Old Trophy trudgers

Hi, any old Trophy riders out there?

(Old bike, not necessarily old riders :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).

Am considering a 1997 900…and looking for the good, the bad and the ugly side of ownership…and who might i join in this niche gang!!?

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I had a 1996 Trophy 900 for a couple of years. They are great bikes and ride well if properly maintained but way too much plastic for me!

I turned mine in to a Cafe Racer project but then sold it on.


I’m a T300 … ermmmm … ‘aficionado’ - although I don’t think I actually qualify for the “knows a lot about the subject” part of the definition of the term. Probably fairer to say that I’m a collector/hoarder as I have two Speed Ts; three Tridents; two Daytonas a Sprint and a Thunderbird Sport ranging in manufacturing years from 1991 to 1999.

The good side of ownership is, objectively, a solid, dependable, well made chunk of British heavy metal that, if looked after, should last well and be capable of covering high mileages with reasonable reliability. They are acknowledged to be well mannered, though they’re tall and somewhat top heavy so have to be handled with some respect to that characteristic.

They aren’t without their faults - the sprag clutch in early examples is the most common - and they can be sensitive to lack of attention to valve clearance maintenance - but they are, generally, very reliable if cared for and respected. The original (GILL?) coils are also a weak point but better replacements are still readily available.

The big downside to ownership is, regrettably, the famous Triumph ‘no longer available’ for some/many spare parts but there’s a burgeoning industry for aftermarket stuff (some of which is actually quite good) and a number of specialist breakers making decent money out of used parts.

If it’s a 1200/4 Trophy they were introduced as real ‘mile-munchers’ - relaxed, long distance touring in a contemporaneously stylish package with huge range, good fuel economy and a comfortable rider and pillion package.

They can be a bit ‘marmite’ insomuch as the T300s have a very loyal following but it’s very much a “love 'em or loathe 'em” scenario. You can guess which camp I’m in but I “bought in” as soon as the Hinckley factory started production (one of my Tridents is an early '92 that I’ve owned from new), and mine are all going to be mine until my “cold dead hands” lose their grip … :wink:

I’ll watch with interest to see whether or not you take the plunge.


I agree with what @AdieP says. I also bought into triumph in 1992 but with a 900 trophy. Since then I’ve had a 900 daytona (same kit as trophy at the time but with better suspension and different plastics etc), then a sprint sport 900 (half faired daytona) and then in 2002 a trophy 1200 which I still own and use.
They were overbuilt to overcome the late meriden reputation for poor reliability. If they are well looked after then the main issue seems to be failing ignition components, but as was said new stuff just plugs in and goes.
The problems will come if they’ve been poorly maintained which is a good chance.
I’ve been led to believe that the older black painted engine trophys had an improved sprag clutch and the Gill igniter was set not to fire until the crank had spun over at least once.
One thing I would say is my 1200 has never been good on fuel economy, 40mpg is good. My 900’s would return high 40’s.
The later trophy’s wheels were changed from an 18inch rear to 17inch (the 1997 is a 17inch) which improve tyre choice.
I think they ride well but I have little to no experience with modern bikes so can’t compare.
The air filter requires carb removal and lots of swearing so is sometimes ignored.
As I recall the centre spark plug is hard to access on the 900 because of the spine frame so try and get the spark plug socket in the toolkit as it helps access.
They don’t hold their value, mine which is in great condition might, if I’m lucky, get me £2.5K, so I’m not surprised you’ve included these as a bargin.
Also they don’t seem to have the same charging problems on the later modern sprints as the trophy’s use a car type alternator with inbuilt regulation.


Thank you…this has been some really useful and insightful posts, very much appreciated.

Ok…so, I know “having a Triumph” is obviously a winner…

What are the points to lookout for, on an old Trophy, when viewing?

I appreciate that it is an old bike, and cheap, so not expecting anything pretty, but any advice would be useful…

Also, are there alternatives to the every wide panniers?

