Triumph Connection
131 Years of Triumph Motorcycle History
Triumph Motorcycle History
1883
Siegfried Bettmann, 20, comes to Coventry, England from Nuremberg, Germany. After a brief period he is employed by Kelly & Co. compiling foreign directories for their publications. After six months, he got a job with the White Sewing Machine Co. as a foreign correspondent and translator. For several months he also worked as the company's sales representative in northern Europe.
1884
S. Bettmann & Co. Import Export Agency started in London, selling bicycles made in Birmingham by Wm. Andrews, but with Bettmann's name on them. They also imported German sewing machines and acquired the agencies of other German manufacturers.
1886
Triumph name replaces Bettmann, a word Bettmann feels is easily understood in most languages. He calls his company 'The Triumph Cycle Company.'
1887
Name registered as New Triumph Co. Ltd., but changed later to Triumph Cycle Co. Ltd. Shares underwritten by the Dunlop Tyre Company to the tune of 45,000 pounds. German engineer Maurice (Mauritz) Johann Schulte, also from Nuremberg and a trained engineer, joins Bettmann as junior partner. He would soon convince Bettmann that Triumph should not sell other companies' products, but should make their own.
1888
Small former ribbon-weaving works factory acquired on Much Park Street in Coventry for Triumph to manufacture its own bicycles. Coventry is centre of Britain's cycle trade. Initial capital of 650 pds comes from Bettmann's parents (500) and Schulte's relatives. Later, Dunlop Tyre would be a major investor in the company.
1889
Bicycle manufacturing started. Company moves headquarters from London to Much Park St., Coventry.
1895
Schulte considers producing Hildebrand & Wolfmuller motorcycles under license, and imports one for testing. He rode it at the Coventry cycle stadium.
1898
Bettmann negotiates to make Beeston Humber motorcycles and motor tricycles, but an agreement is not reached.
1902
First Triumph motorcycle is produced, designed by Schulte, using single-cylinder 2.25 (1.75?) bhp Belgian Minerva engine with automatic inlet valve and battery/coil ignition, fitted onto a bicycle frame (clipped to the downtube). Schulte also experimented with both Fafnir and J. A. Prestwich (JAP) engines.
Even though Triumph started as a company in 1883 (1886 as Triumph), this is the first year of motorcycle manufacturing for Triumph and is the recognized established date of Triumph motorcycles. In 2002, Triumph celebrated its 100th anniversary of continuous production of motorcycles.
1903
Upgraded Minerva engine with present day side-valve layout is used, but the company soon turns to J. A. Prestwich (JAP) engines.
A branch of the company, Orial TWN (Triumph Werke Nuremberg) is established in Germany to manufacture motorcycles there.
Triumph sells 500 motorcycles this year.
1904
JAP engine now used, also second model with 3 bhp Belgian Fafnir engine is made. Decision is made to produce their own motorcycles, not just clip-on to other companies' designs.
1905
First all-Triumph machine produced, also the first all-British motorcycle, designed by Schulte and Works manager Charles Hathaway. Sells for 45 pounds. Uses 3bhp, 300cc (363cc?) side-valve engine. Cruising speed was 30-40 mph, with a top speed 40-50 mph. Production up to 250 per annum (five per week). Engine is the first to have ball bearings on main shaft.
1906
Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd. registered April 23, 1906. Capital was 100 pounds, (increased to 21,000 pounds by February 25, 1936).
Newly-invented Bosch-Simms high-tension (HT) magneto used on all Triumph motorcycles.
Rocking front spring fork with horizontal spring introduced, frame redesigned and a new engine designed. Five hundred machines made this year.
Motorcycle journalist 'Ixion' tests a prototype 1907 machine but it proves flawed and the frame breaks. He later used an upgraded 1907 model to ride 2,058 kms (1,279 miles) in six days.
Frank Hulbert wins the Dashwood hill climb on a prototype 453cc Triumph - the company's first competition success.
1907
More than 1,000 motorcycles are made, with new 450cc 3.5bhp engine.
Triumph riders Jack Marshall and Freddie Hulbert place second and third in the first motorcycle TT race (Isle of Man - a Matchless was the first).
