TRIUMPH TIGER


1939 Triumph Tiger 100, Triumph Tiger, Triumph motorcycles, Triumph Speed Twin, Triumph T100

1939 Triumph Tiger 100, first year for this hot new model. Note Rigid frame & girder front suspension.



A TIGER IS BORN
The Triumph Tiger was the natural evolution of the constant & relentless quest for more & more power. The Triumph Speed Twin had literally changed the motorcycle world in 1938, and was head-and-shoulders above just about everything else on the market, and the performance leader. But even that wasn't enough. By 1939, Edward Turner, designer of the Speed Twin & defacto father of every vertical twin that came after, raised the compression ratio from 7.2:1 in the Speed Twin to 8.0:1 for the new Tiger 100, along with a ported cylinder head. The name implied that the new bike would top 100 mph, and indeed this was the case. These early bikes came with rigid frames & girder front ends. The new 1939 Triumph Tiger 100 came in silver with black pinstriping, set apart from the stodgy dark red of the Speed Twins. The Tiger became the fastest bike on the market overnight & Triumph had its second major hit in 2 years. Life was good for Triumph Motorcycles, then World War 2 intervened & all civilian production ceased to make was for war production.

1951 Triumph Tiger 100, Triumph T100 Tiger, Triumph Tiger, Triumph motorcycles, Triumph Thunderbird, Triumph TR6, Triumph Trophy

1951 Triumph T100 Tiger. Still has a rigid frame but now has telescopic front forks.



POSTWAR BOOM
Triumph Motorcycles wasted no time getting back to business, after the cessation of hostilities. Their factory has been destroyed by German bombers in 1942 & a new factory had been built from the ground up. Edward Turner, now General Manager of Triumph Motorcycles, planned to focus production exclusively on twin-cylinder machines (his babies). Shortages of raw materials were rampant in England after the war, everything from steel, to rubber to electricity being in short supply. Priority was given to companies who were exporting products overseas & Turner rightly reasoned that the twins had the biggest export market. Single cylinders were dropped from the lineup & the twin flourished. In 1946 civilian production resumed & immediately Triumph 6T Speed Twins and its hotter sibling, the Triumph T100 Tiger, began rolling off the assemblyline. The 1946 Triumph T100 Tiger was a 500cc vertical twin with a single carburetor & a rigid frame, but the girder front end had been upgraded to telescopic forks.

1955 Triumph Tiger T110, Triumph Tiger, Triumph T110, Triumph Tiger 110, Triumph motorcycles, Triumph T100

1955 Triumph T110 Tiger 650. Swingarm rear suspension started in '54.



TWO TIGERS FIGHT SIDE-BY-SIDE
By 1950, even the hottest 500 Tiger twin wasn't fast enough. Edward Turner bored & stroked the 500 out to 649cc & the Triumph 6T Thunderbird was born. By this time, there were two Tigers, the T100 & the T100C, both 500 twins. In 1954, they introduced a second Tiger, this one a 650, called the T110 Tiger, or Tiger 110, with the same inferred claim to 110mph top speed. So now, and for the balance of the pre-unit years (ending in 1958 for the 500 & 1962 for the 650), one could own a Tiger that was either a 500 (T100 & T100C) or a 650 (T110).

1960 Triumph Tiger 110, Triumph T110 Tiger, Triumph motorcycles, Triumph Thunderbird, Tiger T110, Tiger T100

1960 Triumph T110 Tiger, shows the short-lived "Bathtub" styling.



BATHTUB STYLING FAD
In the late-1950s, a styling trend was prevalent among British Motorcycle Manufacturers toward enclosing & streamlining their machines. The Velocette Vogue & Vincent Black Prince are examples of this, & their aim was clearly to make life easier for English riders who had to contend with inclement weather. Triumph was soon to follow suit. The Triumph Thunderbird & the Triumph Tiger 100 & Tiger 110 already had fully-valanced fenders & a headlight nacelle, but this was taken further still by enclosing the entire rear section of the frame, from the engine back. This large sheetmetal "bathtub" encapsulated the oil tank, battery tray, tool box & rear fender all in one bulbous, unattractive mass. The 6T Thunderbird sported Bathbub styling from 1960 through 1962, but the 650 Tiger T110 ceased production in 1961, so Bathtub Tigers ran 1960-61.

