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Discussion Starter #1
No firm plans at this stage, just mulling over the idea of adding a bigger twin to my stable. I’ve not been a great fan of OIF bikes preferring the more ‘traditional’ Triumph look but recently I’ve been thinking that I might be overlooking the real world practicalities of the extra capacity and later refinements, the T140 in particular seems quite good value.

I’m looking at three on eBay, a 1987 Harris with no history, a heavily but sensibly modified 1977 and the below restored 1978 bike.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Triumph-T140V-Bonneville/153719001248?hash=item23ca5dd0a0:g:JggAAOSwoPJdx9TY

The restored bike is just a few miles from me so I’m going to view it and wondered what I should be looking for. I did some research when I bought the Daytona but I know nothing about the T140. I can see from the pics that the right hand switch gear is repro and should the front brake hose really be routed like that?

Any info on foibles or known weaknesses/strong points would be gratefully received.

Thank you.
 

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Hi Chris,

should the front brake hose really be routed like that?
Regrettably, yes, a legacy of Meriden's inability to organise proper design in the early 1970's, followed by NVT's refusal to let the Co-op use the better design for the T160 (the Co-op wasn't freed 'til '78 from its original marketing deal with NVT, then the '79 bikes had all the T160's front-end improvements; the T160 top yoke angles the hose mounting).

Also, as the bike has 'UK' 'bars and it's a "recent restoration", the 'bars might suffer from the recent supplier balls-up posted by @[email protected] Alex - their width is the earlier smaller drum-brake and the restorer has pushed the twistgrip and switch cluster as far along the 'bars as possible?

Hth.

Regards,
 

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This looks like a great bike, I'm sure you would enjoy it, especially the punch right off idle, not quite up to Norton Commando but very satisfying. I am happy to retain the standard cigar mufflers on my '73 T140 - I think they give a lower pitch growl and rumble, especially nice on take-off and on overrun. Go for it if its in your price range... By the way we would pay about AUD10 to 12k for that bike in Australia, about 5 to 6k Pounds...
 

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Hi Rusty

It is not a Harris 1987, its a Meriden 1978.
The restoration appears to be well done.
The disc brakes, front and rear will provide good stopping power.
The carbs have the tickler extensions fitted, which is handy.
The routing of the top front brake plumbing looks normal for that year.
I would suggest starting and riding it for a few miles, before parting with your cash.

Here is a pic of my '74 T120V:
 

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Bearing in mind that your 500 is right gear change, i would be inclined to find a right change T120r to avoid that day you hit the brake when wanting to change gear. I do have left and right change bikes but totally different bikes so always aware i am on the old British twins. I find that OIF bikes are a much more comfortable ride than the older type frame. I will always prefer my 750 bored T120 to a T140 as it suits me well with a 4 speed box. Consider the 650 twin and if you want more low down pull, add the 750 kit and raise the engine sprocket to a 19.
 

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Looks to be a good value bike. I think they look best with US tank and UK bars but isn't that a UK seat?

I came upon the bar width issue when converting mine. Simply clamp the throttle/switchgear about 3/4" away from rye bar end and centralise them in the clamps.

Ian
 

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Hi Rusty, I've never ridden a 500. I've ridden several dry frame 650 & several T140.

The difference in dry frame & T140 is very surprising. T140 rides really well in many respects. If you do slower winding roads the 5 speed is a very substantial improvement. Disc brakes actually stop & if they pulsate, you simply skim or replace discs, just like on a car. Simple! This year has the last version reinforced transmission gears & the stronger gear lever springs. They exhaust is modified at the head attachment, which is probably good thing.

I ride Hondas & Modern Triumphs on occasion. The difference between dry frame & T140 is so great, I expect you brain would compensate perfectly.

I worked at Harley Davidson. We had both left & right foot shift. I got my first Triumph there, a trade in. I still had Hondas & Yamahas. It's crazy how your brain can compensate. It just does. Awhile back I rode early BSA up for first gear transmission. Took about 15 min to get the feel for it. Key is practice, practice, practice. Then what ever bike you ride you brain will know.

The large UK tank is wonderful in my mind. Holds way more fuel & it sets lower on frame, or should I say closer to motor. This bike had a cult following in USA when Triumph brought some over.

If you could road test, or have seller take you for a test ride 2 up for at least 20 miles, then you'd know how good it really is. It would cost you a bundle to buy a fixer upper & bring to this condition visually.

