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Triumph Motorbike Finance.
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Britain’s biggest motorbike manufacturer.

Triumph’s distinctive character is still seen in its bikes today.

Famous for its classic designs, Triumph was founded by a 20 year old Siegfried Bettmann in 1884. It wasn’t until 1905 that Triumph produced its first motorcycle in-house. It was powered by a 3-hp engine and boasted a top speed of 45 mph.

The history of Triumph Motorbikes can be traced back to 1902 when the first ever Triumph motorcycle was produced. Known as No.1, the engine that powered it was by Minerva, producing 2.2 hp.

In 1907, a new motor with a displacement of 450cc capable of producing 3.5 hp was manufactured. As the demand for the engine increased to 1000 units, Triumph shifted their factory to a larger location located on Priory Street in Coventry.

In 1915, during World War I, the Allied military service chose Triumph to supply them with motorcycles called Type H ‘Trusty’. Triumph supplied the Allied military service with 57,000 air-cooled, single-cylinder bikes that were capable of displacing 499cc.

In 1937 Triumph released the motorcycle that would define their creations for the coming 40 years. It was the 498cc Speed Twin (T100) that has a top speed of over 90 mph. It was dubbed the “definitive British motorcycle”.

After some hardship Triumph was bought by John Bloor in 1984. The company has thrived ever since, producing 49,000 motorcycles by 2012.

Triumph Motorcycles timeline

1902- The first ever Triumph is made. It is powered by a Minerva engine, that puts out 2.2 hp. It is called the no. 1 a new motor with a displacement of 450cc capable of producing 3.5 hp was manufactured.

1915- WWI calls Triumph to produce motorcycles for the British Army, they were 500cc air cooled bikes. 57,000 bikes are made for the army and 30,000 see active duty in the great war. The Type H ‘trusty’ as it was called, becomes a legend in the armed forces.

1936- Triumph’s factory expanded to 500,000 sq ft and over 3,000 employees. The factory in Coventry was capable of producing 30,000 units on a daily basis. However, 1936 was a sad year for Triumph as the motorcycle and car businesses split. Edward Turner became the chief designer for motorcycles produced by Triumph.

1937- The launch of the 498cc Speed Twin marks an era in design that defined Triumph. The design elements put forward with that model is still reminiscent in all of Triumph bikes to this day.

1940- The war calls on Triumph once more and it answers with 50,000 bikes which are sent into battle. However, 1940 was a sad year for Triumph as its factory was destroyed in the Blitz of Coventry. Triumph temporarily set shop in Warwick till 1942, a new plant was set up in Meriden. After the war in 1946, Triumph mainly focused on the following models that featured a frontal telescopic fork:

• Tiger 100
• Speed Twin
• Touring 349cc 3T

1954- In 1954, Marlon Brando rode the 650cc Thunderbird 6T in the film ‘The Wild One’.

1955- Triumph breaks the landspeed record at Bonneville with a 650cc Thunderbird, Johhny Allen touched 193mph. The record stays with Triumph for 15 years after.

1959- Triumph launched the legendary T120 Bonneville 650. It got its name from the location used to set world speed records, Bonneville. It went on to become one of the monumental motorcycles and all-time best-selling British twin.

1968- 1968 was an interesting year for the company as the 750cc Triple finally came out and in the following year, the production reached a peak of 46,800 units. During these two years, Malcolm Uphill finished first in the Production TT on a Bonneville and a Triple.

1983- Triumph shuts down its operations at Meriden. However, John Bloor acquired it and licensed Les Harris to produce a handful of Bonnevilles in Devon

1990- Triumph comes back with six models:

• Trident 750 Triple
• Trident 900 Triple
• Touring Trophy 900 Triple
• Touring Trophy 1200 Four
• Daytona 750 Triple
• Daytona 1000 Four

1994- The Speed Triple, a game-changing motorcycle was introduced. That year, Triumph got granted a new factory in Hinkey 2004, 2006 and 2007 were remarkable years for the company as they released the Triumph Rocket III, 675 Triple Daytona, Street Triple and Daytona 675.

1996 - During the year 1996 and 2000, the Daytona T595 and Bonneville were finally introduced.

2006- Triumph wins the ‘King of Supersports’ award four back to back.

2009- From 2009 to 2012, Triumph released a large number of bikes such as the Street Triple R, Tiger 800XC and 800, Daytona R, Thunderbird Storm, Speed Triple, Speedmaster and Tiger Explorer.

2012- The 110th year of Triumph is celebrated with a number of launches including its first shaft drive adventure bike.

2013- Triumph reaches the 6.2% market share of all 500cc bikes in the market, extends operations to India, the country with the highest number of two wheelers in the world.

The best Triumph motorbikes

There have been undeniable classics like the ones used by Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Elvis, James Dean, and Bob Dylan, but those belong in history books and museums and you are unlikely to ever get to ride them. So taking the modern bikes produced by Triumph, here are the top five.

• Tiger Explorer 1200 (2012 – present) It keeps the twin headlamp, but everything else is new. The shaft drive, the electronic gadgets, and the buttery 1200cc engine put the Tiger on top of most Triumph lists for a good reason.

• Street Triple R (2009 – 2012) Among the best in the R series, this bike is known for its comfort and reliability at high speeds. Perfect to tour on or simply use as a daily driver.

• Daytona 955Fi (2001-2006) No best list can ignore a Daytona version and this was the best of the lot by a long margin.

• Thunderbird 1600 (2009- present) A true blue cruiser especially if you want to avoid the crowded Japanese offerings that are in the market. It is as thunderous as its name suggests with enough torque to mow a mountain.

• Triumph T100 Bonneville ‘Steve McQueen’ (2012) Because, obviously.

Triumph continues to expand in the motorcycle sector both in the home market, as well as the global market. In North America alone, Triumph saw a 39% growth in sales in 2016. With the company announcing Street Scrambler, T100, Bonneville Bobber, and more models that are yet to be revealed, Triumph will continue on the path of sustainable growth and success in the coming years.

Triumphs are, by far the bike that Britain rides on. It is quintessentially British in every way from reliability to innovation. They might be a bit on the expensive side, but if you are looking for a bike that has played an important and irreplaceable part of this country’s history in motoring, look no further from this brand.

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