In 1973 Triumph introduced the TR5T Trophy Trail. It was to be the last of their 500 twin efforts and owed very little to the previous T100c models (500 competition models 1971 & earlier). The TR5T did use a T100C type 500cc engine but in a BSA B50MX type oil in frame & suspension. BSA was defunct by late 1972 & while they used the B50MX chassis because it was readily available, the fact is, it was a well-respected competition set up of the time. Yamaha instruments, hand controls & even Handlebar mounted Lucas turn signals all seamed inspired by the Yamaha DT design. The Alloy Petrol tank & Siamese factory low exhaust complimented a ¾ seat giving the Trophy trail its very unique look.
Its capabilities were tried in the 1973 ISDT competition which was held in Massachusetts, USA. Triumph had not been in ISDT events for at least 5 years prior because of the head butting with the BSA Works department. Birmingham Small Arms owned Triumph for many years. The bike was found to be very capable, taking a second place only to the Czechoslovakians on a CZ. The trophy trail’s only issue was a broken top triple clamp as these were alloy & prone to fracture in hard riding. The 1974 TR5T was dubbed the Adventurer. Aside from a color change on the fuel tank, it was identical to the 1973 model. 2552 TR5T’s were made in total from late 1972-1974 which all essentially were produced in one full production season. In comparison, the T100C was produced from 1962-1971 with a total of 20,360 bikes made. The TR5T is rare & all were exported out of the UK.
My experience with the few TR5T’s I have owned has been wonderful. Many Triumph’s that have a competition implication have very similar if not the same engine & suspension as the road going models they sold. It’s hard to beat the look of a mid 1960s T120C / TT / T100C but function wise off the road? I’ll take the TR5T every time. The fork travel, ground clearance, weight of bike & power range really hits the mark. This one in particular is in the last 100 made so it is a 1974 Adventurer. It is a work in progress but is an oil tight well-tuned runner. It is stock besides running a 19 inch Triumph Trident rear wheel to bring clearance up a bit & offset what some have called a “squatty” look. This bike came in mostly apart & with boxes of parts. It’s a nice reminder of the joys of waking up an old motorcycle. Nothing more, nothing less.
Edward Turner designed the Triumph 500 parallel twin & launched it for sale in 1939. Triumphs were always evolutionary & never revolutionary. This was the evolution of that pre unit 500 motor he designed some 40 years before & while it had tremendous improvements & changed along the way it never skipped out on its heritage or origins of influence. Amazing to think the same thing that made a company great was the same thing that put them out of business. Wonder what Edward thought of the Trophy trail…………………….
Thanks for reading, Bradley