1967 Triumph T100C Tiger, Triumph Tiger 500, Triumph T100, Triumph Tiger 100, Triumph motorcycles

1967 Triumph T100C Tiger 500 with high pipes.



UNIT CONSTRUCTION CHANGES EVERYTHING
Triumph was in the process of unitizing all it's engines. Instead of a separate engine, primary chaincase & gearbox all bolted together with heavy steel plates in the frame, all 3 component sets were now placed into one common set of cases, into one unit, ie: "unit construction". The 500 twin had gone 'unit' in 1959 & in 1963, the 650 would follow. This had an effect on the Tiger line, which was made up of both pre-unit 500s & 650s. The T100 & T100C Tigers (500 twins) continued only until the new unit construction 500s took over in 1960 with the T100A Tiger 100, followed by a litany of Tiger 500s. There would be no unit-construction 650 Tigers until the Oil-in-Frame 1971 Triumph TR6R Tiger.

1968 Triumph T100C Tiger, Triumph Tiger 100, Triumph T100, Triumph motorcycles,

1968 Triumph T100S Tiger 500, with downpipes.



TIGER 500s THUNDER THRU THE 60's
The 650 was dropped from the Triumph Tiger lineup just prior to it going 'unit' for the 1963 model year. The last 650 Tiger was the 1961 Triumph T110 Tiger 110. Through the 1960's the 650 lineup would include the Triumph Bonneville, the TR6 & for a few more years, the frumpy Thunderbird. Instead all 1960's Triumph Tigers from here on would be 500s, except for a new, smaller Tiger, the T90 Tiger 90, which was based on the 350cc 3T twin, which ran from 1963 through 1969. The 500 Tigers went by several different model designations during this period, T100, T100S & T100SS.

1973 Triumph TR7 Tiger, Triumph Tiger, Triumph TR7, Triumph motorcycles, Triumph TR6, Triumph Bonneville

A 1973 Triumph TR7RV Tiger, the first of the 750 Tigers.



OIL-IN-FRAME TIGERS
The 1960's ended at the same time the Britain's domination of the motorcycle market ended. While the 1970 Triumph Motorcycles were fast, stylish & sold well, the emergence of Honda as a major player in the heavyweight class was a bad omen. The new Honda 750 Four had stunned the world with its value & sophistication, something that even the wickedly-cool 3-cylinder Triumph Trident couldn't do & the entire British motorcycle industry had nothing in the pipeline that could match it.

HOW THE MIGHT FALL
They would have been in trouble anyway, even if it hadn't been for all the poor planning, underhanded dealings, mismanagement & general lack of funds. But indeed all these things made a bad situation much worse. BSA, once one of the largest multinational corporations in the world & THE largest producer of motorcycles as recently as 1960, was now practically on death's door & taking Triumph Motorcycles (which it owned) with it. But not before they screwed things up good, which was, by this time, standard operating procedure at BSA.

TURNING MISMANAGEMENT INTO AN ARTFORM
Their overpriced & grossly incompetent tech center, Umberslade Hall, had come up with the brilliant idea of solving the 650 twins' myriad problems with a new frame which carried the oil internally within the backbone of the frame itself, rather than in a separate oil tank. This was something no one asked for or wanted. Many more urgent problems needed to be addressed in the 650: Vibration, oil leaks, dodgy electrics & overall spotty build quality, not to mention a burning need for a 5-speed, an electric starter & a disk brake to match Honda. To make matters worse, they didn't even do a good job of it. The new oil bearing frame was too tall (with a seat height of over 34 inches), most of the oil capacity in the frame couldn't be used leaving it woefully short on oil capacity & the engine couldn't be installed in the frame without partially disassembling it. All these problems delayed release until late in 1971. With it, the Tiger ceased being based on the 500 twins & from them on would be based on the 650 & 750 twins with oil-bearing frames.


Triumph Tiger MODEL DESIGNATIONS



1939.......................T100 Tiger 100 (500 pre-unit twin)

1946-58.................T100 Tiger 100 (500 pre-unit twin)

1949-58.................T100C Tiger 100 (500 pre-unit twin)

1954-61.................T110 Tiger 110 (650 pre-unit twin)

1960-61.................T100A Tiger 100 (500 unit twin)

1962-65.................T100SS Tiger 100 (500 unit twin)

1963-69.................T90 Tiger 90 (350 unit twin)

1966.......................T100 Tiger 100 (500 unit twin)

1967-70.................T100S Tiger 100 (500 unit twin)

1971-73.................TR6R Tiger 650 (650 unit twin)

1972-73.................TR6RV Tiger 650 (650 5-speed)

1973-83.................TR7RV Tiger 750 (750 5-speed)

1981-82.................TR6T Tiger Trail 650 (650 enduro)

1981-82.................TR7T Tiger Trail 750 (750 enduro)


Triumph Tiger YEAR-BY-YEAR


1939 Triumph T100

1939 T100 500

This pre-war 500 twin was the hottest thing on the road in 1939. A pumped up version of the pedestrian Speed Twin, it offered performance unheard of in this price-range.


