Triumph T110 1954

Triumph Tiger 110 1954

Triumph T110

 

The Triumph T110 or Triumph Tiger 110 was released in 1954 and was one of the fastest motorcycles you could buy.

My father had bought a Triumph Thunderbird 650 new in 1950 and on April 3rd 1954 he took delivery of a new 1954 Triumph Tiger T110. It is pictured below.

Triumph T110 Tiger 110 1954

I think the first Triumph T110's are some of the nicest looking bikes that Triumph ever made. I have always wanted one and finally bought one in January 2012. Some pictures of it are lower down this page.

Triumph Tiger 110 Tiger  Catoon

The Triumph T110 or Triumph Tiger 110 was named "110" due to its claimed top speed. Whilst the factory (tweaked) test bikes were recorded at up to 117mph, a normal bike would may have just topped 110 mph. The Triumph T110 or Triumph Tiger 110 was produced in a beautiful shade of a light metallic shell blue, it really stood out from the rather drab and dull colours of most bikes of the era. The Triumph Tiger 110 had a 649cc engine a claimed 42hp at 6,500rpm.

The Triumph T110 was first seen at the Paris salon in October 1953 and was the first Triumph to feature swinging arm rear suspension. It was the sports version of the Triumph Thunderbird. The Triumph Tiger 110 came with a higher compression ratio of 8:1, modified porting, new camshaft and a larger Amal 289 carburettor.

In 1955 the Triumph T110 changes included: larger main bearings were fitted and a bulge under the timing side case shows if an engine has this. The carburettor was changed to a 1 1/16th bore Amal Monobloc 376 and the Lucas magneto now had a screw in cap.

1956 the Triumph T110 gained a new light alloy head with a higher 8.5:1 compression ratio.

1957 The tank badge was redesigned and a two tone colour scheme became available as an optional extra. Standard colour was now silver-grey or the optional ivory on blue for the tank with ivory mudguards with a light blue centre stripe that was gold lined.

1958 The slickshift gear change was added and allowed clutch less changes, although it was not that popular seemingly as many owners found that it gave quite a jerky gear change so continued to use the clutch lever as usual. Deeper front mudguards were now fitted and the existing 8 inch front brake now took up the full width of the hub and a steering lock now came as standard. A new twin port alloy head was also available in this year to allow twin carbs and to stand up to the extra performance the crank was now a one piece unit. You could now also get your T110 in an optional colour scheme of black on ivory.

The bikes left the factory with matching numbers on the frame and engine and these can be used to date the bike as the numbers ran in sequence. However the numbers that are scattered around the web and in a few books, purport to show bike serial numbers and year produced can be a little misleading. These numbers are in the table below:

Year Pre Unit 500 + 650
1953 32304 to 44821
1954 44822 to 56699
1955 56700 to 70929
1956 70930 to 82797 and after this 0101 to 0944
1957 0945 to 011165
1958 011166 to 020075
1959 020076 to 029633
1960 029634 to 030424

I have looked at several 1954 registered Triumph T110's that have numbers several thousand digits past the supposed cut off for 1954 bikes which is 56699. My fathers own T110 was delivered new on April 3rd 1954 and was numbered 49xxx and hence must have been built a month or more before this. Having chatted with the marque experts in this area the following needs to be considered.

Triumph calculated its model years not against calendar years (end of December) but against their year end and its summer holiday/close down. Accordingly the numbers above show production to the summer of each year. These numbers are widely circulated on the web, but require a little clarification.

You could have bought a 1954 Triumph T110 in November of 1954 and according to these widely used numbers it would be considered to be outside the 1954 Triumph model year production run even though it was a T110 built and registered in 1954. In addition Triumph tended to show its new models in October of the year and often not start actually shipping them for several months after the show. With all of this considered you could have:

If we then take the summer to summer production numbers and evenly spread them over 12 months, then we arrive at the guesstimated production numbers by month. This is just my best guess and I am sure they would have had a drop in production numbers over Christmas and New Year, but it is an educated guess. The table below shows the numbers from summer 1953 to summer 1954. Using these numbers my father's T110 would have been built around Jan to Feb. 1954, which would seem to roughly fit in with him buying in on April 3rd.

Aug-53 Sep-53 Oct-53 Nov-53 Dec-53 Jan-54 Feb-54 Mar-54 Apr-54 May-54 Jun-54 Jul-54 Aug-54
44,822 45,812 46,802 47,792 48,782 49,772 50,762 51,752 52,742 53,732 54,722 55,712 56,702

Taking the same approach with the following 12 months, the table below would apply. So using these numbers and assumptions the last 1954 specification T110's that were also built in 1954 would have been numbered around 61xxx

Aug-54 Sep-54 Oct-54 Nov-54 Dec-54 Jan-55 Feb-55 Mar-55 Apr-55 May-55 Jun-55 Jul-55 Aug-55
56,699 57,689 58,679 59,668 60,658 61,648 62,638 63,627 64,617 65,607 66,597 67,586 68,576

If any marque experts have more further clarification, then please do contact me and I will update the page. I have had some feedback on my guesstimated numbers above and it would appear that Triumph ramped up production in the new year and spring to have stock to meet the spring/early summer peak of new bike sales. I will have a go at adjusting these numbers to try and reflect this in future. My email is at the bottom of the page.

November 2012, some further info kindly supplied by a reader - The first T110 was numbered 47038. The 53rd T110 produced was made in November 1953 and was 47116 - it still exists. So it would seem that T110 production started at the earliest in October 1953 and probably in November 1953. If the literature (below) was issued on 31st October 1953 and the bike changed slightly after that, then perhaps the first bikes rolled out in November 1953 as supported by the manufacturing date of T110 # 47116.

The colour pictures (below) were taken from Triumph literature that was issued on 31st October 1953. You can see that a few things (such as the front brake) changed before the bike was first sold. In the literature below they are referring to the bike as a Triumph Tiger 110, though my father and others just seem to call them a Triumph T110. The Triumph Tiger 100 was the 500cc model.

Fact or Fiction? The following are things I have read about T110's that seem to contradict, so suggestions are welcome on which is correct:
Triumph moved away from Iron heads due to iron heads overheating and/or it was more fashionable to have an alloy head?
Early iron head T110's are both descibed as faster and slower than later alloy head versions?

So how reliable was a new T110 and what maintenance was required? My father had worked in his Dads motorcycle shop before WW2 and then worked as an engineer in the RAF, maintaining and rebuilding Merlins during the Battle of Britain - so he was a very well trained engineer and mechanic. He kept detailed logs of all his bikes and I have summarised the one for his 1954 T110 below.

WANTED - I am looking for the following bits for my 54 T110 restoration:

Set of front forks
Front brake drum and hub - pie crust '54 type
Dual seat with no white pinstripping
Front mudguard
Rear Mudguard
Fuel/Petrol tank

you can contact me via paulg@go-faster.com

Mileage Week Ending Maintenance Trips
52 03 April 1954 Mileage upon delivery. Cost £242
138 Filtrate running in compound
393 10 April 1954 Oil change and further Filtrate running in compound
593 17 April 1954 Gearbox Oil changed, Contact Breakers adjusted, Mag retimed, battery topped up & rear brake cleaned out
944 24 April 1954 oil changed, Primary chain adjusted, Carb bell mouths fitted
1,123 01 May 1954 Chain case oil changed
1,437 08 May 1954 Oil changed and rear fork greased
1,634 15 May 1954 Chains adjusted, rear chain greased, cables lubricated, battery topped up, front tyre turned, CB adv retard greased
1,809 22 May 1954
2,000 29 May 1954 Chain case oil changed
2,154 05 June 1954
2,324 12 June 1954 F80 plugs fitted
2,495 19 June 1954 Mag timing checked and Carb stripped
2,718 26 June 1954
2,975 03 July 1954 Chaincase oil and gasket changed, chains adjusted, Field Serelit Fitted??
3,140 10 July 1954 Engine oil change (XXL), Gear Box oil change (XXL), Chain case oil and gasket changed & Fork oil changed (50/50 XL Castralite??)
3,293 16 July 1954 Battery topped up France, Switzerland & Italy
4,293 24 July 1954
5,598 01 August 1954 Austria, Switzerland & France
5,769 07 August 1954 Oil Changed, Primary Oil changed, Tappets adjusted, New Mag cable fitted, New rear spoke fitted.
6,011 14 August 1954
6,719 22 August 1954 Chaincase oil changed at 6719 Wales
6,805 28 August 1954
6,972 04 September 1954
7,050 11 September 1954
7,314 18 September 1954 Speedo jumped 100 miles, Oil changed in engine, Gbox and Fork
7,563 25 September 1954
7,755 03 October 1954
7,969 10 October 1954 rear chain greased, chain case oil changed & clutch springs adjusted
8,165 16 October 1954
8,325 23 October 1954
8,485 30 October 1954
8,636 06 November 1954 Gbox oil changed and Carb cleaned
8,797 13 November 1954 Oils changed in Engine and Chaincase
9,017 20 November 1954 Ammeter repaired
9,188 27 November 1954
9,344 04 December 1954
9,506 11 December 1954 Decoke, new valve springs, Mains checked, Chaincase oil refilled
9,664 18 December 1954
9,845 25 December 1954
10,015 01 January 1955
10,173 08 January 1955
10,248 15 January 1955
10,334 22 January 1955 Engine & Chaincase Oil changed. Ex stay fitted
10,487 29 January 1955 new plugs fitted
10,637 05 February 1955 Front wheel bearings greased, Blanks fitted to front brake?? & mudguard stay repaired
10,881 12 February 1955
10,956 19 February 1955
11,032 26 February 1955
11,177 05 March 1955
11,263 12 March 1955 New dirt shields rear legs, rear hub greased, new spoke rear wheel, Chaincase oil changed
11,345 19 March 1955
11,345 26 March 1955 No riding had Flu
11,433 02 April 1955
11,749 09 April 1955 New rear chain fitted
11,968 16 April 1955 Oils Changed, Engine, Ccase, Fork (30% XXL), Speedo jumped (reset) & rear fork greased
12,228 23 April 1955 New Front and Rear Tyre Fitted
12,393 30 April 1955
12,731 07 May 1955
12,917 14 May 1955 Ccase oil changed and rear chain greased
13,078 21 May 1955 Rear chain guard extended, rear mudguard extended & 10 new spokes fitted to rear wheel
13,300 28 May 1955 Rear spokes tied and soldered & Engine Oil change
13,580 04 June 1955
13,750 11 June 1955
13,966 18 June 1955 Clutch checked, new spring primary, new clutch cable, Mag cable greased, Mag reset, rear light cable rerouted, relieif valve rubber changed and chain case oil changed
14,158 25 June 1955 front brake relined and G Box oil changed
14,366 02 July 1955 New rear wheel fitted (free from Triumph) and footrest and KS rubbers changed
14,525 09 July 1955 Rear chain greased, tappets checked, carb cleaned, panniers fitted
14,728 16 July 1955 Eng Oil changed, Chain case oil changed, OS silencer changed
15,728 23 July 1955 France
16,967 31 July 1955 Oil changed, Engine, Gbox and chain greased
17,172 07 August 1955
17,351 13 August 1955
17,524 20 August 1955
17,780 28 August 1955 Decoke and new oil in primary chain case
18,218 03 September 1955 Wales
18,426 10 September 1955
18,516 17 September 1955
18,674 24 September 1955 Engine oil changed
18,834 01 October 1955
18,988 08 October 1955 chain case oil
19,148 16 October 1955
19,310 22 October 1955 new NS silencer
19,474 28 October 1955 new battery
19,628 05 November 1955 Oil changed: Gbox, front fork. Mag cleaned, Carb cleaned, plugs cleaned, rear fork greased
19,873 12 November 1955 Mag stripped and cleaned, chain case oil changed
20,035 19 November 1955
20,205 25 November 1955 engine oil changed, front tyre turned and front brake cleaned
20,371 03 December 1955 carb cleaned with new needle jet and needle and Anti (something) gadget fitted
20,593 10 December 1955 rear brake relined
20,752 17 December 1955
20,907 24 December 1955 Engine failure at 100mph! Gudgeon pin failed. Engine returned to Triumph
20,907 21 January 1956 Engine arrived back from Triumph and refitted. Decoked head and new valve springs. New carb body and slide, new rocker box caps, rear fork checked reshimmed and oiled.
21,086 28 January 1956
21,245 04 February 1956
21,320 11 February 1956
21,397 18 February 1955 oil changed
21,560 25 February 1955 new plugs, rear chain greased and (something) cut out fitted
21,640 03 March 1956
21,827 10 March 1956
22,005 17 March 1956 Gbox oil changed
22,185 24 March 1956
22,439 31 March 1956 engine oil changed
22,520 03 April 1956 Bike sold for £165

When the engine blew up Triumph were at first reluctant to acknowledge a fault. My father had access to state of the art engineering facilities and had the gudgeon pins analysed as they had failed. The technical report showed that they had not been hardened properly and hence failed. Presented with this report Triumph then took the engine back and repaired it.

 

Triumph T110

This is the cover of the literature. It features the 650 Thunderbird even though the Triumph Tiger 110 is now the top model in the range.

Triumph T110

The literature below is from the same document. My father covered almost 100,000 miles in 10 years on three new Triumphs (46 Speed Twin, 50 Thunderbird and Triumph Tiger 110) and where they say below "complete reliability" they should perhaps have said 10-20,000 miles of reliability and then a few issues might come up. My father recorded every mile of all these bikes so every item of maintenance and failure is recorded.

If you would like a copy of The Triumph 1954 Model Range Brochure then I have now added it to eBay.

If you go to eBay and search for "Triumph 1954 Brochure Speed Twin, Thunderbird, Tiger 100, Tiger 110 & Trophy" you will find it.

 

Triumph T110

Triumph T110

The page below shows the new spring frame of the Triumph T110.

Triumph T110 1954

Triumph T110

This is the back page of the same literature. All of these pictures are around 1200x900 in size and about 200k file size so they should print out quite well.

Triumph T110

In 1955 the Triumph literature for the Triumph T110 was showing the page below.

Triumph T110 1955

On March 8th 1956 The Motor Cycle magazine tested a Triumph T110 and the test is below.

Triumph T110

 

Triumph T110

 

Triumph T110

In January 1955 Motorcylist tested the Triumph T110, see below for their Review Test of the Triumph T110 1954.

Triumph T110 1954 test

Triumph T110 Road test

I hope you enjoy this page and if you have any suggestions, additions or corrections then please do contact me - paulg@go-faster.com

The Tiger cartoon was used in period advertising. I like the cartoon and when I get a Triumph Tiger 110 I shall add these to it.

Triumph Tiger 110 cartoon

triumph T110 tiger advert

So finally after lusting after a T110 for decades, January 5th 2012 was the day I bought one and here it is below. It is a matching numbers bike that was registered in 1954. As a relative novice owner! I know that it is not all original, but it will hopefully be a good starting point to create an original bike in the coming years.

Triumph Tiger 110

Triumph T110

January 18th 2012
I have been tinkering with the bike now have it running more sweatly as the connections from the magneto to the HT leads were loose. The front brake lever pulled back to the bars and the only adjuster on the fork leg had no leeway for adjustment. I removed the cable and removed a few mm of the inner steel core and refitted it and now I had enough free play to use the adjuster. The lights did not work and a quick checked showed that the 6v battery was dry and dead. Not sure how it passed an MoT like this! Sourced a new 6v battery from my local old Triumph shop ( http://www.rockerbox-motorcycles.com/) but when I came to fit it today noticed that some of the wires are just twisted together in the battery box area! Nice. I need to get an inline fuse and then I can sort out the wiring around the battery properly. I did rig it up temporarily and the headlights, horn and rear/stop lights all worked - so encouraging. The engine oil looks fresh but the gearbox oil could do with a change and I intend to flush it out before I refill it. I also need to lift the rocker covers as I have oil weeping out between the covers and the head and I cannot see if a gasket is in place.

