It Lives!

Tiger is back in one piece and we’ve ridden round the block a few times.


2015-04-25 11.40.11

Brakes! At last!

2015-04-25 09.50.13

I may have indulged in a titanium double banjo bolt

The good:

  • Front brake now stops the bike.
  • There’s plenty of feel but it’s a good job there’s a span adjuster because the lever doesn’t move much any more (hoo bloody ray!).
  • Mirror fits.
  • Brake light switch fits and probably works (forgot to check).

The bad:

  • It was a bugger to bleed, even with a vacuum puller.

The ugly:

  • The right hand guard no longer fits but I’ve left the left one on.  It’s all a bit lopsided.
    • I have some Acerbis ones left over from my brief dalliance with a Triumph Explorer.  They don’t fit the Tiger but I may be able to persuade them on.


2015-04-25 09.51.26

A small selection of my thermostat housings

I changed the thermostat/temperature sensor/housing for a second hand one.  They are plentiful on eBay because you have to be an idiot to break one.  I broke mine by levering the pressure release cap off with a screwdriver.  You don’t need to do this; just push down and turn a second time, like a normal person.

eBay was actually full of units off Triumph Sprints, not Tigers.  Presumably the Sprint was more popular here in Germany than the Tiger.  Anyway, they looked the same in the picture are, indeed, identical except the Sprint unit has a brass blanking piece instead of a temperature sender.  It’s easy to swap.

I now have four housings:

  • The one I broke.
  • A broke one I bought off eBay because my German is rubbish.
  • A perfect one off a Sprint that is now on the bike.
  • Another one off a Sprint that is still somewhere in what DHL laughingly call a postal system.
You carry a 17mm spanner with you because it fits your mirrors.  Stop discarding it.

I was hoping to increase the release pressure so that the header tank could work properly (it empties itself the first time the engine gets hot).  In the end, though, I’ve put it back together with the standard 1.1 bar release.  So that was a total waste of time and money.

The Master Cylinder is Here!

2015-04-13 15.39.39
Game of Thrones Season 5 started airing before it arrived.

2015-04-13 16.40.16
On, looking good but contributing nothing to braking, yet.

It’s here at last! NINE DAYS later than DHL said it would get here. The new one is stamped 5/8, the old one is 1/2.  At first glance, this looks like a modest increase but it’s actually enormous and could be an overkill.

I’ve already bolted the thing to the handlebars, connected the brake light switch and transferred the mirror.  None could be easier.  If I swap one bolt over, there’s a good chance even the hand guard will survive the upgrade.

What I HAVEN’T done it to transfer the hydraulics.  The double banjo bolt at the master is the old road-worn one that began life at the front-left calliper.  I feel a titanium replacement fro Pro-bolt coming on.

Airbox Mod

God, I’ve done a movie now.

Airbox Mod

I heard about the airbox mod ages ago (here but never got around to doing it because:

a. I never really understood what it was, and

b. Well, it’s just a. really.

What is this Airbox Mod You Speak of?


Here’s the part I removed

There’s a chunk of plastic in the airbox that doesn’t appear to do anything useful but probably impedes air intake.

Why did Triumph put it there in the first place? Dunno, but I do know that manufacturers sometimes do things like this to ensure they pass emissions tests.

So How Did it Go?


And here’s some of the damage I did. Bolts that were drilled, sawn and hammered…

…what’s left of two of the bolt holes…
…and finally (hopefully) a bolt that would not return and is now frozen forever, unsure of whether it is in or out.

Fine.  Did anyone watch ‘Better Call Saul,’ I thought it was great…

…okay, the job was a bit of a pain.  If you follow the tigertriple link, above, you’ll see there’s some advice saying it’s better to hack the plate out instead of splitting the airbox.

I split the airbox, anyway, because I don’t play by the rules and my spirit can’t be broken.

Before you do yours, have a good think about doing it the other way.

The airbox is still in good enough shape to be functional but I haven’t put it back on the bike, yet (waiting for Scottoiler part to arrive; it goes under the airbox).  Hopefully, that protruding bolt won’t foul anything or I’ll be reaching for the torture instruments again.

Clutch Cable and GPS

Clutch Cable

2015-04-08 16.47.07
Old clutch cable still in place as spare. How hard core.

Replaced still functional clutch cable because a new clutch cable feels like a whole new bike.  I left the old one in place and cable-tied the new one to it.  This means I have the old one as a spare, already in place.


2015-04-08 15.46.23
Heated grips switch sitting happily before I force the GPS live onto the middle, blue connection, and wrap the GPS neutral around a handy bolt. This image is clearly just an aide memoire for myself.

I’ve rewired the GPS so that it picks up live & earth within the fairing, behind the clocks.  It’s now on a switched live (from the heated grips switch) instead of being connected directly to the battery.  This obviously stops the risk of flattening the battery by forgetting to remove the GPS but also tidies up the battery terminals that, prior to this, had GPS, tankbag and alarm wires added to them.

Wasn’t There Something About a New Brake Master Cylinder?

2015-04-08 15.27.40Yellow blob behind the crane is a DHL van not delivering my stuff. I know the crane is yellow, too. Believe me, there is a DHL van there.

Actually yes. It was supposed to arrive on Saturday, today is Wednesday. DHL are rubbish.