1947 Triumph T100

1947 T100 500

Early post-war 500 twin. Lower compression to cope with the lousy gas in the UK at the time. Iron heads, rigid frame.


1949 Triumph T100 Tiger

1949 T100 TIGER 500

This is the last year before the arrival of the 650 Thunderbird. Until then, the 500 Tiger is one of the fastest bikes on the road!


1950 Triumph T100

1950 T100 500

Triumph's 500 parallel twin sets the pace for high performance street bikes in 1950, that it until the arrival of its bigger brother, the 650 Thunderbird.


1952 Triumph T100 Tiger

1952 T100 TIGER 500

Triumph's slick 500cc Roadster was fast, one of the fastest of its day. It quickly gained a reputation on the street & was an immediate hit.



1953 Triumph T100 Tiger

1953 T100 TIGER 500

Triumph's all-aluminum 500cc twin continues to be refined. It is a stellar performer in its day, one of the fastest bikes on the market at that time.



1955 Triumph T110 Tiger

1955 T110 Tiger 650

The T110 Tiger was Triumph's hottest & one of the fastest bikes on the street...until the TR6 came along in '56.


1958 Triumph T110 Tiger

1958 T110 TIGER

The 650 Tiger is one of the fastest bikes on the market in 1958, soon to be eclipsed by the twin-carb Bonneville in '59.


1960 Triumph T100 Tiger

1960 TRIUMPH T100 TIGER

The 500cc T100 had full bodywork earning it the nickname "Bathtub".



Check out these TRIUMPH BOOKS


TALES OF TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES & THE MERIDEN FACTORY


COMPLETE BOOK OF CLASSIC & MODERN TRIUMPHS


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES, THEIR RENAISSANCE & THE HINKLEY FACTORY


TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN & THUNDERBIRD BIBLE


HINKLEY TRIUMPH TRIPLES & FOURS ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


TRIUMPH PRODUCTION TESTERS’ TALES FROM THE MERIDEN FACTORY


TURNER’S TRIUMPHS: EDWARD TURNER & HIS TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


TRIUMPH TROPHY BIBLE


HINKLEY TRIUMPHS, THE FIRST GENERATION


BONNIE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TRIUMPH: A CENTURY OF PASSION & POWER


TRIUMPH TWIN RESTORATION


CONENTRY’S BICYCLE HERITAGE


HOW TO RESTORE YOUR BSA ROCKET III/TRIUMPH TRIDENT


TRIUMPH & BSA TRIPLES: THE COMPLETE STORY OF THE TRIDENT & ROCKET 3


TIGER CUB BIBLE


TRIUMPH SINGLES: EARLY DAYS TO 1974 BY ROY BACON


BRITISH MOTORCYCLES: TRIUMPH


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION, PRE-UNIT


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TR5, 5T, 6T, T100 & T110 FACTORY SHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION


ILLUSTRATED TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE BUYER’S GUIDE BY ROY BACON


FACTORY ORIGINAL TRIUMPH TWINS 1938-1962


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: PORTRAIT OF A LEGEND


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWIN REPAIR MANUAL 1963-1983, BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES IN AMERICA


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 2001-2012 REPAIR MANUAL BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: THE ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES TWINS & TRIPLES


TRUIMPH MOTORCYCLES: FROM SPEED TWIN TO BONNEVILLE


BOOK OF TRIUMPH TWINS BY CLYMER


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BIBLE, ALL MODELS 1959-1983


TRIUMPH TIGER CUB & TERRIER 1952-1968 REPAIR MANUAL BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH RACING MOTORCYCLES IN AMERICA


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES ILLUSTRATED WORKSHOP MANUAL 1945-1955 BY CLYMER


TRIUMPH 675 DAYTONA & STREET TRIPLE REPAIR MANUAL, 2006-2010


TRIUMPH TRIPLES & FOURS 1991-2004, HAYNES REPAIR MANAUL


TRIUMPH 350 & 500 UNIT TWINS ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


TRIUMPH TWIN RESTORATION BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6 MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION GUIDE


TRIUMPH: RETURN OF THE LEGEND


BSA & TRIUMPH TRIPLES: GOLD PORTFOLIO


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION GUIDE: BONNEVILLE & TR6


TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD 6T ROAD TEST 1966


TRIUMPH 500-750 TWINS 1963-1979, SERVICE, REPAIR & PERFORMANCE MANUAL


TRIUMPH TRIPLES


HOW TO RESTORE TRIUMPH TR5/250 & TR6


HOW TO RESTORE TRIUMPH TRIDENT T150/T160


TRIUMPH THRUXTON BONNEVILLE 1959-1969


TRIUMPH TIGER 800 SERVICE MANUAL 2010-2014, HAYNES


TRIUMPH TT600 MOTORCYCLE SERVICE MANUAL


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


ORIGINAL TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TRIUMPH, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH ILLUSTRATED WORKSHOP MANUAL 1937-1951 BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH 500 UNIT TWINS 1958-1973 REPAIR MANUAL, BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH T110R DAYTONA 1966-1969


