soft and more importantly fairly dry, but there was a strong cold wind which did stay for the weekend.
So up went tents with Keith the Landmark man lending a welcome hand in the wind, and then Rally badge collection where hot soup was available.
The entertainment area and bar area was too small for comfort so for us the evening entertainment was tall stories around a campfire. It would have been good fun if it wasn’t for the cold wind making us burn on the front and freeze on the back. Everyone asked at some point the same thing – why do we stand around in a field, in February, in Snowdonia, and pay a lot of money for this dubious privilege. No-one came up with a satisfactory answer. It is a deeply etched tradition for some and always will be. There is no logical answer. However, nowhere will you see a greater variety of machines and also marvel at the ingenuity of some individuals.
Visiting Snowdonia is always a great pleasure and to ride through this country is even better and so we had great ride back and still no sign of rain. Cannot be bad.
This is my current Hinckley – a Street Triple R, but going back a few years –
Around 1990 when Hinckley was just starting up I was riding Harley Sportsters because that was the nearest thing to Brit bikes at the time (without the tassels ) The first Hinckleys were big machines, heavy and expensive and did not become a serious consideration for me until the first 900 Thunderbird made an appearance. I have a vivid memory of Kevin Ash riding one of these for MCN and describing it as Triumph’s brilliant Thunderbird. So the Sportster was traded. A visually stunning bike it attracted attention everywhere it went. Lovely to ride but not without a few problems, these being inlet rubbers and the rattling alternator shaft fixed under warranty. 20,000 miles later and after a few tours the new Trophy Mk2, a dedicated touring bike with great reviews was next. Even now I think these are great bikes. My wife and I had some great holidays on this bike and saw much of Europe and almost all of Scotland and Ireland. At the time, these machines were were serviced every 3000 miles and after 50.000 miles of touring it was still as good as new. The only engine problem was spitting a plug out which was fixed under warranty.
The new 790 Bonnie appeared and the attraction now, of a bit less plastic was there. The Bonnie was selling out and part ex. value on the Trophy was poor, but another Thunderbird got a much better deal. This Bird rode brilliantly, for a short time, then it started running on two cylinders, popping and banging. Back it went, but no real problem was found. Back it came and the problem reoccurred. Back it went to be fiddled with and back it came with unreliable running. Back it went and a new CPU unit was put in. Fetched it back and it broke down on the way home. back it went in the van for another CPU unit. Back it came but still it was not totally right. Enough of that.
The new TT600 was having a bad press, mainly because it was a track bike on the road not because it was a bad bike. It was reprogrammed and with new cams for softer running and very heavily discounted, it was worth a look. I had never had a sports bike, so for not too much dosh, I had one. The only problem it had was a burned out alternator lead, replaced under warranty. I loved this bike, reliable and comfortable. The Thunderbird I sold for cash, glad to see the back of it., and a friend of mine bought the the TT, a few years later, and I bought a used 955 Sprint ST.
The 955 Sprint had a known history and was 100% reliable. A very useable bike with an an excellent range and decent sized panniers. Around this time I became fascinated with outfits, and I knew that Hinckley triples had more than enough grunt to pull a chair, so I started making enquiries. To properly convert the Sprint, the cost was prohibitive, so it was a matter of finding one. Eventually I did, a Thunderbird Sport with Watsonian GP. so the 955 went to finance that. Outfits can be tremendous fun if properly engineered. They are nothing like a bike and nothing like a car. The best tour we did with this was the antrim coast of Northern Ireland right around to Londonderry. it was also good for one or two Dragon Rallies. I kept the outfit for about six years, always with a solo as well.
I have always wanted a Triton bit never managed to own one, however the factory were now producing something in that realm, the Thruxton. Irresistable. Brilliant. Great motor. Clip ons, arm pump, but it has to be clip ons. Put up with it. That’s what I thought anyway. I did manage a tour of Scotland and had enormous fun, best fun on any bike so far and never a problem. But now the 675 Daytona popped up. Why not a modern day sports bike. ? The bike press were raving about it, so I had to have a test ride. It was the sound of the underseat exhaust that sold it. How could a standard road bike sound like this? Quite simply, the faster it went the better it was, but keep an eye out for license loosing territory. I used this bike for many things including commuting and eventually the neck pain in the daily traffic won out and I spotted a heavily discounted brand new 1050 Sprint.
