About the 1954 Jim Alves’ 650cc ISDT twin
This Triumph, with registration PNX 388, was ridden by off-road legend Jim Alves in the 1954 International Six Days Trial. He won a Gold Medal at the arduous event, held in central Wales that year. Jim was with Alan Jeffries the Triumph Factories leading works rider during the 1950’s
Triumph had an excellent record in the ISDT, providing machines used by the British Team to win major awards five times between 1948 and 1953. Team riders had to ride in two separate engine capacity classes, so Triumph fitted some of its 500cc Trophy twins with bigger engines for the event. Prior to 1954 the 650cc Thunderbird unit was used, but PNX 388 was built by installing the new 42bhp 650cc Tiger 110 engine designed for fast road work in the swinging arm frame first seen at the 1953 ISDT. The two-into-one exhaust is tucked high and the centre stand further rearward than usual, to maximise ground clearance. Other typical ISDT touches are a ‘nail catcher’ to prevent front tyre punctures and an air bottle for rapid tyre inflation. T-bars on the wheel spindles aid fast repair work, while a bag on the fuel tank carries tools and maps, and back-up control cables are already in place. The production Trophy TR6 based on the Alves bike appeared in Triumph’s catalogue for 1956. Rugged agility and lusty power made it a strong seller, especially in America.
Luckily there is a lot about the development of the Triumph Trophy Twin, and the career of Jim Alves who was a top rider for the Triumph factory for much of the 1950’s, in the Triumph Trophy and Tiger Bible by Harry Woolridge from whom we have borrowed the below 2 images of Jim’s 1954 Bike
The Triumph Trophy was Triumph’s bold statement of 1949 introduced as a classic dual purpose motorcyle that was capable of being a serious off road racing contender at that time.
Thanks to Kevin Gosling who restored one of these bikes who clarified front wheel sizes and comments “Rigid TR5 should be 20″ front wheel. That is what all the parts book show and this size wheel went for the first year of the swinging arm TR5′s. for some years 20″ tyres were hard to get hold off so users rebuilt the wheels as 20″. No problem now though in obtaining 20″ tyres”
The brochures below confirm that 20 not 21″ front wheels were specced by Triumph for the Trophy
Find out more about the fantastic off-road classic the Triumph Trophy with the great book the Triumph Trophy and Tiger Bible by Harry Woolridge. Buy online at Amazon The Triumph Trophy Bible