Triumph: Beginnings

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Triumph History

Triumph is now the top British motorcycle manufacturer, but it wasn’t always smooth running. The company battled on through hard times and kept producing the much-loved machines. Triumph Engineering fell on hard times in 1984, but luckily it caught the eye of a man called John Bloor who continued production and push company records to new heights.

John Bloor bought the name and manufacturing rights of Triumph Engineering in 1983, Bloor was a business minded man, who could see why the much-loved brand was beginning to fail – the Japanese competition. A small group of engineers actually went to Japan with Bloor to try and discover the secrets of fast, organised production. Bloor was determined to learn what made the Japanese’s manufacturing superior, he found their computer controlled machinery to be much more advanced and efficient then their own. In 1985 Bloor purchased a machine and his engineers began dissecting it, with the idea of creating their own. By 1887 they had produced their first engine and it seemed the brand had an injection of life, the following year Bloor bought a new factory in Leicestershire at a 10 acre site. The fact Bloor was such a wealthy man gave Triumph the helping hand it needed, between purchasing the company and the point of breaking even, its thought he put around 70 – 100 million in.

Bloor was finally seeing the brand grow and become established when something terrible happened, a huge fire. In 2002, just as the company was celebrating in 100th anniversary the factory went up in flames. It took over 100 firemen to tackle the fire and finally get it under control.

Although this was a massive set back that Bloor did not foresee, he was as relentless as ever. Beginning reconstruction as soon as possible, Bloor employed over 650 people to insure a speedy rebuild.

Roll on few years to 2007 and Triumph announced that they were expanding yet again to increase capacity to over 130,000 motorcycles. The Group then increased turnover by 11% from £312.4 million in 2010 to £345.3 in 2011.

The brand created a massive following over the years, Bloor believes this is because the employee’s commitment and passion:

“The success of the brand is, without doubt, down to the skill and commitment of our team who are dedicated to ensuring that every motorcycle that leaves our factories lives up to the Triumph name” John Bloor

Triumph is the oldest continuous production motorcycle company in the world, here’s to 2017 and beyond!

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Triumph Timeline

1883 Siegfried Bettmann moves to Coventry, England from Nuremberg.

1888 The company sets it up to make bicycles.

1905 Triumph produces its first motorcycle completely in-house – a 3-hp engine and has a top speed of 45 mph.

1910 Triumph makes a big advance with the ‘free engine’ device

1914 Triumph will sell 30,000 motorcycles to the military over the course of WWI.

1923 350cc Model LS is the first Triumph with an oil pump driven by the motor.

1930 A small two-stroke, the Model X, is the first Triumph with unit construction.

1937 Turner unveils the 498cc Speed Twin that has a top speed of over 90 mph.

1945 Over the course of the war, Triumph has sold 50,000 motorcycles to the military.

1949 Off-road 500cc TR5 “Trophy” and big-bore 649cc Thunderbird are released.

1951 Jack Sangster sells Triumph to BSA for £2.5 million.

1954 Tiger 110 is released. Marlon Brando rides a ’50 Thunderbird in the film “The Wild One.”

1959 T120 Bonneville 650 is introduced.

1966 X-1, a streamliner powered by two Triumph 650cc motors, goes 245 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

1971 A new frame appears for the Bonneville based on the Trackmaster dirt-track frame.

1975 This is the final year of production for the Trident.

1983 The Meriden factory closed its doors. English property developer John Bloor bought the remains later that year, saving the Triumph name.

1985 Bloor acquires a new site, in nearby Hinckley.

 1990 Triumph unveils six new models at the Cologne Show in September: The unfaired Trident 750 and 900 Triples, the touring Trophy 900 Triple and 1200 Four and the sports-oriented Daytona 750 Triple and 1000 Four.

1997 The 50,000th new Triumph is produced.

2002 A massive fire guts the main Hinckley assembly plant.

2004 The Triumph Ricker III is released, which is the first production motorcycle to displace over 2000cc.

2005 Triumph bores out the Daytona 600 to 650cc.

2006 The Daytona is re-released as an all-new 675cc triple.

 2007 A “mini Speed Triple” is introduced in the Street Triple. Powered by the same 675cc three-cylinder in the Daytona 675, the Street Triple provides Speed Triple-type entertainment in a smaller package.

2010 In a bid to challenge the market normally dominated by a certain brand from Milwaukee, the Thunderbird cruiser is launched. Powered by a 1600cc parallel-Twin, it’s the largest production engine in this layout.

2011 A massive launch year for Triumph! Tiger 800 & 800XC, Speed Triple, Daytona R, America, Speedmaster and Thunderbird Storm is out.

2012 Triumph hits 110 years of manufacture! The Tiger Explorer is launched making a real scene in the adventure bike sector.

2013 Triumph’s market share in the +500cc reaches 6.2% and they expand into India

2014 The British firm was the top seller of motorcycle +500cc in England, with an 18.7% share of the market and a 8% rise compared to 13.

2015 Triumph announced their financial results ending 30 June 2015, and its a much better figure then the year before despite slight fall in overall turnover

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