For clarity, the bike ownership would defiantly pass the “keeping noble company” criteria, so thank you - and well done :grin:


Points to look out for…
I’d say usual electric checks, multimeter at the battery check idle and revving voltage. I think mine is around 12.7v at idle and around 14 at higher rpm.
Wheel/steering head bearings. Drive chain adjuster is eccentric but unlike later models it doesn’t tend to seize, but worth checking. There should be 2 allen keys in the toolkit to fit the adjusters.
Bounce on rear to get the rear suspension moving, if you can hear creaking the lower linkage is dry (it has grease nipples so should be greased every couple of years at min). If it’s an original shock (I got a new old stock shock for £100 a few years back so it’s still possible it might run the oem) it has a damping adjuster at the bottom of the shock, it needs a long handled flat head screwdriver to adjust. It’s worth turning to check it’s not seized. (Older models had a remote damping adjuster dial on the right hand side but I think 1997 didn’t). Spring preload on oem is done under the seat with a 10mm socket/spanner.
My 1200 is mechanically noisy at the top end and was from new. It was something I noticed from new so I’m assuming the 900 wasn’t as noisy as I’d been riding them for 10 years before. So expect some top end noise but not excessive. Hopefully @AdieP will chip in.
1st gear is a real clunk when engaging from neutral. The rest should be slick.
The rear brake light is mounted on anti vibration mounts (3 off them). They have a habit of coming apart. Lift the bottom of the light, if it has excessive movement there’s a good chance some of the mounts have come apart. They can be glued as a temp measure but I don’t think triumph do the parts anymore so it amazon generic replacements.
The side panels have 3 mounting tabs on them and they are fragile. If the panels don’t line up with the bottom of the tank there is a good chance they are broken or have been repaired as it’s hard to line them up perfectly.
The bike should start with little to no choke in this weather and the throttle isn’t needed. Full choke is only ever needed in deepest winter and only briefly. (at least on all my 4 version). If it needs a lot of choke/throttle to start that could be an indication of poor maintenance. Might be carbs/air filter or coil issues.
If possible take it out and get it warm if the pickup coil or HT coils are on the way out it will show up mostly when the engine is up to temp.
If the rev counter starts playing up it is a sign that the HT coils could be at fault as the rev counter runs off them.
Front brakes on the 1997 should be pretty good but check that they don’t initially need pumping to get a solid feel at the lever. This can be because the pistons are sticking and not returning in the bores. They can be cleaned but they also corrode and as it’s a 4 piston caliper it’s not cheap to replace them. As I recall somewhere around £150 (aftermarket) for both calipers, but don’t hold me to that. Individual pistons can be bought if required.
Rear brake is 2 piston sliding caliper and was never wonderful even when new but should be adequate to lock up the rear wheel with a bit of effort.
Check the ignition switch by moving the key around in it when on and see if the dash lights turn off. Mine started to do this and so far a good clean with electrical contact cleaner has helped but…
I’m struggling to think of anything else.
Just thought about the headlight beam adjuster, it’s in the right hand cubby hole on the fairing in front of the fuse box. It’s used to adjust the angle of the beam, give it a turn to check it’s not seized. It’s hard work removing the right hand side fairing as it has the fuse box and all the wiring connected if you have to replace/lube the adjustment cable that runs from here to the headlamp assembly.
I’ve always thought the panniers were great, not too wide to stop filtering, hardly wider than the fairing. I’ve commuted on the trophy around M25 and into London for a few years and for a tourer it’s pretty slim IMHO.


Wow, fantastic thanks @wattie

I may have a couple of questions, but will come back to you if so.

So far the list is:

1997 47k £750
1993 27k £1200

Both in BRG - of course :grin:

This is where my bike budget resides, wafting along the bottom of the swamp… Like I said, I don’t mind beaten up, as long as it rides and I can generally rely on it.

