Triumph Trophy 1200
in Japan, by Nissin. Elsewhere quality was high, if a little stodgy and oldschool, and detailing impressive. The eccentric chain adjusters, for example, built into the aluminium swingarm were a particularly nice and novel touch you wouldn’t find on run-ofthe-mill rivals.
But with the early emphasis on reliable performance and quality it also meant the new bikes’ styling, already largely homogenised through the modular approach, was also ultraconservative. As the years progressed, and as bikes like the later Speed Triple started to show, this became less of a hindrance. But no-one could honestly call the original Trophy or Daytona beautiful or inspired.
But all of that’s missing the point. The key twin goals of the original Hinckley Triumphs were simply to be credible and reliable. That they did in spades. Any attempt at class-leading dynamism or desirability could wait. Their performance was roughly on a par with anything in their respective classes. Their handling, if a little tall and ‘top-heavy’ due to the tall engines and steel spine frame, was better than average. And if they weren’t exactly cutting edge or lavished with luxury features, don’t forget they were the first British mass-produced motorcycles that were genuinely performance and price competitive in an industry that had been dominated for decades by the Japanese. That was the true measure of Bloor’s success. The legacy is the priceless foundations for what Triumph, 25 years on, has become today.
And those early bikes themselves? While, Speed Triple perhaps apart, they’re yet to be considered in any way classics (they’re probably too humdrum for that), their time may yet come. The examples at Lilley’s impressed for exactly the same reasons they originally did a quarter of a century ago: they’re good, basic bikes, are impressively durable (most of the machines here were virtually mint) and are British, dammit! They’re also, until that ‘classic status’ arrives, impressive value . Lilley’s also have a clean, glossy black 900 Daytona (effectively a faired Speed Triple) that somehow now seems more handsome than ever at just £1999!
O Hinckley Triumph’s all-new range is unveiled at the Cologne Show in November and goes on sale in early 1991. It comprises six models, all based on a ‘modular’ approach. These are: Trophy 1200, Trophy 900, Daytona 1000, Daytona 750, Trident 900 and Trident 750 clip- on bars was slightly higher, too.
Although deliberately conservative in its style, conventional in its configuration and never Hinckley’s biggest seller, the Trophy 1200 was a success where it mattered most: putting Triumph back on the map as a credible, competitive motorcycle manufacturer.
Though slightly top-heavy and fairly basic in terms of trim, the Trophy 1200’s grunty 125bhp was on par with all its more established rivals and it proved comfortable, durable and reliable. It also ended up being the one of the longest-lived of Hinckley Triumph’s early models. Subtle updates including new wheels, exhausts and finishes followed before a substantial makeover for 1996 saw all-new bodywork including a taller, more touringorientated, twin beam fairing and, for the first time, optional panniers. It was finally dropped from Triumph’s line-up in 2003.
What we said at the time
‘The Triumph Trophy 1200 is a proper, big (and tall) old school tourer with decent ability and classy touches.’
‘The key twin goals of the original bikes was simply to be credible and reliable’
cantly, the 43mm front telescopics were now fully adjustable for preload along with compression and rebound damping (something not to be sniffed at even on the leading sportsbikes of the day back in 1991) while its front stoppers were also uprated to twin fully-floating discs gripped by stateof-the-art four piston calipers.
Finally, although the side-fairings and seat were the same as the Trophy, the top fairing was all new in being lower, racier, with a smaller screen and, in place of the Trophy’s single, rectangular headlamp, sporting racy twin round beams. All of that was finished off with race-style, white-faced, asymmetrically-mounted clocks and bolder, sporty colourschemes.
Unfortunately, however, of all the early Hinckley bikes the Daytonas were the least well received. They were still uncompetitive with the prevailing class kings of the day – mostly from Japan. Simply, although decent and pleas- ing on road, neither the 1000 nor 750 were anywhere close to, say, Yamaha’s FZR1000 EXUP or Kawasaki’s ZXR750. It’s also true that in this segment more than most, the Triumph name had less cachet, too.
As a result, the 750 and 1000 were dropped and, although Triumph tried again with 900 and 1200 bikes, it wasn’t until 1997’s T595 that a credible sportster arrived. Today, the early Daytonas are the rarest of all early Hinckley bikes.