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A Pair of Threes: Two First-Gen Speed Triples for Sale

1995 Triumph Speed Triples

A plucky spirit and old-world charm were ultimately no match for the industrial might of the Japanese and Triumph was gone by the early 1980’s. The motorcycle landscape was changing rapidly, and they simply couldn’t keep up with the pace. So when construction magnate John Bloor changed his plans to raze the Triumph factory to build housing tracts and instead decided to resurrect the famed company, he knew something new was needed. In order to give the reborn company the versatility to create new models and respond to market trends, as well as create interesting, niche motorcycles with minimal risk, a new philosophy was needed.

The modular design resulted in a pair of engines mated to a versatile spine-frame that lent itself to a variety of configurations and eventually included supersports, adventure-touring, sport-touring, cruiser, standard, and café-racer styles. That café racer was the very first Speed Triple, and I just happened to find two prime examples this week: a very rare and very nicely prepared track bike and one of the best street examples I’ve seen in a very long time.

1995 Triumph Speed Triple Challenge Replica L Front

While the bikes that resulted from the modular design weren’t as refined as Japanese alternatives, they were successful, setting the stage for the company’s current line-up. Trading on character and heritage instead of outright performance, it’s no surprise that the 1200cc four-cylinder models were less successful, and the entertaining 900cc [actually 885cc] triple came to take center stage, a formula that’s worked so well for them since.

1995 Triumph Speed Triple Challenge Replica R Side

To promote the Speed Triple, the new bike was campaigned in a one-make race series name, originally enough, the “Speed Triple Challenge.”  The first bike is a replica of those track-only bikes, and features many difficult-to-obtain parts.

1995 Triumph Speed Triple Challenge Replica L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Speed Triple Challenge Replica Track Bike for Sale

 I believe it has been said that these are fastest in Black.  It was and orange bike converted to all black just for color choice and not due to damage.  I have had this for a couple of years and have been converting to represent the Speed Triple Challenge series bikes. It has a serious amour of love, attention and $ put towards it. First of was finding all the black panels.  Bike has the Sebring/ factory race header with an Arrow titanium exhaust can, front end was ton through and re springer by Race Tech. Penske, $$$$, remote resivor rear shock. Keihin fcr39 race carbs installed and add a great intake sound. Specially sourced Sprint Steering Damper with proper brackets sourced new from UK.  Front and rear fenders are Carbon Fiber from the factory special Super III. The carbon has been professionally re surfaced and clear coated, will not fade in the sun like all the others. Six piston front calipers are also from a Super III and are an incredible performance option. Custom made carbon numberplate and tank pad. Wheels have been restored and painted in a grey metallic that just set off just right. Bike is set up for the strew with lights and bilkers. I have only used it 300 miles in two track days in the past two years. Tires are Pirelli Super Corsas and are still good – only 300 miles on them.  So, this is not your run of the mill early Speed Triple, it has thousands of dollars of rare and unobtainable rare parts, just try and find them.

1995 Triumph Speed Triple Challenge Replica R Tank

But according to most of what I’ve read about the early Hinkley bikes, trying to build one for the track is really like teaching a pig to rollerskate so, unless you like tilting at proverbial windmills, perhaps it’s best to look at an example that’s for use on the street.

Like this very, very clean and very, very orange example: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale

1995 Triumph Speed Triple R Side

Never restored, never repainted, never crashed first generation Speed Triple. I hunted for 2 years to get this one and secured it from a collector in Tucson AZ. Being dry climate and hardly used, it was cosmetically perfect, but had a bikini fairing and bar risers added. I had Cascade Classics of Portland OR completely go through it to get it back to stock, then started from there to refine it more. I have enjoyed riding her around Oregon backroads, sometimes taking my kids for rides, but now it doesn’t get used. When I have time for riding I use the Ducati or Aprilia sport bikes. My policy is: if I don’t ride it she has to go; hence selling the one bike I said I will never sell!

