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If you want a Triton, you want a Triton, which back in the day combined a good frame with a good engine. This was back before Triumph made a good frame or Norton made a good engine. From 63' and up, Triumph had the frame they needed, and along about then Norton mounted their engines in isolastics in a new frame and when all was adjusted properly, they handled fairly well although their rods were still a bit too light for that engine and would break when pushed for any length of time.

If you're happy with a two stroke, then a Titan cafe would be fine, but you seem to want the roar of the Brit bike. The 63' through 70' 650 Triumph's are sought after now, but in 71' Triumph changed their frame to a backbone oil in the frame. Avoid the 71' and 72's, but look at the 73' and up Triumphs. These were 750's with 5 speeds, and really very good motorcycles. I roadraced one of these and I can tell you that they handle very well out of the box. They also lend themselves to being cafe'd quite economically, really just bars, a tank and seat, maybe fenders if you'd like, and a set of pipes. Everything else is pretty good on them.

The best part is that they can be bought in fairly nice condition for less than half of what the earlier Triumphs are bringing, as in $2500 to $3500 depending on condition. Be knowledgable when you go and buy one of these, or bring someone who is in the know about Brit' bikes. The engine is, of course, the critical part. Any knocking or growling in the lower end is going to be expensive. It shouldn't smoke, either. Often, the primary chain is out of adjustment, this checked through the cap just behind the cylinders, but if this has the 1/4 inch of slck in it that it should, then a knock or growl is reason to walk away. Naturally, there will be a small bit of tappet clatter in the top end.

Good Luck,
Dgy
 

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Just out of curiosity, why do you adise avoiding '71s & '72s?


Because they're sucky, the least desirable Triumphs ever made. 1971 was the first year of the frame changeover which was engineered by the genius's down in Triumphs R&D unit in Umberslade <I think> but it was known by all as Slumberglade. Anyways, these guys couldn't find their asses with both hands. Triumph wanted to launch their new model by 71', but these guys weren't ready on time, so Triumph paid its help to sit and twiddle their thumbs for months <they were union> while they tried to get it worked out. And then when the plans for the new frame were finally completed and the frames were being made, they found they couldn't get the engines in them, so they redesigned the head, and eventually shortened the barrels (the short rod engine) to get it to fit. The 71's and 72's had hideously high frames and looked weird. The 73's had a lot of the problems worked out, were lowered, and they were pretty good bikes from there on in.

Triumphs are typically British, though. There is a learning curve to getting them right, but when they are right, they are wonderful. When Triumph came out with their new unit twin in the new frame in 63', they truly were a step up from anything that had gone before. When you ride one, you feel like it's a modern motorcycle, but with all the charm of an older one. I just got done rebuilding a 1969 T100C <high pipe 500 twin>. Don't knock the 500's because they don't make power like the big ones, they wind right out and are an awful lot of fun on back roads.

Dgy
 
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