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Classic Motorcycle Review - Posted 10th August 2009
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Buying Early Hinckley Triumphs

The late Geof Staples clocked up over 40,000 miles on his early Triumph Daytona, and offered a quick buying guide for anyone looking for an awful lot of motorcycle for not too much money...

John Bloor's Hinckley Triumph factory started producing bikes in 1991. The first bikes to come out were Trophy fours, the 1200. Quite rare now, but an incredibly solid and unburstable motor. They were followed by the Trident and the 1000cc Daytona, then the 750 Daytona. The only problems I know about are as listed below, except the early Trophies have a single headlight, which is not particularly good.

Hinckley Triumph Daytona 750 Triple Triumph Daytona 750 Triple

The disadvantage of the bigger motor is that it makes for a pretty heavy bike at 240kg dry (528lbs). The 900 version comes in at 222kg (488lbs) which is quite a bit lighter. The advantage of the 1200 is a stonking engine with oodles of power which is creamy smooth. Superb two-up, with a comfy passenger position, although taller passengers complain of somewhat cramped footpeg positions, at least on the Daytona models.

Daytonas are lighter, 235kg (517lbs) for the now rare 1000 model, and 218kg (479lbs) for the even rarer 750 model. Only 200 of these underrated gems were built. Tridents, with simpler suspension and no fairing are a few pounds lighter still.

Hinckley Triumph Trident 900 Triple Triumph Trident 900 Triple

The engines are unbreakable, except by complete idiots… you know, the kind who don't put any oil in. I have an original 750 Daytona, which I bought new in 1991 and I still love it. The finish on the early bikes is quite durable, mine lives outside in a salt laden atmosphere, under a cover. It's showing its age, but is still pretty OK, considering.

All parts seem to be well made and finished on the early models. These bikes were really over-engineered to make sure they gained a good reputation. Ironically, the starter sprag clutch which can give problems is apparently a Bosch item…

Hinckley Triumph Daytona 1000 Four Triumph Daytona 1000 Four

The riding position is a bit extreme on the pre-93 (or maybe 94) Daytona models, but can be changed. Later bikes had higher bars and lower footrests. I have managed to raise the bars on mine recently, and bought the parts to lower the footrests from various eBay sellers for about £25-30. (I was lucky…)

For an all day, every day bike, look for a Trident Sprint, which has a half fairing and twin headlights. This model came in about '93 I think. You can pick up almost any model made from 1991 to as late as 1996/97 for either less than £1k or not much more.

If you are short of inside leg, avoid the Tiger. No normal human beings (except some TT visiting Germans) are that tall. It is also top heavy, especially if fitted with a full set of luggage. They do handle and stop well however. You really do need to be tall for this bike, many owners have come to grief when trying to manoeuvre at low speed. My mate sold his because of it. Later models are an improvement, but you have been warned!

Hinckley Triumph Trophy 900 Triple Triumph Trophy 900 Triple

The Trophy tourer is probably the best for most wants, or a Trident. Sprint Manufacturing can provide a very nice after market fairing to fit the Trident. The triples, in my opinion, are nicer than the fours: the 900 puts out around 100hp and has an excellent motor. The 750 is rather revvy, but quite quick enough. Mileage is not normally a concern. Many early bikes have passed the 100k mark easily. If they have been properly looked after and serviced, expect them to go on forever. Mine is running as strongly at 41k as it was when new.

Problems that are known are:

Starter Sprag Clutch

There can't be many unmodified ones left out there now. On very early models, it can all be changed without an engine strip, unfortunately, what might be called the 'Mk 2' bikes, the 900 Daytonas etc, require a full engine strip and rebuild… Very expensive in labour costs.

Alternator Rattle

The drive spider can come loose and rattle. It will charge OK, but will rattle at low revs. The only full cure is usually a replacement alternator, as the splines will wear and make it almost impossible to keep the spider on tightly, but any competent home engineer can probably find a way. I made up a little fitting out of a tap washer! It worked, but only for about 10k miles. Don't listen to the 'experts' who say that it takes two hours plus to change the alternator either. I can remove and replace one in 10 minutes. I purchased a good one off eBay for a tenner.

Fork Seals

Do not expect fork seals to last long either, they are cheap, but special tools are needed to change them and it is a three/four hour job to do a set, at least on the Daytonas, which have different forks to the touring models.

Other than that, these bikes are practically bulletproof. There have been problems reported with carburettors getting gummed up, which can produce some peculiar symptoms, I think mine might be starting to suffer from this. A complete carb strip and ultrasonic clean is supposed to be the cure. Problems with the ignition pick-up coil have also been reported. New ones can be obtained for about £40.

Not every bike will suffer from all or any of these problems. It is generally accepted that these bikes are well built and extremely reliable.

Rubbish photo of a Hinckley Triumph Trident 900 Triple Triumph Trident 900 Triple
Tridents on Now...

Chain wear is good, about 20k miles or more is possible on a chain and sprockets. Replacements are not cheap and they are a one piece chain, and replacement is not easy either. (Some bikes require the entire swinging arm assembly to be removed, as well as the engine oil drained.)

Fuel economy is reasonable, over 50 mpg is attainable, but 40-45mpg is more likely. Tyre wear depends on the right wrist to a large degree. Early Daytonas have a front end bias which wears front tyres faster than rears if ridden hard. Even a nutter like me, on rough bumpy Manx roads can get about 4.5-5k out of a rear though.

Hinckley Triumph Trophy 1200 Four Triumph Trophy 1200 Four

I would look for a 'Mk2' Trophy, with twin headlights, or a Trident Sprint. It may be possible to get an early Sprint ST or RS, which are full and half faired respectively, for about £2k as well, they are all good bikes. Handling and brakes are especially good. Early ones can feel a bit top heavy but I would happily buy another one, I've even considered doing just that, probably a Trophy or a Sprint, although I wouldn't rule out a Tiger, as they can be lowered a bit, which makes low speed maneuvering easier and less fraught. You still need at least a 32" inside leg and a ladder just to get on one though and a parachute to get off.

Early models have grease nipples on all of the suspension linkages, I'm not sure about later ones, so chassis bearing wear shouldn't be an issue, but is well worth checking. Mine is still running the original rear shock and all wheel and chassis bearings, they're all OK at nearly 42,000 miles.

In short, these bikes are now a bargain buy. Many perfectly good bikes are being broken, as for some strange reason no-one seems to want them, probably the breakers can get more for the parts than for the whole… It almost makes me cry, as there are some real bargains out there waiting for buyers who don't have to have the latest pocket rocket whizz-bang.

Find a good one, should be plenty about, and you won't regret it.


Early Hinckley Triumph Range

4 cylinders; 1200 Trophy and Daytona, Daytona 1000. Fast but heavy.

3 cylinders; 750 Daytona, 750 Trident, and Trident Sprint, 900 Daytona and Trophy.

Daytonas are sports models with low bars and rearset footrests and full fairings, fitted with fully adjustable suspension, front and rear. In the words of Captain Beefheart: 'fast and bulbous', tight also.

Trophies are the tourers, fully faired, high bars and low footrests. Comfy and capable. More basic suspension and brakes.

Tridents are the unfaired general purpose bike. Same more basic suspension and brakes as the Trophies.

Speed Triple. Early ones are now very rare, basically an unfaired version of the Daytona. Fast and draughty! Awesome engine note if fitted with a 3-1 pipe…

Trident Sprints are half faired, with uprated suspension, available as a 900, although a small number of 750s were also built. An excellent compromise between the Trophy and a sportier bike. Nice if you can find one.

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