January 22nd 2012

Went out for a ride on it today having rewired the battery box and changed the gearbox oil beforehand. It started up nicely and off we set for a whole 6ish miles before it started to run very roughly and I pulled over to have a look. The end of the magneto was coming lose and a quick tweak with a borrowed screwdriver and it was back on tight and the bike fired up and ran fine.

triumph T110 magneto

By the time I had put my helmet back on the carb was pouring petrol (float stuck) and flooded the engine and it refused to kick start and a bump start was required. I consider this to only count as a single breakdown as it all occured in one location!

It then managed a whole trouble free 5 miles to the pub where I stopped for a celebratory pint. It was dark when I left and happily my lights all worked and the temptation of opening it up on the way home was given into and not sure how fast we went as the speedo has its own ideas about velocity.

I consider it a successful ride (all 13 miles of it!) as I returned home under my own power. Here it is basking in its success in the darkness of the garden.

Triumph T110 1954

January 29th 2012

I have three iron heads with my Triumph T110 and I think may be correct for a 1954 Triumph T110. I have seen pictures of 54's with heads like these but also ones without the little small fin by the exhaust port. I have put some pictures below and would welcome anyone telling me exactly what model they are for?

May 2013

I have been using my T110 again and decided it was time to sort out an oil leak. Oil was weeping from the rocker covers and eventually making its way onto the hot exhausts and then transformed itself into smoke - which looked characterful ... but was less than ideal.

Triumph T110

When I removed the front rocker cover I could see why it was leaking - the previous owner had not bothered to fit a gasket. I had bought a pair in readiness. Sadly I did not get that far. I lifted out the pushrods to check for wear and when I took out the left one, the tappet came with it - well almost all of it. The hammer shaped end did not emerge and the broken part showed a crystalline like fracture. This was not good and despite a mug of tea to hopefully stir up a clever solution, all I could think off was the motor would need to come apart. Subsequent pouring over parts books and if I remove the head and barel, I should be able to get a better look at the problem.

2014

As the bike was running OK before this I am little confused as surely it would not run too well with this broken. Further investigation revealed that no one had ever seen one of these break like this before and I can only assume it is a faulty part. The best explanation I was given was that it probably fractured a while ago but was held together by being under compression from valve spring tensionand it was only when I pulled out the pushrod that the two bits parted - seems to make sense to me. I took off the head and found no damage and all looked good. I then undid the nuts that hold the barrel to the crankcase and then secured the remaining tappets in place with elastic bands and lifted up the barrel an inch or so to have a look. Sitting on top of the cam was the other end of the broken tappet. I fished it out and mated it up to the other end and it was a perfect fit so no bits had escaped into the engine. The two ends had a crysteline look and had not been running broken as otherwise the ends would have rubbed together and marks would show this. I sourced a matched pair of good secondhand T110 tappets from my local shop Rockerbox. I had a thorough look inside the engine and it all looks good inside, the cam had no mark from the tappet. I then carefully refitted the "new" tappets and fitted the barrel back onto the crankcases and refitted the holding nuts and then turned the engine over many times to make sure all was well. With that done I then decoked the piston tops, they look to be standard bore and the bore itself looks good.

The valves roughly cleaned up before grinding them in.

The inside of the head is marked with - E3925

Anyone know what this indicates?

Next up was removing all the valves and decoking and cleaning the head and then grinding in all the valves with grinding paste. Clean it all thoroughly and reassemble. It all went back together easily and then it was just a matter of setting the valve clearances and putting the rest of it back together. After a few hours we were done and it was wheeled outside to see if it would start. It started first kick and sounded very sweet. The original petrol pipe has gone very hard so I fitted new pipes and clips and we were 100% petrol tight. The dog had been "helping" me in the garage and I thought he was being a bit quiet - the little hairy git had eaten and chewed up two of the thick rubber washers that sit under the tank mountings.

I took it out for a 10 mile test run and I think it is now going better than ever, with valves ground in and clearances all spot on it seems very frisky. Back from the test run and adjust both brakes and the clutch and back out for another 10 miles trip. It was sunny so my test turned into a 70 mile ride - bike going very nicely.

Another sunny day so out for a 80 mile ride to nowhere imparticular, just out enjoying riding the bike.

