Vintage 1971 Triumph Tiger TR6R 650 Twin
“You’ll be tops when you take to the road with a Tiger!’
Mild “cafe” conversion from the more traditional styling shown in the photo below when the motorcycle was acquired in Michigan, believed to have come from the UK via Canada
11,291 original Kilometers
(7016 Original Miles per Odometer, Title indicates 7280)
Unique & Rare Offering
The 1971 TR6 Series produced 7527 Triumph 650 Tigers,
mostly for the American market, though this unusual bike
is thought to have been fitted for the Canadian or European
market, based on KPH speedometer
Cafe conversion includes new Dunlop tires mounted on Akront Lightweight Aluminum rims, manufactured in Spain,
better performing Front Disc to replace old Drum Brake
Chrome front and rear fenders to replace the original black fenders (available), Clubman handlebars to replace upright bars, new handlebar bar-end mirrors, Headlamp Stone Guard, cafe’ type seat.
About the Bike
Not every Triumph 650 twin is a Bonneville. The single-carb 650 of the early 1970s adopted another of the marque’s famous names for just a couple of years…
‘You’ll be tops when you take to the road with a Tiger!’ said Triumph’s marketing men back in 1971, keeping an admirably straight face. Triumph resurrected the Tiger title for this roadster-style single-carb 650 twin which, like its twin-carb Bonneville brother, slotted into the firm’s new oil-in-frame chassis.
Carbs apart, the Tiger was almost identical to the Bonneville and claimed to have ‘performance to spare, with tractability, economy and smooth running. Beautifully finished in striking colours, it is designed for hard work and relaxed riding. The best of both worlds… it’s the bike which shows Triumph power can be as flexible as a foil. The secret is the big twin OHV engine delivering 47bhp with its single carb, providing maximum flexibility with greater torque at lower rpm.’
1971 Triumph Tiger TR6R Brochure
Indeed, they weren’t telling too many big fat fibs. The Tiger proved to be only slightly slower at the top end than the Bonneville and its single Amal carb needed less fettling, but it still boasted gutsy grunt at low revs and better fuel economy. The Tiger delivered its maximum output at 6500rpm while the Bonneville revved 500rpm higher to provide maybe three or four more horsepower. The TR6R cost £488 new in 1971 while the T120R cost £525.
Both bikes featured the engine specification which had stood Triumph in good stead for several decades; aircooled twin cylinders of 71mm bore by 82mm stroke to give a capacity of 649cc; pushrod operated overhead valves with gear-driven cams; light alloy head, plain big end bearings and ball/roller main bearings; running at 9:1 compression (or 8.5:1 in the USA). In 1971 the Tiger used a four-speed gearbox; the five-speed version was introduced the following year.
The Tiger featured down-swept exhausts with balance pipe; its stablemate the TR6C kept the Trophy nametag with its competition associations and had high-rise exhaust pipes stacked on one side. All the 650 twins of this era came with 12 volt, twin coil electrics and indicators which would only work when the moon was waxing, the wind was blowing north by northwest, and the correct incantation had been intoned by the infuriated rider. Usually something involving ‘four’, ‘forks’ and ‘ache’.
The oil-bearing frame with duplex downtubes was all-new and largely unwelcome at the time, and gave the press something to complain about for ages. The hinged seat was initially 34 inches tall (later reduced to 32 inches) and, it has to be said, quite wide, which came as a shock to many riders who were used to British twins being lithe and low. If you jump onto a TR6R from a Laverda Jota or a Suzi GS850 then it’ll feel fairly petite, but if you’re used to a rigid single from the 1930s then you might want to wear your longer legs that day…
Centerpiece of the 650s was the new oil-bearing frame. It featured a husky, 4 inch tubular backbone which doubled as a main oil reservoir. The strong, new frame was 100 percent welded and used cast iron lugs, which helped reduce weight. The internal oil supply also eliminated cracked oil tank mounts, a long standing service complaint. The frame’s main failure was its height which put the top of the seat a towering 34.5 inches off the ground – 3 in taller than the 1970s! Thus the nomenclature of “high frame” 650 surfaced.
The Tiger’s bounce came courtesy of swinging arm rear suspension with dual Girling shocks, hydraulically damped and adjustable for load. At the front end the two-way hydraulic damping was provided by a new set of slimline forks with polished ally sliders. When first launched the Tiger didn’t wear gaiters although they were reintroduced a year later, and you’ll notice that this bike sensibly sports a set. The chrome of this period was not prone to staying attached to the motorcycle for many British winters and the stanchions wore rapidly, while the exposed fork legs allowed dirt to shred the seals.