Although I’m scared of engines, I’ll tackle most other works.

Looks don’t really matter. And I’m happy getting to where I’m going, rather than getting there with any kneedown urgency.

Is there a difference between these bikes?

Did the latter version get the oval eyes, and panniers?


1993 to 1997, mechanically are very similar although I think that the 1993 is more prone to sprag clutch failure. None of my bikes have ever suffered this so I’m not confident to say how much a problem it is or what it sounds like.
Looks are way different, completely new bodywork. The 1993 is more sports tourer the 1997 more tourer. The 1993 has single headlamp and lower bars.
Running gear. The 1993 may have solid mounted front brake discs and 2 piston calipers so braking isn’t anywhere near as good as the later model. However as I recall around 1993 triumph starting moving to floating discs and 4 pots so it could be on the cusp. 1993 will have a 18in rear wheel.
I think (a lot of that…) that the 1993 had mikuni carbs and the 1997 kehin but I never noticed any difference to performance.
1993 probably doesn’t have panniers and if it has triumph ones (they were an option) they are wide, very wide, givi e36. Payload went up from 181 to 217kg on the 1997 (again from memory).
Oh yes and the 1993 has bendy fairing plastic which survives a stationary drop well, don’t ask. The 1997 is more rigid and probably not as droppable…!
Neither mileage would worry me, it would be more about condition and how well they’ve been maintained.

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Excellent. Thank you.

It’s actually a “Sep 94” registered bike…

I will ask some questions to the chap…he’s being very helpful and patient so far.

My “gut” is that I prefer the look of the '97 though…and perhaps a few issues ironed out on these later models…

Will keep picking at the scab…thanks!


Had a thought about the cooling system. The expansion tank in under the seat behind the battery. I’d pop off the cap and peer down to see the quality of the coolant and if there are any tell tale signs of corrosion residue in the bottom of the tank. It might be an indicator of maintenance. BTW my trophy fluid is clean with no staining of tell tale rust anywhere after 22 years.
Also difference between 93 and '97, 93 has a dipstick and '97 has a sight glass to check oil. I always preferred the dipstick.


I found this article about buying a bike for under £1000 and a T300 gets a look in!
Can you still buy a usable second-hand motorbike for less than £1000?| Carole Nash
If you haven’t seen it maybe it can give you some ideas?


Seriously…I don’t bloody believe it…

I literally was coming back from Tesco and had a strange sense of solace as I decided “right, that’s it…I’m getting “bike A” …”

(£700 1997 Trophy).

I get home…and it’s bloody sold!

I mean…wtf.

I blame the covid chip in my arm…

So…I’m back to square one :man_shrugging:

That is so annoying. Not the first time I’ve heard the same story this year, either. Keep looking. Something will turn up.

CRAPOLA! " He who hesitates …" and all that!

Good luck with THE SEARCH pt. II. :slightly_smiling_face:

I bought something last year off a guy in Glasgow who was wearing a tee shirt which said: “He that hingeth aboot getteth hee haw”.


There’s a 1998 Trophy here for £1000 with seller in Gloucestershire @DanielB 1998 Trophy

Thank you @MrsVisor

I have, however…taken a plunge…for good or ill.

For £600 I have bought a rather battered Honda NTV650. And have rather fallen in love.

I am slowly working my way through it, and finding out why it was indeed only £600…

But it is shaft drive and feels like a bag of bolts…but it’s GREAT!

I feel rather like Steve McQu6; even though I probably look more like Steve Davis…

I would certainly hope to come back to Triumph one day…and I do change my mind easily so could well be back sooner than I’d have thought.

In the meantime, will I still be welcome in the forum…regardless of the make, this is far and away the best one out there!

I am sure you’ll still be welcome, you’re part of the furniture :slightly_smiling_face:. That’s a cool - looking bike!

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Oh course you will! :smiley:

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Owww what lovely things to say… Thank you!

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