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Old 10-06-2015, 06:25 AM
Wimpy525 Wimpy525 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Catawissa Pa
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Default Anybody know about old Triumph's?

I have an opportunity to buy an 63 Triumph Bonneville I don't know much about them so was hoping someone here might.
It's a 1963 Bonneville 650 the guy that is selling it is a old friend who is down sizing. He is the second owner he purchased the bike from a friend in 1969. The bike was used for circle track racing for about two years 63-65. I believe it is a Scrambler or a Special model. Next time I am in the area I will get the frame and engine numbers.
The owner states that it has high compression pistons and modified cams. Bike was last run about 9 years ago (I actually rode it then) and has been in storage ever since. The motor was turned over a couple of times a year and the cylinders oiled. Bike is assembled as a circle track bike as it sits and is what a would consider rough but complete and it would not take much to get it running.
He has tons of parts with the bike, everything that came off of it in 1963 is still with the bike. Extra exhaust high and low. A spare motor complete not stuck, turned over couple of times a year and was running when he got it. Spare cylinders, fiberglass tank, original tank, seat, fenders. That's what was out and available to see.
So this is a friend that has the bike, I don't want to take advantage of him nor do I want to get ripped off. He would like to get between 2k-3k for everything. Is this a fair price?
What should be the end goal of a restoration of the bike? Original or something custom? I don't know much about these bikes so I would hate to sink money into something that is not worth anything, or ruin something good.
The bike is about 4 hours from me and I should be in the area in about 3 weeks and will get the Vin#s etc. and some pictures.
I don't want to miss this opportunity or buy something that I should pass on.


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Old 10-06-2015, 11:07 AM
Neil E. Neil E. is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Gormley, Ontario, Canada
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Sounds like a neat project. What do you want to do with it? It would be nice as a Sunday afternoon ride if you had it in mostly stock configuration. Are you going to use it enough to justify the cost of insurance and plating?

As cool as these bikes are don't expect it to be trouble free. I've owned lots of AJS and Matchless bikes from the 50's. Always fun to tinker with, but hard to get totally reliable. My bikes had separate magnetos and generators so they were simple to work on. The Triumph has a rotor/stator arrangement. The points are tricky to get set up right, but you can swap in an aftermarket ignition. Parts can be hard to find. When is the last time you found a 6 volt light bulb? I think they went to 12 volts in 1966.

Probably worth buying if you don't spend too much money. Remember that old British bikes are well known for oil leaks and there is a reason Joseph Lucas was called "The Prince Of Darkness".
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:09 PM
Wimpy525 Wimpy525 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Catawissa Pa
Posts: 394
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I am leaning to go original with it. Like you say it will make a nice Sunday cruiser registration and insurance down here is not much 22 bucks a year for registration and cant imagine that insurance will be much, I insure my Gasser and 525 for about 150.00 a year for full coverage.
I don't expect it to be trouble free but something fun to play around with. I found a site that is specific to Triumphs and they all say that this is worth every penny the guy is asking so I am going to pull the trigger.
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