Tom Rad’s 1969 Triumph


Words & Photos:  Chadly Johnson

DSC_0226Like many people, Tom Rad of Stillwater, MN has been a Harley guy for years.  Unlike most folks, though, Tom has taken his passion for iron and transformed it into a successful business, Rad Pain,t were he lays down some of the most incredible paint jobs in the industry.  Many of Tom’s  jobs have graced the pages of magazines worldwide and his two personal choppers have been showcased in books such as the original “Art of the Chopper” (see inside cover.)  Tom’s passion has also been demonstrated in his bike show, “The Rumble on the Deck” held each year on the 2nd Thursday of July in Stillwater.

So with all of Tom’s history with choppers and Harleys, one might ask why he built a Triumph. The answer goes further back in Tom’s history, perhaps it was the actual beginning of his two-wheel obsession.  Tom’s older brother always had Triumphs and Tom specifically recalls his brother’s 650 chopper and its unique sound.  When Tom would hear the bike fire as a young boy, he would always run down the driveway just to watch and listen to it rumble off into the distance. 

Many years later, a friend had a 1969 Triumph Trophy 500 that his wife occasionally  rode, but mostly it just sat around.  Tom inquired about the bike and his friend agreed to sell it, so the ‘69 came home as an outcast amongst his Harley collection.  He already had an idea in his head of how he wanted the bike to look, so Tom began searching out the pieces to make that vision a reality.  Major components consisted of a bolt-on hard tail section he scored at a swap meet, an AEE oil tank, a Bates seat, and Flanders bars to name a few.  Dunlop rims were located, making use of an off road WM 1-21 up front and a WM 3-18 in the rear. 

Tires soon followed with an Avon Speed Master 3.00-21 and an Avon MKII 4.00-18.  Tom kept the Triumph’s gas tank and headlight as well as the engine.  A thumpy cam was installed in the 10.5 to 1 mill and fuel fed by the means of an Amal carb along with a set of Snuf-r-nots silencers that were fabricated out of stainless steel and installed in a set of megaphone pipes.  With the bike together Tom turned his attention to the paint and decided on 1936 Ford Washington blue with pearl white lace trim.

Tom finished the ‘69 in about a year’s time and takes it out whenever he feels like being loud and obnoxious.  To see more of Tom’s work, check out

A special thanks to our model Meisha Solberg who took the time off from her own bike build to model Tom’s.


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