1973 Triumph T100R Daytona
In my mind the T100R Daytona is the best motorcycle Triumph ever built. Well, that is until I got my ‘New Generation’ (Hinckley) Daytona, which I love oh so much…100,000 plus miles so much. But I have a good perspective here, I have owned an original T100R Daytona and would love to have another at some point in life.
I actually grew up riding Bonneville’s and loved them but when I picked up a 500cc Daytona and got it running right (thanks to Jack Hately) I knew this was the perfect motorcycle. Then. At the time I was riding a 1972 Kawasaki H2 750 triple, it was blindingly fast and a lot of fun to ride but handling was marginal at best. I wished for the handling of my old Brit bikes but loved the speed of my Kawasaki. When you’re young, speed is king. With the Daytona, I was brought back to reality, Thank you Doug Hele.
A little history of the Daytona is due here. In the 1960’s the 500cc class was the premier racing class, yes Harley Davidson was allowed to race 750’s but that was because they were still using side valve motors…rules that seem to bend their way. Doug Hele at Triumph created the T100T for Buddy Elmore to race at Daytona that year and he and it won! They did it again in 1967. After the first win Triumph put the bike into production (slightly modified of course) and gave it the name Daytona.
The Daytona was a light, quick handling and a fast motorbike. The standard Triumph 500 had good low end torque and power and was easy to ride, the Daytona however was a vastly different ride. Riding a T100R you realize immediately there isn’t very much get up and go at the low end of the RPM range but just above 3500rpm…hang on baby! The 500 went from feeling like an anemic 350 to “find me a Bonneville to chase down, I’ll show him who’s king!!”. A Triumph Daytona brought out the rider in you, you had to be part of the machine to truly ride it like it was built to be ridden.
The Daytona was light (371lbs), put out an impressive 41HP and had a top speed of just over ‘The Ton’ (100mph). It was also very reliable for a high bred machine. In 1969 Triumph upgraded the Daytona’s engine with better engine bearings, a stronger valve train and beefier connecting rods. Later models also got the genuine race cams. The T100R Daytona is one very special motorcycle.
I found a Daytona on ebay this morning that may be a very good bike to have. This bike, according to the seller, has been in storage approximately 28 years, there is no indication of mileage, and he says it would ‘reconditioning’ before riding. Ok, most bikes that have been sitting for a number of years need a little love. Here is what I saw about this bike though. First and most obvious, it has been repainted, the ’73 did not come in plain black, and the side cover / oil tank decals are missing. Second, it’s missing the air filters (no big deal, you can get them on ebay easily), the seat looks to be original but the Triumph logo on the back is not there. I’m nit-picking here a bit but I think the seller should be asked a few questions before bidding on the bike. The good part is that it is a complete bike and the price is very reasonable for a Daytona.
The Triumph T100R is a truly great bike and I wish I had the money, the space and the time to have another one. Like this one.
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