Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is a British motorcycle manufacturing company that was established in 1983, but built on top of the long and illustrious history of the Triumph Engineering Company that can trace its roots back to 1884. Over the years, Triumph has cultivated a reputation for delivering motorcycles that offer the perfect balance of power, handling, and style, to give riders the ultimate ride experience. Using bold designs, innovative marketing, and pushing its cult-status as a British icon, Triumph has managed to revive from the ashes and transform into one of the most successful motorcycle manufacturing companies in the world, posting unprecedented growth and reaping enormous profits despite the unpredictable economic climate. The secret of Triumph’s success is their timeless design aesthetic and commitment to quality engineering. From the legendary Triumph Bonneville, to the Speed and Street Triple, there’s a motorcycle in Triumph’s line-up to suit every rider, and every riding style.
A Brief History Of Triumph Motorcycles
The history of Triumph is a long and troubled one, with the firm transforming through many different incarnations and changing ownership on a fairly regular basis since it was first established. The first incarnation of Triumph Motorcycles was first founded back in 1884 by Siegfried Bettmann, a German immigrant to England who founded the S.Bettmann & Co. Import Export Agency, a business that foces on buying motorcycles and reselling them under Bettmann’s own brand name. By 1889, Bettmann’s import venture was restyled as the Triumph Cycle Company, but a mere one year later, and thanks to financial support from the Dunlop Tyre company, the company was re-registered as the New Triumph Co. Ltd.
The company slowly began to expand and started manufacturing its own products. In 1902, the first “Triumph” motorcycle was built, featuring a factory-built chassis and powered by a Belgian-made 2.2 horsepower Minerva engine – the result, dubbed the “No.1” – was an outstanding success, with more than 500 units sold in 1903 alone. However, it wasn’t enough for the New Triumph Company, who wanted to produce their own motorcycle in its entirety. This dream came true in 1905, when Triumph began production of their very first completely in-house designed Triumph motorcycle. By 1907, Triumph was producing a variety of models with the most advanced being a 3.5 horsepower model powered by a 450cc engine. Annual production peaked over 1000 units per year, forcing Triumph to move to a larger premises located on Coventry’s Priory Street.
Triumph During The World Wars
The onset of World War I didn’t harm Triumph as much as other British motorcycle manufacturers. While other manufacturing premises were requested to focus on producing items for the war effort, Triumph was chosen to carry on producing motorcycles for the Allied forces. During World War I, Triumph produced more than 57,000 Model H “Trusty” motorcycles for the war effort, with some 30,000 of their 499cc air-cooled, single cylinder machines seeing active service. Triumph’s success continued long after the First World War, and by 1927 the firm’s Coventry factory employed more than 3000 workers, and produced more than 30,000 units per year.
Despite emerging from the war victorious, Triumph faced a civil war of its own, with the company’s founder Bettmann and long term business partner Moritz Schulte disagreeing on the future of the company. Bettmann wanted to continue focusing on motorcycles and bicycles, and Schulte insisting that the manufacture of automobiles would be in the company’s best interests. The disagreement saw Schulte cut associations with Triumph. However, Bettmann listened to his friends advice and purchased the Hillman company car factory in Coventry, and split Triumph into two divisions, with the newly formed Triumph Motor Company focusing on producing cars, while the original Triumph Motorcycle Company continued with two-wheeled pursuits.
Despite Triumph’s expansion and apparent success, the Great Depression had a huge impact on the company’s fortunes and saw Triumph selling off divisions and merging operations and an alarming rate. By 1933, Siegfried Bettmann had been forced to step-down and retire, and by 1936, Triumph had sold both its motorcycle and automobile divisions. Triumph Motors was bought by the Standard Motor Company, but Triumph Motorcycles was luckily bought by Jack Sangster, the owner of Triumph’s great rival, Ariel, and formed the Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd., which saved Triumph and gave the company a new lease of life.
