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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
Just saw this in my local Craigs list (space coast / Florida).
The Bike is listed as a Very Rare '71 Bonneville T120RV.

I was wondering if any of the triumph experts here believe the add.

I have no connection with this bike at all, just saw it & thought you guys might find it interesting, if it really is as rare as claimed.

Here's some of the add copy, I can post it all if ya'll want:

Very rare,one of 200 special Triumphs built in 1971 to qualify for 1972 AMA racing.
"This Triumph is A rare T120RV, a 5 speed Bonneville from 1971 with matching engine and frame numbers. The T120RV was released in the US in 1972, to permit Triumph to use them in American Motorcycle Association production-based racing. But a few were imported in late model year 1971. In order to race, all bikes had to be made and sold to the public in the same basic form as they would be raced. To meet this requirement Triumph had to produce and sell 200 of them before they qualified."

Rick.
 

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I don't buy it. I believe someone has twisted the history of the T120RT to apply here, which it don't. In '71 you could get a 4 or 5 speed.The T120V (5 speed) is only rare because all the very early 5 speed transmissions blew up. Been there.

Bob
 

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Not an expert, but I don't believe the ad. The AMA did change the rules sometime around then, requiring a certain number of bikes to be built of the model that was raced. That's why BSA built the A70, a 750cc twin. There was no 650 class and Triumph would not have built a 650cc bike to race in a 750cc class. The V indicates it's a 5 speed. There were a lot of them made, and a 5 speed would be no advantage in the flat track classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The guy decodes the numbers as follows:
The Engine/Frame number, T120RV GE25457 is coded as follows: The 'T120R denotes this is a 650cc Bonneville, 'R' for a road bike, the 'V' five speed. The first 'G' in the engine and frame number represents June and the 'E' is for 1971 production. As you can see it has the original and correct Triumph logo printed behind the engine serial number, for 1969 and later models.

If you want to check ou the add, here is the link
http://spacecoast.craigslist.org/mcy/3142852667.html

I don't know anything about these bikes, but I thought the forks looked very unlike a race bike. Guess they could have been modified over the years though.
 

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Not an expert, but I don't believe the ad. The AMA did change the rules sometime around then, requiring a certain number of bikes to be built of the model that was raced. That's why BSA built the A70, a 750cc twin. There was no 650 class and Triumph would not have built a 650cc bike to race in a 750cc class. The V indicates it's a 5 speed. There were a lot of them made, and a 5 speed would be no advantage in the flat track classes.
i think the ad i saw said 750. But a very similar story regarding the AMA.
 

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Not an expert, but I don't believe the ad. The AMA did change the rules sometime around then, requiring a certain number of bikes to be built of the model that was raced. That's why BSA built the A70, a 750cc twin. There was no 650 class and Triumph would not have built a 650cc bike to race in a 750cc class. The V indicates it's a 5 speed. There were a lot of them made, and a 5 speed would be no advantage in the flat track classes.
The T120RT I mentioned in my previous post was the 650cc to 750cc conversion that was homologated for AMA competition. Manufacturers were required to build 200. The A70 you referenced was the BSA equivalent. On the Triumphs, the bikes were converted using regular production bikes using Routt cylinders and the "T" after the T120R was stamped by TriCor. The description in the ad for the '71 T120V is bullshit.

Bob
 

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I have one sitting in my garage, I think it may be "rare" because only a few were made/imported. But rare does not mean valuable. The best thing about mine is that i can sell the trans for what i bought the whole bike for. Contrary to what the add says, I think the 71 5 speeds had different gears than the later 5 speed. I think the final gear ratio was the same but the in between was different from the other 5 speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hcc, god info.
So since you have one, do the numbers decode like the add says, or is it bullshit like Bobscogin said?
 

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I think the 71 5 speeds had different gears than the later 5 speed. I think the final gear ratio was the same but the in between was different from the other 5 speeds.
The cause of the failure in the early 5 speeds was a problem in the heat treating that caused the gear teeth of the layshaft second and third gears and engagement dogs to break off. Triumph had over 1,000 T120V's with defective gears in the two US warehouses that had to be changed before the bikes could be sold. No wonder they were going down the shitter.

Bob
 

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Hcc, god info.
So since you have one, do the numbers decode like the add says, or is it bullshit like Bobscogin said?
ya, Mine is T120RV GE*****

Almost sold it for nothing, until I was fiddling with it and found out it was a five speed.
The other odd thing about it is, it is the only Triumph I have seen with the VIN stamped on the neck, and on the right (timing) side. So it now might get a new frame and become the shop bike! BTW for the purist out there, this thing is so far gone right now, I think the scrapyard would turn it down.
 

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BTW for the purist out there, this thing is so far gone right now, I think the scrapyard would turn it down.
No need to worry about insulting the purist. The '71 is one of the least desirable of all Triumphs, and absolutely the most undesirable "oil in frame" model. Chop away.

Bob
 

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No need to worry about insulting the purist. The '71 is one of the least desirable of all Triumphs, and absolutely the most undesirable "oil in frame" model. Chop away.

Bob
Tell me about it. Like I said, the gear cluster is worth more than everything else put together.
 

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I like my '71 TR6R. I have owned late '60's 650's and Pre-Units and I like my '71 just as much. Rides good !
 

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The bike was not a homologation special to get the 5 speed gearboxes legal. It is an early 5 speed but not for racing purposes. Not really any more valuable than a 1971 T120V.

For 1970 the 5 speed boxes had to be available from the parts department in the USA for use in AMA racing not on production bikes. There was a huge issue at Daytona for 1970 because the triples were fitted with 5 speed boxes. Doug Hele of Triumph refused to switch the bikes back to 4 speeds and Honda threatened to protest their use because they were not available in the US yet. The 5 speed boxes had to be in stock at the US Triumph distributor by the start of the race. There were all kinds of internal Triumph/BSA politics going on and time ran out to switch the gearboxes. Hele was threatened to be fired if the triples were disqualified. The next morning/race day the word came from Tricor that 50 5 speed boxes were officially in stock for distribution to dealers. From Daytona 1970 on Triumph could use 5 speed gearboxes in their triples and twins. Dick Mann won on the Honda CR750 with magnesium cases, a lightweight frame, and forks that were not available from any Honda dealer at the time. Gearboxes were similar to frames in that they had to be available for purchase from dealers not on production bikes.

Rare 1971 T120RV: busted

Scott
 

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BTW GE is correct for June 1971 but since 1971 production ended in July it is a late production 1971 bike. 1972 production started in August 1971 with the T120RV as an official model. There is no mystery or rarity for the 5 speed in late production 1971.

Scott
 

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Hcc, god info.
So since you have one, do the numbers decode like the add says, or is it bullshit like Bobscogin said?
He's got the numbers decoded correctly, it's just the rare part and the race part that are bullshit.
 
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