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Tabitha 1200

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Lee337:
Tabitha is a 1993 Triumph Trophy 1200. She was first registered on 4th August 1993 and lived most of her life in the Milton Keynes area.

She’s the first of the bikes designed and produced by Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, established in 1983 by John Bloor after Triumph Engineering went bust and new triumphs were rolling off the production line by 1991. Made in Hinkley, the first Triumph Trophy 1200 was released into the wild in March of that year.

Tabitha’s first owner bought her new and owned her for around 11 years before her 2nd owner bought her on 28th  August 2004 and here’s where her story gets a little muddy. What I know for certain is that when I acquired her, she’d been sitting in a back garden for a number of years under a tarpaulin.

This is the story of how Tabitha came to be resting in my garage, alongside my 2006 Triumph Tiger 955i, how she got her name and at least some of the story of how she got back on the road.

ghulst:

--- Quote from: Lee337 on January 19, 2021, 07:13:06 PM ---What I know for certain is that when I acquired her, she’d been sitting in a back garden for a number of years under a tarpaulin.

--- End quote ---

Man, that image is enough to make people tremble... Fantastic that you picked her up. Looking forward to the story!

Lee337:
I’d been looking for a project bike for some time and had even bought a 1989 Honda CB-1, a 400cc import some years ago. This was pretty much a non starter as while I’d stripped it down, well, most of it was already in boxes anyway, I hadn’t done as much as I intended. I managed to get the frame shot blasted and resprayed it, fitted new head bearings but then ill health got in the way and the project was pretty much shelved, or to be more accurate, atticed. It’s currently sitting in the attic of my garage, where it will probably stay, at least until I’ve finished my current crop of projects.

Then in November 2019, I was offered a 2005 Triumph Tiger 955i. The seller (a member here) said it needed a good clean and a new clutch, maybe a couple of other things, so I thought this would be a nice easy project for me to do over winter. The idea was to keep it as a green lane bike. It was another 3 months before I got around to picking it up.

In the mean time, I knew of a Triumph that had been sitting in someone’s back garden for some time through my Uncle Mike. I’d made a couple of enquiries over the years but nothing really came of it. Then during Christmas 2019, Mike said he’d spoken to Keith (the owner of said Triumph) and I could have it, I just needed to go and pick it up.

At the time I didn’t have any details other than it was a Triumph. I didn't know the age, model, condition mileage, even colour. But, it was a free bike, Keith didn’t want anything for it.I even offered a case of beer (Keith is known to like a sip or two), he refused, I just needed to take it away.

So it was, one January day in 2020 myself and my brother, Paul, hopped in his car and off we went to Bletchley (Milton Keynes), with trailer attached, graciously loaned by another Paul, a member of my local Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club (TOMCC). Now both Paul and I know Bletchley fairly well as we have family there and it turns out Keith lives not far from where my parents lived around 50 years ago, not that I remember much about that house other than the name of the road and where it was, so finding Keith’s address was easy. It helped that his rather distinctive car was parked outside.

Not long after we arrived, so did my Uncle Mike. Keith’s sister had the kettle on as soon as we walked in the door and before long there were 6 of us in the kitchen tucking in to Bacon and Black Pudding butties with our coffee.
I still hadn’t seen the Triumph but was told it had one headlight and was blue.

Lee337:
Keith had uncovered it before we arrived but it had been left untouched for around 3 years. He had got it started at that time but it was running rough, which he suspected was down to the carbs. It ran ok above 4000rpm but like a dog below that.

The story is that it was laid up in his garden when he bought a Street Triple, around 5 years ago. He’s since traded in the Street Triple for a Triumph Scrambler. He thought about selling the Trophy at one point but as he couldn’t get it running properly, just put it back in the garden and covered it up again. The side panels had been removed and because the petrol tap was leaking, the tank had been drained, then it ws just left.

In Keith’s words ’ I just want it to go to someone who’ll get it back on the road again, rather than strip it down for parts. One condition, when it’s done, ride it back to show me’. I can do that Keith. 

As expected, the brakes were seized and both tyres were flat, so it was a five man job getting it out of the garden and on to the trailer (me, Paul, Mike, Keith and a friend of Keith’s)  and things didn’t get any better.

I’d brought three ratchet straps with me to tie down the Trophy, two of them snapped almost as soon as we tied the bike down. This was the point I realised they’d been sitting on a shelf in the garage for 16 years, so I borrowed a strap from Mike and with some nylon rope, secured the bike for it’s trip home.

I still knew very little of the bike or it’s history aside from what Keith told me so as Paul and I wheeled it on to the workbench, I felt a little research coming on.



ghulst:
Great story.  :><  Really enjoying the read.


Did you get the side panels? When I go pick up a bike that has been sitting, I always bring a tire pump and I always have a little 12V air compressor in the van. When you get the tires inflated, often the brakes can be coerced to release their grip. Or I loosen the brake bolts to get the calipers off, so I can push it on a trailer. Oh, and straps are vital. I always carry lots. Which is mainly because once I picked up an XJ550 on the back of a flat non-motorcycle trailer and I thought I lost it on a speed bump. ;)

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