33 Comments

  1. The OIF Triumphs are just fine if well maintained. I have a 1982 T-140 Bonneville. You can now buy a decent clutch for these and the last of the motors were relatively tough and strong. But yes, definitely a design that was pushed well past its intended envelope. They still handle beautifully with decent tyres and shocks. Mine still gives much joy when I ride it but the oil leaks do tend to return after a while.

  2. Some poorly designed bikes had no easy fix. With the TX750 however it was. Just a matter of deepening the sump and the counterbalancers stayed out of the oil. Obviously could have benefitted from an external oil tank and dry sump set up, like on the early hondas CB750's. These TX's are still around today, and with the cited isuues resolved, something BSA did not do with its oil feed woes and plain bronze timing side main end bearing on the A65 range.

  3. I am the original owner of a 1973 Yamaha TX500. It did NOT have the same problems as the 750; the balancer shaft is mounted high and does not froth the oil the way the 750's weights did. It certainly had its own design flaws though, all of which were handled either with parts from later models or a bit of judicious fiddling. Mine has 124.000 miles on it; I rode it, solo, from DC-LA and back in 1975. Shortly after that trip, a valve adjuster screw worked loose and fell into the bottom end. I discovered that there were cracks in the head around one of the valve seats; from what I have later learned, a not uncommon occurrence. The fitment of a 1976 model head handles that, along with the oil leaking that ALL of the early models were prone to with the original two-piece, horizontally-split head (the '76 model was the first year with a one-piece head, which also has much deeper cooling fins). Fitment of a factory oil cooler kit (along with personally fabricated lines to run ALL of the oil through it) also aids cooling. Removal of the starter drive (mine has been kick-start only since 1976) removes the necessity to remove the alternator rotor in order to adjust the balancer drive chain tension (the '78 model had a different design that handled that too). For years I simply couldn't afford another bike, so I kept on fixing and fiddling and adding performance mods (reground cams; Mikuni carbs with airbox removed; Alphabet exhaust; Koni shocks; 1978 model cast wheels; factory dual-disc front brake kit with fork legs swapped to put those heavy calipers behind the legs rather than up front, using RD400 brake lines, with discs drilled; '78 seat). It's undergoing another ground-up rebuild, got the frame powder coated, and it's getting a Race-Tech suspension upgrade for the fork (which both my '97 T595 Daytona and '02 T100 Bonneville have gotten, marvelous improvement for each). My brother likes to tell me it was once called "one of the worst bikes of the 1970's" but he's never told me who said that.

  4. It's such a shame that these wonderfull models which were definitely a breath of fresh air never made it. Cos if they were correctly developed would have definitely posed a serious challenge to the Japanese Supremacy. As usual another British Disaster. Edward Turner would have never been consulted in the first place for the project cos his designs and ideas were very detrimental in the collapse of the British Motorcycle Industry. Sometimes it's Pretty confusing to think how the British Industry never got things right like the Japanese did. It was always a case of miss match or after thoughts. Sad story indeed but i enjoyed your video 👍

  5. Back in the day I swapped my CX500 with a mate so I could try his XS500. All I remember was his XS was completely gutless and I couldn't wait to get back on my CX

  6. Why would you want to add more oil to the OIF Triumph ? The level was at that point because that is where it held the required amount, the same amount of oil as in previous models. More oil is not better.

  7. The problem we Britts have always had is that we get it right or by god we get it wrong. When we get it wrong we hang on to it like glue when we get it right we flog it on and let others make millions. How clever is that ???????????? But and a big but when the chips are really really down we are at our best and I dont care what anyone says we are !!!! Concord, Radar, Harrier jet, Range Rover, Land Rover, J.C.B.
    Rolls,Bently,Jaguar, Spitfire,the plane not car Mini, Aston, On and On it goes but as always we would sell our grand parents Why oh why ????????? We are also slow to follow through….. At times I could cry when I see what we have and have not acheived. We seem to lead and others follow but do a much much better job of it!!!!!!!!!!!! Please can anyone tell me why ????????????????????????

  8. I can't understand why it was so hard for BSA / Triumph/Norton to come up with a single overhead cam, wet sump twin , similar to the X'S 650. but with better situated Bob weights ! LoL They stubbornly stuck to pushrods .

  9. Had a 1975 T140V Bonnie back in the late '70's. Biggest memory of the bike is changing down coming up to a junction. The gearbox mainshaft sheared in half, locked the rear wheel & put me on my arse. Chain off & a long push home. Had some great times on the bike though.

  10. I had the exact same model of triumph. I have to be fair in it was a pretty good bike, although I could never stop the oil leak

  11. I once met a man who had been a toolmaker at BSA-Triumph. Amongst other things, he made the tooling to manufacture the 1971 oif frames. Do not blame him for the high seat or small oil capacity….
    He was present when workers for the company that made the tooling for the machining of the Bandit/Fury cylinder head uplifted it, took it away, and scrapped it. The story goes that there was only one company able to make this tooling. BSA/Triumph made an arrangement to rent it instead of paying for it. They didn't pay the rent, so in due course the company took it away. That was effectively the decision that ended this promising design.
    Somewhere around 1980, the Australian magazine 'Two Wheels' did a test of one of these machines in their classic bike series, written by Lester Morris. He was rather impressed by it. It handled and rode superbly, and he regarded it as a fast machine. From distant memory, he said it was flexible, and much faster than a Honda CB360, and compared its power to a Yamaha RD400 on expansion chamber exhausts.
    There were a large number of bikes sent around the world as display bikes (figures around 100 get mentioned), but they had no internals in the engind units. Running examples, like the machine tested by Lester Morris, and the machine newly created out of parts by Alex Campbell are very rare.

  12. There's another British motorcycle disaster you could cover. Brockhouse (owners of Indian) approached Vincent about using their engines in an Indian Chief frame. A prototype was designed, with detail engineering by Phil Irving. The installation was OK, but the chassis didn't really cope well with the power of the Vincent power unit.
    Obviously, selling engines to Indian would require a huge step up in production for Vincent. The Brockhouse management requested they invest in, for example, die casting of crank-cases. The money would come, yes, definitely, soon…. It kept on not coming. Eventually it became clear that Brockhouse was stringing them along, the money would not come, and it was really a plan to acquire ownership of Vincent cheaply. It did contribute to Vincent having to stop making motorcycles.

  13. I am really enjoying this series. Some bikes I had forgotten and a couple I have never heard of and a few that I've ridden, but I've never owned one of these 'disasters' although I'm curious if one does come up in a future episode.

  14. Back in the mid 70's i came across an OIF BSA lightning slowly deteriorating in a chaps garden. It turned out it had been abandoned because, due to vibration from the twin carb' A65 engine, the frame had cracked and leaked oil. After an engine rebuild/frame weld and carb' balance it ran ok but still vibrated the feeling out of my fingers at high revs. Nice looking bike though but very vibratory. The front 2LS brakes can work well when set up correctly.

  15. BSA was destroyed by the greed of Lord & Lady Docker.
    They took all the money out to fund a lavish lifestyle.
    This led ultimately to the collapse of BSA.

  16. I remember watching the Australian castrol 6 hr race for bog standard race bikes.One of my mates was a Yamaha fan and was whooping it up when one was leading,but then slowly but surely they started imploding

  17. I had an ‘oil-in-the-frame’ 1978 Triumph T140E Bonneville. A spectacular disaster in many areas. I could have bought the Suzuki GS1000 sat next to it in the showroom. To this day, I wonder why I didn’t.

  18. Ah! The 650 Lario. The valve springs were too strong, and Moto Guzzi used friction-welded two-part valves. The weld was the weak point.

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