Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Triumph tiger. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Triumph tiger. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 15 April 2016

Triumph Tiger History

First gen Tiger from the late '30s
I've been finding out the history of Triumph Tigers from various places on the interwebs. The first Tigers were born just before World War 2 and were quickly put on hold when the war started. With rigid rear frames and girder front suspensions, these were 1930s bikes in every sense.

Tigers followed the steady evolution in motorbike technology throughout the Twentieth Century, and also followed some rather silly styling trends, like shrouding the mechanicals in 1950s aero inspired nonsense.


'69 Tiger made in the UK the same
year I was!  Nice high pipes!

Pam Anderson riding
a Tiger!
Things get interesting again in the 1960s, with late '60s Tigers, along with the British motorcycle industry in general reaching a zenith before being crushed by their own weight and a lithe, hungry wave of Japanese imports.


Through the long, dark tea time of the soul in the '70s and '80s (and while my parents and thousands of others fled the country) Triumph went down in flames along with much of British manufacturing.  In '83 John Bloor, a building contractor who was looking into the purchase of the derelict Triumph factory to build more homes ended up buying the brand.  After sitting on it for a while he rebooted it and built a new factory.  

It's one of the best examples of British manufacturing rising out of the ashes of old money and old ideas and embracing a more effective approach to manufacturing.  Without the conservative  establishments of aristocratic ownership and unionized labour Bloor was able to reignite British engineering and give it chance to shine again.  You might think that it isn't properly British if it isn't mired in limited social mobility and the kind of Kafka-esque bureaucracy that makes building something well next to impossible, but that was only a moment in Twentieth Century British history and doesn't speak to the engineering prowess of our little island.

After Triumph rebooted in the early '90s, the Tiger reappeared in '93 during the second wave of model introductions.  An early example of what came to be known as adventure bikes, the Tiger was a tall, long suspension, multi-purpose machine running a three cylinder engine.  

Having tapped into this trend while it was still only popular in continental Europe, Triumph's Tiger line has been a key part of their brand for the past twenty plus years.  If asked what bike I'd want to take around the world tomorrow, the Tiger Explorer is at the top of the list.

Tigers have been around, in one form or another, since before World War Two.  I'm looking forward to getting to know the one I found this month.


TigerLinks:
http://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/2013/march/mar1113-triumph-tifer-timeline/
http://www.classic-british-motorcycles.com/1969-triumph-tr6.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_TR6_Trophy
http://www.triumphworld.co.uk/pages/triumph-enthusiasts/all-things-triumph/tiger-history.htm
http://www.rat-pack.com/TriumphHistory.php
http://www.gregwilliams.ca/?p=1693
http://www.ianchadwick.com/motorcycles/triumph/time03.html

















Monday, 23 May 2016

Tiger Chains & Parts

Top gear at 4000rpm has me going
about 100km/hr, so it looks like I have
stock sprockets on the Tiger.
A one tooth more relaxed front sprocket
knocks a couple of hundred RPM off
the bike at 100km/hr and takes the
edginess off low speed throttle.

Chain & Agony: The Return


Now that I'm off a shaft driven bike, I'm back into the black magic that is chain geometry!  A trip to Gearing Commander has me working out the details of an '03 Triumph Tiger 955i's chain and sprockets.  The stock set is a 18T (eighteen tooth) front sprocket and a 46T (forty-six tooth) rear sprocket.  The chain is a 530-50 114.


A number of riders suggested a 19T (nineteen tooth) front sprocket to calm the bike down a bit.  The chain and sprockets are happy right now, but when it finally comes to a change, I think I'll go the 19T way.  Motorbike sprockets run backwards from bicycle ones - the smaller sprocket is attached to the engine, so the more teeth, the bigger the gearing.