Every single person I know that has dry frame & T140 bikes state the T140 is the better riding bike overall. John & I switch bikes often. He has '69 T120 in perfect condition. Looks really good, but my bike rides better especially at higher speeds. More stable feeling. Brakes are way better on my bike. I don't think you'd go far wrong on this bike if it runs good.
Don
 

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Hi Chris,

My early OiF with a 73 Tiger 750 engine is a great bike. Yes, the seat's a bit high but you won't have that problem with that bike. Compared to the T100R, it's totally different. Relaxed, torquey, stable, and the 5 spd box is a delight, it makes it so much easier to ride. It still gets down the road, it just doesn't feel like it compared to the Daytona. Go on, you know it makes sense!

(But I'd buy one that needs restoration and have the fun of finding out what it's made of. It won't be any cheaper in the end, but at least you'l know what you've bought.)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I went to view the T140 today.

First the good stuff, I’ve never heard a Triumph engine sound as quiet as this. From cold there was barely a rustle from the valve gear and timing pinions, things might’ve got louder as the engine oil got up to temperature but even so it was really impressive. The barrels were new, the cylinder head had new guides & valves and the crank was on standard size big end journals with new shells. A Charlie’s oil filter was fitted and the exhausts were positively located in the head with an aftermarket conversion. The overall finish of the bike was very good, everything except one blown indicator bulb indicator worked properly.

Not so good stuff, all four fake Lucas indicators could be easily twiddled to wherever you wanted them to point. The oil level didn’t register on the dipstick at all when I checked, we added oil, the bike started easily and sounded healthy but did migrate across the seller’s drive at fairly moderate revs. Minor niggles were lots of pre-insulated connectors crimped into the loom and a loose tank vibrating like a drum.

So the bike was a mixture of really good things in potentially expensive areas let down by what should be simple fixes in other areas. The owner had clearly not ridden the bike for some time, either that or he hadn’t checked the oil level. My gut feeling was one of disappointment, it does look great in the pics and has had loads of money spent on it but having seen it in the flesh it just didn’t grab my wallet in the same way as my Daytona did…..and is still doing.

Reserve is £5.6k, it might get there but that’s more than I’d be willing to pay.
 

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Hi Rusty, Hmmm.... I see this all the here. Restored, but not really a proper job for a real rider. That is super common.

Too bad it didn't live up to expectations.

Actually many 100 point restorations aren't really road worthy for a 200 mile ride. See this all the time on club rides as the old guys want to ride the trailer queens before they can't ride anymore.

T140 vibrating across driveway on center stand is perfectly normal & expected if you rev motor at all. 4000 rpm will be a fast walking pace or more.

Until Wassle or someone reintroduced "genuine" Lucas a while back, non marked patter was all you could get. Genuine NOS is very hard to come by. Funny on Ebay these days, old pattern parts are setting on shelves are being sold as NOS, when they are really New Old Pattern.

No matter. Sounds like this can be corrected a no/low cost. Wiring connectors are a crap shoot. If they are properly installed quality non Triumph type, does it really matter?

The vibrating tank might be sort of normal or not. Depending on fuel level they have a point where they can shake pretty good at a certain rpm. I could be the mounting rubbers are not just right or the center bolt/rubber are not adjusted correctly. A low or no cost repair depending on what you find. In any case if you grab tank & wiggle it, they should move on the mounts way more than dry frame.

No oil on stick is who knows. Generally a good oil pump will allow a few months or much longer without dropping oil more than a few inches. If oil was not low when parked & is topped, it will overflow when removing cap next time after oil in motor is pumped back into frame. So that's something that may or may not be normal.

If you could put 20 miles on bike you'll know if it's worth it or not. Just around the block doesn't tell you a whole lot.

Here in San Francisco area, just to paint the gas tank, no fenders is $1000.

What I see in the club & real life sales around my area is the really nice bikes like mine or John's. Very clean & good looking. Good brakes, tires. Paint has some patina but looks very good. Mechanically the bikes are basically perfect. They will do 1000 mile trip with fuel stops & chain lube. Ridden many miles out of cell service. These are the bikes that are snapped up for big $$ by club members or the public. They know what they want & are willing to pay. 100 point bikes that are perfectly road worthy are absolute gold. Many in club, but few hit public sale. Often privately sold to friends.

Seems collecting show bikes/trailer queens is far past it's prime here. Seems most buyers actually want to ride it. Doesn't need to be correct restore, but very reliable. The average worn, piece of crap Triumph doesn't sell well anymore. Not too many want to fix them up. Prices have really fallen for those. Yet it often cost more to fix it up than it's worth fixed up.

You would think seller would have bike serviced & ready to ride if he wanted top dollar.

My feeling is if you can do a real road test & bike proves good you could maybe strike a deal. I don't know what bikes are worth there. I wouldn't write the bike off just yet. If not sold Ebay, give him a call. With more check out you may get a really good bike that just needs sorting.

EDIT. No matter I see bike is sold. Hope it works out for new owner.
Don
 
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