Company moves main production to larger premises on Priory Street and doubles production to 1,000 vehicles. Much Park address still used for service and to produce line of lower-value Gloria cycles and sidecars. Bettmann elected to Coventry City Council.
1908
Variable pulley - high 4:1, low 6:1 - could be changed by dismantling at the roadside, also Triumph's own two-slide patent carburetor introduced. Engine controls are moved to the handlebars. First variable-gearing on Triumph bikes - required the rider to stop and move the belt drive to a different pulley.
Jack Marshall wins single-cylinder class on a Triumph in Isle of Man TT Race and makes fastest lap 42.48mph (68.36kph), with an average of 40.49 mph (65.16kph). Triumph riders also take 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 10th places.
Triumph's profits for the year were 22,048 pounds.
1909
Schulte's easy-start "Free-engine" model with multi-plate clutch in rear hub is available (patented by Schulte in 1908, this is Triumph's first bike with a clutch). This meant riders no longer had to run along side the bike to get it started, then jump on! They could just ride away from a stopped position.
Production now up to 3,000 per annum.
Schulte works on a new rear-hub multi-clutch plate for easy starting. Company also does first tests with a vertical twin engine, a 616cc Bercley.
1910
Two models released this year, doubling the lineup! 3.5 bhp, 499cc TT model cataloged with magneto ignition only - coil not even optional.
Albert Catt rides a Triumph 'Tourist Trophy Roadster' just under 2,000 miles (3,038 km) in six days.
Production up to 3,000 vehicles a year.
1911
Although introduced in 1909, and because during the first two years they were limited in availability, the rear hub multi-plate clutch models are now included in the Triumph catalog.
Four 3.5 bhp models are now available: the Roadster, Free-Engine Model, TT Roadster and TT Racer. Top speed was 50-55 mph.
Pedaling gear is dispensed with on most models and replaced by foot pegs.
Ivan Hart-Davies rides a Triumph on his last End-To-End ride, John O'Groats (Scotland) to Land's End, 886 miles, in 29 hours 12 mins., averaging just over 30 mph. Albert Catt rides a Triumph 2,400 (2,557?) miles in six days.
1913
Triumph (Schulte) builds an experimental 600cc vertical twin side-valve engine, with horizontal crankcase joint (horizontally split crankcases would not reappear until the late 1950s).
Model C is the last one offered with a pedal start.
Bettmann is elected Mayor of Coventry 1913-14. As mayor, he established the charitable Prince of Wales Fund. He was also a founding member and former president of the Coventry Chamber of Commerce and president of the Coventry Liberal Association (until 1940).
1914
By 1914, the company was producing 4,000 singles annually. Hathaway is now Triumph's chief designer. The main vehicle is the 550c Type A Roadster, which produced 4 hp and used the reliable Bosch high-tension magneto.
1915 - 1918
Production became focused on the Allied war effort. Model 'H' roadster with chain drive (designed by Schulte and similar to the Type A) was introduced in 1915, 550cc side-valve four-stroke with Sturmey-Archer three-speed gearbox and belt transmission - considered by many to be the first "modern" motorcycle.
Even though the slogan "Trusty Triumph" had been used in triumph advertising as early as 1910, The Model H is the bike that earned that moniker.
More than 30,000 Model H bikes were supplied to Allied forces in World War I (20,000 for UK forces).
1919
After a quarrel, Maurice Schulte leaves company and retires with a generous 15,000 pounds 'golden handshake.' Schulte had apparently argued with Bettmann who was opposed to Schulte's proposal to drop bicycle production and move into car manufacturing. Schulte did not want to stay with two-wheelers, but Bettmann did.
Colonel Claude V. Holbrook joins, and takes over Schulte's role as General Manager. Holbrook, however, agreed with Schulte about car manufacturing and would quickly drop bicycle manufacturing and start car production.
Model D, single-gear version of the H model is rushed into production. Triumph designs a roadster seat with adjustable tension spring to regulate seat firmness.
1920
Based on the model H engine, with new frame, Model 'SD' (Spring Drive), 550cc, offered with large-diameter rear spring shock absorber outboard of clutch and first all-chain transmission through Triumph's own three-speed gearbox.
