1961 Triumph 500cc 5TA “Bathtub” Speed Twin

1961 Triumph 500cc 5TA “Bathtub” Speed Twin

Triumph made a big leap forward with its engine design when it incorporated the gearbox in to the engine cases, but many think it was introduced in the early 1960s with the Bonneville and TR6. But the unitary design came to fruition in the late 1950s with the 3TA or Twenty-One, which refers to the 350cc capacity in cubic inches for the American market. It was followed in 1958 with the 500cc 5TA Speed Twin, a very similar machine in appearance with little to distinguish the differences beyond a larger bore, raised gearing and larger-section rear tire. The controversial ‘bathtub’ rear enclosure introduced on the Twenty-One to protect the gentleman rider was retained and the Speed Twin came finished in the model’s traditional Amaranth Red. A rare sight in the U.S., production ceased in 1966.

The motorbike offered

This 1961 Triumph 5TA is offered in lovely original condition, a matching-numbers bike steeped in warm patina to the paint finish, brightwork and fasteners. It was imported from England in 2015 and over the next year underwent a full engine rebuild with head work by expert Leif Lewis and cylinder work by F/G Engine. No build specs are available but it is very apparent the engine has a “hot” camshaft. Since restoration, the bike has been meticulously maintained by Glory Motorworks until purchase by GMW’s owner, Justin Kell, about a year ago.

Beneath the patina belies a fantastic mechanical condition. The bike starts easily, idles well and rides perfectly. All cycle parts work as they should. A recent service to ready the bike for sale included fresh oil, full safety check, AGM battery, new solid state rectifier unit, full distributor service with new condenser block and new PVL coil.

This now rare 5TA would be a great addition to any collection, as the discerning vintage bike rider knows the smaller frame of the 500 offers brilliant and superior handling in the twisties to the model’s big brother.