Tiger is one of the most popular motorcycle lineups by a motorcycle manufacturer today. Tiger is also a reason why adventure-touring motorcycles have become a huge success in the recent years – it is big but not quite as intimidating as BMW’s gigantic R1200 GS.
But clearly enough, Tiger is not a new brand by Triumph, it is old, very old. In fact, history of Tiger motorcycles dates back to 1930s! And today, we have one of the earliest Tigers – the Tiger 70 – with a 249cc single cylinder engine having overhead valve (OHV) and naturally air-cooled.
It is a 1934 model and we would wholeheartedly like to thank Mr. Gurmukh Singh for giving us this truly unique opportunity to come face-to-face with this classic. A person would be lucky to even find it on OLX but taking a chance won’t hurt anybody. So go ahead and try out your luck if you’re looking for a motorcycle like this.
The styling of the Tiger 70 is of a typical classic – a standard fuel tank which resides on a basic frame and it’s rigid in nature (no suspension at the rear), round headlamp up front along with girder suspension. Then there is the single rider seat only (no such provision for the pillion) as this was supposed to be a race model. The single rider seat exposes the full rear fender making the design of the motorcycle appear streamlined. Also, the original pain of the motorcycle was silver and black but Mr. Gurmukh painted it in racing pink. This color was once an official color in Triumph.
Although, there are two elements of Tiger 70 that stand out today because – they are terribly outdated but this is how engineering was back then. First is the 4-speed hand-shift gear lever which is on the right side of the fuel tank and secondly, the valve spring that is clearly visible from the outside of the cylinder head. They can be seen moving as the valve operates, just like looking at an engine’s inside, fascinating.
It came with two exhausts (each on one side) even though it was single cylinder motorcycle. The exhausts are angled up like in a Scrambler type of a motorcycle. Since it was a racing model, the headlight could be easily removed to place the racing number plate. Also, there are adjusters for the front suspension with the most basic of settings you could imagine at that time – soft and hard – simple.
Riding a motorcycle like the Tiger 70 is very tricky for people like us and potentially dangerous as well for the fact that it has a hand gear shifter. While we won’t argue if it’s easy or difficult to operate but it’s definitely not as fuss free as a conventional foot shifter that is on the correct side (left). It is also highly distracting. The age old engine was good enough to produce around 16 BHP of power at 5,800 RPM which wasn’t bad for its time. It is said to have a top speed of nearly 105 km/h.
Tiger 70 demands lots of concentration while riding. There are no two ways about it. Hand shifter alone makes things ultra complicated and the whole riding experience completely different. It is a proper period motorcycle if you ask us. Everything from the design to the mechanicals will take you to an entirely different time. Today, look how the Tiger has become, totally unbelievable!
We would sincerely like to thank Mr. Gurmukh Singh for giving us the time and the opportunity to have a glance at his Triumph Tiger 70.