LINKS & CHAIN INFORMATION


The 530 114 chain on the Tiger has a pitch of 5/8 of an inch (the 5 is 5 x ⅛" - a 4 series chain would be 4 x ⅛" or half an inch of pitch).  Five-eighths pitch chains have a  roller diameter of 0.400".    The 30 part of the 530 refers to roller width, which in this case is 3 x  ⅛" or 3/8th of an inch.  A 520 chain would have a roller width of 2 x ⅛", or a quarter of an inch.  If you want to understand chain sizes, get a handle on that rule of 8 (all the numbers refer to eighths of an inch).
The 114 refers to the number of links in the chain (its length).


How to change a chain on a Tiger (video)
Triumph Tiger 955i parts list

<- 520 and 530 chains & sprockets widths compared


Tiger Changes of Oil

A fifty dollar US ($300CDN) magnetic
oil drain plug.
Triumph magnetic oil drain plugs.
M14x1.5x16
(that's a metric 14mm width, 1.5mm distance between the threads, 16 mm long drain plug).

Entertaining Triumph oil drain plug banter (and the idea to put hard drive magnets on your oil filter, which is what I'm doing instead of ordering an expensive custom drain plug from The States).

The Tiger has been using a bit of oil (which is evidently within spec) but I don't know what the previous owner's mechanic put in it - putting in not Mobil 1 Synthetic (which Triumph states is the preferred oil) would be a great way to make money on an oil change.  If I swap in the good stuff, then I know what's in it.

I'm also putting on a K&N oil filter with a higher spec than the stock one and putting a couple of hard drive magnets on the bottom of it to catch any metal shavings dancing around in there.

I did the oil change yesterday. I've done thousands of oil changes (it put me through university).  If that oil was changed last fall I'm a monkey's uncle.  The Triumph filter on it had rust on it, the drain plug didn't look like it had been taken off any time recently.  Either the previous owner didn't do it, or his mechanic lied to him.  The oil was black and punky too, looking like it had been in there a long time.

With that all done I'll now look to see how much oil I'm missing every thousand kilometres (it's 3-400ml at the moment - but goodness knows what was in it or for how long).  The moral here is change the oil when you buy a used bike - you can't trust what happened before it was yours and oil is vital to keeping an engine running well.  I'm looking forward to seeing what new, correct oil does for the bike moving forward.


Other than keeping it shiny and lubricating cables and controls, there isn't much more needs doing.

It's supposed to be a beautiful long weekend.  I'm hoping to get out for some time on my very orange Tiger in my very orange Tiger shirt.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Triumph ATLAK Meet Up

The day after my Kawartha Highlands Loop I made my way north into the fancy cottage country of the Muskokas looking for Triumph's ATLAK tour Southern Ontario stop.  It says Toronto on the poster, but Torrance is over two hours and two hundred kilometres north of that.  

A chance to ride the new Tigers was very enticing so I set off with high expectations.  I'd filled up on the way in to the cottage two days earlier then done the big loop around the Kawarthas the day before.  Just after 11am I set out on hot, July Saturday with the gas gauge just above the empty bar figuring I'd fill up when I came across a gas station on the 140+kms ride up there.

From near Bobcaygeon I made my way through Kinmount and Norland on the twisty Monck Road/County Road 45.  Still no gas in sight, but I was having a good time with the light and frisky Tiger.  By the time I headed north on the 169 past Casino Rama I was astonished that I wasn't stranded yet, and the fuel light still hadn't made an appearance.  I was through Washago and onto Gasoline Alley on Highway 11 and still nothing, but if I ran out of gas on Gasoline Alley it would have made a good story.

I finally pulled into a Shell on the side of the highway just past noon, still with no warning light on.  The 24 litre tank took just over 22 litres, so I still had some wiggle room.  At about 460 kms on 22 litres of fuel, the Tiger, with 250lb me and two panniers with tools and rain gear in them managed over 49 miles per gallon (4.8 litres per 100kms), that's within one mile per gallon of a Prius, and I wasn't riding it gently.  I'm not sure how much fun driving a Prius is, but it's never doing 0-60 in four seconds like the Tiger had been, and the Tiger isn't a black hole of resource production in its manufacture.

