The Tiger Cub Project

Okay, I’m a biker. I’ve been riding motorcycles for more than forty years, have owned more than a dozen, and currently have a ‘thing’ for Triumphs. Actually, I’ve had this affliction for quite a long time. Good machines.

When Triumph brought back the ‘Bonneville’ in 2001, I waited… then bought a Thruxton 900 model (the cafe racer of the Bonneville line). Here’s a pic of my Thrux:

FoothillRyder's '04 Thruxton
FoothillRyder’s ’04 Thruxton

As my situation evolved I had to sell the Thruxton. We ‘downsized’ to a smaller place, and I had to sell many of my toys. Along the way I discovered the ‘Scrambler’ model introduced by Triumph in 2006. Really more a styling exercise than anything, the bike had real potential to be a very cool statement. Back in the late 90’s, Triumph had introduced the model they called the ‘Tiger’, based on the same 900cc 3-cylinder engine that powers my ’97 Trophy. I rode one back then on loan from the dealer where the Trophy was being serviced, and liked the concept of an ‘adventure touring’ bike. Then along came the Scrambler, and I got the idea of a ‘Tiger Cub’ concept. A bike based on the simpler, easier to maintain air-cooled twin.

I watched eBay for many months, and had decided to find myself an ’08 in the Silver/Tangerine motif. My diligence paid off, and I found the bike that became known as ‘Buffy’.

Here she is shortly after she was delivered to me, a stock Scrambler in all her glory:

Buffy before modifications
The Basic ’08 Scrambler

The mods began, focusing on both appearance and function. Lighting was improved and enhanced with LED auxiliary lights up front, and integrated running lights at the rear. A ‘top box’ (trunk) was added to provide a bit of locking storage. Case guards and a bash plate were added to provide some protection for the engine on the off-pavement excursions. A plush seat was added to give my bony olde tush a bit more cush. Also added were the windscreen as well as mounts for my GPS and a video camera to capture some of the action.

I’m not a ‘loud pipes’ guy; but then again – a twin should have a certain amount of ‘character’. I also wanted to do away with some of the chrome, and liked the matte black finish on the engine, so I did some custom work on the exhaust system. I got rid of the gaudy stock ‘sewing machine’ exhaust and bolted up some ‘universal’ mufflers after prepping and painting the heat shields to match the matte black.

And here she is:

Buffy After
‘Buffy’ after her transformation into the ‘Tiger Cub’ concept

See my vids with this bike at

Here’s a little 7min video of the project

I’ve been riding a fair amount, working on the ‘Vikki Project’ (she has her own page here), and one of the things that came up during this time was that the mufflers on the bike are just a bit too loud for my taste. So I’ve replaced them with these:

Scrambler Pipes 1

Closeup from the side

Scrambler Pipes 2

Overall side view – Pipes look pretty nice I think!

Scrambler Pipes 3

and the all-important view from the business end of the pipes

And when the business end looks like that, you gotta get a sound byte:

Okay, well… those pipes looked good, and even sounded pretty good; but there were two problems which could not be ignored. First, the bike ran poorly with those pipes and jetting changes didn’t solve it easily. Secondly, they would have interfered with the Saddlemen luggage I use on this bike (no heat shields), so….

I made some changes…

new pipes 1

The OEM pipes don’t look too bad with the ‘blackout’ treatment

new pipes 2

The chrome isn’t nearly so ugly when disguised like this…

and here’s one of the new cockpit, showing the new tachometer, the GPS, and the forward-looking video camera.

cockpit view

Functional and user-friendly!

and finally, a quick update video…

June 30, 2012 – End of the Tiger Cub era

Alas, after riding Buffy about 2500 miles ( I decided she wasn’t really what I needed for the tasks I would be asking. Yesterday I posted on the ADV forum, and today she was picked up to head down to the Phoenix, AZ area to her new owner. I am moving on to the bike I’ve wanted since I rode one back in 1998 – a 1998 Triumph Tiger.

  1. Buffy looks and sounds great!

  2. Youth consumes, age preserves.

  3. Hi, Nice bike.
    Please can you tell me what is the tail light configuration that you had on the bike? and where did you get it? also the rack

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