Tribsas, Tritons, and Dresdas are a central part of the retro sports and café-racer scene. Each machine is that little bit different to the next, with the majority built half a century ago, when many knowledgeable but frustrated enthusiasts began to realise they could own a far more exciting machine than those produced in factories; all they had to do was match the engine of their choice with the best available frame.
Cyril Malem, whose reputation was honed on Eglis, MV Agustas, Vincent 4-valve 'heads, and other exotica, acquired the Tribsa in the 1970s. His performance equipment was in such demand at the time that the conventionally equipped hybrid was virtually forgotten for thirty years until, over two busy months in 2005, he finally undertook and completed a major rebuild and modification programme, with stunning results. In a 6-page report and road test in The Classic MotorCycle (March 06) Roy Poynting writes glowingly of Cyril's workmanship, in conjunction with the Tribsa's exceptional specification; he likewise awarded UXB top points after he had sampled the "rocket-ship" on the highway. It is clearly a very swift motorcycle, borne out by Roy's comment, "...second sufficed for any speed that's legal on the open road". As one of classic journalism's most honest if gentler riders, Roy also confessed it was the sheer speed of the Tribsa which effectively prevented him ever "snicking it into top", but that is perhaps understandable given the high gearing and close ratio gearbox.
One of Cyril's more significant modifications was re-fitting the engine with a few degrees of forward tilt, not instantly discernible but a subtle improvement to the appearance. Starting with the splayed 'head Tiger 100 motor the menu includes: Amal GP carburettors, E3134 cams, stainless steel header pipes running into shapely reverse cone silencers, Dunlop alloy rims shod with contemporary rubber, forks with two-way damping that utilise Gold Star sliders to accommodate the large diameter front drum, alloy fork crowns by Supalegera, and an evocative Monard timing cover behind which a Triumph reciprocating oil pump is retained; the list is endless. Especially worthy of mention are the definitive scroll style "Tribsa" transfers affixed to the large capacity fuel tank, and the smaller transfer which adorns the rear mudguard. The polished alloy tank has the appropriate knee dents and a quick action filler. Offered with V5C registration document, where it is listed as a Tribsa, and MOT Certificate expiring August 2014, this quality machine is something of a lighter RGS.