Features

Beautiful condition original Speed Triple that made the Hinckley bikes famous

Period 1995 Super III exhaust system. Tuned for this exhaust (much time/money here). Runs better than new (dyno charts prove it)

Invested $2,000-$3000 per year whether it needed it or not e.g. new rubber hoses on engine, flushed/cleaned radiator overflow tank, fitted new front brake pads with modern Triumph safety pins.

At oil/filter changes, oil comes out looking new. Uses no oil whatsoever. No rattles or noises. Silky smooth power

Never had engine apart, never crashed, never restored, never repainted, seat never recovered. Cam covers removed at 9,000 miles to check valve clearance; didn’t need adjustment.

What comes with bike: Woodcraft clip-ons, Triumph brand period bikini fairing, OEM mirrors, unpainted cowl, spare orange grab rail, race 3-1 headers, workshop plus owners manual, all original documents: DMV docs, service receipts, original 1996 bill of sale etc.

1995 Triumph Speed Triple Dash

The original Speed Triple can, along with the Ducati Monster, be credited with popularizing the naked sports machine trend. Other manufacturers may have gotten there first, but those bikes [CB1, Hawk GT, Bandit400, etc…] are relative footnotes. It’s easy to see the Speed’s charm: a powerful, throbby engine with just enough handling for a sporty morning blast through the twisties, and enough individuality and sex-appeal to make the rider feel special.

1995 Triumph Speed Triple R Side Engine

All the different era Speed Triple bikes have their charms, but the first of the line always has some extra bit of excitement about it. I really like these, especially their generally rock-bottom prices. It’s the kind of bike I’d never own as my only bike, but I’d love to have space in my garage so I could have one as a slick daily hack. That means neither of these are really the right bike for me. But if you’re looking for a collectible early Speed3, you are very unlikely to find one in better physical shape that hasn’t been sitting in a crate since the 90’s. Honestly, I am always trolling for these and they’re never this nice and only rarely this orange. It’s pricey, but you probably won’t find a better one.

And if you’re looking for a seriously one-of-a-kind track-day or race bike, your search is definitely over. Just don’t buy it if you don’t like answering questions about your ride: any time that thing is parked up, people are likely to wander over and ask about it.

-tad

1995 Triumph Speed Triple L Side

13 Comments

  • So top heavy. So beautiful. Wish I could justify picking one up.

    • That’s exactly the criticism I keep hearing about them. Apparently a result of that versatile spine frame: carries weight very high. Same problem with the early GSX-R 1100 I hear.

  • …Lean times at RSBFS….You guys need to give us another GFC….

    • Lean? Nope: I just like these, and wanted to mix things up a bit.

  • If the Buells make it on here then the Speed Triple T300 deserves its own page!

    Yes, this bike is not just heavy but top heavy. It uses the modular T300 spine frame which was the same as they used in the Tiger/ Sprint/ Trophy/ Adventurer/ Thunderbird/ Daytona of the same era. It may have not been light but it helped them keep costs down and 20 years later they are still building bikes. This was the great grand daddy to the Triumph sports bikes of today.

    I had a yellow 1995 model (Candadian bodywork) and loved it. Still wish I had it. Super Heavy and you had to muscle/ countersteer the hell out of it. Did what it wanted to do. You didnt ride it as much as you sat down in it. Very much like an old GSXR for sure. it was a real workout to ride fast and it made you earn it. Sounded great as well with the Sebring / Triumph race exhaust. Cafe Racer? This was a cafe racer in between generations- the first ones of the 60s and now when everyone is taking a junk yard fleabag and turning it into a “cafe racer”.

    This is the real deal.

    Good to still see them out there. Especially in “Fireball Orange”. good luck to the seller.

  • These are worth nothing. Bid away, my friends.

  • Just a thought… I wonder if this site has somehow devalued what we always loved about rare sportbikes… you know, you find one on craigslist and it’s cool. Now, all the dorks like Gammas and RZs. I’m just gonna throw this out there.

    This site fucked rare sportbikes.

