Nowadays, “Desert Sled” is just a model name that’s been commercialized by Ducati, but back in the day the term was commonly associated with big British twins that had a few basic modifications – skid plate, knobbies, handlebars – to go through, rather than over, the sands and obstacles of the desert. Here’s a bike full of period upgrades that should take you back in time before lightweight two-strokes took over as the off-road weapon of choice.
This example started as a TR6 Trophy and it’s currently being offered by Ton Up Classics, a “one man operating cottage industry that specializes in classic Motor Cycle restoration as well as vintage memorabilia and parts sales.” It’s got lots of great accessories – Bud Ekins desert exhaust, Bates seat, Webco sprocket, and a Bast Bros skid plate that required removal of the side stand lug from the frame.
What I really like about this bike is that it’s been given a “complete mechanical restoration”: rebuilt motor, overhauled gearbox, new clutch, rebuilt Lucas magneto, rebuilt forks, rebuilt wheels. But the seller thankfully left the cosmetics original. The only bummer is a dent in the tank but I think all the wear makes the overall package more attractive, and the mechanical work means you should actually ride the thing. Someone please buy this and then run it in LA-Barstow-Vegas!
Find this desert-bashing Triumph for sale in Altadena, California with bidding up to $4,550 and the reserve not yet met