If you are into two-stroke race replicas, the name Tyga Performance will be familiar. Based in the Sattathip district of Chonburi in Thailand, Tyga Performance was set up in 1998 by Brithish friends Paul Pearmain and Matt Patterson. From humble beginnings, Tyga Performance has gone on to become the go-to place for two-stroke race replicas parts.
'I first went to Thailand in 1993 to race motorcycles' explaions Matt. 'I raqced in Asia from 1993 to 1997, at which point I went to Japan to work as a mechanic for HARC-PRO, who are one of the top Japanese race teams. I learnt a lot about HRC and then returned to Thailand, which is when I started working with Paul.' 'I backpacked to Thailand in 1989,' said Paul. 'I loved the place and returned a year later to teach English here. I've always been into motorcycles and quite quickly got into the Thai motorcycle scene, which was really small. Everyone knew everyone else as so few people had big bikes. This led to me starting a business exporting motorcycles and parts from Thailand to America as the Internet kicked off. I would get accident damaged motorcycles in from Japan, fix them up, then export them. People started asking for parts, so using Matt's knowledge and contacts we sourced lots of HRC two-stroke bits and started building parts ourselves.
'Interent sales were in their fledgling years and the connection in Thailand was tricky, which was an obstacle in 1998. But we had what people wanted: very cheap motorcycles. The economic crisis saw the Thai currency hit the floor and motorcycles were incredibly cheap. And as the internet expanded, Tyga Performance also grew in size.'
Using Thailand's proximity to Japan and the county's cheap cost of labor compared to Europe, Tyga Performance soon carved out their own niche in the market. But unlike some cheap Chinese copysts, the Birts in charge of Tyga Performance made quality their top priority.
'We are lucky in Thailand as it has a very strong car and motorcycle building infrastructure,' explains Matt. 'There are some very skilled workers in Thailand. Also, the Thai mentality is very hands-on, they will fix and modify their own motorcycles and that means they are good mechanics. Nowadays Ducati, Triump, Ohlins, Honda and Kawasaki and a few more are producing motorcycles and parts in Thailand.'
Tyga Performance use this local knowledge base to build things like two-stroke exhausts, fairings and yoked as well as an array of four-stroke components. Their website lists over 2000 items for sale and the business is doing very well and they export worldwide.
'We're now building more parts for the new four-stroke like the KTM RC390 and the Yamaha YZF-R3, but our heart are still with two-strokes,' says Paul. 'We move with the times, but we will never give up on the strokers.'