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Little Tiger: 1969 Triumph T100

1969 Triumph T100

I’ve had spring and summer time on my mind for the past 3 months, I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can get back outside having fun! One play toy I keep telling myself I shouldn’t even dream about is a motorcycle. I don’t want or need a big bike, but at the same time I don’t want a bike so small it can’t keep up with traffic. This Triumph seems like the perfect balance of size, style and speed. It isn’t too fast, but can still do 75 mph. For a trail bike that has lived in Bigfork, Montana it looks to be in really great shape! You can have a closer look at it here on eBay with a current bid of $2,400.

1969 Triumph T100 Motor

The T100 has quite the incredible history! It’s full name is the Tiger 100 and it actually has a long history dating back to 1939. These bikes were both durable and fast for their time. When Triumph launched the T100, they did an 1,800 mile endurance test of a showroom stock bike that ended with a 6 hour high speed run at Brooklands. The bike averaged 78.5 mph and ran 88 mph on its final lap!

1969 Triumph Tiger 100

From ’39 until ’73, Triumph continued to build and refine the T100. They even built several race versions, but those are quite rare these days. Overall, this should be a comfortable and capable bike. I wouldn’t want to make any long distance journeys on it, at least not until it’s been gone through and sorted. What about you? And do any of you remember when Bob Dylan wrecked his T100SS?


  1. ydnar

    What’s the displacement? I bet it’s pretty rare bird in the US.
    I’ve been riding since ’72, I’ll be riding ’til I die.

    • ydnar

      I’m guessing 650cc Twin? I’m not finding much on this designation.

    • Scotty G

      If you click on the eBay link above you’ll see that it’s a 500cc.

      • ydnar

        Ah-so.. I missed the link, sorry.

    • pat k

      Cylinder heads are the give away. 500 heads align with the cylinder, 650 heads flare out and are much larger than cylinder bore. This is a 500. nice looking bike. I had a ’69 Bonneville in college, wish I kept it.

      • Scotty G

        That is great tip, thanks!

  2. bcavileer

    490cc early on, when the anniversary bike came out it was 800 cc’s. 650 was another bike to my knowledge. Great bikes.

    • Bobby Pickersgill

      bcavileer, the 500 twins became the ‘Daytona’ models. 650 were Bonneville. 750 was the 3 cylinder ‘Trident”. No 800 existed to my knowledge. I had a ’72 Daytona. A 350 Honda could beat me in a straight line but my lightweight triumph out-cornered and handle better than any Japanese bike in the sixties.

      • Doug Towsley

        Holy cow you guys! First off, not enough vintage bikes being posted, theres no shortages of them and they garner a lot of attention. I dont really understand with all the cool bikes up for sale in the last month of all bikes why this one? Someone on barn finds know the seller? Cool little bike but dont understand why some get featured and some dont. Theres been some really interesting barn and storage finds as of late including a cool Triumph Dragster from an estate sale, tons of documentation as well. Owner was a real legend. I submitted it and it went no where. A garden variety Triumph 500 gets profiled instead?
        Secondly, no time or space to list and note all the vintage triumphs (I own a lot of them) but you might start here:

        This guys ego is a bit much, but he is having fun with his toys and money so good for him, he also posts his opinions on sales and shows not that i ever agree much with him, but might be of interest his views on last couple years of auctions. But his collection is oh so fine, and worth spending the time to drool over. See:

        Be sure to check out the bikes on the right side tab, something there for everyone.
        Finally, im downsizing my collection, parts and project bikes, ready for a winter project? Or come spring ready for a classic you wish to ride? 250s, 500s, 650s and 750s, from Preunits to units to OIF bikes.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi bcavileer, the new Triumph Tiger is a liquid cooled 800 triple. Apparently, it shares nothing with these bikes.

  3. Rick

    what a neat bike – buddy of mine had a similar Triumph back in the late 60s called a Tiger Cub

  4. Gary I

    I have a 1966 Bonneville that I chopped with A Harley Hardtail modified and raked 1972 frame. Gets tons of attention at the rallies and I have a 1971 Trident that is stock. I ended up picking and riding a 2007 Triumph American as my phase played out. Love Triumphs, but you will want something bigger and faster than this real quick. Good for maybe 70 75 on the highway. Good beginners bike or for your girl to ride.

  5. Howard A Member

    FINALLY! Thanks Josh, a classic bike. And what a bike. My favorite, like British cars, are these bikes. I hope to get a Trident someday ( or better yet, a BSA Rocket 3). ’69 was a rough year for most bike makers, as the Honda 750-4 debuted in ’69, which pretty much decimated the the British bike market over here. A 750 would eat these for lunch (and didn’t leak oil). I’ve had a many bikes, mostly dirt bikes, and a friend had a TT500 Triumph on/off road bike and I had a Suzuki TS 400, and the 2 bikes were almost dead even. We had a lot of fun with those bikes, and the Triumph was a dependable bike. British bike prices are on the rise, and one can’t go wrong here. More bikes, please!!!

    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      Bike Find! Yes! Just last month I found a Dunstall equipped Norton Commando up in BC & imported her into the states (WA). Now the slow progression to get her road worthy & running. The strong US dollar certainly helped sweeten the deal. And if you ever find something in Canada (they seem to have all the best Mopars) if its 25 yrs or older all you need is a Bill of Sale and the Canadian registration. Super easy to import. Now getting into Canada will all that cash is a whole other matter.

      • Doug Towsley

        If you are a Norton fan, (Fair disclosure, I am a member of the ONE club, Oregon Norton Enthusiasts) then you should look up the Northern California and INOA National Norton rally held for 2016 in July down in the hills of NorCal. An area with stunning beauty, excellent roads and scenery and all kinds of wacky and eccentric British bike owners. All vintage and modern British motorcycles are welcome. I have the remaining assets of the Norton America empire and use those at events from Canada to California each year to promote the NW Vintage Car and Motorcycle museum here in Oregon, just north of Salem.
        Another must attend event this Spring will be the San Jose Clubmans show. A joint event among the NorCal British bike owners clubs, BSAOCNC, NOCNC, TriOCNC Ariel club, Matchless and AJS Club etc etc. I will have a display there for the Museum and some of the Oregon clubs. Swap meet. Bike show, and morning after ride. Enter to win a restored BSA for $1, need not be present to win.

  6. San Jose Scot

    Scramblers are the best looking Triumphs to my eye. Recently sold a ’56 Matchless G80. Been riding since the early 70’s. Had forgotten how different bikes of today are from bikes of yesterday.

    For example had a small, skinny, frail looking gentlemen in his 80’s show me how to start my bike with one slow follow through kick.

    some things that I also learned are that points and condensers are not of the same quality today. For cars it is easier to work around that issue. Drum brakes when set up well can flex those old forks. Finding the right machine shop that understands old drum brake machining is tough but well worth the effort.

  7. Howard A Member

    I think everyone has a “Triumph” story. A friend was riding his Triumph late one night, when he felt something wet on his leg. When he got to a light, he noticed his leg was soaked with oil. Apparently, the tachometer cable began leaking.( a lot) Gotta love ’em. I heard electronic ignition was the hot setup for these. I wonder if this has the Amal carb with a “tickler”? It was good enough for the “Fonz”, who rode a ’49 TR-5.

    • Brakeservo

      My Triumph story – as a 12 or 13 year old kid, my first ride ever on a motorcycle was on the back of Steve McQueen’s Triumph Bonneville in Burbank, California. Also in Burbank I bought my first running motorcycle from actor Perry King. A Jawa with sidecar.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Brakeservo, you are going to have to tell us more of THAT story. How did you get a ride on SMcQ’s bike?

    • Dinger

      The “Fonz” never rode his bikes, nearly all of the shots are with him sitting astride but not moving – the reason Henry Winkler was using a triumph is because it was lighter. Now Dylan did ride (and crash a T100).

      • sluggo

        Dinger this is a 2 yr old posting but we cant get enough vintage bike postings here, so its Game ON as far as I am concerned.
        You are correct about the size of the bike and in the 1950s, Triumph and BSA were actually quite popular in the US, At that time BSA was the #1 manufacturer in the world, they used to say 1 in 3 is a BSA for US sales. However you are correct that Winkler never rode,, (Always stunt riders) but there was many scenes where a bike was used in Happy days. Jumps in the parking lot, crashing or riding INTO Arnolds restaurant, And then there was “Jumping the shark” which actually was a whole different thing, but spawned a cultural cliche for going way too far.