Under the direction of motorcycle designer Edward Turner, who penned the legendary 498cc Speed Twin T100 – one of the most iconic motorcycles ever produced – Triumph set its sights on the American market and enjoyed mild success, until the unthinkable happened: World War II began. Again, Triumph contributed to the war effort, providing more than 50,000 military motorcycles to the war effort, but at a great cost. Triumph’s Priory Street factory was completely destroyed during the Coventry Blitz on November 14, 1940. Though temporary premises were established, Triumph didn’t open a new plant until it founded the Meriden factory in 1942.
Over 50,000 motorcycles are sold to the military as motorcycle production is geared towards the war effort. The Priory Street factory is demolished on November 14, 1940 in the blitz of Coventry. Temporary premises in Warwick are used until a new plant opens in Meriden in 1942. After the war and with the return of peace, Triumph was able to produce new models, perform excellently on the race track (with their first win at the 1946 Manx Grand Prix), and impress American buyers. The bigger 650cc Speed Twin was a particular success, but it was the 1950 Thunderbird 6T that garnered the most publicity in the USA, thanks to Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Johnny Strabler in The Wild One, who famously rode a Triumph Thunderbird.
Triumph Sold Again (And Again)
Despite Triumph’s success, Sangster sold the brand to Triumph’s longstanding rivals BSA. The move secured Sangster a spot on the BSA board, and paved the way for him to become the chairman of the BSA Group in 1956. During this time, Johnny Allen successfully piloted a streamliner powered by a 650cc Triumph Thunderbird engine to 193 miles per hour at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a landmark event that signified Triumph’s two-wheeled dominance. Over the next few years, Triumph would produce a 100cc two-stroke model called the Triumph Tine, a larger version called the Triumph Tigress, and finally, the legendary Triumph T120 Bonneville 650 – the bestselling British twin-cylinder motorcycle of all time.
In 1963, Triumph hit a new level of fame when a TR6 650 Trophy was ridden, jumped, and crashed by famous stuntman Bud Ekins, but even more famously, Steve McQueen turned the Trophy into an icon on the set of The Great Escape. Sales were up in the USA, but the arrival of large-capacity competitive Japanese motorcycles began to damage sales considerably. In fact, by 1971 the entire BSA Group was in big trouble, suffering such devastating losses that the British government has to step in and force the company’s sale to Manganese Bronze Holdings, a holding company that also owned AJS, Matchless, Francis-Barnett, James-Velocette, Villiers, and Norton. Of those brands, the Manganese Bronze Holdings operated Norton-Villiers as a subsidiary, and BSA and Triumph were absorbed into it, forming what became known as Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT) in 1972. Triumph was still far from being saved.
In a controversial move, NVT chairman Dennis Poore announced the closure of Triumph’s Meriden factory. The proposal was met with huge protests from Triumph’s workforce, who staged a two-year long sit-in. In response, the newly elected Labour government provided political aid to the protestors and helped form the Meriden Motorcycle Co-operative: a new company that would continue to build Triumph’s 750cc engine and supply it to the sole customer of NVT, preserving around 3000 jobs and the Meriden factory. Again, this wasn’t the beginning of a prosperous period for Triumph, as Norton-Villiers-Triumph collapsed in 1977. However, with more government loans, the Triumph trade name was bought by the Co-operative, who managed to continue producing the Triumph Bonneville, Triumph Tiger, and new Triumph Silver Jubilee Bonneville T140J – Europe’s best selling motorcycle in 1978 – under the new Triumph Motorcycles (Meriden) Ltd trade name.
Again, it wasn’t to be the happily ever after that Triumph so desperately needed. After producing quality motorcycles during the late 70s and early 80s, a debt-ridden Triumph Motorcycles (Meriden) fell into receivership. Unfortunately, despite an admirable attempt to drum up new business with a prototype water-cooled 900, Triumph Motorcycles (Meriden) Ltd was officially declared bankrupt on August 23 1983.
Triumph Motorcycles (Hinckley) Ltd.
