Currently celebrating 110 years of motorcycle production, it’s interesting to note Triumph, the great British manufacturer, was actually founded by Siegfried Bettman, a German who moved to the UK in 1884 and sold bicycles. A fellow German, Mauritz Schulte, an engineer, later joins Bettman and the now Triumph Cycle Company at its Coventry factory.
In 1902, Triumph’s first motorcycle appears and is basically a reinforced bicycle with a sub-3bhp engine powering it. From this point on, new models are introduced regularly until the first completely built ‘in-house’ Triumph was produced in 1905. The next big event was Schulte designing the first clutch-assisted bike to allow standing start drive-away.
During WWII, Triumph supplied over 28,000 bikes to the British military all based around the four-stroke single-cylinder Model H. From this, Triumph grew and introduced even more models including small capacity two-strokes. However, in 1937, Triumph released the 5T Speed Twin – a 500cc parallel twin that set the tone for all future Triumph twins.
WWII left its mark on Triumph when the Coventry factory was blitzed. A new factory was built in Meriden, where ‘Meriden Triumphs’ were soon to be produced.
By 1973, the writing was on the wall for the British bike industry – the Japanese were making inroads with powerful and reliable machinery. Triumph limped on, run by a workers co-operative until 1983, when the factory gates were closed for the last time.
However, one man quietly bought the Triumph name and set about building a new factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Fresh designs were drawn, new technology was employed and suddenly, in 1990, a range of six new Triumphs were unveiled at the Cologne Show. John Bloor’s Triumph is an instant and continuing success…
Triumph motorcycles are very popular with vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. Read our Guide to Classic Bikes to find out more.
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Triumph's UK Website – Triumph’s website is loaded, as you’d expect, with everything geared to living in the pleasant world and times of Triumph ownership.
Triumphrat.net – a forum dedicated to Triumph products. News, views, tips and gossip neatly packaged in an easy to read and enjoyable format
Triumph Owners Club - The official Triumph Owners’ Motor Cycle Club