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Lot 302: Triumph Twenty One 'Bathtub'

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

In motorcycling, as in life, not all ideas are universally well-received. Take this Triumph Twenty One, for example. The 21 refers to the engine's displacement in cubic inches, a figure that works out to 350cc. The parallel-twin was Triumph's first unit-construction design  motor internals and gearbox contained with the same cases  a very good idea that would soon be adopted across the range. The bike's semi-enclosed rear bodywork, meant to shield the rider from road grime on England's constantly damp roads proved not quite so popular. In drier America, Triumph biggest export market, the sheetmetal structure was seen as somewhat less than sporty and was derisively referred to as a "bathtub" for its likeness to an upside-down water closet fixture. Mechanics weren't keen about having to remove the panels to work on the rear of the bike either. As a result, many of the bathtubs were quickly jettisoned, so it now uncommon to find a complete machine like Hobday's Twenty One, which also has the rare headlight nacelle, near complete set of original tools, flared front fender and parcel-grid gas tank.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number302
Estimate$6000-$10000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$4500
Hammer Price (inc premium)$5175
Year1959
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberH3023
Engine number21H3023
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors