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Triumph Motorcycles

About Triumph

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is the largest UK motorcycle manufacturer. It was established in 1984 by John Bloor after the original company Triumph Engineering went into receivership. The new company (initially Bonneville Coventry Ltd) continued Triumph's record of motorcycle production since 1902.

In 1884 Siegfried Bettmann starts an import-export company. He imports German sewing machines and also sells bicycles badged with the name “Bettmann.” In 1887 Bettmann changes the name of his company to New Triumph Co. Ltd. (Later it will be changed again to Triumph Cycle Co. Ltd.)

First Triumph is produced in 1902 – known as No. 1. This is basically one of the company’s bicycles, fitted with a 2-hp Minerva engine made in Belgium. In 1905 Triumph produces its first motorcycle completely in-house. It’s powered by a 3-hp engine and has a top speed of 45 mph. Triumph makes a big advance in 1910 with the ‘free engine’ device (basically, the first practical clutch), which allows the user to start the engine with the bike on its stand and ride away from a standing start. There are two models in the lineup, and sales hit 3,000 units!

In 1920 Triumph produces the 550cc Type SD, the company’s first bike to feature a chain-driven rear wheel. SD stands for Spring Drive – it’s an early version of a cush drive. Bicycle-style rim brakes are replaced by drum brakes. The new bikes in 1921 need better brakes, as they now make a lot more power – especially the prototype 20-hp Model R, with four-valve head. It is known as the “Riccy” after one of its designers, Frank Ricardo. The 350cc Model LS (from 1923) is the first Triumph with an oil pump driven by the motor. (Until then, the rider had to pump oil by hand.)

In 1932 the noted engine designer Val Page joins the firm. Page quickly creates several new motors, including a 150cc two-stroke and 250, 350 and 500cc four-strokes. In 1935 a foot-change gearshift is available as an option on 650 Twins.

In 1936 Jack Sangster, who had owned Ariel, buys the motorcycle business and immediately hires Edward Turner (who had previously created the Ariel Square Four) as chief designer. Sangster reinstitutes Bettmann as the company chairman. In 1937 Turner unveils the 498cc Speed Twin (T100) that has a top speed of over 90 mph. It is the definitive British motorcycle and establishes a pattern for Triumph bikes that will last more than 40 years.

With the return of peace in 1945, the company focuses on three models, the Tiger 100, the Speed Twin and the smaller touring 349cc 3T. All models feature a telescopic front fork. In 1946 Ernie Lyons wins the Manx Grand Prix on a redesigned Tiger 100, using a lightweight all-alloy motor that Triumph designed for use on aircraft during the war. (The motor powered a radio generator.) In 1947 a rear “sprung hub” is optional. In 1949 the off-road 500cc TR5 “Trophy” and big-bore 649cc Thunderbird are released.

In 1951 Jack Sangster sells Triumph to BSA for £2.5 million. The 149cc OHV Terrier is released in 1953. The Tiger 110 is released in 1954, which is basically a tuned (40+hp) version of the Thunderbird, with a rear swingarm. The exquisitely styled 350cc “Twenty one” of 1957 may be an aesthetic success, but it proves a commercial failure.

The very popular T120 Bonneville 650 is introduced in 1959. It’s an evolution of the Tiger, fitted with twin carbs – something American dealers have long been asking for. It will remain in production until 1983. Bert Hopwood moves from AMC to Triumph in 1961, where he conceives a three-cylinder motor. The T120C “TT” (starting 1963) will become one of the most sought-after Triumphs of the period.

The 750cc Triple finally makes an appearance in 1968, powering both the Triumph Trident and the BSA Rocket 3.

The BSA group, which includes Triumph, posts a huge financial loss in 1973. The decision is made to shut down BSA and focus resources and energy on Triumph. Craig Vetter’s freelance “American hotrod” design for the Triple, which was to be a BSA model, is produced as the Triumph X75 Hurricane. By the end of the year, Triumph merges with Norton.

When Triumph Engineering went into receivership in 1983, John Bloor bought the name and manufacturing rights from the Official Receiver. The new company's manufacturing plant and its designs were not able to compete against the Japanese, so Bloor decided against relaunching Triumph immediately. Initially, production of the old Bonneville was continued under licence by Les Harris of Racing Spares, in Newton Abbot, Devon, to bridge the gap between the end of the old company and the start of the new company. For five years from 1983, about 14 were built a week in peak production. In the USA, owing to problems with liability insurance, the Harris Bonnevilles were never imported.