  8. Alan

    Think the Cub was a 200cc single. Tiger 90 was a 350cc, and the T100 was 500cc – my friend had one. I had to get a Japanese 250cc to keep up! (limited to 250cc in England when a learner). They both did a ton. Mine was a Suzuki Super Six, think it was called a Hustler in the States.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Alan, that would have been the “X-6” Hustler here. I remember that was a fast bike, but usually had a James Bond smoke screen following it.

  9. Brakeservo

    OK Howard A: McQueen simply stopped at a friend’s house down the block as he was working on his H Production Bugeye Sprite racecar so I simply asked for a ride on the bike.

    He took his helmet off and made me wear it and off we went.

    This was Burbank in the ’60s, a perfect place for a car obsessed kid. Sometimes I’d hang out at Tommy Ivo’s house a few blocks away while he worked on his dragster.

    Within bicycling distance I could go to George Barris or Gene Winfield’s shops.

    Funny you mentioned “The Fonz,” his co-star Ron Howard lived nearby and went to public school the whole time he was on TV.

    I also met Joanne Woodward when she had her Maserati repaired, actually the list and stories go on and on – I can be quite an obnoxious name dropper but also know about the real life incident that inspired the Ferris Buehler movie . . . hint – the actual car involved was not a 250 California Spider but an original Testa Rosa. And it survived the kid’s hyjinks.

    • Howard A Member

      Thanks. I suppose. My daughter works in L.A. with many “stars” in her line of work, and says, most are just “regular” people.

    • Doug Towsley

      You should have tried to keep that Triumph. Anything related to McQueen these days commands stupid crazy money. Especially if you have provenance to document it. McQueen owned a LOT of vehicles over the years, some he actually drove and rode, Some people get pretty excited if you have the SOLAR productions documents (He titled many vehicles to his production company)
      One of his bikes just sold at the MECUM auction in Las Vegas, one of the biggest auctions in the world for high end motorcycles, over 7.5 million dollars this year. Not without controversy and this year there was some issues and subpar bikes. But overall quite an interesting spectacle. No lack of info and opinions out there.
      McQueens bike, a 1963 TR6C a 650 Scrambler with loads of patina. $130,000 Here it is in a older profile where it sold for $84,500 at a Butterfields auction, so somebody made some coin, Almost $50,000 to be exact. Nice pictures of McQueen on the bike as well circa 64 :
      More on auction tips and trends:
      There was a Vincent white shadow with Chinese red paint that went for a cool half million at the competing Bonhams auction across town. Interesting catalog there.

      If you register with Mecums, you can see auction prices paid and past sales results.

      • Rando

        If you register with Mecum you can stream the auctions live. A nice thing to run in the background during the workday if you are allowed…. My last boss loved it, so we did that often.

  10. Brakeservo

    I didn’t own the bike, gee, I was only 12 or 13, I merely rode on it behind McQueen. Woulda been cool if I coulda kept his helmet though.

    • Doug Towsley

      I know you didnt own it, but would be cool if it was the same bike. Some of his others have commanded similar coin as well. Too bad you didnt get a picture at the time. Would be a great momento.
      Funny story about McQueen. I have a picture of the picture but its in a friends private museum and probably would not appreciate me posting it. BUT, This local guy Tom has a friend who is a retired Police officer from Anchorage Alaska. Told him one day,.,..”You like motorcycles, we had some hollywood bigshot up here. Guess he was big into motorcycles” So, he gave Tom the Police booking photo. Till this day that cop still has no idea who McQueen was and doesnt really care. Called him a “California Punk”. Apparently some local got mouthy with McQueen in a bar up in Alaska, Dont know what was said, but apparently McQueen gave as good as he got. Pounded the guy. The booking photo shows a nice shiner and cut cheek on that million dollar face. McQueen is smirking at the camera and doing a Peace sign with his fingers. Date, time, and name. Some sort of disorderly conduct and assualt charge.

      Some great storys IN the British magazine “Classic Bike” about McQueen, Ekins and some of the others who represented the US in the VASE team in the 1960s racing in the UK in the transatlantic challenge. ISDT. Also he raced a lot in motorcross. Look up info on Bud Ekins. Famous racer and owned a Shop in California and close friend of McQueen.

      • Rspcharger Rspcharger

        That booking photo is all over the internet & ebay. Got a copy of it myself on my shop wall.

    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      Hey Brakeservo, wanna grab a beer? I’m buying. Man the stories I’d like to hear.

  11. Keitho

    Does it come with s bag of cat litter to catch the British oil leaks?

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