German branch (TWN) of Triumph now back in business and building own models (variations on British models). An enlarged version of the Junior is offered at 269cc and built under license in the USA and Germany.
Bettmann establishes the charitable Annie Bettmann Foundation.
1921
Rim brakes replaced by internally-expanding drum brakes. 500cc four-valve first Triumph ohv machine, Model 'R' introduced; 20-21bhp, four-valve ohv head with twin valves set at 90 degrees apart. Similar to SD model (below the crankcase mouth), the top half was designed by fuel technologist and engine designer Harry Ricardo (later Sir Harry) and Major Frank Halford (an enthusiastic motorcycle racer at Brooklands who rode a TT Racer). Earns the nickname 'Riccy' from its designer. Uses a machined steel cylinder and an aluminum piston. Only one Riccy finishes in the TT race, coming in 16th. Ricardo was an engineer who developed the modern understanding of engine breathing and combustion processes.
In November, Halford broke the 500cc world hour record at 76.74 mph on a Riccy, along with 50-mile standing start (77.27 mph) and the one-mile British record (87.8 mph). Triumph engineers also build 500cc side-valve for TT races.
1922
Riccy appears in production, but with a cast-iron cylinder, hand shifter, shorter stroke, bicycle-type brakes and Druid front forks, at a cost of 120 pounds. Top speed is 135 kmh (84 mph).
Electric lights and horn offered as options on Triumph bikes.
Maj. Halford breaks the flying mile, 50 mile and one hour record at Brooklands, riding a Riccy. He also broke the 500cc one-hour record at 123.49 km/h (76.74 mph). Walter Brandish on a Triumph Riccy finishes second in the Senior TT.
1923
350cc unit-construction, three-speed Model LS announced - very advanced for its day but it proved unpopular. Has Triumph's first engine-driven oil pump - rider no longer required to pump oil pressure by hand. Bettman buys the premises of the Dawson Car Company at Clay Lane. The Dawson was originally designed by Arthur Anderson (formerly of Singer and Lea-Francis), but was unsuccessful on the market.
First Triumph cars produced: Model 10/20, an open tourer based on the Dawson, with 23.5bhp 1393cc four-cylinder engine designed by Ricardo, hydraulic rear brakes, and produced until 1925. "Junior" increased to 249cc, gets clutch and kickstart.
A 'Riccy' comes in second in the Senior TT race.
1924
Internal expanding brakes are put on chain-driven models. Triumph introduces its own spring front fork and drops the popular Druid fork still used by several other companies. Last year for Ricardo four-valve machines, last year for the "Trusty Triumph" Model H. 346cc LS produced, an advanced three-speed machine that wasn't very popular.
1925
Mass-produced 500cc side-valve Model 'P' with three-speed gearbox and all-chain drive at 42p.17s.6d - least expensive 500cc ever offered. It causes a sensation. Produced at a rate of 1,000 a week. However, the standard of production is low on the P model (including discarding valve guides and an asbestos-rope front brake). Triumph's reputation is tarnished by the low quality and design flaws. Twenty thousand were produced before the improved Mark II (late 1925) restored some of the public confidence in Triumph.
Competitor George Bell, manufacturer of the Banshee, closes shop and joins Triumph.
Junior's ("Baby's") last year.
Triumph production occupies 500,000 sq. ft. and employs 3,000 people to make 25,000-30,000 units a year. Sidecars are also made in-house. Triumph sales depend heavily on export, with catalogues in ten languages (including Japanese).
1927
Production reaches 30,000 machines a year. Triumph's first "modern" motorcycle, 500cc two-valve two-port ohv Model TT developed by Victor Horsman, Brooklands racer/tuner, and later a Liverpool dealer. This supersedes the Riccy model R which is dropped. Horsman's two-valve design would be the basis of Triumph engine design until Val Page's models in 1934. Lineup includes eight models including introductions of Model W and Model P with unusual 274cc engine.
Model 13/35 car produced this year only; 1873 cc, four cylinders. Model 15, 2170cc, four-cylinder car made 1927-1930.
1928
Triumph adopts fashionable saddle tank instead of their traditional flat gas tank, but only on certain models. First move away from traditional green colour scheme to black with gold lines or pale blue panels on black.
Motorcycle lines slashed to four models. A two-valve TT sportster is offered.