Thankfully, Triumph was bought by a man named John Bloor in 1983. Bloor realized that Triumph’s designs and methods were outdated, so he decided not to revive Triumph immediately. To keep the Triumph name alive, however, Bloor allowed the Bonneville to be produced under license to help bridge the gap between the old company and the new one. These Bonnevilles, however, were never imported to the United States. To breathe fresh life into the marque, Bloor and members of Triumph’s former design and manufacturing team headed to Japan to tour their competition’s facilities to adopt new ideas.
By 1987, Triumph had completed its first new prototype engine. A year later, Bloor financed the building of the Hinckley factory in England’s Leicestershire. The first production models rolled off of the production line in 1991, costing Bloor between £70 million and £100 million in investment to get to that point – a sum he’d only break even on nine years later in the year 2000. With production rolling again, Triumph opened new companies across the world, including Triumph Deutschland GmbH Triumph France SA., and finally Triumph Motorcycles America Ltd in 1994.
This is Triumph we’re talking about here, and no success goes unpaid. In 2002 Triumph’s new Hinckley factory was destroyed by fire. After everything the company had suffered, a fire wasn’t enough to bring it down, and the factory was rebuilt and back to business barely six months later. In fact, Triumph grew even bigger during this time, opening a new sub-assembly factory in Chonburi, Thailand, and added another Thai facility to the books in 2009, with the opening of a wet painting and assembly factory.
Despite incredible odds, Triumph is still with us today – and what’s more, it’s one of the most successful motorcycle manufacturers in the world. In fact, Triumph has enjoyed unparalleled sales success in recent years. In 2017, Triumph’s overall revenue increased by a whopping 22%, making it one of the most successful manufacturers in the current economic climate. Triumph’s success it down to its long, illustrious, and turbulent history, its incredible product range, its clever marketing, fantastic product range, and unfaltering determination. It’s no wonder that the company’s slogan insists that it is all “For The Ride.”
We’ve established that Triumph has a long history of making motorcycle but the most important question that needs answering is “Are Triumph motorcycles good?” It’s a tricky question to answer since the company has changed hands, ownership, and manufacturing locations so many times over the years. However, for modern Triumph motorcycles – the ones built at the Hinckley plant – there are a few sources and studies that we can look at to get a general overview, and hopefully they help you form your own opinion.
In 2015, Consumer Reports publishes a study that focused on the major motorcycle manufacturers and the overall reliability of their products. The study consisted on information gathered from over 11,000 motorcyclists who discussed the reliability of more than 12,000 new motorcycles that were bought and ridden between the years 2008 and 2014, evaluating their reliability and performance over a twelve month period. After gathering the information, the statisticians at Consumer Reports were able to compile an accurate snapshot of the industry, and calculate a formula to produce a concise reliability index based on failure rate.
This index assessed manufacturer’s reliability scoring them in percentages with high percentages offering higher failure rates, and lower percentages offering lower failure rates. Triumph didn’t fair too well, ranking in seventh place with an overall failure rate recorded at 29%. While Triumph couldn’t compete with the Japanese manufacturer’s for reliability, Triumph did manage to score higher than Ducati (33%), BMW Motorrad (40%), and Can-Am (42%). These studies are fairly controversial though, and they shouldn’t be the main indicator of a manufacturer’s overall reliability. Consider this report a rough overview.
Triumph Recalls Since 2005
Another way to assess reliability and build quality is to look at a manufacturer’s recalls. Since 2005 to the present day Triumph has issued a total of 39 recalls for the USA. 39 is a low figure compared with Ducati’s 49, but it’s still more than Suzuki’s 25. Fortunately, the vast majority of Triumph’s recalls affected very small batches of motorcycles. The most serious recall in recent years affected 10,366 units, with the ’06-’09 Street Triple, Street Triple R and Daytona 675 R suffering from a regulator/rectifier issue that could prevent the batter from charging. The second worse affected indicator stems on a mere 3799 units, and the third most serious only 3698, thanks to faulty washers on a luggage rack. Triumph may have issued a high number of recalls, but they were relatively minor issues – and of course, recalls are a good thing, with manufacturers taking responsibility for their faults and acknowledging errors, and remedying the issues. In some respects, higher instances of recalls is a good thing.
