My first motorcycle was a Triumph, a 1952 Speed Twin 500cc with a box sidecar, which I bought in 1974 for £20. Some friends came down to visit from London and, being short of vehicles to transport everyone, one of my friends, Dave, decided he should drive the Triumph, with me in the sidecar. He’d never driven an outfit before, and did not appreciate how a sidecar can make a motorcycle veer to the left. Unfortunately, despite me shouting at him to steer right, as we set out he crashed into a wall and I had to jump out of the sidecar. Luckily it was a low speed accident, but we had to take him to hospital.
The next day I removed the damaged sidecar and sold the solo motorcycle for £25. The £5 profit was a reasonable sum in those days. I suppose it was a good indication that, despite working at more mundane jobs, my future profession was calling. Within ten years I was buying and selling vintage cars and motorcycles full-time.
I bought this TS100 on German ebay in 2005 and still have it. I set it up with the Fenton Zip sidecar in 2008. I’ve owned and ridden other vintage Triumphs, but this is the one I kept after progressing to vintage bicycles.
1935 Triumph Model TS100
98cc Fichtel & Sachs engine
1931 Fenton Zip Sidecar
This machine is quite unique. Without an idea of scale, at first glance you might assume it to be a 1920’s flat-tank Triumph. It quite surprised me how much it drives like one. Obviously it’s a lightweight, so it’s very much easier to manage than a heavy old flat-tank, but the ride-height is similar and it definitely chugs along doing an excellent impersonation of a 1920s motorcycle.
I have to admit to not liking sidecars. I love their looks. But they are atrocious to use on a motorcycle. I thought the TS100, being lighter, might handle one better, so I weighed down this Fenton Zip sidecar with bricks to try and improve the handling. Of course the problem is that when you turn any motorcycle with a sidecar, the sidecar wheel doesn’t turn with you; you have to drag it round a corner.
Very few of this particular ‘flat tank’ variation of the Triumph TS100 were manufactured. You can see two brochure illustrations of similar machines below, but they have different petrol tank styles.
This is the only one still in existence, making it the rarest Triumph motorcycle in the world.
1935 & 1936 TRIUMPH 98cc ADVERTS