Lovely to look at

Straight from the Sammy Miller showroom

 After years of wanting a little Tiger Cub I finally plucked up the necessary and ordered the one
in the brochure from Sammy Miller. It arrives in Houston and after waiting for Homeland Security’s
scanner to get to the container it is released and arrives 2 days later. Suitably oiled up it starts
and another adventure begins. Trials being trials I’m not into any purist nonsense of original this
and original that, I want a bike that is competitive, reliable and fun to ride. If we go for the purist
crap we would be back on Dunlop 4 plies and 350 x 18 back wheels!

First observation on the test run is the awful old forks and the clunk they make topping out
during any lofting of the front wheel. Not overly impressed with the throttle response and it’s
fitted with an Amal throttle which is too small for my hand.

Phase 1 with the Yamaha front end

As I have plenty of TY250A model forks and yokes I will try a set of these as my opening gambit.
Brian Crawford machines me a new stem to fit the British bearings and when it arrives its a pity
to fit it as it is a true work of art! So the Cub front end is removed and a whole Yamaha front end
goes on which is quite legal under AHRMA rules. This set up is good, the handling is fine but the
Yam bits extend the wheel base by over an inch.

First outing is just before Christmas 2006 at Keith’s place over at Table Mesa, which being
Scottish in nature is always one of my favourite venues. It behaves like a Pig! fouls up a plug and
stalls twice on very similar simple sections where I would not normally expect any problems. You
can’t shut it off and roll up the bank, rather keep the power on until you get there. There is No
second bite of the cake!  Well Mister Amals finest will have to go as I’m not enjoying this too

Table Mesa Christmas 2006

Back to the drawing board and BJ Racing provide the first of my wardrobe of carburettors in the
shape of the Keihin which needs an adapter to fit the Japaneese spacing. Wow! the power and
response off the bottom end is fantastic but on closing the throttle it backfires, maybe the inlet
tract isn’t long enough? It also can be trickling along and then it is almost like “pinking” and you
get the impression it will stall at any minute. All adjustments of idle speed are not to my liking as
I don’t want to get into this clutch business as that’s not my riding style. Oh well, let’s give it a
try and see what happens. Try a Mikuni but can’t get that quite right either so back to Keihin.

Phase 2 Yam forks and Keihin carb

The opening round of the season is Wittman and it actually behaves well enough and despite
having to clutch it once to prevent a stall (maybe 4 stroke inexperience) it sailed round to a class
win in Premier Lightweight Expert. But I felt I should have been able to do a bit better than I did
and I wasn’t as happy with the bike as I would have liked. After the event I’m looking at all the
other Cubs and I take a test ride on one fitted with the Del Orto. Now thats what I’m looking for!
Perfect response, no backfires, all the way down to the stall and instant pick up….Ok, where do
I get one of these?

Just catch Martyn Adams of Serco before he leaves for Australia, and yes he has one on the
shelf already prejetted and ready to fit apart from the inlet adapter. More work for Brian Crawford.
I have also got a set of brand new Cerianis but Brian is backed up so he can’t get to a new stem
and axel for a bit. No matter I have a complete set of B50 forks and yokes and these have the
3/4 inch stem so let’s see if they fit.

The B50 forks and yam front wheel

Phase 3 now with the Del Orto

Off to Kingman with the big forks and the Del Orto and after a few problems with the front brake
I end up with the low score of the day in what was a pretty tough event.

Brian now completes the bits for the Cerianis but at this time I have stayed with the B50 set
up as it seems to be working and I’m now using a TY swinging arm bolt as the front spindle.
Diamond Don’s event goes well and I don’t notice anything untoward on the bike and have a
reasonable ride and certainly can’t blame the Cub for any marks lost.

Another CAT event and seems things are getting more consistent with just the odd infuriating
stall. 3 Rocky Mountain Events and here we enter the first series of events to come which are
going to require major surgery for the bike, not me! At the first 2 Day at Cotopaxi I stall it twice
and have a couple of “moments” but moving over to Milliken the first of what will be 4 Base over
Apexes takes place. A steep uphill, drop into a ditch and turn. Seems simple enough and as the
front wheel enters the ditch the tire bumps a little gnarly root stock thing and I continue over
the bars, bike and all landing on my head with both hands on the bars and both feet on the
rests and the bike on top of me. Must have looked quite comical but a real crushing blow to the
ego. At the time, not withstanding the annoyance, I didn’t pay it too much heed as I had been
suffering from a stiff neck caused by a trapped nerve which if I bent over and turned my head
quickly could easily make me dizzy. I did of course start thinking that perhaps my normally good
balance was begining to go off and then what do you do as a trials rider with no balance????

Milliken and back to my favorite bars

Donner comes and goes and as I only lost 3 marks in 2 events not really a problem evident here.

Some new clever levers

Chehalis, and a rare bit of clutch work through those trees

The operation moves up country to Chehalis WA and on the first loop a very similar incident to
the Milliken one, when on the second section I round a downhill tree and again hit a little gnarly
root outcrop that almost stops the wheel again, but this time I escape with a dab. Not so lucky
on the second lap when coming round the same corner I go straight over the bars and the back
wheel clouts me up the bum!  ……. am I losing it ? Is this the begining of the end ? Has old age
finally caught up with me ? As it transpired the rest of the sections secured the win so the mind
tends to dismiss the incident.

Casper and on Day 1 in a simple turn in a river I catch the front wheel AGAIN and once more I’m
face first in the drink with hands and feet still at the controls…..S***!   That’s 3 times and this is
becoming annoying. By now the motor and I are at one and I’m getting the same amount of
sensitivity from the little beast as I would expect from my trusty Yams but this handling problem
and landing on my head is getting to be a real pain.

On to Sandia and not really much that should be a problem but once again just how wrong can
you be ? First loop, and on what I would consider a tightish turn, at the top of a small hill the
wheel again stops on a little rooty thing and over the bars I sail landing on my helmet and
sunglasses still with hands on the bars. This has got to STOP!! No more problems and a fine win.

Review of stance and other things shows I’m too far forward and and bent over. Thinks bubble?
when has this ever happened before in the rich tapestry of life? That Sammy Miller f******
Hi-Boy, I could never ride that thing either! Further investigation shows my baby Cub has long
rear legs and a bit short in the back and is behaving like a rodeo bull rather than a Tiger Cub.
2-3 inches back and down we go with a lot of mega welding and strengthening but the job is
done and now the footrests are where the rest of the fleet’s are and the handling is now first
rate…… problem is now I will be fresh out of excuses for the 2008 season.

Along way back and down, and a stop for the brake pedal

A double header at Dickson and after getting used to the “pegs” I’m on song and get the class
win. Hollister to wrap it up and it handles beautifully for a single dab that was preventable with
a little more thought.

No Excuses and ready for 2008

……. and what for the future? maybe those Ceris? maybe chrome everything? I fancy cutting out
the lower tube and bashplating the bottom to get rid of the hard rubber thing that won’t sit on
a stand.

Here, Kitty, Kitty!

TONY (the TIGER TAMER)  DOWN… with help and suggestions from my photographer Brenda

Over 100 fun articles to read on these winter nights! Just look down the Archives list.

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  • 1/27/2008 11:52 PM Steveo wrote:
    good write on the saga of getting older iron to work better,trial and experimenting.The rewards of finally getting it right,usually make sense of our efforts,its not rocket science,its passion.I for one believe in the sense of oneness with your machine, that comes from hours of intimate wrenching with a goal in mind.If theres anything better than having a great ride,its doing it on an older bike.Riding modern trials with a twin-shock rather gets peoples attention,especially when you manage to beat them! Thanks Tony ,Steveo
    Reply to this
  • 1/29/2008 2:43 PM Marc Price wrote:
    A great read. I have a TR20 restored by Ken Heynes last year. My forks clonk as yours did and the Amal is also Cr@p! You have made all the right changes for all the right reasons. Time I did the same. Where can I find an address for Serco to get a jetted Del Orto please?
    Best wishes
    Reply to this

    1. 1/29/2008 4:46 PM Anonymous wrote:
      Martyn Adams went to Aus in Mar/Apr 07, I’m not sure whether Serco is still trading and I no longer have his number. However if you find the correct Del Orto I can give you the jetting I’m using on the standard 199cc engine.
      Reply to this
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