Part of Triumph’s success as a motorcycle manufacturer is due to its willingness to adopt new technologies and construction methods but without compromising on its traditions and values. Since the latest version of the company was formed in the early 80s, Triumph has been riding on the crest of a wave of innovation, continuously experimenting with new technologies and implementing them, but without blindly following the lead of other successful brands. Using unorthodox triple cylinder engines, category-bending engine sizes, and building unconventional motorcycles like the Street and Speed Triple, Triumph has blazed its own trail. The vast majority of modern Triumph motorcycles feature cutting edge technology, effortless styling, and come jam packed with sophisticated riding aids and add-ons. Here are a few of their most successful technologies:
Triumph’s modern line-up features a sophisticated Ride-By-Wire fuel injection system which uses computer technology to deliver the optimum amount of throttle and torque in the most efficient and predicable way, working with Triumph’s other top-level riding aids to give the rider added safety and comfort. Fitted with dual-processors for the most reliable service, the Triumph Ride-By-Wire electronic throttle system makes riding a Triumph a pure pleasure.
Triumph Cruise And Traction Control
The Ride-By-Wire function works in tandem with Triumph’s Cruise and Traction Control system. The Cruise Control system helps ease riding fatigue over long journeys by maintaining your desired cruising speed, taking the pressure off of your wrist and making for a far more comfortable long-distance ride, optimizing your fuel efficiency at the same time.
Triumph’s Traction Control system is also an amazing technology that works in tandem with Ride-By-Wire, allowing for a safer and more confident ride experience over slippery, wet, and dangerous surfaces. The system monitors your wheels and keeps wheel slip to a controllable level thanks to sensors on the front and rear wheel. The sensors relay information and set the engine and throttle to deliver the right amount of power for the situation. This safety feature has saved many a motorcycle from toppling over in tricky situations.
Triumph Switchable ABS
Many Triumph motorcycles come equipped with Switchable ABS systems to better suit rider preferences. ABS is a system that prevents wheels from locking up and allows for greater grip on road surfaces. In short, some riders rely on ABS, while others can’t stand it, and in the EU ABS is a mandatory feature on new motorcycles. In compromise, Triumph have installed a Switchable ABS function which allows riders to disable their ABS system via the dashboard whenever they require it. For safety reasons, the ABS is automatically re-activates whenever the ignition is switched on, making it safe for everyone.
Triumph Dynamic Luggage System
While it’s not an electronic technology, Triumph’s Dynamic Luggage System, which is found on the Triumph Tiger and Triumph Trophy motorcycles, is incredibly sophisticated. Essentially, Triumphs luggage works like any other top box and pannier arrangement, except that it moves to give your motorcycle maximum stability, even in the most sporty of circumstances. The top box can shift its own center of gravity when necessary, and the panniers can move independently to alleviate any unnecessary turbulence impact on the chassis. What’s more, the system allows for easy luggage installation and removal, so you can take them off in a few simple steps when you don’t need them, and pop them back on in moments.
Triumph Land Speed Records
Triumph and land speed records go hand in hand. In 1955, Triumph won the title for the “World’s Fastest Motorcycle” – a title that it held on to until 1970, earned by streamliner models such as the Devil’s Arrow, Texas Cee-gar, Dudek Streamliner, and Gyronaut X-1. The current land speed record is held by Rocky Robinson in his Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Top Oil-Ack Attack machine, with a top speed of 376.36 mph. It’s a record that is unlikely to beaten anytime soon, but in the meantime Triumph have built a new streamliner that they’re using to beat their own land speed records with. Piloted by racing ace Guy Martin, the Infor Rocket Streamliner has hit speeds of up to 274.2 mph at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, beating Triumph’s previous speed records of 264 mph (an unofficial record) and 245.67 mph (the officially recorded speed).
Triumph Moto2 Engines
In recognition of Triumph’s commitment to innovation and as a celebration of the brand’s dedication to speed, the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) have announced that Triumph will be the official engine supplier for the Moto2 Grand Prix championships from 2019 onward. Previously, all competing Moto2 teams used motorcycle powered by Honda CBR600RR engines. Now, teams will be able to make the most of Triumph’s newly developed triple-cylinder 765cc engine. Securing the Moto2 engine deal was a landmark deal for Triumph and indicates that the company is moving from strength to strength.
