Triumph Motorcycles: A Brief History


Triumph Motorcycles is one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. This British company headquartered in Hinckley, Leicestershire has revenue of over 500 million GBP per year. But it wasn’t always like that. Just like many other companies in this industry, Triumph Motorcycles started as a small company. 

Although many people know that Triumph Motorcycles is a British company, most of them don’t know that the original company was founded by a German immigrant called Siegfried Bettmann. In the beginning, when the company was based in Coventry, Bettman was focused on manufacturing bicycles. That’s why the first name of this company was Triumph Cycle Company. A few years later, in 1902, the renamed company which was now known as New Triumph Co. presented the first motorcycle which had a Minerva engine produced in Belgium. The reception of the public was more than good and after one year, the factory sold over 500 motorcycles. It’s good to point out that these motorcycles were produced in Coventry and in Nuremberg, Germany. New Triumph has become one of the main players on the market and started offering motorcycles with unique design and unique engines.

In the middle of 1920s, Triumph had become one of the leading motorcycling (and car) manufacturers in the United Kingdom. Back then, they had a plant that could produce more than 30,000 motorcycles per year. They have expanded their business operation in the United States and Asia. 

In 1936 the company was separated into two independent entities one focused on motorcycles the other on cars. Obviously, the one that produced motorcycle had better future especially after Jack Sangster (owner of rival motorcycle company known as Ariel) bought it. The period after that helped Triumph Motorcycles (which was known as Triumph Engineering then) to establish themselves as both ordinary and sports motorcycles used in many races.

In 1983 when Triumph Engineering was handled by an official receiver, John Stuart Bloor, a famous English businessman, purchased the manufacturing rights and the name from the receiver. It was obvious that the equipment and machines in the manufacturing plant and the designs of motorcycles needed upgrade and update because they were inferior compared to Japanese motorcycles. It took about four years for the new owner to gradually upgrade the company. The new plant was built in Hinckley in 1988 and the first new engine was finished in 1987. Even though the main factory was almost completely destroyed by fire in 2002, it was rebuilt quickly. In the next few years, this brand opened a few factories around the world including the one in Thailand focused on the production of different components. Starting from 2006, The Triumph Group is witnessing rapid growth and increased sales. 

When it comes to Triumph Motorcycles models, it all started in 1902 with the Minerva-based motorcycle. Other popular models include Model H (550 cc) from 1915, 5T Speed Twin (498 cc) from 1937 and 1946, TR5 Trophy racing bike from 1949, T100 from 1959, Triumph Bonneville T120, Speedmaster, Sprint and Thunderbird Sport 900. 

Luke Watson Triumph Bonneville

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