Triumph Tigress, also sold as the BSA Sunbeam,
was a scooter designed to have good performance
and handling for the motorcycle enthusiast.
In the 1960s, despite internal opposition
from those who felt that scooters would dilute
the macho image of the brand, Triumph (owned
by BSA) produced two scooters and a motor tricycle.
The Triumph Tina and the Ariel 3 tricycle (BSA
also owned the Ariel marque) were intended to
tap into the market segment for a convenient
The Triumph Tigress was a high performance
scooter, drawing on Triumph's long experience
of building fast motorcycles. Badge engineering
meant that it was also sold under the BSA name,
one of the last uses of the Sunbeam marque.
The design was Edward Turner's; production
was by BSA. The Tigress was available with a
175 cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine
or a 250 cc four-stroke twin. Both engines
were forced-air cooled. The two-stroke was a
development of the BSA Bantam engine but the
four-stroke was completely new. Both versions
had four foot-operated gears. Some of the 250
twins were fitted with an electric starter.
The 250 twin sold well and could do 70 mph
(105 km/h) with efficient suspension and
good roadholding despite having only 10-inch
wheels. The only problem was build quality:
it was sometimes said that a Tigress
was a joy to own so long as someone else was
paying the repair bills.
The differences between the BSA Sunbeam and
the Tigress were entirely cosmetic - the former
in polychromatic green paint, also two-tone
red and cream, with a BSA badge; the latter
in a shell blue with Triumph badging.
The 4-stroke was discontinued in 1964, the
2-stroke in 1965.