Noteworthy Triumph Models
The Triumph Bonneville
Over the years Triumph have developed countless iconic motorcycles, but it’s the company’s newer offerings that are proving to be the most successful. Of course, the classic Triumph Bonneville is one of the most successful motorcycle models of all time, but these days you can buy a Bonneville in a wide range of styles. The modern Bonneville comes in a variety of styles, including the classic T100 and T120 ranges, the tuned Thruxton style, cruiser-influenced Bonneville Speedmaster theme, the street friendly Street Twin and Street Cup models, and the wildly successful Bonneville Bobber platform. And of course, Triumph also have a variety of bolt-on kits to convert your Bonneville into a scrambler or flat tracker themed motorcycle, too. The Bonneville has been an industry mainstay since it first rolled onto the scene in 1959. But there’s more to Triumph than the humble Bonneville…
The Triumph Sport Triple Range
Three of the most iconic motorcycles of the last thirty years are the Triumph Speed Triple, Triumph Street Triple, and Triumph Daytona. In 1994, the Triumph Speed Triple rolled onto the scene: a factory produced streetfighter motorcycle with a punchy engine and radical styling that helped define the newly resurrected Triumph brand, and it’s still an important model in Triumph’s line-up today. Following the success of the Speed Triple, Triumph released the Street Triple in 2007. In essence, the Street Triple was (and is still) a smaller version of the Speed Triple with more manageable power delivery, making it an ideal choice for everyday riding. The Triumph Daytona actually pre-dates both the Speed and Street Triple, first arriving on the scene in 1990. The Daytona has had various engine sizes in the past, but it will be best remembered as Triumph’s first modern sports bike, complete with aerodynamic fairings and an aggressive riding stance. The most recent incarnation, the 675, was universally praised by critics, however Triumph ceased production of the 675 in 2017.
Triumph’s Touring Models
Depending on what sort of touring you have in mind, Triumph have a number of models that can perform the tasks. For adventure touring, Triumph’s Tiger range has been one of the most celebrated on the market. The current Triumph Tiger range boasts two models, the Tiger 800 and Tiger 1200, which offer heavy-duty touring capabilities in manageable and nimble packages that can tackle the elements and unpaved roads in equal measure, whilst still performing excellently on the roads. However, if you prefer to tour on sealed roads and munch serious miles, then Triumph’s legendary Rocket III power cruiser is an ideal choice. Featuring the world’s biggest motorcycle production engine, the Rocket III is an iconic tour de force that can traverse continents without breaking a sweat.
Triumph Company Snapshot
Triumph is Britain’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and one of the most famous motorcycle brands in the world. The company is currently owned by Bloor Holdings and has been since 1983. Today, Triumph has over 700 motorcycle dealerships in 35 countries, with two plants in the United Kingdom, three factories in Chonburi, Thailand, and another in Manaus, Brazil. While it’s one of the most successful motorcycle manufacturers on the planet today, it wasn’t always this way and it cost John Bloor an additional £80 million in investment until Triumph finally broke even in the year 2000.
It was a gamble that paid off. Despite the knock-on effects of the 2008 financial crisis and the economic down turn that followed, Triumph is one of the few motorcycle manufacturers that has managed to post encouraging profits and sales figures. In fact, in 2017 Triumph recorded an incredible revenue increase of 22%, up £498.5 million from 2016, with annual pre-tax profits growing by an unprecedented 48.7% from 2016’s £16.6 million to 2017’s £24.7 million.
Financially, Triumph has been moving from strength to strength, and the financial gains are reflected by the firm’s sales figures. In the first half of 2017, Triumph’s sales figures recorded incredible growth from 56,253 units to 63,404. Triumph’s global strategy is partly responsible for this revenue increase, with the addition of more assembly plants, which allows for lower price tags which makes the brand more attractive to consumers. In fact, 86% of all Triumph motorcycles sold are bought outside of the United Kingdom. Triumph’s expansion plans include more international investment and licensing deals. Recently, Triumph has come to an agreement with India’s Bajaj to partner on the development of mid-capacity motorcycles that should come into effect in the next few years.
