1983 TRIUMPH T140 TSX
It’s 1981 and I’m looking for that ‘West Coast’ look, but I want a Triumph. I could buy a new Bonneville and I guess I can do it myself but I only have enough mechanical skills to check the air in my tires, and I don’t enough money in my bank account to have a dealer or customizer to do it for me…what’s a poor guy to do?.
In the 70’s and 80’s we lived with basically three categories of street motorcycles; the standard, the chopper, and the touring bike. Most all of us had ‘standard’ motorcycles and more than likely, the ‘UJM’..Universal Japanese Motorcycle. Some people took the ‘UJM’ to both ends of the spectrum. Choppers were made out of Honda 750’s and touring bikes were made out of that same CB750. It was an era of great creativity. And, great marketability.
During that time period, the aftermarket grew at a pace that hasn’t been seen since and the manufacturers were taking notes. Custom this, chrome that…you could make your bike look any way you wanted. Kawasaki got into the cruiser look right off the bat with the LTD series, even the Brit’s and Euro’s got into the ‘Cruiser’ look.
There are good examples of the bikes from the continent that fit the look but more often they came out as ‘WTF’? Note the Norton Hi-Rider to the left. Triumph Motorcycles America (TMA) started noticing that dealers were doing a lot of customizing in house so, they went to the dealers to find out what they were doing so that the factory could build it. Customers were going after a certain look, the ‘West Coast’ look. Triumph was taking notice that the European market was also adding that look. After all the market research was done along came the T140-TSX.
Take your standard T140 Bonneville, stick on a kinda fat 16″ rear tyre, move the rear shocks back a bit on the swingarm to lower the back end of the bike. Next, bob the fenders some, add a stepped seat, some cool Morris alloy wheels, shorty mufflers and…voila, the ‘West Coast Look’.
The sad part of this story is that just as Triumph was addressing the new look of motorcycling, they went broke. There were other models of the TSX in the works including an 8 valve motor that would have bumped up the performance significantly and kept Triumph in the game. But there is good news for those that did buy one of the few TSX’s…it’s a really good motorcycle and is now worth a lot of money!
I found a really nice example of the TSX today on ebay. It’s a 1983 model (TSX’s were actually made in ’81 and ’82 but as was rather common at the time, bikes were titled when they were sold, not based on when they were made) with only 2691 miles on the clock. This TSX is factory original and in great condition. The seller says it runs and shifts perfectly, it does have the original Avon tyres (which you will want to replace), the owner put in a new battery but I would guess that a good carb clean is in order as well.
The TSX is definetly a rare bike and one that didn’t stray too far from being a Triumph Bonneville at heart. Look at what Triumph has done in its new incarnation Bonneville’s and you can see where the TSX had an influence on the future.
Click on the pic’s below for more info and more pictures. This bike is a bit pricey but considering it is a great example of an era and there are so few of them in the world, it’s worth it. And here is an added little bonus on this bike, the kickstart lever is an option item. Triumph had more faith in their electric starter than the rest of us and they knew it.