Saturday, March 31, 2012

Triumphs T20 Tiger Cub 200cc plunger frame lightweight.

This January,'s John Lawless and I went out to Vegas for the 3 major vintage motorcycle auctions - Bonhams featuring the DuPont collection which came from an estate just 15 minutes from my home. Most of the collection were high ticket items like the Norton Manx and the Vincent Black Shadow - as well as a slew of very early Indian Motorcycles (The DuPonts once owned the Indian Motorcycle company).

My interest lay more in the obtainable bikes, a 1956 Triumph T-20 Tiger cub in particular. In original paint, the only thing missing was the front pedestrian slicer license plate and the correct exhaust header. I bid and won.

After shipping the bike BACK to PA (ironically, just a few miles where it was stored for the last couple of decades) I inspected the bike and found that the motor was stuck and despite looking a bit rough (patina!) relatively unmolested.

I pulled the motor apart and found that the cylinder was completely rusted out due to water sitting in it for years. I ordered gaskets, a cylinder, a piston and cables from Greystone Tiger Cub Spares in the UK and scored some oil seals and bearings from local Cub guru, John Melniczuk at J and M Enterprises and the rebuild is under way. The pla: keep it simple, original but a decent runner for around town. obviously new tires will be fitted and somewhere down the road I may paint it.

The beauty of the early cubs (53-56) is the plunger frame (Triumphs only plunger model was this and its predecessor, the T15 Terrier), and the gorgeous lines of the bike which mimic a full size Triumph. While I love the later cub scramblers, they look like dirt bikes while the early ones look specifically designed for on road only. I love that it looks like a scaled down version of Marlon Brando's famous Thunderbird in the Wild One.

The bike will be running by this years Triumph Come Home Rally in Oley PA so keep an eye out for it there. Here are the before pictures. After pics coming soon...

1956 Triumph T-20 Tiger Cub (the duct tape residue came right off!)

The knee pads and tank badges are original

The high pipe was fitted later but I have the original low pipe for the bike.

The headlight nacelle is such a great touch. This should have a needle indicating gear postion.

The plunger is a bit rough, but I plan to rebuild it after I get it running


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