Since Triumph isn’t as big as some of the leading manufacturers, it only has a small presence in the USA. Triumph has no manufacturing facilities in North America, and it only employs a relatively small workforce compared to the likes of Honda or Yamaha. In 2012, Triumph moved its corporate headquarters from Newnan, Georgia, to a more practical site near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. While most manufacturers have their HQ in Southern California, Triumph bucks the trend by remaining in Georgia. Triumph Motorcycles also has interests in the manufacture of high-end bicycles, motorcycle riding gear and accessories, and it also has its own fashion brand.
In the United States there are 218 official Triumph dealerships, making up almost a third of Triumph’s dealerships globally. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Triumph motorcycles sell so well in the United States. In 2016, Triumph was the best-selling European motorcycle manufacturer in North America, beating Ducat and BMW to the title. Similarly, the USA accounts for a large percentage of the firm’s global revenue, and Triumph have responded by designing and building a number of models specifically with the American rider in mind, such as many of their modern classic line-up such as the Bonneville Bobber, Bonneville Speedmaster, and the muscular Rocket III – which are better suited to North American highways than cramped European roads.
Pied Piper Dealership Rankings
Triumph’s dealerships in the USA were ranked sixth out of seventeen manufacturers for customer satisfaction in the 2017 Pied Piper Dealership Satisfaction Study, performing better than the industry average and beating out the staff at the likes of KTM, Aprilia, and all of the Japanese manufacturers too. Triumph recorded some of the most satisfied customers and were noted as having some of the most competent sales and service staff by mystery shoppers. This allowed Triumph to move up three places from their ranking in 2016. The top three dealerships were listed as BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson, and Ducati, in first, second, and third place respectively.
Approved Triumph Pre-Owned Program
Triumph operates an excellent program for buying pre-owned motorcycles through its authorized dealership network. The Approved Triumph Pre-Owned Motorcycle program ensures that every motorcycle made available for re-sale through the company’s official outlets have been checked and double checked by qualified Triumph technicians and that they meet a minimum safety criteria. These approved models are also given a new lease of life with warranty coverage, allowing you to buy without fear of being let down by a faulty product.
Triumph Financing Plans
To get motorcyclists riding their products, Triumph has a number of interesting payment plans and financing options available for prospective customers. Like the vast majority of manufacturers, Triumph’s financing plans involve special financing rates, low percentage APR offers for fixed term contracts, with tailored plans to cater for different situations. Most of Triumph’s financing options are in partnership with FreedomRoad Financial, a trusted financing company that can help offer you the security that you need. Most of Triumph’s financing options allow qualified buyers to enjoy low Annual Percentage Rates such as 4.99% for 24 to 36 months, 5.99% APR for up to 48 months, 6.29% APR for up to 60 months, 6.99% APR for 72 months, and 7.99% for up to 84 months for purchases of new models, or specific models available with FreedomRoad Financial’s service.
What’s more, Triumph currently offers different deals depending on what model you’re interested in. Here’s a brief overview of some of the schemes available.
Triumph’s Triple Range
For buyers of the Speed Triple, Street Triple, or current Daytona, Triumph offer their “Summer of Adventure” incentive which gives customers up to $1,000 in Triumph vouchers to spend on apparel and accessories at authorized Triumph dealerships.
Triumph Rocket III Models
Similar to the Speed and Street Triples, and Daytona models, prospective Rocket III buyers can enjoy up to $1,500 of Triumph vouchers, depending on what month the sale is made in.
Triumph’s Classic Models
Qualified purchasers of any of Triumph’s liquid-cooled Triumph Bonneville models can enjoy a special financing rate of 0% for 48 months. For those who buy Thruxton models, you can choose between the low financing rate or receive a free Track Kit, with includes a café racer fairing, a Vance & Hines chrome slip-on exhaust, a leather tank strap, knee pads and a paddock stand.
