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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Triumph Motorcycles
Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. Is a British motorcycle manufacturer with a long, tumultuous history that includes many name changes and changes of ownership. Despite the ups and downs the company has experienced over the years, it remains a successful and well-known brand. The bikes they produce are known for their style, power, and performance, which has led to motorcycles made by this company becoming iconic with motorcycle enthusiasts. With that said, here are 10 interesting things that you probably didn’t known about Triumph motorcycles.
They Once Sold Sewing Machines
Although Triumph is now best-known for its motorcycles and also has a history of selling cars, Triumph also sold other products in their early days. One of these was sewing machines that had been imported from Europe, just like the bicycles they initially sold. They stopped selling such products to focus on bicycles and then on motorcycles and cars.
Their First Motorcycle Was Produced in 1902
In the early years of the company, motorized vehicles did not exist and the focus was on producing and selling bicycles. They did not produce their first motorcycle until 1902, although they used engines purchased from another company. The first motorcycle had a 2.2 Minerva engine and became known as the Triumph No. 1. These motorcycles were produced as their works on Much Park Street in Coventry. As the motorcycle was a success, they soon decided to produce their own engines for the motorcycles instead of purchasing them from another manufacturer. To enable them to do this, they bought a spinning mill on Priory Street in Coventry in 1907 that they transformed into a new factory that provided the facilities need to produce the engines.
They Produced Many Motorcycles During World War I
Like many other major manufacturers in Britain, Triumph were called upon to manufacture vehicles specifically for the war efforts. They were the largest manufacturer of motorcycles that was contracted to make vehicles during World War 1. Triumph was selected by the Allied military service in 1915 to supply them with Type H ‘Trusty’ motorcycles. Although Triumph manufactured 57,000 of these 499 cc air-cooled single-cylinder motorcycles, it is believed that only 30,000 ever saw active service during the war. Manufacturing motorcycles during World War 1 led to Triumph becoming the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the UK by 1918.
They Produced Military Motorcycles During World War II
When World War II began in 1939, the government once again called on Triumph to manufacture motorcycles for military purposes. Triumph’s production was geared towards the production of military motorcycles and they manufactured an estimated 50,000 motorcycles for the war effort. Unfortunately, the Priory Street factory was hit in the Coventry blitz on November 14, 1940. However, production did not stop as they used temporary premises in Warwick until the new plant in Meriden opened in 1942.
Malcolm Uphill Won the Production TT in 1969 on a Triumph Bonneville
Triumph is also known for its involvement motor racing and it has been particularly successful at the Isla of Man TT events. In 1969, Malcolm Uphill won the Production TT riding a Triumph Bonneville. His win was especially notable as he achieved the first ever 100 miles per hour lap average on a production motorcycle. The following year, he won the event again, this time riding a Triumph Triple. He was given the nickname Slippery Sam. Uphill won the Production TT for seven consecutive years between 1969 and 1975.
The Name Changed…
The second name change of this company occurred in 1897, 12 years after it was founded. It had already gone from being called S. Bettmann & Co. to simply Triumph. As the focus of the company was on manufacturing their own range of bicycles, they decided to rename the company the Triumph Cycle Company in 1897. It didn’t stop there though, as Triumph had another name change in 1930 when it became the Triumph Motor Company. This was in recognition of the fact that they had moved away from selling other products and focused their attention on the motor industry. It was also in recognition of the fact that they were now manufacturing both motorcycles and cars. Years later however…
… Lots. Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. Was Established in 1983 by John Bloor
After Triumph Engineering went into receivership in 1983, John Bloor bought the name and the manufacturing rights from the Official receiver to form a new company that was initially called Bonneville Coventry Ltd. Before changing its name to Triumph Motorcycles. He didn’t relaunch the company immediately as the designs and facilities were outdated and unable to compete against their main rivals, such as the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers. Although they continued to produce the Bonneville, Bloor spent the next five years redesigning the company and working alongside designers to create new models. In total, Bloor invested £80 million in the company before it finally broke even in 2000.
The Main Factory Was Gutted in a Fire in 2002
Triumph has experienced many ups and downs and there are times when a significant event has led to the company having to almost start from scratch. One example of this is when a huge fire completely gutted Triumph’s factory 1 where the majority of production took place. Although this temporarily halted production from this factory, it didn’t stop Triumph. They rebuilt the factory and fitted it with top-of-the-range equipment. Within six months of the devastating fire, Triumph were back manufacturing their motorcycles and launched the Daytona 600 supersports bike.
They Are Now the Biggest Motorcycle Manufacturer in Britain
Due to its rapid expansion over the last few decades, Triumph is now the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the UK. They have over 2,000 employees in various locations around the world, including designers, management, administration, sales, and assembly workers. In the 12 months preceding June 2017, Triumph sold more than 63,400 motorcycles. This company’s revenue for 2017 totaled £498.5 million, which was growth of 22 percent from the previous year. Of this, £24.7 million was profit which was up from the profit of £16.6 million the previous year.
85% of Triumph Motorcycles Are Sold Overseas
Triumph has a loyal fan base of motorcycle riders in their home country, the UK. However, they are also massively popular overseas. In fact, an estimated 85% of the motorcycles they manufacture are now sold overseas. They use their subsidiaries in various locations around the world to ensure their products appeal to their different geographical target markets and export to these subsidiaries for distribution. Despite selling the majority of their motorcycles overseas, Triumph still sold a record 9,400 motorcycles in the UK in 2017.