Reputation ill-deserved

Words: Phil Turner Photographs: Gary Chapman

Triumph’s TR25W was saddled with a less than favourable reputation in its day, and one that has stuck with it. But this fine example puts up a strong argument for the defence.

The TR felt strong and like a machine twice its capacity, reckoned Phil Turner.

‘A breed apart’ read the headline in Triumph America’s advert for the Trophy 250. The image accompanying it showed the machine parked in front of a stable block, a thoroughbred stallion being led out by stable hands in the background.

The copy beneath it was equally bold: ‘The little Triumph with big bike performance. All of the competition-bred features that are a Triumph tradition in a trim, lightweight package… Everything you’ve come to expect from the world’s leading manufacturer of high-powered, cat quick, reliable motorcycles has been bred into the Trophy 250.’

It was the bike, and the image, Triumph desperately needed in late 1960s and early 70s America. Although sales of their larger machines were still relatively strong, they were losing serious ground in the lower capacities; Hondas in particular were growing in popularity amongst the savvy stateside buyers. The Trophy needed to be something special.

The problem was the actual bike didn’t exactly align with the marketing version. Far from being ‘A breed apart’ the TR25W was essentially a rebadged BSA B25 Starfire, dressed in an off-road suit.

It definitely looked the part: high bars and exhaust, engine bash-plate, on/off-road tyres and boxy three-gallon petrol tank gave it a modern, tough and rugged look; perfect for roaming the plains or riding forest trails (the ‘W’ in the model code stood for Woodsman).

Read more in March’s issue of TCM – out now!

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