1973 Triumph 750 Tiger TR7RV Motorcycle
Although Triumph’s origins date back to 1902, it wasn’t until the ‘30s when, under new ownership and with talented designer Edward Turner on board, the company began building some very successful motorbikes, starting with the Tiger range of singles. Turner’s classic Speed Twin elevated Triumph into the big league in 1937 and by the time it had been developed into the legendary Thunderbird in 1949, the company could boast the most powerful parallel-twin production bike on the market. Popularised by Marlon Brando’s appearance in the 1953 movie The Wild One, the Thunderbird set speed records at Montlhéry, the famous banked circuit near Paris, and bikes powered by the 650cc twin held the world speed record on the dry lakes at Bonneville between 1955 and 1970. A smaller TR5 Trophy 500cc model, based on the Speed Twin and aimed primarily at the trials market, supplemented the Thunderbird from 1949, joined by the 650cc TR6 Trophy in 1956. The Trophy evolved through the years, with unit construction and coil ignition introduced in 1963, 12-volt electrics in 1966 and twin leading shoe brakes in 1968. The frame underwent a major redesign in 1970, with taller twin front down-tubes and improved front forks. In 1973 the TR6 was replaced by the TR7 Tiger, with the motor bored out from 71mm to 75mm and a displacement of 724cc (later in the year a new cylinder casting meant the bore was increased to 76mm for displacement of 744cc); variants included the TR7P (police model) and T7RV (Roadster with five-speed gearbox). The single carburettor TR7 may have struggled against the new breed of Japanese bikes invading Europe in the early 1970s, but it proved a reliable, strong performer and they make great club bikes today.