As motorcycle companies go, Triumph was good at watching for durability problems and making running changes. They also improved riding positions, some tailored for the American market, and added more braking as engine performance increased. You can bet Triumph execs were always looking over their shoulder at BSA and Norton. In 1966 even the recently arrived Honda CB450 was solid competition.

1966 marked some significant changes for most Triumphs, including this single carb 650. The “eyebrow badge” for the fuel tank, 12 volt electrics, three degrees less rake to quicken steering, speedometer drive went to the rear wheel from the transmission case, there were new fuel tank designs in three and four gallon capacities, a new lighter flywheel, 40% more front brake swept area and the kick start lever, lengthened, made for easier starting. But the wonderful smooth running single carb 650, in all its many versions was still very appealing, and a bit less finicky than the twin carb Bonneville.

Most enthusiasts look back on the Triumph twin designs of the 1960’s as some of the finest ever in motorcycling, and Edward Turner should get the credit. Tank form was graceful, painted and striped fenders, well polished engines, slightly up-turned mufflers made for a striking image and profile that even the new machines have a tough time improving upon. Smaller fuel tanks for America helped proportions, though “longhorn” bars affected the long low look of domestic and Continental versions. Mandates for more electronics, more exhaust muffling, turn signals and other equipment makes the best efforts of modern Triumph designers to mimic the originals fall a bit short. But there is no doubt that new machines perform better and are much more durable.

When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum you can take in a great array of British machines from the ’teens to the 70’s including Douglas, Brough, BSA, Norton, Velocette, Vincent and more. This fine TR6R, Serial Number DU41058 was graciously donated by Elizabeth Spannraft.


    • Engine: Four-Stroke Parallel Twin
    • Type: Overhead Valves, Two Valves per Cylinder
    • Bore & Stroke: 71mm x 82mm
    • Displacement: 649cc’s, 40 Cubic Inches
    • Compression Ratio: 8.5 : 1
    • Ignition: Battery, Points, Coil
    • Carburetor: Amal Monobloc 376 – 1 1/8″
    • Starting: Kick Only
    • Horsepower: 42HP
    • Primary: Chain Driven
    • Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
    • Final Drive: Chain
    • Transmission: 4-Speed, Right Shift
    • Frame: Duplex, Steel, Brazed Lugs
    • Suspension: Hydraulic Fork / Swingarm, Girling Shocks
    • Brakes: 8″ SLS Drum Front / 7″ SLS Drum Rear
    • Wheelbase: 54.5 Inches
    • Wheels / Tires: 3.25 x 19 / 4.00 x 18
    • Weight: 363 Pounds
    • Top Speed: 105 MPH
14 replies
  1. Elizabeth Spannraft
    Elizabeth Spannraft says:

    Thankyou, nice to see the ’66 looking so clean, as Dan liked. Donated in memory of my son David and my husband Dan. Thankyou for Randy Baxter for transporting it so carefully. Love the slide show, Liz

  2. Chuck Nichols
    Chuck Nichols says:

    This donation is spectacular. Your Guys would be overjoyed by this bike headed to the museum . It’s in the place it truly belongs. Thanks for sharing this ‘66 with everyone! The slide show does it justice.


  3. Doug Walton
    Doug Walton says:

    This was my first motorcycle, When I bought it, I asked the sales person, What’s the difference between the Honda and the Triumph? He said the Triumph rides like a motorcycle, the Honda rides like a car.

  4. Donald N Storing
    Donald N Storing says:

    This has to be the nicest example of the old Triumphs I drooled over, as a 16 year old kid at the time. I had to settle for a Ducati 125 Bronco. It would be another ten years before I was able to afford an H1 Kawasaki.

    • Dean Kleinhans
      Dean Kleinhans says:

      I also rode a Ducati Bronco as my first bike. But my older brother had one of these Triumphs and it was the one that settled me into a long life of motorcycling. I remember riding in the countryside with it’s pleasant thumping of the engine making one feel life can’t get any better. Their easy going style makes me feel they are the “golden retriever” of motorcycles. Just begging for attention and giving so much love in return.

  5. Fred Garnish
    Fred Garnish says:

    This was my second bike at 16 years old (I had been working since 11 and saved). It was stripped down to dirt track so I rode it in the wood of the NE before registering it. Ah yes, Lucas electric “Prince of Darkness” but a great ride overall.

  6. Ernie Morton
    Ernie Morton says:

    I just bought this bike in a Mecum auction. It is a dream come true to own it. It runs like it is brand new. I will not put it on the road, I will only ride it on a short private street in NC. If anyone knows how to turn the lights on, let me know. Ernie Morton.

    • Steve Hamill
      Steve Hamill says:

      Hi Ernie,
      I was at the auction to bid on the Triumph. I stopped bidding when it got to $15,000.
      It is worth every penny of the $22,000 you bought it for. I bought a 1970 Trophy 650 for $6,000 when I got home to Wisconsin. Yours is excellent condition, mine is Fair but all I can afford…but I’m back on the first motorcycle I owned in 1969 at the age of 76 !!

  7. Andre Laberge
    Andre Laberge says:

    Hello, I acquired last year this exact totally restored bike! What a bike. It is beautiful and more power than I anticipated.


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