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.
I think the first Triumph T110's are some of the nicest looking bikes that Triumph ever made.
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 8.5:1, modified porting, new camshaft and a larger Amal 1 1/8th bore 289 carburettor. A larger timing side main bearing (E1591) was fitted to match the drive side and a bulge under the timing side case shows if an engine has this. The rest of the range save the Speed Twin also benefited from this main bearing improvement.
In 1955 the Triumph T110 changes included: The carburettor was changed to a 1 1/16th bore Amal Monobloc 376 and the Lucas magneto now had a screw on cap. The rear brake plate and swing arm were modified which allowed a torque rod to be used in place of the peg and slotted swing arm of the first year.
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. I have been assisted by those in the know and the table below probably gives the most accurate view of numbers by year:
|1953||32302 to 44821|
|1954||44822 to 55493|
|1955||55494 to 70929|
|1956||70930 to 82797 then 0101 to 0943|
|1957||0944 to 011113|
|1958||011114 to 020075|
|1959||020076 to 029363|
|1960||029364 to 030419 then D101 to D7711|
|1961||D7727 to D15754|
|1962||D15789 to D20308|
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 55493. My fathers own T110 was bought new on April 3rd 1954. Normally bikes were assembled on the main line within a few days of the engine being made on the engine line. The bikes were tested and if passed were shipped within days of manufacture. My fathers T110 from the factory records - The engine was built wednesday 27th Jan 1954 with no mention of any special specifications The bike was assembled friday 29th Jan 1954 in the forth batch for that production year. I was one of 500 in that batch. It was dispatched from the factory on tuesday 2nd february 1954 to the dealer that sold it to my father.
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.
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|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.
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.
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.
The page below shows the new spring frame of the 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.
In 1955 the Triumph literature for the Triumph T110 was showing the page below.
On March 8th 1956 The Motor Cycle magazine tested a Triumph T110 and the test is below.
In January 1955 Motorcylist tested the Triumph T110, see below for their Review Test of the Triumph T110 1954.
I hope you enjoy this page and if you have any suggestions, additions or corrections then please do contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
you can contact me via email@example.com
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:
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.
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.
If you have enjoyed these pages I need your help. The original owner of the T110 below is looking for it - he had it until 1968 - if you know what happened to it or even know where it is please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
I have also created a page about a 1911 Triumph that was once owned by my grandfather,
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.
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