The Triumph Tiger Cub Bible Review
As part of the Veloce Publishing Classic Reprint Series, Mike Estall’s book, “The Triumph Tiger Cub Bible,” was originally released in 2000 and is now in its eighth printing. That fact by itself says something about the quality of the work.
As an example of how exhaustive Estall’s research was for the book, he reveals that from its introduction in 1953 as its step up from the earlier Terrier, until its final year in the Triumph line in 1968, 21,453 Terriers and Tiger Cubs were sold in the U.S.—nearly one-fifth of the total number ever produced.
A total of 61,428 Cubs were sold in the U.K. in the same time period.
Estall’s book is a mix of historical textbook, technical specification manual and memoir of one of Triumph’s models that was both enduring and endearing.
The Triumph Motorcycles book covers the Tiger Cub in depth from its earliest days as an entry-level civilian light street bike, a military mount, a police bike, observed trials machine, racing including land speed racing and even covers a U.S. developed kit-equipped version most folks, including hard-core Tiger Cub enthusiasts probably never knew existed, let along rode: the twin-tracked-twin-ski “Sno-go” (see image of an ad for it).
Though the kit was intended to be adaptable to any motorcycle, it was pictured going on snow mounted to a Tiger Cub.
Estall also provides very unique insight into some of the prototypes envisioned to be the next step in the Tiger Cub’s evolution that never made it to production. For example, Estall reveals Edward Turner’s reed-valve two-stroke 200cc twin with belt primary drive developed in 1957 and the single overhead cam four-stroke twin that came later; neither of which found its way onto the assembly line.
The book even offers insight into some of the offbeat things that happened during the bike’s history, such as Turner and his design team resorting to a modified sauce pan to fabricate an alternator cover for the prototype two-stroke twin! Then there was the little-known episode of the first Terrier prototype which absolutely refused to start for hours—no matter what the technicians did, including bump starting. Estall reveals the cause may never have been known for sure, but reveals that it probably arose from the chronically weak high tension coils that put out only 8 Kv at the spark plug instead of the 10 Kv required.
The book includes detailed model profiles spanning 1954 to 1969, which provide specifications in detail from engine particulars and paint colors available to model changes, production details and sales data.
For Triumph devotees—particularly those focused on the Terrier and Tiger Cub models, Mike Estall’s The Triumph Tiger Cub Bible is must-have, but the appeal extends to collectors, restorers and motorcycle enthusiasts across the continuum.
- Title: The Triumph Tiger Cub Bible
- Author: Mike Estall
- Published: 2017 (eighth printing previously in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2004) Hard cover. 208 pages. Measures 8.0” x 9.8.” Color and black & white images.
- Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
- ISBN: 978-1-787111-27-1
- MSRP: U.S. $80; U.K. £50; CAN $104
For additional reading on Triumph check out our reviews of:
- Rider’s Library: How to Restore Triumph Trident T150/T160 & BSA Rocket III
- Rider’s Library—The Essential Buyer’s Guide Triumph Bonneville 1959-1988