Super Seven car introduced, 747cc, four cylinder with hydraulic brakes, worm drive, dual connecting rods and three speeds (the early Super series of cars were named according to their horsepower). Triumph would make 17,000 Super Sevens in seven years.
1929
Annual production of 30,000 units a year achieved. Back to eight models, now with saddle tanks.
German branch TWN (Triumph Werke Nurnberg) achieves autonomy, sold off after Wall Street crashes, continues to make motorcycles until 1957, but also made typewriters with Triumph logo.
A 350cc TT model is offered 1929-30 only. 350cc CO provided enclosed OHV gear and a dry-sump pressurized oil system.
Triumph cars competed at the Monte Carlo and Irish TT races.
1930
175cc Model 'X' two-stroke, two-speed at 23p.17s.6d. with lights and leg shields (also called 'Junior'). This is their first all-unit construction motorcycle.
Triumph tries inclined engines in its new lineup. 500cc ohv CTT offered.
Donald Healey finished 7th at the Monte Carlo race in a Triumph Super Seven, the highest place for any British car.
1931
250cc ohv model WO introduced. 343cc NM introduced. Inclined engine designed by Val Page. This year triumph puts the Coventry Climax engine in its cars. Ariel releases its Square Four, designed by Edward Turner. It would continue in production until 1959. Model X reduced to 150cc and joined by new models, including the Silent Scout.
The 1.2 litre side-valve Triumph Scorpion automobile was introduced
Jack Wickes, 16, joins Triumph as print boy.
Britain issues its first Highway Code laws.
1932
Sophisticated 150cc two-stroke (later ohv four-stroke) 'Silent Scout' models, designed by Page, introduced with special cams and followers to reduce clatter. Silent Scouts boast inclined engine. Page also designs 250, 350 and 500cc sizes. Called Model A (548cc - about 600-800 sold) , B (493cc - about 1,000 sold) and BS (S for Sport, high-compression 7:1 model - only about 200 sold).
Britain scraps motorcycle taxation by weight and adopts engine capacity instead.
1933
New range of single cylinder machines designed by Val Page. Page's 'flagship' model 6/1- 25bhp, four-speed 650 vertical twin (designed for sidecar market, it had a 360-degree crankshaft and a helical gear primary drive) proves a commercial failure. Other companies' twins at this time were all V-twins. Single cylinder 500cc CD model has Bowden carb. Engine closures introduced to reduce noise and save cost of polishing hidden parts. Page's design philosophy favours modular engine and bike design, with units sharing the same chassis and other components
1934
Name changed to Triumph Co. Ltd.
1936
Triumph decides to split motorcycle and automobile production into two separate and independent companies in January.
1937
In July, Turner introduces the 500cc Speed Twin, selling at 75 pounds. It takes the motorcycle world by storm and would prove the definitive British bike. This 27bhp parallel-twin model (some say was based on the engine design of the Riley 9 car, which Turner owned) set the trend for motorcycles and its form continued well into the 1980s. It was capable of travelling 90 mph (145kph) and weighed 361 lb. (166kg).
1938
After several tests of motorcycles from numerous manufacturers, the Metropolitan (London) Police choose the Speed Twin for their own use. They buy two dozen initially, and would buy thousands over the next several years.
Bill Johnson and Wilbur Ceder buy British and American Motors, a small motorcycle shop in Pasadena, California. They sell Triumphs, Ariels, BSAs and Indians. They also host their first motorcycle show to give the public a look at the new bikes.
1939
T100, with top speed of 95-100 mph, becomes a popular model in US. Freddie Clarke sets a new 350cc lap record at Brooklands, doing 105.97mph on a Tiger 80, then sets another doing 118.02mph on a bored-out 503cc T100.
World War II declared and within six weeks, 1,400 Triumph motorcycles are requisitioned from the factory for war use.
1940
In January, the British government reduced production demands, allowing Triumph to manufacture bikes for the civilian and export markets again. In March, the French government contracts to buy 500cc side-valve bikes from Triumph. In May, the British government again requisitions bikes, halting civilian production. By July production for the military is up to 300 machines a week.
1941
Work on new factory at the village of Meriden started (reputed to be at the geographic centre of Britain).
1942
New factory at Meriden in production mid-year for military, with single-cylinder 350cc ohv 3HW based on pre-war 3H (basically a Tiger 80 but without an air filter, which required major servicing every couple of thousand miles), but improved with enclosed valve gear, etc. Forty thousand built for military during war, out of a total of 49,700 motorcycles produced. Triumph also made aircraft components, track links, steering housings and two-wheeled stretcher carriers.
Turner designs a generator using a Triumph vertical twin engine for the Air Ministry.
1944
Alfred "Rich" Child, Harley-Davidson's Asian sales agent, approaches Triumph to become their exclusive, factory-authorized importer into the USA. Turner and Sangster decide to stick with Johnson as their official distributor.
1945
During the war years, Triumph built 50,000 motorcycles. Large stock of used 3HW and 3SW (side-valve) models bought from War Department for reconditioning and repainting in new colours, sold in Britain for civilian use. In March, four twins and one single are announced, but the single and one twin never see production. The Speed Twin, Tiger 100 and 350cc 3T are made. They are fitted with telescopic forks (replacing the old girder front forks), but are otherwise the same as pre-war models.
Bill Johnson draws up plans for a US nation-wide dealer network and accepts applications for Ariel and triumph franchises. JoMo moves to a new location in Pasadena, investing $85,000 in renovations, including six hydraulic lifts in the service area. JoMo drops its Indian franchise, but picks up California-made Mustang, Lucas electrical products, Amal carbs, John Bull and Dunlop tires.
1946
Civilian production resumes at Meriden.
All-twin cylinder range announced. Telescopic forks were on all models, with the spring wheel extra. Tiger 85 twin (a sports version of the 3T) and 3H single are announced but not produced.
1947
Spring rear hub introduced.
1948
TR5: 500cc 'Trophy' TR5 - Triumph's first trail bike - is introduced following success in International Six Day Test The engine was originally built by Triumph to power generators for the RAF in WW2: it has aluminum heads and barrels and is light, torquey and powerful. The team won the next four years' contests.
Triumph is making 12,000 bikes a year, 60 per cent of them are exported.
1949
650cc Thunderbird 6T (designed by Turner but made into a workable machine by his drawing-board guru, Jack Wickes) was launched on Sept. 20 with three models racing 500 miles at 90mph (800km at 145kph) for a demonstration at Montlhery. Although basically a revamped, bored-out Speed Twin, 6T is designed to satisfy export (mostly American) market, offered as capable of a full 161 kmh/100 mph. Thunderbird quickly becomes favourite of police forces worldwide. Nacelle headlamp enclosure is put on all models (moving gauges from top of tank - see Thunderbird photo at right). The name came to Turner while on a US tour. He stayed at the Thunderbird Motel in South Carolina.
25hp TR5 model Trophy produced (based on Speed Twin, designed for offroad use, but with excellent highway ability, easy starting and excellent braking). It became the mainstay of the AMC "Class C" racing until 1969. American versions combine components of the T100 and grand Prix Trophy to make a fast desert racer.
Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club founded.
1950
Painted fuel tanks with pressed styling bands and badges are used due to temporary lack of lining capacity. Edward Turner opts for "low-chrome" policy, bans the use of chrome fuel tanks on future models (they weren't used again until the Bonneville Royal Wedding edition in 1981).
Thunderbird in production; the world's first "superbike," it can achieve 100 mph at a reasonable price. Performance improvements come mid-way through year when carb size is increased.
Turner establishes US-based Triumph Corp., in Maryland, a wholly-owned east coast distribution company created to serve eastern US markets. Denis McCormack, 48, is first president. After 1950, more Triumphs would be sold in the USA than in any other country, including Britain.
1951
Sangster sells Triumph to BSA for 2.5 million pounds - the same company to which he sold Ariel in 1939. He joins the BSA Group as member of the board. Turner's holdings in triumph earn him ten percent of the sale.
Harley Davidson complains about Triumph's progress in racing and marketing to the US tariff Commission, demanding a high duty (40%) on all imported motorcycles. They claim Triumph is 'dumping' its machines at artificially low prices. Among their witnesses is former Triumph pioneer dealer, Reggie Pink.
