The Collecting of my 1993 Triumph Tiger

This is the story of the day I collected Tigger.

Like a lot of things in my life, doing something simple like this had to be different.

I saw the Tiger on eBay back in August 2008 and immediately fell in love with the colour. It was too far away for me to visit before the auction ended, so I took a gamble and purchased it based on the photos and description. Although it was claimed to be rust free, I could see that the wheels were in poor shape and would need attention. The seller also noted that there was a problem with the “carbs” and that a “guy” was going to do a full inspection of the bike to ensure that it was 100% before collection.

The Auction finished in August but because of my commitments and because the seller was going off on holiday I wasn’t able to collect it until September. In the meantime, I paid a deposit and, as the TAX would run out at the end of the month, I applied for a new TAX disc online using the current owners details so that I would be totally legal when collecting the bike.

The eventful day arrived when I would be traveling up to Warwickshire to collect the bike. I had my flatmate drop me off at Reading train station to catch the train to Nuneaton and meet the seller who would pick me up from the station. Even though the seller was throwing in a helmet, I was carrying all my gear and a helmet as I am not a fan of using second hand helmets.

The journey seemed fairly quick and it wasn’t long before I was walking around Nuneaton station looking for my lift. I figured I was fairly recognisable, being 6’3″, sporting a goatee, and either carrying or wearing my motorcycle gear. On the other hand, the person I was looking for was a complete unknown, so I gave the seller a call. He asked if I was carrying a helmet, and I said I was. He then said he thought he could see me, so I started looking around. I could see a guy, some distance off, walking purposefully towards me with a phone in his right hand. I told him that I could see him and hung up.

“Hi, are you Dave?”, I asked.
“Yes, I guess you are here for the bike?”, he replied, trying not to state the obvious.

We got into his van and headed off to look at the bike. We made some idle chit chat on the way, with myself asking how his holiday was. This was the moment I should have realised something was wrong. His reaction was of surprise, which confused me. I queried, “you have just been on holiday?”, to which he said yes. “And your name is Dave?”, to which he also replied yes. I let it slide, and assumed I had interpreted the reaction wrong.

It was a short trip to the garage. When we got there, he handed me some paperwork for the bike and in return I gave him the balance, which was about £1000. He then proceeded to the garage and open the door revealing a crowded space with about five or six bikes under covers. He removed the dust cover from a bike near the front and asked “What do you think?”. Being polite, I told him it was really nice, but where’s the Tiger? I looked around the garage at the other silhouettes under dust covers and couldn’t see anything Tiger shaped or sized. At the same time, my brain was working over time trying to figure out what the scam was. This bike looked a lot nicer than the pictures of the Tiger I had seen in the auction. Surely, if you were going to scam someone, the bike is supposed to look worse in person? If I had to ride off on this crotchet rocket, I wouldn’t be so upset. It was a really nice, clean, looking bike. Not my style, but hey, it wasn’t a bad buy, so where was the scam? Something was very wrong.

“You’re Dave?”, I asked again.
“And you have just come back off holiday?”.
“And you have just sold a bike on eBay for £1300?”.
“And this is the bike you sold?”
“But this isn’t the bike I was bidding on. The auction I bid on was for a Triumph Tiger”.
The guy looks at me and says, “Well, this is the only bike I have for sale”.

It was at this point we both had an inspiration; What if there were two other people at the station who had made the same plans as ourselves and who were also going through a similarly confusing scenario. Simultaneously, I called the Dave on my phone and the Dave I was with called the buyer on his phone and the confusion was resolved. We got back to the station and all four of us shook hands and went our separate ways.

It turned out that the other buyer had also got on at Reading! So many coincidences, it is difficult to believe, but it is all true.

My bike turned out to be not as nice as the other, and for a fleeting moment, I did think “I wonder if I could have kept that other bike if I had hidden my confusion?”. In the end, I am really happy with the Tiger and even though I had a lot of work to do, I will never regret the purchase.

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