Oh dear, for me this was simply wrong. I thought it would be like the 955 or an improvement, but for me it just didn’t work. It was an ABS bike with non ABS clocks in it so has to go back. There was nothing wrong with it, it was reliable but for me just a bit awkward. Lesson learned – always test ride before you buy. For most people it was probably a fine bike. Another lesson I learned was about the silly costs of repairing fared bikes. One day while cleaning the back wheel and putting it on the centre stand, it bounced off the stand and fell over. Cost of repair, £1300. What? WHAT? For falling over?
Following the 1050 Sprint was a 790 T100 Bonnie. Totally reliable, but not much puff in standard trim. A jet and air filter change with free flowing pipes makes the difference, a must with these older generation 790 Bonnies. This was later traded for a 1050 Tiger which was lowered about one inch. A beautiful looking bike in my opinion. Gleaming black and absolutely stunning. It must have been at about 15000 miles that the motor became noisy. They rattle anyway, but this was more than that. A cam chain tensioner was replaced under warranty but the rattle was still there. While at the dealers I loaned an 865 T100 which I loved, so decided to go back to a Bonnie, this time an SE with ally wheels. An all day useable (as long as you put a touring seat on) bike, good for anything. The bare aluminium needed care though but always looked good when polished.
One day at a dealer visit, I looked at one of the new 1600 Thunderbirds, looked at the price tag and asked why the discount?. We just want to move it, they said. OK, move it to my garage then. I had read about these in some detail and previously had test ridden one. Without doubt, these machines had the finest build quality I have seen. Thick paint and chrome. Brill to ride, a pain to keep clean. for me that was a problem I did not really want as I am not a fan of polishing. These bikes are good in storms though as they are so heavy they do no budge in side winds. Anyway with the low price I paid it could trade it for very little loss . I considered long and hard about the blacked out storm 1700 version, but non of these were discounted anywhere so it would involve a big chunk of money. For anyone considering a bike this heavy I would say – get an ABS version.
I ended up with the best all round bike in the world, bar none. The Tiger 800. It even doesn’t look too bad when it’s mucky, After saying that it’s not exactly pretty when it’s clean, but none of these adventure things are anyway. It does everything at a level of competency. I would give it a minimum of 8/10 for whatever you can think off. Might go back to a Tiger, they really are that good .
As I said at the start I currently have a bonkers mad Street Triple R. It had to go back for a replacement fork leg, and I complained about overly stiff steering, but was told that is how they are, they are all like that. 3000 miles on, the steering has loosened a bit and after setting the suspension at factory comfort level, it is brilliant suspension on the road probably the best I have had. If you decide on one of these, trust me on this, you want a quickshifter. Yes you do – don’t argue. I must try the Daytona version.
So where now? probably not down the retro route as I have a Meriden, and that Streety is one difficult bike to follow it is sowwww good. I might just keep it
These comments are purely my own and not that of the club.
Perhaps at the extreme end of bike building but an interesting chop built by Qwen Fletcher.
A view of the Triumphs, in the foreground an example of the other end of classic biking with a well travelled Tiger (I think) equiped for long hauls. The Triumph stand was once again organised by Allen Broad and the result of a joint effort by ourselves and our freinds from Meriden branch
Mike, on the left, signs a copy of his Triumph Tiger Cub Bible for Mark who restored a cub some years ago. Mike, who is generally regarded as THE authority on cubs very kindly gave the club a very professional talk and presented about 200 photos, some never seen before. Mike put this presentation together for our club after meeting Alan at the Stafford show. We owe Mike a big thank you for doing this for us.
John paid us a visit recently to present a talk about the Meriden Workers’ Co-op. John started at Meriden as a welder just about the time of the introduction of the the new p39 oil in frame, and later returned to Meriden in 1977 and ended up as the the Chairman until the closure in 1983.
John’s book “Save the Triumph Bonneville” is about that time. This is a very detailed account of all that went on and is compiled from minutes of meetings and actual correspondence and not just vague memories. If you have a strong interest of that piece of history, then this book is essential for your collection because these are the facts.
John Rosamond presenting his book to Alan at the 44 club