TRIUMPH OWNERS MANUAL: UNIT CONSTRUCTION 350 & 500 TWINS

TRIUMPH INSTRUCTION MANUAL: TRW 499cc SV TWIN


TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR 1939


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE YEAR-BY-YEAR


CHILTON’S TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE REPAIR & TUN-UP GUIDE


2010-14 TRIUMPH TIGER 800 HAYNES SERVICE MANUAL


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWINS: BONNEVILLE, TIGER, TROPHY & THUNDERBIRD


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION: PRE-UNIT, BY TIM REMUS


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION, BY TIM REMUS


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE ROAD TEST PORTFOLIO, 2001-2008


TRIUMPH TRIDENT & BSA ROCKET 3 OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL, BY HAYNES


HINKLEY TRIUMPHS: THE FIRST GENERATION


TRIUMPH FUEL INJECTED TRIPLES 1997-2000


TRIUMPH SINGLES: EARLY DAYS TO 1974, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL, BY HAYNES


TRIUMPH DAYTONA, SPEED TRIPLE, SPRINT & TIGER 1995-2005 HAYNES SHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH TIGER 100 & DAYTONA


McQUEEN’S MACHINES: THE CARS & BIKES OF A HOLLYWOOD ICON


TRIUMPH TWENTY-ONE TO DAYTONA: THE C-CLASS 350 & 500 TWINS


TRIUMPH 750/900 TRIPLES & 1200 FOUR 1991-1999 HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL


TRIUMPH, THE LEGENDS SERIES


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES & CUSTOM BIKES


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES TWINS & TRIPLES, BY REMUS


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: THEIR RENAISSANCE & THE HINKLEY FACTORY


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES FROM 1950-1988


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: THE GOLDEN YEARS


THE SCRAPBOOK SERIES I - TRIUMPH


TRIUMPH DAYTONA 1991-2006 ROAD TEST PORTFOLIO


CYCLE WORLD ON TRIUMPH 1967-1972


TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN & THUNDERBIRD BIBLE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: T120/T140, BY HAYNES


SAVE THE BONNEVILLE: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE MERIDEN CO-OP


TRIUMPH: THE RACING STORY


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS


LITTLE BOOK OF BRITISH MOTORCYCLES: TRIUMPH


CHILTON’S NEW REPAIR & TUNE-UP GUIDE FOR TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


THE TRIUMPH STORY: RACING & PRODUCTION MODELS 1902 TO PRESENT


TRIUMPH 1050 SPRINT, SPEED TRIPLE & TIGER, HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL


ILLUSTRATED TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE BUYERS GUIDE POST-1945, ROY BACON


COMPLETE BOOK OF CLASSIC & MODERN TRIUMPHS


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TIGER 100/DAYTONA: DEVEOPMENT HISTORY OF THE 500 TWIN


TOURING TRIUMPH TWINS, 3T, 5T, 6T, 3TA & 5TA, 1938-1966 BY ROY BACON


FACTORY TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE SERVICE MANUAL


TRIUMPH CYCLES PATENT COLLECTION


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE OWNERS HANDBOOK, ALL MODELS 1937-1951


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ALL MODELS FROM 1937




CHILTON’S REPAIR & TUNE-UP GUIDE, TRIUMPH THROUGH 1972


OVERHAUL MANUAL FOR TRIUMPH 3-CYLINDER ENGINE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE T120, 1959-1974, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH TIGER T100 & T110, 1939-1961, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH T90 & T100 UNIT TWINS, 1960-1974, BY ROY BACON


TRIUMPH REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOGUE, 1972 TRIDENT T150


TRIUMPH TRIDENT SUPER PROFILE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE GOLD PORTFOLIO, 1959-1983


1969 TRIUMPH TROPHY 250 REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOGUE


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWIN OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH: RED HOT BIKES


1966 TRIUMPH REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOG #6: 3TA, 5TA, T90 & T100S/S


1961 TRIUMPH REPLACEMENT PARTS CATALOG: TWNETY-ONE, SPEED TWIN, TIGER 100


BONNEVILLE: THE WORLD’S FASTEST MOTORCYCLES


TRIUMPH WORKSHOP MANUAL FOR 750 BONNEVILLE & TIGER


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6 BY TIM REMUS


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 UNIT TWINS 1963-1983, HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL


TRIUMPH OWNERS HANDBOOK FOR 1973 BONNEVILLE & TIGER


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH 350/500 TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL



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