Written on: 26/06/2004 by Bertie (27 reviews written)
In 1954, the fastest production motorbike on the road.
Petrol consumption in the high 70s.
Arguably, the most stylish machine available in 1954.
Quick-wear swinging-arm bearings.
High oil consumption when ridden hard.
Feeling of instability on tight corners due to single down-tube frame flexing.
The Triumph Tiger 110 was THE bike to own in 1954. Combined with outstanding fuel economy came outstanding performance. The only faster bikes were the Vincent 1,000s at considerably more expense and their manufacture had ceased.
The claimed brake horse power from its twin-cylinder engine was 42 at 6,500 RPM which figure could well have been a flash reading on the factory's dynamometer as the 110's top speed and acceleration was not ALL that better than the Triumph Tiger 100 at a nominal 500 cc.
Apart from the frame flexure on tight corners, the bike is very rideable and the gearchange on the separate gearbox is light and very precise. Braking is just short of 30 feet at 30 MPH - a very good figure in those days being helped by the air-cooled 8 inch front brake.
As was typical of most of the British motorbikes 50 or so years ago, home maintenance was within the scope of the owner who possessed the necessary tools and even faults on the lighting and ignition circuits were not beyond home repair, unlike most of the modern machines with their high-tech construction and specification.
In 1954, the original cast-iron cylinder head was replaced with an aluminium alloy job called the 'Delta' head which was claimed to have better heat characteristics which allowed tighter valve clearances giving improved engine performance. The barrels remained cast-iron. The Tiger 100 had an all-aluminium engine.
All in all, a viable motor cycle today. The fuel economy will depend somewhat on whether the valve seats have been modified for unleaded petrol, otherwise LRP will be necessary unless genuine leaded petrol is available and apparantly not many garages sell it.
I must imagine a modern Japanese 400 will outperform the Tiger 110 now but not by too much! If an affordable one in good running order were available, I'd buy it but good examples are rare and therefore expensive.
I hope the examples that are still running will continue to do so for a long time to come for I understand that most spares are readily available.
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