1982-1983. 750cc OHV air-cooled twin
Why you might like a TSX...
Looks: One of the better factory customs.
Morris cast wheels: Strong. Solid. Maintenance free.
Starting: Kick and electric, and the electric works well.
Spares: Most parts are available. But expect some hunting.
Maintenance: Same as with all Bonnies. Simple. Clear.
Transmission: 5-speed gearbox is excellent and durable.
Handling: Positive. Confident. Wet or dry, the ride is fine.
Comfort: Slightly lower seat than stock T140. Easy riding.
Fuel economy: Expect 50-55 mpg. Never below 45mpg.
Performance: 100mph max. Cruise at 70mph. Torquey.
Investment: A TSX Triumph will sell. Values are rising.
Street cred: All you can eat. Meriden eye candy.
Vibes: Improved crankshaft machining lowers the buzz.
Dogleg brake/clutch levers: Reduced reach and strain.
Rubber mounted rider foot pegs: Every little bit helps.
Balance: Heavier than standard T140s, but well planted.
Build quality: Careful assembly by Meriden shows.
...and why you might not like one
Bing CV carburettors: Prone to leaks, but this bike is fine.
Sprag clutch: Kickbacks shorten electric starter life. Fixable.
Vibes: Moderate. Improvable. Irritation for some riders.
Gear change: Left side only. Trad Brit bikers beware.
Main lighting: Enough, but certainly not a feast.
Tank transfers: Hard to replace. Will need a paint job.
Clutch: Heavy-ish. Mods and upgrades are available.
Instruments: Basic. Speedo. Rev-counter. No frills.
Kickstarter: Optional. Not all examples have them.
Centre stand: Not standard. Needs a dedicated item.
Black engine cases: Need TLC to avoid scabbing up.
Rear wheel: 16-inch rubber hates removal and loves a fight.
Tank: Indian copies exist, but often need remedial work.
Switchgear: Passable, but a poor design. Doesn't like rain.
Front indicators: Shroud mounts vibrate and crack. Fixable.
Originality: Hard to find 100% "correct" examples.
Handlebars: Lower, "western bars" would improve things.
▲ This rare "factory custom" is one of just 371 TSX's made. We hear that 100 bikes stayed in Blighty. The Yanks got 200 units. The rest of the planet squabbled over the final 71. That colour is, we also hear, Gypsy Red. Midnight Black was an option. Note the chromed chain guard and 16-inch back tyre; the first 16-inch tyre on a Triumph motorcycle (they shifted the engine a quarter of an inch or so to the right to fit that). The front wheel is 19-inch, incidentally, and that front mudguard has hidden stiffeners that we haven't seen before on a T140 Triumph.
▲ The TSX riding position is fine ... if you like the sit-up-and-beg style. Flatter, "western bars" would help, but originality is what the world wants, and this isn't the kind of classic bike you want to alter very much, not if you want to preserve its value. Those are Morris cast wheels and not Lesters (as fitted to the 1979-1980 T140D Special). Note that some TSX brake discs have a four-hole mounting. And some have five. They're not interchangeable.
▲ You might have seen the TSX side panel before. Or, rather, later. They're the same as fitted to the Les Harris-era Bonnevilles built in Newton Abbot, Devon. That's a Bing constant velocity carburettor hiding its shame in there. They leak occasionally and cause some frustration. No one knows how to fix 'em. You just have to yell a lot and then they behave ... until the next time. We recommend shutting off the fuel half a minute or so before full shutdown. Note the owner repositioned indicator mounts and the small tag on the rear of the fork shroud which is all that's left of the original (fractured) mounts.
▲ TSX electric starter housing. Meriden did a very good job with this T140-based cruiser. Yes, it adds unwanted weight and bulk to the otherwise tidy and iconic timing chest design. But we've owned Triumph electric starters new and second hand, and the system works well. If your knees and ankles ain't what they used to be, and if you still want to get some fun out of a 750 Bonnie, this TSX could be your ticket to ride. Image above right: Brembo rear brake master cylinder. Better positioned that the T140 Lockheed item.
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Copyright Sump Publishing 2014
Electric & kickstarter
32mm Bing carburettors