Bloor set to work assembling the new Triumph, hiring several of the group's former designers to begin work on new models. The team visited Japan on a tour of its competitors' facilities and became determined to adopt Japanese manufacturing techniques and especially new-generation computer-controlled machinery. In 1985, Triumph purchased a first set of equipment to begin working, in secret, on its new prototype models. By 1987, the company had completed its first engine. In 1988, Bloor funded the building of a new factory at a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Bloor put between £70 million and £100 million into the company between purchasing the brand and breaking even in 2000.

Bloor has previously created two subsidiary companies, Triumph Deutschland GmbH and Triumph France SA. In 1994 Bloor created Triumph Motorcycles America Ltd.

A range of new 750 cc and 900 cc triple-cylinder bikes and 1000 cc and 1200 cc four-cylinder bikes were launched at the September 1990 Cologne Motorcycle Show. The motorcycles used famous model names from the glory days of Meriden Triumph and were first made available to the public between March (Trophy 1200 being the first) and September 1991. All used a modular liquid cooled DOHC engine design in a common large diameter steel backbone frame. The modular design was to ensure that a variety of models could be offered whilst keeping production costs under control.

The first models, known generically as the 'T300's, all used a common piston diameter (76mm) in a common wet cylinder liner. Basic engine variations were achieved through the use of two specifications of piston stroke: 65mm to create individual cylinder capacity of 300cc, and 55mm to create a 250cc individual cylinder. Two 750cc models were released - and the Daytona and Trident 750 triples (3 x 250cc). There was one 1000cc model - the Daytona 1000 four (4 x 250cc). Two 900 cc models were the Trophy 900 and Trident 900 triples (3 x 300cc). The Trophy 1200 four was the largest model (4 x 300cc). All were remarkably smooth running. The three cylinder models were equipped with a contra-rotating balance shaft mounted at the front of the engine. The four cylinder models benefitted from twin balance shafts - unique at the time - mounted beneath the crank shaft. Contemporary road tests noted the solidity and smoothness of performance as positives but the weight of the machines as negatives.

Revisions to crankcases for the three-cylinder models in 1993, together with a move to high pressure casting, reduced engine weight considerably. All painting and plating operations were brought in house in 1993, as the Hinckley factory benefitted from further investment after the initial success of the range. The result was improved quality and durability of finish, added to the basic engineering integrity of the engine and chassis, made for a long-lasting and robust motorcycle.

The range was largely revised in 1997 with the release of the T500 range, followed by a light-weight four-cylinder 600 cc sports TT600. The Triumph Thunderbird 900 exploited the styling cues of the 'old' Triumph's legendary designer, Edward Turner whilst retaining the modern triple engine. The 790 and 865 cc versions of the Triumph Bonneville and Thruxton look and sound original but internally they have modern valves and counterbalance shafts.

The 2,294 cc (140.0 cu in) triple Rocket III cruiser was introduced in 2004. In 2009 1,600 cc (98 cu in) Thunderbird twin-cylinder cruiser was announced.

Triumph's best selling bike is the 675 cc Street Triple. In 2010 they launched the Triumph Tiger 800 and Tiger 800 XC, dual-sport motorcycles, which uses an 800 cc engine derived from the Street Triple, and is designed to compete directly with the market leading BMW F800GS. In 2012, the Tiger 800 was joined by the shaft-driven Triumph Tiger Explorer.

Moto blog

Triumph Sets Sales Record but Suffers First Operating Loss Since 2009

Thu, 12 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Triumph sold 52,089 motorcycles from its fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, setting a new company record for annual sales. At the same time, the company announced an operating loss of £95,000 (US$155,300), the company’s time in the red since 2009. Much of the operating loss was caused by foreign currency exchanges and the cost of starting up manufacturing facilities in Brazil and India.

Castrol Rocket, Gyronaut X-1 and Jason DiSalvo at New York IMS

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Two Triumph land speed bikes, the Gyronaut X-1 and the Castrol Rocket, will be on display at the New York Progressive International Motorcycle Show this weekend. Jason DiSalvo, pilot of the Castrol Rocket and winner of the 2011 Daytona 200 will also be in attendance to meet fans and talk about the project. The Gyronaut X-1 is the last Triumph motorcycle to hold the ultimate motorcycle land speed record. The X-1 first set the motorcycle land speed record in 1965 at 212.689mph, while its 1966 record at 245.667mph stood until 1970.

