Stefan de Run is a motorcycle buff who has had a love affair since he was 12…with a Triumph 3T. Finally, in 2015 he was united with his beloved; the Triumph 3T now a senior citizen; Stefan de Run beyond ‘spring chicken’ himself. It all started when 12 year old Stefan got on to the pillion seat of 2 Sri 5164 when the then owner visited Stefan’s Dad on a tea estate where ‘Dad’ was planting.
The 350cc Triumph was popular among the plantation dorais for its gentle horsepower delivery and sure-footedness, both traits ideally suited to the demanding estate terrain. Stefan says “The bike was always on tea plantations from as far back as I can remember”. He says he ‘chased’ after the bike from year 2000 and finally in 2015 convinced then owner Ashok de Silva (Stefan’s Dad’s trainee previously) to sell him the bike.
2 Sri 5164 was at the time in two parts and a crate at the garage of a motorcycle restorer. Stefan moved the T21 to a workshop in Moratuwa where it was restored over a period of 2 years. 2017 October saw 2 Sri 5164 running under its own steam and street legal.
The Triumph’s frame, engine, and other parts had to be put together with some parts turned out locally and others sourced from overseas. While the silencer bends were turned out locally, Stefan personally carried the two silencer barrels (mufflers) by air from Melbourne (Australia) after a visit there, passing the gun-like profiles of the silencer barrels through customs and airport security, a not uninteresting affair. From his overseas associates Stefan imported the naturally perishables such as the rubber items. The ‘Twenty One’ badge on the side panels spells out the occasion of the twenty-first anniversary of Triumph Engineering Co Ltd, the manufacturer of the Triumph T21. For final restoration and finishing touches - a two month process which ended August 2018 - the bike was in the care of Jayantha Karunasiri at his workshop in Panadura.
The 3T model is instantly distinguished by its ‘bathtub’ rear mudguard, this version was imported to the tropics in consideration of the enhanced weather protection it provided the rider and pillion. The engine and frame of 2 Sri 5164 came as a matching pair from the Triumph Factory many decades ago; T21-H1503 and H-1503 engine and frame numbers, respectively. The paint colour is original Grey as stated in the 1959 registration of the bike in Ceylon. Indeed, so original is this bike that the speedo and ammeters function as they were designed to, and the front number plate and even the license holder are original.
The dry sump lube system is fully functional, evidenced by the engine oil pulsing powerfully back by the twin-plunger oil pump into its under-seat reservoir after its lubricating and cooling tour through the tubes and channels of the robust twin-cylinder 350cc engine.
Triumph motorcycles developed a name for strength and reliability, and Stefan recalls that 2 Sri 5164 has done its bit towards this deserved reputation. Stefan relates to us that “In the 1970’s this bike has travelled from Passara to Arugam Bay and did continuous runs to Colombo. It has even towed another bike to Passara from Arugam Bay.”
A love affair that started many decades, culminating in a comprehensive restoration, with the end result that 2 Sri 5164 is now truly home.
Triumph 3T 21 – Facts & Figures
Registered on 24th Feb 1959 as 2 Sri 5164
Manufactured in 1958
Engine : Air-cooled 4-stroke twin-cam parallel-twin-cylinder Unit-construction, alloy head on cast iron block, dry sump lubrication.
Capacity : 349cc
Gears : 4-speed
Brakes : Front and Rear: Drum
Suspension : Front: Telescopic
Rear: Coil and damper
Final drive : Chain
Background of the Triumph 3T 21 350cc
Pre-unit and Unit construction tell the story of engine and clutch-gearbox construction; Pre-unit being engine and transmission separate; Unit being combined construction. The Triumph 3T 350cc parallel-twin-cylinder featured here is the first of the twin-cylinder Unit construction models to come off the Triumph Engineering Works.
1957 was the year the 3T debuted. Our PAST BLAST example came off the production line in 1958 and landed in Ceylon not long after, being registered 24th February 1959. Production of the 3T continued through to 1966.
In the 1920’a Triumph built not only motorcycles but cars and bicycles, too, and the Company is the proud owner of a number of great models such as the Tiger 100, Tiger 110, Thruxton, Bonneville, Thunderbird, three-cylinder Trident, and Daytona.
The three-cylinder thinking continues with the Triumph triple being the sole power plant in the World Championship Moto2 category starting this year. The Triumph engine is a fuel-injected 4-stroke liquid-cooled 765cc motor breathing through race designed titanium-valves.