Triumph Tiger Deals
Triumph’s Tiger models enjoy a wide range of financing deals and incentives. For example, customers buying Tiger 800 models can enjoy up to $1,000 in Triumph vouchers, and a free three-bag luggage kit. For Triumph’s Tiger Explorer models, customers can take advantage of a special financing rate of 0% APR for 48 months with FreedomRoad Financial, as well as receiving up to $1,000 of Triumph vouchers, and the a three-bag luggage kit as an added bonus.
Triumph’s Other Business Interests
As well as being a well-respected motorcycle manufacturer, Triumph also lends its name to a number of other interesting products. While the company no longer produces automobiles, it still has an interest in producing the odd bicycle or two every now and again, and of course, Triumph wouldn’t be the success that it is today without its incredible branding strategy, with the company logo adorning a wide range of products from tough riding gear and luggage, to fashion clothing and accessories.
Triumph have recently gotten back into the bicycle manufacturing ring, releasing this special edition model called the Triumph XCX, which is limited to 500 units only. It’s a mountain bike that builds on top of Triumph’s long bicycling history, and comes expertly designed and packed full of top-of-the-range features. Built on top of an aluminum frame, the Triumph XCX boasts RockShox suspension, Shimano derailleurs, gears, shifters, and brakes, with an FSA crankset, grips from Kenda, a WTB Volt support saddle, WellGo pedals, and aluminum rims with Kenda tires. While it’s only a one-off from Triumph, it has been built to such a high standard that it’s likely a sign of more similar products to come.
It should come as no surprise to learn that Triumph has a huge variety of riding accessories and fashion items on sale, but the sheer amount of products that you can buy with the Triumph logo on it might interest you. Of course, Triumph has its own line of high-quality riding apparel on offer, with weatherproof and armored textile and leather jackets, and accompanying motorcycle trousers and gloves, and motorcycle-specific luggage too. However, Triumph also sells everything from fashion tee-shirts, to baseball caps, button-down shirts, to sunglasses, and everything else in between. Wallets, key chains, jewelry, scale models, mugs, glasses, umbrellas – Triumph has it all, and in male and female sizes, with a kids section too.
Unusually, Triumph is one of the few motorcycle manufacturers that has never had a serious interest in racing. Throughout its history, Triumph has always been confident of its ability to sell motorcycles without having to win races at the same time. One famous story that proves this mindset was when racing legend John Surtees approached Triumph and Norton in the 1950s, asking for Grand Prix support – and both companies rejected him. Triumph’s managing director at the time, Edward Turner explained that “we don’t need to go racing because we can sell all the bikes we make,” according to Surtees. Over the years, Triumph has only ever secured one Grand Prix podium throughout its history. Triumph did win two Dayton 200 races, in both 1966 and 1967, using a special 500cc T100 engine. In celebration of this feat, Triumph released a special T100 dubbed the “Daytona” – a model name still in existence today.
Triumph may not have taken a serious interest in racing in the past, but it will take a more active role in the future. Triumph have recently been named the official engine suppliers for the Moto Championship, using new 765cc triple-cylinder engines to replace the older Honda CBR600RR units that were used previously. This new racing interest may very well propel Triumph into a more sporting role in the future, but we will have to wait and see.
The Triumph Visitor Center
Triumph enthusiasts can visit the newly opened Triumph Visitor Center at the company’s Hinckley factory in the United Kingdom. The visitor center was opened in 2017 and cost £4 million pounds to build, offering the public an in-depth look into Triumph and its history. The visitor center was also complimented with a new Factory Visitor Experience tour which was officially opened by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge, on February 20 2018. Currently, Triumph has an exhibition called “Legends of Bonneville” which features an exclusive collection of Bonneville motorcycles that capture the spirit of Triumph’s history and attachment to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Triumph Visitor Center is free to visit, and is open from Wednesday to Sunday, between the hours of 10.00 am and 4.30 pm, except on Fridays when it is open until 7.00 pm. The Triumph Factory Visitor Experience tour needs to be booked in advance and books out easily. Tickets are £15 per person, though you can pay extra to receive a one-of-a-kind Triumph keepsake. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and takes visitors through the Triumph factory, which takes guests through a motorcycle’s production history, from concept to final assembly. Check Triumph’s website and terms and conditions before booking though, because there are age restrictions in place.
