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Classic, Vintage & Veteran For Coventry and Meriden Models. Anything pre-Hinckley goes.

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Meriden models

Guys,

Bear with me a little. Triumph and BSA went out about when I started riding. Dirt bikes, Yamaha's, Kawa Z1, many years. Started with Triumph in 1999. Riding Big T-bird now.
My question, as I didn't ride them back then. Were the old tigers ever used off-road? How much difference is there between Trophy and Bonneville? I know the names were used again for tradition, just wondering. My friend bought one of the last BSA victor/Goldstar and had terrible problems with it back then.

thanks

Dan
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 01:13 PM
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Back in the day all off road bikes were four stroke

Do you mean Tiger as in 650? As in a single carb Bonnie?
Then yes

Steve McQueen liked triumphs in the 60's and triumph made more of an enduro than mudplugger 750 in the 80's
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Dave,

Thanks for the reply. So the tigers were dirt bikes. Were the ISDT bikes special build? Or could you get Bonnie's as off-road.

Dan
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 04:25 PM
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Tigers were single carb versions of bonnevilles

There were road or off road depending on market

It isn't helped by the term trophy /tiger being used for 500's and 650

ISDT is a specific build for a specific race type ( international six day trial)
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 07:28 PM
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Hi Dan,

Firstly, welcome to the Forum.

With all due respect to Dave, he's trying to summarise a catering-size can of worms in too few lines.

"Tiger" in relation to Triumphs was originally coined by Edward Turner when he was put in charge of the newly-formed Triumph Engineering Company in 1936. The desperate need was to sell bikes, he inherited fairly mundane 250, 350 and 500 singles, he hit on the idea of chroming a few parts like the tanks and calling 'em "Tiger 70", "Tiger 80" and "Tiger 90", the numbers alluding to the bikes' top speeds.

Turner had his iconic 500 cc "Speed Twin" ready for 1937, followed a year later by the "Tiger 100".

Following WW2, Turner essentially enlarged the 500 twins' bore 'n' stroke to create first the 650 cc "Thunderbird", followed by the "Tiger 110".

In a separate development, Triumph decided to support a factory team in the ISDT - International Six Days Trial. This was more long-distance riding on unsurfaced roads rather that what GB calls "trials" - getting motorcycles (and cars) over impossibly-large obstacles at very low speed.

When the Triumph team won the ISDT, an off-road version of - at first - the 500 twin became part of the range - called the "Trophy", a 650 version soon followed.

So, thus far, for a given engine, "Tiger" was a 'sporty' road-going version while "Trophy" was the off-road version ...

For '57, Turner developed a new 350 twin, having the engine and gearbox 'in unit' - in the same crankcase castings rather than the gearbox being separate from the engine. The following year, the engine was enlarged to 500 cc and took over from the pre-unit "Speed Twin"; another year later, the "Tiger 100" was part of the same unit-construction engine range.

Before '59, the top-of-the-range road-going 650 had been the single-carb. "Tiger 110"; '59-on, it was the twin-carb. "Bonneville" - its model code was T120.

For '63, the 650 range was redesigned with both unit-construction engines and new frames. There was still the twin-carb. T120 "Bonneville", a single-carb. road-orientated model (TR6R) and a single-carb. off-road model (TR6C) but they were both called "Trophy" ... and another a single-carb. road-orientated model, slightly differently-styled, called "Thunderbird".

In the 1960's 500 ranges, it's even harder to be precise about which name was applied to a given version - e.g. in '65 in the US, the road-orientated T100SR was called "Tiger Road Sports" and the the off-road T100SC was called "Tiger 100 Competition Trophy" ...

At the end of '66, Triumph dropped the "Thunderbird" and "Speed Twin". From '67, the twin-carb. "Daytona" became the top-of-the-range 500; "Tiger" was the single-carb. model - off-road in the US (T100C) and road-orientated in the ROTW (T100S).

In '69, the road-orientated single-carb. 650 (TR6R) became "Tiger" again ... Triumph dropped the T100S at the end of '70 and the two off-road versions - TR6C and T100C - at the end of '71. So, when the 650 twins became 750's in '73, the "Tiger" was a single-carb. road-orientated model; there wasn't another off-road "Tiger" 'til '82.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danr620 View Post
So the tigers were dirt bikes.
Uh-uh; in most years of Meriden's history, they're road bikes, and always single-carb.; "Trophy" were dirt bikes in more years, also single-carb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danr620 View Post
Were the ISDT bikes special build?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danr620 View Post
could you get Bonnie's as off-road.
Yes. Between '64 and (iirc) '67, T120C and T120TT were twin-carb. off-road versions available in the US.

Hth.

Regards,
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 04:23 AM
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I confess that when I read questions like this I tend to sit back and wait for young Stuart to reply. His replies are generally far more detailed than I can manage and once again he has not let me down.

However, describing the T120C/TT models as off road versions is not entirely correct. It's not quite that simple. The model was created for TT and Scrambles events, for 63 and 64 the bikes had high pipes but for 65 the iconic TT tucked in low pipes were introduced. For 65 only both versions were available with the high pipe version known as a Competition Sports Scrambler and the low pipe model referred to as the TT though still stamped C. For 66 the high pipe version disappeared leaving just the low pipe bike, these pipes would have made the bike useless (out of the box) for off road use. Only the first batch of 66 TT bikes kept the C stamp with the TT stamp used from then on to indicate the bikes intended use in TT (Steeple Chase) events.

I'm pretty sure there is more to it than that even.

Rod
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAVE M View Post
Back in the day all off road bikes were four stroke

Do you mean Tiger as in 650? As in a single carb Bonnie?
Then yes

Steve McQueen liked triumphs in the 60's and triumph made more of an enduro than mudplugger 750 in the 80's
UK number plate on McQueen’s bike, there is a bigger story behind this picture!

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 06:13 AM
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Hi Peg,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rancidpegwoman View Post
UK number plate on McQueen’s bike,
Quick answer is "B" indicates the bike was first registered during '64, the ISDT wasn't held outside Europe certainly between '64 and '73 so a British reg. vehicle wouldn't be a problem?

If you've a copy of The Triumph Trophy Bible, it likely has a more-detailed explanation. Or I'll look in my copy when I return ...

Hi, ho, Silverrrrr ...

Stuart
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Or I'll look in my copy when I return ...

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Hi Stuart, If you are taking a holiday and going riding, stay safe.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 06:52 AM
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BNX822B was supplied by Triumph to Steve McQueen for him to compete in the 64 ISDT in Germany.

Rod
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