1952
The US Tariff Commission decides against HD's complaint and the hearing gives Triumph added publicity. Harley is charged with restrictive trade practices instead.
Demand for Manx Norton engines to power Formula Three cars left many Manx Featherbed frames available. Designers start putting Triumph engines into the frames, creating 'Tritons.'
1953
Marlon Brando rides his personal motorcycle, a 1952 Triumph Thunderbird, in the movie "The Wild One"
1954
Tiger 110 (T110) announced - very high performance (8.5:1 pistons), sporty version of the Thunderbird (42bhp compared to the Tbird's 34). It's Triumph's fastest motorcycle to date, nicknamed the "Tiger-Bird" in the USA. Swinging arm rear suspension is used on Tigers 100 and 110 (but not the entire line). 200cc Tiger Cub T20 announced (replacing the 150cc Terrier version by 1957), "Tigerized" with a twin seat. The sprung hub, introduced in 1939, ends production (to almost everyone's relief). The 6T gets an alternator, swinging fork suspension and bigger bearings. A 6T/AC model includes AC ignition and lighting. Folding kickstands are standard with all models.
1955
Johnny Allen clocks 193mph (3l0kph) on Bonneville Salt Flats, in a 650cc Triumph powered streamliner.
The TR6 Trophy is produced: 650cc, built to suite AMA desert racing regulations. This is the first true "American" Triumph model. The first models were T110 Sports engines in a TR5 chassis. The top speed was 105 mph.
1959
The introduction of the 46bhp 650cc T120 Bonneville twin, however the model isn't featured in the company's catalogue. It is basically a Tiger 110 twin (42bhp) fitted with splayed inlet ports, single-piece camshaft and twin Amal carbs but no air filters. The Bonneville was destined to become one of the greatest motorcycles of all time. Its name commemorated the world record run and the model was an immediate and long lasting success. However, despite American pressure to release a twin-carb 650, the first model, with its nacelle and heavy mudguards is not popular in America. Tricor wanted a sportier look. A special twin-carb trophy - TR7A - is also released this year.
1961
Steve McQueen rides a TR6 in movie "The Great Escape." Bud Elkins, also on a TR6 is the stuntman that jumps the fence in the movie and did it successfully on the first take.
All models get a modified head angle and floating brake shoe. The TR6SC "Desert Sled" Trophy Special is made for the US market until 1966.
1962
Doug Hele joins Triumph from Norton and takes over the experimental department.
Hele redesigns the Triumph frames for better stability and torsional stiffness.
1963
Tiger 90, high performance 350 3TA introduced, similar to T100S/S. All 650s, (including Bonnies, Tbirds, TR6, Trophy) are built with a new unit construction engine/gear box.
Tina T10, 100cc scooter with automatic transmission introduced (designed by Turner).
The US-only TR6SC, a pure desert racer with straight pipes, was produced: basically a single-carb T120, very fast. 650s all get new coil ignition.
First year for T120 unit construction models.
The Bonnie undergoes numerous and significant upgrades to its engine, gearbox, transmission and frame.
1965
Tiger Cubs are supplied to the French Army, using T20S/H Sports Cub specially adapted.
Prototype triple engine tested in Bonneville chassis. Sturgeon sees the triple as the group's response to large-capacity Japanese bikes. All 650 twins got new forks and a modified rear brake.
The Bonneville Speedmaster T120R and Highway Trophy TR6SR introduced for US market.
1967
The twin carburetor 500cc Tiger 100 Daytona (T100T) is introduced to celebrate their 1966 victory. Gary Nixon wins the Daytona 200 on a Tiger 100.
28,700 Triumphs are sold in the USA, mostly Bonnevilles, but about 30 per cent were Trophies (TR6). This was the peak year for Triumph exports to the USA, selling 24,700 machines for 7.5 million pounds.
Triumph releases T100R Daytona Super Sports, first twin-carb 500cc machine since the pre-unit T5RAD. Also releases T120/R road model.
1968
Late summer announcement of a three-cylinder 750cc Trident T150; 58bhp, 125mph (201kph), designed by Hopwood, Hele and Wickes. It was the first, modern, multi-cylinder production motorcycle. It had a four-speed gearbox. It was nicknamed "Tiger 100-and-a-half." The Trident/BSA Rocket-3 was the first cooperative venture by BSA and Triumph since the companies were amalgamated in 1951.
