Triumph Tiger 100

1955 Triumph Tiger 100

This Triumph Tiger 100 has had a couple of narrow escapes in its life. Its previous owner had decided that he wanted to build himself a TR5 Replica and had bought this original and largely complete Tiger 100. He duly took it completely to pieces and promised himself he’d get on with the rebuild at some point – however, it stood there for years and years, which current keeper Ian Gibson remembers well.

“I kept going to see it, but he’d never sell. It went on for years. One day, I spoke to him in front of his wife and said: ‘Why don’t I give you some money to take the wife on holiday with?’ That’s how I bought it!”

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Ian and his father John then set about restoring it. “Dad (John) did all the paintwork,” explains Ian, and it is a testament to the original finish that it still looks so sparkling today.

It started off as a local bike to the Gibsons, being supplied by Armstrongs in Middlesbrough. There are some suggestions it was used at least semi-competitively in its early days, with a speed trial mentioned, though it has never been proven.

Throughout its life it never strayed far from the Teesside area, being in its incomplete ‘TR5 replica’ state for about 15 years. Before that, it was kept by a man who raced grasstrack as a ‘spare’ – mercifully his number one Triumph never let him down, so the Tiger 100 was saved an off-road thrashing and probable destruction. That was two near misses for a machine that seems to have enjoyed something of a charmed existence.

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But, says Ian: “It was in a hell of a state when we got it. A true basket case… there were three tea chests full of bits. The guy selling said: ‘Everything is there’ and I was rather sceptical… but true to his word, it was!”

Apparently, he (the vendor) had nearly chucked the old mudguards out, but then, for whatever reason, decided to keep them. It was a similar story for various other components too.

Despite its immaculate appearance, the Tiger has not been cosseted in its 13 years on the nation’s highways and byways. “I’ve ridden it for a lot of miles,” reckons Ian. “The acceleration is terrific, it’s much quicker than our (650cc BSA) Golden Flash.”

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Among the only things missing were the correct ammeter – but Ian met a German enthusiast at Stafford who made him one specially, adding a finishing touch to a superb example of a famous model. bike

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