2015 Triumph 250 Cub Spied

Tue, 10 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

A new photograph of Triumph‘s upcoming 250cc naked bike has emerged, showing the Street Triple-styled small-displacement motorcycle undergoing testing in Spain. Triumph has previously confirmed the 250cc naked roadster and its fully-faired sportbike sibling will be introduced in 2015 and will be manufactured in India. Published by Britain’s MCN, the spy photo offers a clear look at the naked model’s left side.

2013 Long Beach International Motorcycle Show Report

Fri, 06 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Today the motorcycle press descended upon the Long Beach Convention Center to attend media day at the annual International Motorcycle Show. After feasting from a continental breakfast buffet the discerning journalists set to the task of reporting on the bounty of new model motorcycles – most of which has been previously showcased in our November EICMA reporting. If you missed anything from that show here’s a run down of what to look forward to: Triumph Thunderbird LT Suzuki V-Strom 1000 Can-Am Spyder Royal Enfield Continental GT Zero KTM Super Duke R – KTM confirmed the retail price to be $16,999 BMW R NineT Ducati Monster S 1200 Honda Valkyrie Kawasaki Z1000 Husqvarna A cool item of interest included a reproduction TZ750-powered flat tracker King Kenny Roberts made famous.

AMA to Combine Daytona Sportbike and Supersport Classes in 2015

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

AMA Pro Racing announced plans to combine its Daytona Sportbike and Supersport classes into a single category by the 2015 season. The two classes currently share many similarities including engine displacement regulations, minimum weight limits and eligible machines. The Supersport class has more restrictions on modifications and are limited to a maximum top speed of 165 mph while Daytona Sportbike machines are allowed to reach speeds up to 170 mph.

Small-Displacement Class Considered for 2015 AMA Pro Racing Season

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

More and more manufacturers are entering the small-displacement sportbike market and AMA Pro Racing has taken notice, opening the possibility of adding a new racing class representing the growing segment. With plans to consolidate the Daytona Sportbike and Supersport classes and the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson series signed through 2015, a spot will open up on race weekends for another racing class to support the premier Superbike Championship. The logical choice is to introduce a new small-displacement class.

Price William The Duke Of Ducs And Other Motorcycles

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, visited Britain’s largest motorcycle show, Motorcycle Live, at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham. The visit saw the Duke astride numerous motorcycle models including UK icons Norton and Triumph as well as a Ducati 1199 Superleggera (one of the few men able to afford the $70,000 rarity). During his visit Prince William enjoyed a display of off-road riding – one of nine opportunities for visitors to ride at Motorcycle Live, eight of which are inside the halls of the NEC. He also met Dean Linehan, exhibitions director of MCI Exhibitions, the company that organizes the annual motorcycle exhibition.

Prince William The Duke Of Ducs And Other Motorcycles

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, visited Britain’s largest motorcycle show, Motorcycle Live, at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham. The visit saw the Duke astride numerous motorcycle models including UK icons Norton and Triumph as well as a Ducati 1199 Superleggera (one of the few men able to afford the $70,000 rarity). During his visit Prince William enjoyed a display of off-road riding – one of nine opportunities for visitors to ride at Motorcycle Live, eight of which are inside the halls of the NEC. He also met Dean Linehan, exhibitions director of MCI Exhibitions, the company that organizes the annual motorcycle exhibition.

2015 Triumph Daytona 250 Spied

Fri, 29 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Spy photographers have captured images of Triumph‘s upcoming 250cc sportbike. The new sportbike (we’re calling it the Daytona 250 until Triumph tells us otherwise) is one of two new 250cc single-cylinder models Triumph is designed primarily for India, where Triumph officially started operations this week. There is a very good chance however the Daytona 250 and its naked roadster sibling will be exported to other markets including here in the U.S.

2015 Triumph 250 Preview

Mon, 18 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800

With all the new motorcycles Triumph presented earlier this month at the 2013 EICMA show in Milan, Italy, we were hoping to see the company’s new 250cc models. Unfortunately, the new small-displacement Triumph models (which made our list of Top 10 Motorcycles to Watch For at EICMA) were not yet ready to be revealed, though Triumph did offer us a glimpse of what to expect, with a sketch of its 250 sportbike. At Milan, the company referred to the sportbike as “Triumph’s New 250″, though it will get a proper name when it’s officially, presented as a 2015 model, likely at next year’s EICMA show or at Intermot in Cologne, Germany.