While the all-American Harley Davidson motorcycles have their fan club and loyal customer base, the British-based Triumph motorcycles have an equally staggering number of loyalists. Now available in many parts of the world, there seems to be an increasing demand for Triumph motorcycles and those powerful engines the company puts into their two-wheeled wonders. Of course, Triumph wasn’t always called by its current name and has changed ownership multiple times throughout its history in a bid to stay afloat.
Today, over 85% of Triumph motorcycles sell in overseas markets, while only 15% of sales come from its home country, the United Kingdom. Profits are on the rise, and Triumph seems to be having a triumphant moment for now. Of course, one may own a Triumph and not know much about the company that made it. So here go 15 facts about Triumph, its motorcycles, and its history through the years from 1885.
15 The Triumph Rocket III Has The Biggest Motorcycle Engine
When you think of a 2.5-liter engine, you would probably think of a moderately powerful car, right? But a 2.5-liter power mill also finds a home with the Triumph Rocket III TFC, which is the biggest displacement to go into a production motorcycle. And yes, it has set a new record with pure British power.
14 An Electric Triumph Motorcycle Is In The Offing
The world and its wheels are going e-savvy, and Triumph is now also jumping on the EV bandwagon. Codenamed Project Triumph TE-1, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. is joining hands with the University of Warwick and Williams Advanced Engineering to create the first electric Triumph motorcycle. Another spoke in the wheel will also be Integral Powertrain Ltd.’s e-Drive division.
13 A While Ago, Triumph Also Made Cars
In 1921, Triumph decided to acquire the Dawson Car Company and started making cars, the first one being the Triumph 10/20. The last Triumph car was the Triumph Acclaim in 1981, post which the car division was acquired by Rover. The 60-year run of making cars ended in the ‘80s and Triumph seemed to be in trouble.
12 And, Sadly, Sewing Machines
It’s a bit difficult to imagine Triumph doing anything else but selling motorcycles, but in the company’s initial days, they sold a little of this and that before changing direction. One of the knick-knacks Triumph sold back in the day were sewing machines. They were imported from Europe, with Triumph acting more as a middleman than a maker.
11 The First Triumph Motorcycle Came Out In 1902
The first of the Triumph motorcycles came out in 1902, seventeen years after the company was formed in 1885. And even the 1902-motorcycle that was called the Triumph No. 1 did not have a homemade engine but a 2.2 Minerva one. When the motorcycle became a hit, Triumph began to make engines as well.
10 The WW1 Triumph Motorcycles
When WW1 loomed, Triumph, like all other vehicle manufacturers in Britain, was pressed into HMS, aka Her Majesty’s Service. 57,000 of Triumph Type H Trusty Motorcycles were produced between 1915 and 1918, turning Triumph into the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the UK. The bikes were powered by 499cc air-cooled single-cylinder engines.
9 During WWII, They Made More Military Motorcycles
In 1939, Triumph was yet again called into action. This time another 50,000 motorcycles were made. The production was interrupted when Triumph’s factory in Coventry was blitzed in 1940. However, Triumph didn’t stop making bikes, and it continued in a makeshift factory in Warwick, before opening a new plant in Meridien in 1942. Gutsy and persistent.
8 2010 Onwards, They Ruled The Cruiser Motorcycle Bazaar
Though its hard to imagine now, before 2010, Triumph wasn’t big in the cruiser bazaar. However, with the advent of the Triumph Thunderbird 1.6-liter parallel-Twin, one of Triumph’s first belt-driven motorcycles, Triumph got its big break. Very popular in the US market, this motorcycle made Triumph rule the cruiser market.
7 The Name: Triumph Motor Company Was Coined In 1930
Operating under many names before that, Triumph officially became the Triumph Motor Company in 1930. By now, Triumph was both a motorcycle and a carmaker – and one of UK’s top vehicle manufacturers in general. The company had now moved away from selling all the other paraphernalia they once sold, having now become reputable automakers.
6 The Company Changed Hands In 1960
In 1960, Triumph was acquired by Leyland Motors. Leyland’s motorcycle (and car) division was now called Standard-Triumph. It changed hands again when the Jaguar and British Motor Corporation further merged with Leyland. And though its owners were now the British Motor Corporation, Triumph’s products and logo remained mostly the same.
5 The Production TT Win In 1969 On A Triumph Bonneville
Triumph’s motor racing records have also held well. Riding the iconic and much revered Triumph Bonneville, Malcolm Uphill famously won the 1969’s Production TT race. Many other wins have come, but Uphill cracked the first 100 mph lap average here. The next year, he won again, now riding a Triumph Triple, and then carried on winning for five more years, till 1975.
4 From 1995, You Can Also Wear A Triumph
Triumph did have a line of motorcycle clothing previously as well, but from 1995, it became an inhouse project, now called the Triple Collection. Designs were influenced by the celebrities who loved and patronized Triumph, including Steve McQueen, James Dean, Marlon Brando, and of course, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.
3 They Are Now The Biggest Motorcycle Manufacturer In Britain
Triumph Motorcycles are back to being number one in the UK when it comes to motorcycle manufacturing. The company’s earnings for the past five years have been on a steady incline, with the most sales happening in Europe and Asia. They are still struggling in the Indian subcontinent though, as reported by Motorcycles Data.
2 Once Upon A Time, Triumph Also Made Bicycles
From the 1885 company that was originally floated as S. Bettman & Co., it was renamed the Triumph Cycle Company in 1886. With their incredible motorcycles yet to hit the world by storm, Triumph was only known for producing quality bicycles. It would take some time before Motorcycles Ltd., as it stands today, came to be.
1 For A While, Triumph Was Almost Bankrupt
In 1983, the then Triumph Engineering went into receivership. British investor John Bloor bailed it out by buying the name and the manufacturing rights. He then gave it the name Bonneville Coventry Ltd., before renaming it Triumph Motorcycles. After massive investments, Triumph Motorcycles finally broke even in 2000, and have been unstoppable ever since.
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