Back in the day, the TR6R’s slab-sided styling wasn’t to everyone’s tastes and UK-trim 650 Triumph of this era tend to be more affordable than their American-spec counterparts or the pre-OIF models. Hence the Tiger has become recognised as an affordable classic; one with minimal, known and easily resolved mechanical problems, ample real world performance to keep up with modern traffic, decent brakes (when correctly adjusted), and easy starting if fitted with electronic ignition. And a little oily incontinence, just so it feels like a proper British bike.
Everything was all-new on the ’71 TR6 and Bonneville, except the engine. The new oil-bearing frame was all-welded, which yielded a much lighter frame than the pre-’71 brazed-lug frames.
1971 TRIUMPH TR6 BY THE NUMBERS
All TR6’s were known as “Triumph Tiger”. There were 4 basic models: TR6R (Roadster & now the standard version), TR6C (with high pipes), TR6P (Police), & TR6RV (a Roadster with an optional 5-speed transmission). Engine & Frame Numbers ran from PE003157 to HE029817, built from November 11, 1970 to August 7, 1971.
The 1971 Triumph TR6 & it’s sister bike, the 1971 T120 Bonneville were complete revamped from stem to stern, with a complete redesign that included a new oil-bearing frame, new forks, new wheels with conical hubs, new cycle gear & bodywork & a whole new look. The engines were about the only components that didn’t get substantial change (other than the option of a 5-speed gearbox for the first time).
NEW OIL-BEARING FRAME
The new Umberslade Hall oil-bearing frame for the 1971 Triumph TR6 & the 1971 Triumph Bonneville was actually a pretty good frame. For the first time in Triumph Motorcycle history, it was an all-welded, one-piece frame. The new twin-downtube frame had a large 2-1/2″ diameter backbone & seat post that ran from the steering head to the bottom of the frame & it was filled with oil. It was all supposed to be filled with oil, about 6 pints, more capacity than the old oil tank it replaced. However, the “brain trust” at Umberslade Hall decided, at the last minute, to place the oil filler under the nose of the seat, instead of just aft of the steering head. One possible reason was said to be ‘oil frothing’. Either way, it cut oil capacity to just 4 pints, now 1 pint short of the old oil tank. It had a much stronger swingarm pivot, with a new forked swingarm. The steering head now had tapered roller bearings.
SUSPENSION & CYCLE GEAR
Rear suspension units (shock absorbers) were 12.9″ Girlings with exposed chromed 110lb springs. The forks were all new & very modern & attractive. It had hard-chromed stanchions & alloy sliders with 4 studs at the bottom of each one, retaining each end of the axle. Gone were the gaiters, now it had neat little rubber sliders. Looked great, but the exposed fork legs allowed dirt in & wore the seals prematurely. The sliders had no bushings, so the rode directly on the stanchions & this too wore prematurely, a condition that could only be cured with all new sliders.
Front hub on sale bike replaced with Disc
1971 Triumph TR6 SPECIFICATIONS
Bore & Stroke
Air-cooled OHV vertical twin
649cc / 40.0 ci
71mm X 82mm / 2.79″ X 3.23″
1- Amal Concentric R930/60, 30mm
12V battery & coil, Lucas
47 bhp @ 6700 rpm
3/8″ triplex chain X 84 links
Engine 29T X Clutch 58T
4-speed constant-mesh, right-foot shift
5-speed constant-mesh, right-foot shift
5/8″ X .400″ X 3/8″ chain X 106 links
Gearbox 19T X Rear 46T
All-welded, large backbone, oil-bearing
Telescopic fork, 2-way hydraulic damping
Swing arm, 2 Girling dampers
8″ TLS drum in conical hub
7″ SLS drum in conical hub
3.25″ X 19″ Dunlop
4.00″ X 18″ Dunlop
3 Imp gal (US) / 4 Imp gal (UK & export)
56″ / 142 cm
34.5″ / 87.3 cm
7″ / 18 cm
383 lbs / 173.9 kg
Dunlop front tire D404 100/90-19
Dunlop rear K591 110/90-18
Both with hundreds of miles on them
The Akront aluminum rims are from Spain, strong yet light weight , reduces rolling weight and makes the motorcycle more nimble.
The company Morad have been producing motorcycle rims in Spain for over 10 years. As part of their expansion they acquired all the tooling for the rim profiles previously made by Akront. A forward thinking company who have invested heavily in some of the most modern rim manufacturing equipment available, therefore offering both reliability of supply and consistency of quality.