1966 Triumph T120R 650 cc
Please note this motorcycle is for sale on EBAY - NOT the 69 linked downpage
Triumph 650

   TR6Ray, a gentleman on the Brit Bike forum has a fine write up there. He has a great story about his restoration of his 1964 TR6R Triumph:

TR6Ray's Triumph (link courtesy of TR6Ray on Britbike.com).

It was so thorough that I decided I would try to emulate him with my Triumph. I feel my story is probably long. I will try to supply plenty of pictures and hopefully I'll be more concise as I progress.

As Ray says the sickness started a few years ago, when I had the chance to work in a Triumph shop.

I decided to ride and it was a great time. In 2014 I found an old bike and thought I would like to try to get it on the road. It proved to be a large task. I didn't know how much these old bikes could deteriorate just sitting. I started in on it and soon found out that it was really in bad shape. I thought I should walk away but also had some time on my hands so gave it a go.

When you find yourself in this situation:

Triumph 650

Looking at an old motorcycle. Make sure you know how much work it is going to need. Just guess. Then offer one tenth of the asking price. These old bikes will have gone through a lot of mechanics and owners after 50 years and there will be all kinds of issues as I soon found out! I had to work through some problems as the pictures will show. Please comment if you see mistakes as we would like to know.

Then you look closer:

Triumph 650

Then it's, humm? Something doesn't look right. Actually, the more one looks at this bike the more one sees it doesn't look right. This feeling continued during the entire strip down. This was advertised as a one carburettor bike but I have found out restoring it that it was a T120R. What I found under the paint!!

Triumph 650

It does match the engine. Very nice to talk to Mr. Hutchinson of Hutchinson Motorcycles in MA who put me on the right track about the next picture. He is very knowledgeable about the Triumphs as he has been in business over 40 years. He said Triumph did not stamp their engines with a D shaped like the one on this engine. There were never any extensions to the front edge of the D. In addition he noticed that the T120R was not also stamped on the engine as the factory did. I agree with his assessment. I figure from what I have seen in the engine that somewhere in time the primary probably blew up in the case. This I think can be confirmed by the different case numbers under the engine. However, I will say whoever did the match on this primary case half did an expert job. The crank and cams line up perfectly. I know sometimes in the past Triumph sold dealers cases from the factory unmarked. I would like to think that this was done. I think sometimes dealers stamped the cases. Possibly a machinist working on this engine had his own stamps. Who knows. All I know is that everything was level and did not need any shims or adjustments to the cases. Even the cases at the cylinder opening were even.

Thank you, Mr Don Hutchinson, of Hutchinson Motorcycles for pointing it out to me.

Triumph 650

So...how does one get here:
Oh, yeah!

Lots of work

Oh, yeah!

Try some av gas and see what happens!

Oh, yeah!

Put it in the stable.

Oh, yeah!

Join along during the restoration!!'
Just click on the links below to get started!

The Beginning Painting Cad and Chrome Parts Frame Oil Filter Engine

Head Carbs Rockers Wheels Wiring Work Place Bodges Wrap Up

Link to the 1969 Bonneville Restoration

The Beginning

This category is placed here because of importance. Breakdown pictures for documentation will be very helpful to the builder especially the wiring. It is boring so you may want to see it one time then skip to better categories.


Painting is important to find the right painter. I was fortunate to find the man who painted a lot of museum Triumphs in Tucson, AZ. The transfers took some time but finally was able to hold up to Enron clear.

Cad & Chrome

Good chrome is hard to find. One needs to know someone who is good or get a good referral. Cad plating is done by mostly air rework facilities. Hard to find a good one. I used a helicopter place in Colorado.


It seems parts is where the money is. That is, where your money goes. I spent a lot of time finding the right parts. Most are very hard to find especially nuts and bolts of varied design from long ago. That is they are very hard to find at reasonable prices. When I got into the engine this was way expensive.


The frame and sheet metal came back looking good especially considering the price I paid. There were a few areas that I would have preferred better but all in all it is good for running many miles and seems to hold up well as long as I can keep that anti-seize from Buckanan spokes getting on the rims and paint.

Oil Filter

I installed an oil filter on this bike under the end of the downtube. There was a lug (either casting or side car) on the downtube. I removed half of it to fit the oil filter. So far there are not any problems with the frame. My welder was also the guy who did the powdercoat. Pretty cool guy. Teaches welding at the college and works on the Border Patrol helicopters down here in AZ. He felt it was fine. Glad I did install the filter as the pics will show.


There is a most helpful manual written by Mr Thomas Gunn. He worked for Triumph and wrote OVERHAUL MANUAL FOR 650CC UNIT CONSTRUCTION TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE ENGINES SINCE 1963. Try to find a copy. The engine had many problems. There was a guy CAIC in Maine that took the original cases and matched the machining perfectly as the numbers don't match. This may be a bit of misinformation as I have heard of early 66 motors being assembled with mismatching numbers, Why I have no idea. However, everything came out very well. I will try to break down the engine in catagories. It is now +0.060.


The head was a special situation. I had sent it to Tom Gunn in TX and he referred me to Leo Goff. Now there is an accomplished guy. All the power is in the head and it really is noticable when you have a good one. He installed new valve seats and the geometry on the head is excellent. This was an expense that I think a lot of people should look at. Mr. Leo Goff works at Memphis Machine Werks in TN . He is one of the best.


The new Premier Amal Carbs are a treat. Get them. I live at 6000 ft and have been spending a few months on them. Finally, got them running well. The bike performs so great! I am using av gas. I will next try to mix this with some pump. All I can get is 91. Then I will have to carry extra jet holders set up with 106 needle jets and 3 slides. When I go to the coast I will need to use them. Up here I have it worked out but it took me 6 months. I was working and now that I am retired it shouldn't take so long for the next adjustments. I remember I road a 650 to Zermatt in 1971. I had to park outside of town as there is not traffic there. After 7000 I had to get off and fettle the carbs. It was summer but got cold up there later on.

Rocker Box

The rocker boxes were a special category. You might even call it a bodge and I could have included it with this group. However, I read on the Brit Bike Forum that Mr. John Healy and Mr. Don Hutchinson found out why the old boxes wore prematurely. Mr Healy even suggested to make a connection from the drilled arm to the spindle hole. I thought at first that I may have made the galleys too wide but it seems to stay cool and like it. I have a 69 Bonnie and have switched the spring and flat washers and gotten two spidles with groves per 750. Not many of these around that I can find.


Wheels, well what can I say. I used to do some spoking but nothing like what I learned from Mr Healy's excellent technical articles on the TIOC website. If you want your wheels to hold together listen to him. I would rank him at the top of our resources for anything bike. He has the experience. Thank you, Mr. Healy!


If anyone has missed the dissertation on wiring that TR6Ray has on the Brit Bike Forum then it is time to study it! I followed his diagrams and with his help and encouragement was able to rewire both bikes using the NOS harnesses and Flextech, relays and a fuse buss. What a big relief. He even suggested to use the middle fuse on the buss to split out my power to the headlamp into two branches, one for the high beam and one for the low beam. If one leaves you in the dark one night just flick the high low switch. A big thank you for that.

Work Place

Work conditions: They made it difficult as I have a disc out. Not impressive, but I put some pics up to offer up a way not to do it with the confusion. Use a lift.


Some bodges and some updates to the bike.

Wrap Up

Just a wrap-up to throw in some pics of what I think are good times.

(Best seen with 1440x900 resolution)