Visitors will also be pleased to hear that the Visitor Center also has its own restaurant, the Triumph 1902 café, which serves snacks, soft drinks, and exclusive Barista-style coffee.
Five Facts You Might Not Know About Triumph Motorcycles
#01. Triumph’s owner, John Bloor, left school at 15 and trained as an apprentice plasterer. Today, he owns one of the most successful and well-known motorcycle manufacturers in the world. To make things more interesting, Bloor was actually attending an auction to buy the land that the Triumph factory was built upon for a housing development project when he decided to buy the brand in its entirety instead.
#02. Triumph is the biggest and longest-running motorcycle manufacturer in Great Britain. Triumph also claims to be the oldest motorcycle production company in the world that has been in continuous production since it was first founded. It’s a remarkable feat considering how often it has been bought and sold, that it has endured two world wars, and how often it has been on the brink of collapse.
#03. The Triumph Rocket III features world’s largest production motorcycle engine, powered by an enormous 2294cc (140.0 cubic inch) DOHC liquid cooled, inline-three cylinder engine that can produce a huge 127.1 horsepower and 144.6 lb-ft at the rear wheel, and propel the giant cruiser to a top speed of 145 mph.
#04. The famous Steve McQueen “jump” from The Great Escape wasn’t actually performed by McQueen. While McQueen performed a lot of the stunts, the jump was deemed a touch too risky by the studio bosses, so stuntman Bud Ekins was called in to perform the legendary leap.
#05. Continuing The Great Escape theme, stuntman Ekins insisted on a special modification being made to the Triumph TR6 650 Trophy. Ekins asked if the seat could be re-upholstered to accommodate some extra padding on the saddle – five times more than a conventional saddle, in fact. The reasoning behind this was that the 60 foot long and 8 foot high jump could severely damage his gentleman’s area on impact without the additional padding. If you don’t believe us, look at the picture above as proof!
Triumph Motorcycles FAQ
#01. Is Triumph British? Yes. In fact, Triumph is 100% British, and is one of the most iconic British brands of all time, alongside the likes of Barbour, Marmite, Cadburys, Aston-Martin, and Rolls-Royce. Triumph is thoroughly British, indeed.
#02. Who owns Triumph Motorcycles? Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is owned by Bloor Holdings, the investment company of English businessman John Bloor. Bloor has owned Triumph since 1983. Nick Bloor, John Bloor’s son, was appointed CEO of Triumph Motorcycles in 2011.
#03. Where are Triumph motorcycles made? Triumph has manufacturing plants in three countries: England, Thailand, and Brazil. Every single Triumph crankshaft and crankcase is manufactured at the firm’s Hinckley plant in England. Different parts are manufactured at different locations, but the vast majority of Triumph’s line-up is assembled in the United Kingdom. The Speed Triples, Tiger Sports, Explorers, Rocket IIIs, and Daytonas are assembled at the Hinckley site. However, other models are assembled elsewhere, usually wherever it makes the most sense in relation to the market-share of a particular model and the location of the nearest factory.
#04. Which Triumph motorcycles are made in Thailand? As mentioned above, there’s no solid production base of any of Triumph’s motorcycles. In the past, Triumph’s Thailand factories have assembled and produced the Rocket III, Tiger Sport, and Speed Triple, but production is fluid and can be moved to any of their facilities at any time. Triumph’s Moto2 engines will almost certainly be produced in the Thai factories though.
#05. Does Triumph still make cars? No. Unfortunately, Triumph no longer manufactures cars. The last Triumph car to go on sale was the Triumph Acclaim in 1981, and that was barely even a Triumph and more of a rebadged Honda that was built under license at the Morris Motors works in Oxford, England.