Went out for a 40 mile scamper today and having properly adjusted the clutch, we can use full power with any slippage. The speedo has a mind of its own so not sure how fast, but I am sure we were topping 70 in places. Having never ridden one of these in tip top condition I am not sure if it is running perfectly or not - it seems to go very well. If I can stop riding it then I think its time to check the timing of the magneto and see if that is spot on. The Triumph maintenance manual and the Haynes one have different figures for the timing, so further investigation required.

After the last ride I sat outside next to the T110 with a mug of tea and just appreciated it - it is a fine looking machine.

 

Head No1

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

Head No 2

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

Triumph T110 1954 Iron Head

 

WANTED - I am looking for the following bits for my 54 T110 restoration:

Set of front forks
Front brake drum and hub - pie crust '54 type
Dual seat with no white pinstripping
Front mudguard
Rear Mudguard
Fuel/Petrol tank

you can contact me via paulg@go-faster.com

I will need to source quite a few bits to make it original, so if you have any parts that you would be prepared to part with, please do contact me.
My email is paulg@go-faster.com

I know I need to change the mudguards, headlight unit, seat, handlebars and no doubt much more ... so please do drop me an email with suggestions.

If you like bikes of this era then you should like another web page I have created. It is the story of my fathers 1953 trip around Europe on a 1950 Triumph 650 Thunderbird with his pals on a Brough Superior SS100, Triumph Tiger 100 and a couple of Sunbeams. It contains many beautiful period photographs:

See: http://www.go-faster.com/SS100.html

If you like even older bikes, then you may be interested to read about my exploits on my 1914 4hp Triumph. I bought it in November 2011 and being a novice to such ancient machines have started to record my experiences of owning and riding it. It is quite an experience riding a bike with no gears, clutch and almost no brakes! See: http://www.go-faster.com/1914Triumph.html

I have created a page about Triumph T110 For Sale or recently sold - so you can get an idea of values.
See - http://www.go-faster.com/TriumphT110ForSale.html

I have been contacted by a fellow T110 owner who has created a great blog on restoring her Triumph T110 1955, see - http://tiger110.blogspot.com/

Below is a list of articles in various magazines about Triumph T110's.

Classic Bike, October 1982. 3 pages on a restored 1956 Triumph T110 and a double page colour picture.

Triumph T110

The following pics were kindly sent from David in New Zealand who owned it in the early 60's. It has the same black only seat without any white piping just like my fathers one - so maybe the early T110's were like this.

Triumph T110

Triumph T110

Interesting web pages about Triumph T110's:

A owner restoring a 1955 Triumph T110 - http://tiger110.blogspot.com/

Brian is rebuilding a 1954 T110 engine into a 1949 Tiger 100 frame, you can see his progress here: www.britishironworks.com

In October 2011 I published a few pictures of old bikes - my father and his pals riding around Europe in 1953 on a Brough Superior, Triumph Thunderbirds etc and in just a couple of months the page has had over 13 million hits! That web page is here - http://www.go-faster.com/SS100.html

If you like even older bikes, then you may be interested to read about my exploits on my 1914 4hp Triumph. I bought it in November 2011 and being a novice to such ancient machines have started to record my experiences of owning and riding it. It is quite an experience riding a bike with no gears, no clutch and almost no brakes!
See: http://www.go-faster.com/1914Triumph.html

I have also created a page about a 1911 Triumph that was once owned by my grandfather,
see http://www.go-faster.com/VeteranTriumph.html

As people have contacted me asking where they could a similar Veteran motorcycle, I have created a web page listing any that are for sale or recently sold - so you can get an idea of values.
See: http://www.go-faster.com/VeteranMotorcycleForSale.html

As people have contacted me asking where they could buy a Triumph T110, I have created a web page listing any that are for sale or recently sold - so you can get an idea of values.
See - http://www.go-faster.com/TriumphT110ForSale.html

I have a page about the TVR Griffith 500, see http://www.go-faster.com/TVR_Griffith_500.html

I have a web page about the VW Golf GT Tdi 170, see http://www.go-faster.com/VW-Golf-GT-TDI-170.html