I pulled into Clear Lake Brewery in Torrance, just west of Gravenhurst, at about 1:30pm.  I'd missed lunch, but wanted to get there early and get signed in.  There in lay my only mistake on this trip.  I'd foolishly assumed that Triumph turning up with a bunch of Tigers would mean an opportunity to ride them.  I'd done this with Kawasaki previously, so it didn't seem like a crazy idea, and with details like, "Come spend a day at an event highlighting Triumph’s dynamic new ADV bikes – the class-leading Tiger 800 and technical juggernaut Tiger 1200.  Register today for an adventure of epic proportions. can you feel my confusion?  Surely an epic adventure implies an opportunity to ride, no?

After milling around for an hour and half in alternating patchy rain and then extreme humidity while watching Clinton Smout disappear on a variety of different Tigers, I was starting to wonder if I'd misunderstood the intent of this event.  A microphone was set up, but no one was using it.  We'd been handed out wrist bands and a swag bag of Tiger stuff, which was cool, but I was still waiting for someone to pick up that mic and start the thing.  A few people commented on my old Tiger (the oldest there by a decade, easily), but for the most part the majority of people showed up in like new, matching, name brand adventure wear on twenty grand, low mileage bikes and walked right by it.  They seemed happy to stand around talking a good ride, but that isn't my thing.

It was the last weekend of the World Cup on a summer weekend, so the Brewery was packed with people.  Trying to get a table, let alone something to eat (evidently what our wrist bands were for) wasn't likely without a big wait.  I finally overheard one of the organizers say, "it's just a meet and greet with a chance to see the new Tigers and talk about riding opportunities in the area."  The "epic adventure" was a show and tell?  After hearing this I was back at my Tiger in seconds getting packed up.

So close yet so far!
Before I left I figured I'd get some Clear Lake Brewery beer having never heard of it before, but the fridge in the entrance  was empty.  A quick trip  to the toilet and I was ready to make some tracks.  Someone had parked in front of me, but I backed the Tiger up the hill by the handlebars and saddled up.  Getting some Triumph swag and looking at the new Tigers was nice and all, but it wasn't what I thought I was doing that day.  I'm not a big fan of sitting around talking about motorcycles, I prefer to be riding them.

On the way in I'd noticed Muskoka District Road 13 cutting south around the lakes and rocks of the Canadian Shield out of Torrance.  It was well past 3pm and I hadn't eaten anything since that morning, but I knew steak was waiting for me at the cottage so I figured I'd just push on.  13 is a roller-coaster of a thing and a delight to ride.  Like all Ontario roads, some parts of it are so rough you're better off on a long suspension bike just to get over it, but other parts were smooth and very entertaining.  If you're in the area it's well worth the ride.  There's me talking about nice rides in the area for ya.

The highway portion of the ride was only about one exit long and I was back in Washago before I knew it.  I stopped at the massive LCBO off the highway (probably there thanks to Casino Rama being nearby) and finally got some beer, then retraced my route back out of Muskoka and across the Kawartha Lakes, this time with a full tank and no anxiety.  I ended up stopping once in Norland for a fruit filled tart and a small coffee before finishing the ride into the woods and back to the family cottage.

I've got no regrets in making the ride up to Torrance.  It was cool to see the new bikes but baffling to not get to ride them (unless you're Clinton Smout).  The ride up and back was entertaining and the Tiger hat is one of my son's favorites now, so that's a win.  Knowing then what I know now, I'd still probably have made the trip up there anyway, but it sure would have been nice to see how Triumph Tiger state of the art had moved along in the fifteen years since my bike came off the production line.

Sometimes it's the expectations that let you down rather than the thing itself.

Some photos from ATLAK:










The kit on hand had nice details like waterproof zips and looked like it would vent well.  None to try on though...

Toronto in a Toronto is really all of Ontario kind of way.  Torrance is over 200kms north of it...


