The Triumph Tiger insignia can be traced in Triumph lineage back to 1936 when newly hired design chief, Edward Turner, revamped Triumph’s existing line of motorcycles. By applying better finishes, adding performance and creating new teardrop, chrome-plated fuel tanks and christening the new bikes “Tigers,” Turner created stunners and changed Triumph’s fortunes for the better.
The original three Triumph Tiger models, the Tiger 70, Tiger 80 and Tiger 90 (the numbers indicating each bike’s top speed), came in engine displacement sizes of 250cc, 350cc and 500cc, respectively. Differences between the models were minor and all were powered by air-cooled, pushrod, overhead cam single-cylinder engines and available from the factory in either high- or low-pipe versions.
In 1939 Triumph launched the Tiger 100 featuring the 498cc air-cooled parallel-twin-cylinder engine launched the previous year in the Speed Twin model. Destruction of Triumph’s Coventry facility stalled production of Triumph models for civilians until after the war. The Triumph Tiger 100 was re-launched in 1946 featuring a new telescopic fork, and in ’51 it gained the first swingarm rear suspension. From 1953 to 1961 the 650cc Triumph Tiger 110 was offered alongside the Tiger 100. In 1960 the Triumph Tiger 100 gained a “unit” engine (engine cases and transmission cases cast as one piece). Demise of the Triumph brand and the Tiger 100 began in the early ‘70s and was finalized in 1983 when the company went into receivership.
In 1993, a revived Triumph brand owned by real estate tycoon, John Bloor, and located in Hinckley, Great Britain, launched the first Triumph Tiger model in 20 years. The Triumph Tiger 900 was powered by a liquid-cooled, 885cc, inline three-cylinder engine. The new Triumph brand was utilizing three-cylinder engines because the original company had begun producing three-cylinder engines in the late 1960s and it was relatively simple to lop off one cylinder from the 1200cc Daytona sportbike. The odd number of cylinders also made the Triumph Tiger and other Triumph models unique.
The Triumph Tiger 900 was branded a dual-purpose motorcycle with long-travel suspension, high-mounted exhaust and a tall seat height but was biased more for street riding than serious off-road fun. In 2001 the Triumph Tiger 955i was launched utilizing the company’s improved 955cc, inline three-cylinder, fuel-injected engine. In the fashion of previous model, the new Triumph Tiger offered limited off-road capabilities. The new Triumph Tiger’s styling set it apart from the first generation Tiger model.
After six years in production the Triumph Tiger 955i was replaced in 2007 by the Triumph Tiger 1050. It was biased toward pavement use, now using a 17-inch tire up front instead of the previous version’s dirt-worthier 19-incher. Utilizing Triumph’s newest inline, three-cylinder engine producing 113 horsepower, the Triumph Tiger was available with optional ABS and color-matched hard luggage. Triumph also made available an SE version of the Tiger 1050 featuring a two-tone matte-grey-and-black paint scheme and standard ABS, handguards and color-matched luggage.
In 2010 a smaller version Triumph Tiger, the Tiger 800 joined the Triumph Tiger 1050 in Triumph’s model line-up.