All of us have owned one. You know, the bike that you should never have sold. The one you wish you still had. Mike Estall recalls his Best Bike Ever…
Back in early 1983 I saw a 1956 Tiger 100 in Clive Humphries’ Coventry shop. I had always thought of those mid-1950s Triumph twins as some of the finest looking bikes ever made, particularly the Tiger 100 with its close-pitched fin, all-alloy engine, so I went back several times just to gaze upon this thing of beauty. The more I looked at it the more I realised that it was totally original, nothing missing, nothing altered. The story was that it had been found in a shed in Bedford where the owner had slung it twenty years earlier, after coming off. The seat was a bit torn, there was a little damage to the nacelle and a bent footrest but basically it was completely sound. So I parted with £475!
The Tiger’s rebuild was completed in early June 1983. A gallon of petrol went into the tank and road testing commenced. Now, this is where the stupid bit comes in. Enthusiasm is a dangerous thing, sometimes generating hasty or ill-considered actions, making a chap do things without thinking too much about the consequences. My woodwork master at school always said, ‘ Think twice and cut once’. Sound advice. Not to be ignored.
For some reason, the petrol tank had been removed and so it needed to be bolted back on again. As in all Triumph twins of the era, there were four bolts plus mounting rubbers and washers for the purpose. The bolts were of two lengths, a long pair and a short pair. If you have been paying attention I have no doubt that you can probably see where this is going?
The first pair of bolts and rubbers were fitted, closely followed by the second pair. It was only as I made the final turn with the