... and from the ride back down Muskoka Regional Road 13 and home:

About to go flip the Roof's chin and go full face down on Gasoline Alley...
Muskoka Road 13 is a treat, but a bit rough in places.

Norland for a tart and some coffee...

2003 Triumph Tiger 955i Fuel Mileage Details:
https://goo.gl/maps/5Zcv7TbTq2t
22 Litre fill up - still 2 litres in the tank.
Gas mileage is: 21.14 kilometers per liter, 4.73 liters per 100 kilometers, or 49.72 miles per gallon.
Distance traveled since last time is: 465 kilometers. ~49.72mpg...

Monday, 22 August 2016

Whimsical Tigers


On our recent cross-Ontario ride we were stopped a number of times by people who were curious about the Tiger.  This is an eye catching, obviously modern looking bike with a Triumph logo, it prompted questions.  If they see a new 'classic' Triumph, most of the general public think it's actually a classic.  They wouldn't recognize the difference between fuel injection and carburetors even if it's advertised on the bike, they just see an old machine.


Colourful Triumphs of yore.
The Naughties were neon!
The confusion of a new-looking Triumph (even though it's 13 years old), and what they thought a Triumph should be isn't too surprising, and I'm happy to fill them in on the triumphant return of the brand (it's a good story), but it makes me question the modern bike colours and styles.

When we went to get the Tiger, 11 year old Max's eyes bulged out of his head and I knew we had a winner.  Who makes a Lucifer orange tiger with stripes?  Triumph in 2003, that's who.  When they weren't churning out violently orange Tigers, they were putting out a wild assortment of colours.  Of course, this was before Ewan & Charlie jumped on their austere Bayerische Motoren Werkes R1200s and reset the aesthetic paradigm for adventure motorcycles.


Why so serious?
That muted blue is as close as you get
to colour on a new Tiger.  Other choices
include military green or grey.  A purposeful
look is what sells  adventure bikes  nowadays...

and don't forget to dress like a starship trooper!
Nowadays everything has to appear relentlessly purposeful and ridden by people who look like they've just landed on an alien planet.  Whimsy and fun are replaced by bikes that look like they come from Army surplus, and riders who just got decommissioned from the special forces.  No wonder people were eager to walk up and start a conversation with the guy and his son on their brilliantly orange Tiger that looks like it just popped out of Winnie the Pooh.  The public wants to be curious about motorcycles, but a lot of motorcyclists seem determined to make themselves as unapproachable as possible, and manufacturers have to cater to that attitude in order to sell.

Besides paint options there is also the issue of styling.  I find the compound curves and organic look of our 955i Tiger very engaging.  Whomever was designing Triumphs in the early Naughties did it pretty much exactly the same way I would have.  Since then Triumph, along with most other brands, have been chasing a more chiselled, hard edged look.  Lamborghini did a stealth fighter aesthetic after the Diablo with crisp, folded edges and it seems to have spread.  Between the muted colours, sharp edged styling and attitude driven rider styles, it's little wonder that our whimsical Tiger had people approaching us.

I realize manufacturers have got to build to the tastes of the day, but I'm hoping there are a group of motorcyclists out there who aren't so serious and miss those fantastic styles and colours.  If there are, there is hope that my whimsical Tiger won't be so exceptional in the future.






LINKS
Even when they're blue, they're
mostly  black.

https://rideapart.com/articles/what-the-color-of-your-motorcycle-says-about-you
Black motorcycles are dead sexy. No, really. Researchers at the University of Kentucky (March, 2011) found that in 36% of crashes involving a driver’s failure to observe a motorcycle and then turning into its path involved black motorcycles.

Army green, ready to attack
those adventures!
Looks like whimsical colours can keep you alive!  It might be time to bring back peppermint green and neon puce!

http://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/new-bikes/2013/june/jun0413-triumph-releases-new-colours-and-a-sprint-gt-special-edition/
As the years go by, the colours get more and more muted.



