Triumph Motorcycles Ltd
Type Private
Founded 1984 as Bonneville Coventry Limited
Headquarters Hinckley, Leicestershire, UK
Key people John Bloor (owner)
Lord Digby Jones (chairman)
Industry Motorcycle
Products Motorcycles
Clothing
Accessories
Revenue (turnover) increaseUK£284.56 million (2008)[1]
Employees 3,000 (2006)
Website triumph.co.uk

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is the largest surviving UK motorcycle manufacturer, established in 1984 by John Bloor after the original company Triumph Engineering went into receivership. The new company (initially called Bonneville Coventry Ltd) continued Triumph's record of motorcycle production since 1902.

History[edit | edit source]

When Triumph Engineering went into receivership in 1983, John Bloor bought the name and manufacturing rights from the Official Receiver.[2] The new company's manufacturing plant and its designs were not able to compete against the Japanese, so Bloor decided against relaunching Triumph immediately. Initially, production of the old Bonneville was continued under licence by Les Harris of Racing Spares, in Newton Abbot, Devon, to bridge the gap between the end of the old company and the start of the new company. For five years from 1983, about 14 were built a week in peak production. In the USA, owing to problems with liability insurance, the Harris Bonnevilles were never imported.[3]

Bloor set to work assembling the new Triumph, hiring several of the group's former designers to begin work on new models. The team visited Japan on a tour of its competitors' facilities and became determined to adopt Japanese manufacturing techniques and especially new-generation computer-controlled machinery. In 1985, Triumph purchased a first set of equipment to begin working, in secret, on its new prototype models. By 1987, the company had completed its first engine. In 1988, Bloor funded the building of a new factory at a 10-acre (40,000 m²) site in Hinckley, Leicestershire.[4] Bloor put between £70 million and £100 million into the company between purchasing the brand and breaking even in 2000.

At the same time as production capacity increased, Bloor established a new network of export distributors. He has previously created two subsidiary companies, Triumph Deutschland GmbH and Triumph France SA. In 1994 Bloor created Triumph Motorcycles America Ltd.[4]

At 21.00 on 15 March 2002, as the company was preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a motorcycle maker, its main factory was destroyed by a fire which began at the rear of the facility. At the height of the blaze over 100 firefighters were tackling the fire which destroyed most of the manufacturing capacity.[5] Nevertheless, the company, which by then employed more than 650, quickly rebuilt the facility and returned to production by September that year. Furthermore, in 2003, Triumph began construction on a new sub-assembly manufacturing facility in Thailand, opened in 2006 by Prince Andrew, Duke of York.[6] In September 2008, Triumph announced that they were expanding their Thailand factory to increase capacity to over 130,000 motorcycles.[7]

The Triumph Group announced sales of 37,400 units in the financial year ending 30 June 2006. This represented a growth of 18% over the 31,600 produced in 2005. Company turnover (revenues) rose 13% to £200 million ($370 million), but net profit remained static at around £10.3 million due to recent investment in production facilities.[8]. In June 2009 Lord Digby Jones, the former Minister of State for Trade, become chairman of Triumph motorcycles (Hinckley) Ltd and the 1,600 cc (98 cu in) Thunderbird twin-cylinder cruiser was announced.[9]

Model range[edit | edit source]

TT600

A new range of motorcycles using famous model names from the past arrived in 1991. New 750 cc and 900 cc triple-cylinder bikes and 1000 cc and 1200 cc four-cylinder bikes all using a modular design to keep production costs low – an idea originally put forward, in air-cooled form, in the early 1970s by Bert Hopwood but not implemented by the then BSA-Triumph company – were built.

There were early problems and the four-cylinder 600 cc sports TT600 was described in reviews as "unpleasant at low revs due to a lethargic and unpredictable throttle response, with anonymous styling".[10] As sales built, the big fours were phased out of the lineup and parallel twins and triples became the marketing and development focus of Triumph's marketing strategy. Triumph also decided to exploit demand for retro motorcycles with modern engineering. The 865 cc versions of the Triumph Bonneville and Thruxton look and sound original but internally they have modern valves and counter balance shafts.

The Triumph Rocket III - the largest production motorcycle in the world

For their contemporary range, the triple is Hinckley Triumph's trademark, filling a niche between European and American twins and four-cylinder Japanese machinery. The 2,294 cc (140.0 cu in) triple Rocket III cruiser was introduced in 2004. The first 300 Rocket III models were already sold before they were produced, and there was a long waiting list for Rockets into 2005.

[11]

On 21 July 2008, Triumph held a Global Dealer Conference where new models for 2009 were launched, including the official announcement of the parallel twin-cylinder Thunderbird.[12]

Triumph's best selling bike is the 675 cc Street Triple. In 2010 they launched the Triumph Tiger 800 and Tiger 800 XC, dual-sport motorcycles, which uses an 800 cc engine derived from the Street Triple, and is designed to compete directly with the market leading BMW F800GS.[13]

Triple Connection[edit | edit source]

In 1995, the Triple Connection clothing range and the accessories range of products were launched.[4] Triumph made a commercial decision to design all their own motorcycle clothing rather than license other producers.[14]

See also[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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