    David Kimmel.
    San Francisco

    (Go find a cool RD)

    • Yeah, it’s like when your favorite, underground band gets discovered and now all the cool kids like them and you’re all, “But I’m cooler because I liked them FIRST…” Honestly, I love weird old bikes/cars and it IS annoying when “cool” gets discovered and becomes both less cool and more expensive… But I’m also glad that I can share my interests with other people. So in some ways: maybe it has fucked rare sport bikes. In others: what the hell does that even mean? [shrugs]

      And you meant the Yamaha RD? I’d write more about those, but they probably belong over here: http://www.classicsportbikesforsale.com/complete-package-1973-yamaha-rd350-cafe/

    • David, honest question: What do you consider the qualifications of a ‘rare sportbike’? That few were made – homologation specials? Grey market imports, that were never supposed to be in the US – most of the 400s and late model 2 smokers? The cool little bikes of the late 80’s and ’90’s that didn’t sell well? Cool survivors that didn’t get ridden?

      Sure sites like this expose people to all of the cool bikes that we used to be the only ones to know about, and likely drive the prices up. Hell I’m psyched that this place really digs the stockers, and lets me keep looking for either the properly modded versions, or ones that I can get at a good price and do my own mods to. I don’t care about the investment models that get sold here, but I still like to see what’s out there.

      I had an RD250, fun little buzzer, but I’d rather have a Aprliia RS250 with an RZ motor bored to 500. Let me know what you’re looking for in terms of a cool rare bike and I’ll keep my eyes pealed for you.

    • Dave-

      I understand the sentiment you express but I don’t think this site really impacts the “value” of sportbikes, or as you put it, f*cked them. As Tad D wrote, its cool when you are the only person you know who is into something like a band or a particular bike/model, but there will always be the true “cognescenti” and the dabblers in any activity.

      I think you will find that the people come to this site are mostly just bike lovers who like cool stuff that they never had direct experience with, stuff like the Gilera CX or Ducati Supermono. Before I started writing for the site I didn’t know squat about the 90’s two stroke bikes, now I find them quite interesting. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. Some other people are probably visiting for nostalgia purposes, remembering “the bikes of their youth” or perhaps trying to find out info about a potential purchase.

      I would think that the only people who could be negatively impacted by this site would be folks who are buying the bikes as an investment and are looking to pick them up cheaply and flip them. Now let me clarify and say I don’t think buying “rare” bikes cheaply and then hoping to flip them later for a profit is a bad thing. I have a storage unit with some bikes tucked away for just this purpose, including some zane era laverdas, a mondial piega and a fischer mrx. But I think people who do this are a minority of the visitors to this site, that RSBFS is more about appreciation than investment. I don’t think this site is truly impacting the prices of rare sport bikes, given that its focus is pretty on bikes just in the US.

      Marty

      Post Script – Also, as anyone who invests in bikes knows, the prices for a rare sport bike can vary widely over time; consider the Honda NR or Ducati MH900e, both were snapped up by collectors and investors, prices went up for a while and then came back down. True rare sport bike appreciators are probably happy having a MH900e in their collections, while investors are probably depressed at the recent downward price trend.

  • David,

    If RDs are really what you are into, you are certainly in the wrong place.

  • Must be a slow day at RSBFS….yaaaawwwwn.

  • These are nice, but over-priced for the current market. I see the S3’s stay on Craigslist for months at a time for half that price. And the “S3 Challenge bike?” It’s a clone, not a real one, so it does not merit $6500. Does not even have the proper bits, having whatever is available instead I believe the proper exhaust would be a Sebring 3-into-1 system for those bikes. I see S3s go on average for about $2500-3500. I bought that 1995 Daytona Super III that was on here in July, so I’ve done my fair share of research, and currently have it partially disassembled on my lift to do the valve clearance check (now done) and to rebuild the carbs. As mentioned in other pages here, too little use can also be painful – the carbs in my Super III were filthy, with varnish build-up and the choke needles frozen in place. Hope to have that back on the asphalt this weekend.

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