Spark Plugs and Valve Clearances

Spark Plugs

2015-04-07 11.44.30From asteroids, you know

Polo Motorrad had them in stock so Tiger now has three beautiful iridium spark plugs.  I saved a fortune (18.00) by riding a superior triple instead of a four.  Apparently, even BMW boxer twins need four because they are twin plug heads.  This is schadenfreude.

I can’t wait to ride the bike and imagine I can feel a difference.

Valve Clearances

Valve clearance found to be 'not tight.'  They can be as loose as they like (in my book). Valve clearance found to be ‘not tight.’ They can be as loose as they like (in my book).

The trouble with changing the spark plugs is that the process takes you so close to the cam cover that only an idiot would not bother checking the valve clearances. Despite being an idiot, I checked the valve clearances.

Checking them is one thing but adjusting them is another.  To check them, you need a feeler gauge and enough daring-do to delve as far as I have.  To adjust them, you need a fabled special tool that no one has ever seen, or you have to remove the cams.  That makes me nervous just saying it.  I’ve done it twice (valve clearance adjustment) but that was when I was young and fearless.

So it was with some trepidation that I checked each of the clearances.  They were all over the place, no two the same, but none of them were tight.  So that’s the end of the story and there’s no need to pursue the matter any further.

2015-04-07 12.02.54
Mirror shows Woman in Black standing behind me as I take the picture. This is all I need.

You lot: Were any of them too loose?

Me: No.

You lot: Really?

Me: I didn’t check.  As long as they are not tight, it doesn’t matter.  Too loose will reduce power (and increase torque?) but do no engine damage so I’m actually being nice to the old girl.

You lot: You did half a job.

Me: None of them were tight.

Tiger Maintenance/preparation

2015-04-06 14.12.34

Have that Tiger tank. Not so clever now you’re on my balcony.

No chance of the new old master cylinder arriving till tomorrow so I’m going to get on with the following:

  • Change coolant
  • Increase coolant pressure release from 1.1 to 1.2 bar
    • The expansion tank is constantly empty.  This used to happen on my GPZ900R back in the 1870s and I cured it by upping the pressure release.  Let’s hope it doesn’t cause a catastrophic fluid release instead.
  • Get Scott oiler working
  • Check spark plugs
    • Actually, I’ll be very tempted to replace them with iridium ones, anyway.  There are many reasons to do this but, for me, the main reason is that the iridium we use in spark plugs is harvested from asteroids!!!!!
  • Improve wiring of ancillaries

All of this requires me to quickly whip off the fuel tank… (pauses for effect) ha ha ha ha.  Tiger fuel tank is a big plastic Tupperware thing sculpted to fill every available cubic millimetre between the engine and frame.  And around the headstock.  Some of it manages to wheedle its way under the battery holder.


Spark Plugs

2015-04-06 14.49.20
Why do we still carry these things? When was the last time you extracted a spark plug at the roadside? I’m leaving this out of my tool kit from now on.

I can’t get them out.  I’ve been carting the usual box spanner type thing around with me but it’s too short.  Come to think of it, I think there used to be a hefty allen key that acted as an extension.  I need to either find something similar or use a socket set.

Scott Oiler

2015-04-06 14.48.22
Broken Scott oiler part. This one has been on barely ten years. Typical.

Scott oiler has a split piece where the vacuum hose meets the injectors.  They sell Scott oilers at Polo Motorrad, just down the road, so I’ll go there tomorrow, grunt a bit, and thrust it in the guy’s face.  My German isn’t very good.


2015-04-06 14.44.28
Shady character to left is me. Black thing by tank is the airbox. Pan of lentil soup is not relevant.

I had to remove the airbox to get to the sparkplugs.

New front brake master cylinder

Okay, I’ve ordered this.  It’s a front brake master cylinder, complete with lever, from a  ZRX1100.  I was fed up of whinging about the brakes so I just ordered it from eBay without thinking about it too much.

I then had the following conversation with my mate Jason.  Anyone who knows Jason knows Jason knows.

We’re home now and the master cylinder is due to arrive today.  I have to keep a watch out the window because DHL can’t get a heavy item like this up the 5cm door step to our building so they tend to just leave a ‘you were out’ notice then bog off for a fag.

Hopefully, the master cylinder will arrive shortly.  I’ll slap it on, test the bike and update this blog with the good news that the infamously bad Tiger 955i brakes are now fab.

Otherwise, I’ll quietly remove this post and order a more sensible alternative.

I should really credit this chap

Surprise, surprise: it didn’t arrive. No chance of it coming till Tuesday, now, because of Jesus, chocolate and not really being dead when you die. Or something.

I might as well get on with other maintenance.

Berlin to London for an MOT part 2

The bike passed! I’m glad we used Gray’s in London.

Okay, so what have we learnt?

The route:

  • Europe is bloody freezing in March/April
  • Bielefeld (where?) is easily forgotten


  • You can’t beat proper bike gear for staying warm & dry
  • Helen’s micro down jacket was much more versatile than my stripy fleece type thing
  • Nike Combat compression thermals are brilliant; no need for anything else under cordura winter coat, so you don’t feel like Michelin Man
  • I need a better system for not losing small expensive items like 64GB USB memory & phone adapter (didn’t make it out of first hotel)

The bike needs:

  • A better horn
  • A bigger front brake master cylinder (already ordered off eBay)