I like my Tigers Tigger-like...
Triumph has a great sense of humour, just not with adventure bikes (those are very serious).

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

My local Triumph dealer and stealing a late November ride

The end of fall is happening abruptly
I keep thinking I'm at the end of the riding season but opportunities are continually arising.  After a fairly miserable trip to the doctor I found myself free on an unseasonably warm late November day.  My usual M.O. is to head into the country and find twisty roads.  Less people+twisty roads = happiness!  This time I did the opposite.  I was curious where my local Triumph dealer was now that I own one.  It turns out it's 136kms away, so not exactly local.  Getting there involved a blast down the highway, something else I don't frequent.  In fact, I don't think I've been on a major highway since the Lobo Loco Rally in August.  I live in the country and avoid population centres and the highways that connect them.  People are tedious.  People in traffic are doubly so.


The Tiger almost ended up here last March
until I made a desperate plea to the previous
owner on the eve of him trading it in.  It
finally showed up at the dealership it was
almost sold to for a quick visit.
Inglis Cycle is located in the east end of London, Ontario.  I hadn't been around there since attending the air show in the late 1980s; it's much more developed now.  After a blast down the 401 at warp speeds I worked my way through an awful lot of traffic lights before finding the dealership behind an abandoned factory.  With their parking lot cut up and the neighborhood looking like a demilitarized zone I cautiously went inside.

I was met by one of the Inglis brothers and he gave me a quick, low pressure introduction.  Walking into a dealer you sometimes get the sense that they're only interested in you if you've got money to spend that day.  Inglis Cycle was welcoming and relaxed.  I felt like I could wander around and look at the bikes on display without any tension, so I did but I was only really there for one particular brand, the one I can't find at home...




The Street Triple is a pretty thing, but I still think I'd go Z1000 if I were to get a naked bike.



I really like Triumph.  I consider them an example of what Britain is capable of when it doesn't get all bound up in socialist nonsense or historical classism.  Freed from all that cultural weight the new Triumph is a competitive global manufacturer.

After a wander around the Triumphs on display I came back to the Triumph Tiger Explorer which is a nice piece of kit.  As an all purpose machine it'll do everything from swallowing highway miles to light off road work.  I've thrown my leg over enough bikes to be aware of how silly I look on typically sized machines; the big Tiger fits.

The Street Triple is a lovely looking thing but too small.  Were I to do the naked bike thing it'd be on the more substantial Kawasaki Z1000.  The other classically styled Triumphs are also things of beauty but I don't think I'd fit on any of them.

I wrapped up the visit with a trip to the accessories department where they had your typical assortment of dealer-type motorcycle gear and a sad lack of the lovely gear Triumph sells online.  I ended up picking up an Inglis Cycle Triumph t-shirt, but it was a pretty low rent printed t-shirt compared to the bling on Triumph Canada.  It's a shame as I was ready to drop a bit of coin on a nice bit of Triumph wear.

I headed north through heavy lunch-time traffic out of London getting stopped twice by people wanting to know what kind of bike I was riding (it says Triumph Tiger on it).  Score another one for the increasingly unique old Tiger 955i with its Lucifer Orange paint and stripes.

Once clear of the flotsam I was able to burn down some country roads in June-like temperatures, though all the trees were bare.  I'd seen a comely sign for St Mary's when we were riding back from the Lake Huron navigation so that was my lunch destination.


 I'd looked up Little Red's Pub the day before (highest rated place to eat in town) and was aiming there for lunch.  As luck would have it there was a parking spot right out front and a front window table waiting for me.  I had a lovely fish and chip lunch (hand made fries, a good bit of halibut) and a good stretch before getting back on the Tiger for the long ride home.


St Mary's is as pretty as its sign.
Since that day the temperature has plunged (below freezing as a high every day) and it has snowed multiple times.  This time the end really has come.  The batteries are out of the bikes and down in the warm basement on trickle charge.  This time of year with its increasing gloom and lousy weather makes that first ride of the spring feel so very far away.