Streetwalker- Off the Street, But For Sale, Triumph TR6 Tiger

Beginning with the 1937 500-cc Speed Twin, Triumph has maintained a long history of vertical twins. By the late 1950s the engine size had grown to 650-ccs, and their bikes were some of the best performing in the world. Spotted for sale in Southern California by yours truly is this gorgeous 1969 TR6 Tiger which recalls an era when tires were skinny and the exhaust notes were fat.
The Tiger shared its 650-cc twin, with integral gearbox, with the faster Bonniville. And while that bike had a pair of Amals, the TR6 maintained just a single carb. That meant a bit less horsepower and performance, but made for a simpler bike to maintain, and what many considered a better all around machine.
This matching-numbers machine is in excellent condition right down to its Made in England frame stickers and rubber tank guards. With an asking price of $7,500, it ain’t cheap, and you can find modern Triumphs for similar cheddar that don’t suffer the foibles of lackluster drum brakes, skinny tires, and that have the brake and shifter leavers on the sides you’re likely used to.
But those modern retro bikes lack the authenticity and grace of the real thing. This ’69 comes from the end of the era of great Triumph motorcycles. By the late ’60s, the British government was attempting to unload military engineers into the private sector, and managed to get industrials like Triumph to go along because they promised infusions of cash to go with the slide rule geeks. Unfortunately, these were government men, not passionate motorcycle wrenchers, and the bikes from the ’70s turned out to be pretty crappy, eventually condemning Triumph to collapse. The present company, founded after Triumph Engineering LTD went into receivership in 1983, threw out all of that and started with a clean sheet, saving only the name.
The modern Triumph motorcycles are a homage to the earlier era, of which this bike is a concrete representation. They couldn’t build something like this today, lacking emissions controls, decent brakes and with gaskets that are more hypothetical than actually in their function. And the new Triumphs are better in every possible way, with perhaps the exception of their soul.
While this bike may not be as competent, nor as safe as one fresh off the assembly line, it’s still a preferable choice to me. If flush with discretionary cash, I’d give this TR6 a long, hard contemplation. It would be worth it to me, even if I rarely rode it. It would be enough just to have it in the garage so I could go out there on cool evenings, a pint of Guinness in hand, and marvel at its beauty. Of course, the dulcet note of that modest-sized twin would mean that, every now and then, we’d both have to leave that garage and get some exercise.

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  1. Gearhead Avatar

    I like how, in the true tradition of English Build Quality, the "Made in England" sticker is placed upside down on the frame.

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    I sincerely doubt it would be possible to find a TR6 in this good of a condition anymore. This looks to be extremely well preserved. I like it, but I would rather have a lightly used Roulette Green Speed Triple for that scratch. Still, really, really nice Triumph.

  3. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    I am not a fan of motorcycles, but something about those Triumphs just makes me want to hop on one and find a nice little back road to blast down. It's just sweet and simple, not a lot of flash. I love it.

  4. Juliet C. Avatar
    Juliet C.

    A couple summers ago I saw an abso-perfect 67 Bonnie on display at a local show with one of those "unless you're nude…don't touch" cards stuck to it. I asked the guy if that was a serious offer, and volunteered to take off all my clothes if he'd let me sit on it.
    He declined, which was good because I most likely would have really done it….and gotten arrested….
    But I think that shows just how much we both thought of that bike.

  5. Tripl3fast Avatar

    That is the perfect bike for me. Just don't call the fuel tank colour yellow. Old snot, British Racing Mucus just not yellow. I don't like yellow.

  6. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    Crackpipe. Oh, wait, wrong site.
    Old Triumph? Yeah, still crackpipe. I absolutely love these, but I don't hate myself enough to actually own one.

  7. CptSevere Avatar

    I've always had a thing for Britbikes, and years ago had a Norton Commando, which scratched that itch nicely. Man, that was the best motorcycle I've ever had, and would get another in a heartbeat. These Trumpets are very cool, I'd love to have one, but I'd spend the money on another Norton if I had the chance.
    Now, the modern Triumphs are tempting as hell. I've seen a few of the Scramblers, and those twice pipes up the side of the bike just look too bitchin' for words. Actually, I'd be more than happy with the regular Bonneville, I'm guessing that it would feel just like my old Norton, except it wouldn't mark its territory. And, wouldn't have two sets of points and Amal Carbs. That's nice, too.

  8. BPR Avatar

    I have a 72 Bonneville, and love every minute I spend with it. I never understood the thing about Tigers being more reliable. I tune my carbs every few years. Takes 10 minutes, and they stay tuned.
    The beauty of these machines is how they handle. You can have a bundle of fun on backroad twisties at 40 MPH, and you may even pull away from some of the modern machines until the road straightens out. Then the acceleration is best described as Harley-like, so your friends on sportbikes may have to wait for you at the cafe, but hey, you’re getting more riding in while they wait, right?

  9. Dakota Dove Avatar

    6 rate in a very sedan! No market. I presume Ford in two models offer you a 6speed mated to an computerized. 6speed discovered in that roadster you could be hunting for.