1970
Tridents take the top three qualifying speeds at Daytona with a highest speed of 165.44 mph. Tridents win the second and third place in the race.
1972
Craig Vetter's triple is put into production in June, a BSA engine with his American styling, but as BSA was in its death throes, the tank badges were changed to Triumph and it was called the X75 Hurricane.
1973
BSA Group merged in July in a government-encouraged "shotgun wedding" with Norton-Villiers as Norton-Villiers-Triumph.
1975
Trident NT160 electric-start model announced. In March, Meriden workers' cooperative started manufacturing of 750cc Bonnies and TR7V Tigers resumes in Meriden
Tiger and Bonnie are made with left-hand shift pedals for US market to meet new American legislation. Right-hand shifts were still available as factory modifications - at extra cost.
1976
Only two models are made this year: T140V and TR7RV, both 750cc, five-speeds. The last batch of T160s are made for the Cardinal Police Service. New models also have to satisfy new and stringent US legislation under the Environmental Protection Agency.
1977
The limited edition Silver Jubilee T140V is made to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's 25 years on the throne. The Silver Jubilee is a T140 Bonnie with cast alloy wheels and special finish.1,000 for UK, 1,000 for the US, and about 400 more made for export later.
1979
Model T140E Bonnie comes in American (small tank and high bars) and European (low bars, large tank, replacing the T140V) models. T140D Special has alloy wheels. Electronic ignition is introduced. The Bonnie wins the "Machine of the Year" award in Britain's Motor Cycle News (MCN).
1980
The British government writes off 8.4 million pounds owed by Triumph, but still leaves company owing two million to Britain's Export Credit Guarantee Dept. Triumph would experiment with several designs, none able to stop the decline.
1983
Production of Bonneville was discontinued at Meriden when the firm went into liquidation in the fall.
John Bloor, a 53-year-old wealthy English property developer and builder, becomes interested in the Meriden factory site for development. He rescues Triumph by buying the name and all manufacturing rights, becoming the sole propietor of Triumph Motorcycles Limited.
To keep Triumph in continuous production, Bloor licenses Les Harris, of Racing Spares, in Newton Abbott, Devon, to continue to produce the Bonneville in small numbers for five years, 1983-1988.
1984
Meriden factory is demolished, and the site acquired for a housing estate, which still retains a link to Triumph's history by using Bonneville and Daytona in road names.
1987
The first new Triumph engine - a 1200cc four cylinder
1990
Triumph lives again. At the Cologne Motor Cycle Show, six new Triumph models are shown, powered by three- and four-cylinder DOHC engines with high horsepower and torque, all liquid-cooled: Trident 750 and 900; Trophy 900 and 1200; Daytona 750 and 1000. 2,390 machines are sold this year, 974 into the UK.
Triumph's new factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire, is completed on an 11-acre site. The company has around 50 employees, producing about five bikes a day.
1993
This year saw the introduction of in-house painting and plating - a huge investment to back the place of Triumph as a quality product. All engine and frame components were treated to an epoxy powder coat in graphite for Sprint and Trophy, and wrinkle black for Trident and Daytona models. The Sprint and Daytonas were also restyled with lighter rear bodywork and solid colors.
1994
Founding of "Triumph Motorcycles of America" completes the return of Triumph to the largest market in the world. Cascade Moto Classics, in Tigard, Oregon (original location) is awarded a Triumph dealership under the new dealer network.
Launch of Triumph in Canada at the Toronto bike show, January. Plans of expansion to increase capacity for production of Triumph in the next century receives the green light with permission to construct a new plant on a site greater than 400,000m2.
Triumph re-enters the competition ring with the introduction of the "Speed Triple Challenge Race" in Donnington Park in England. At the Cologne show Triumph launches the much-awaited Thunderbird with its nostalgia styling and detuned (70bhp) engine. The engine castings were also new and the frame substantially modified: a ground-up redesign of the T309 standard to meet a particular set of design objectives, within the limits of modular production.
The Tiger is introduced: a new direction for Triumph and the first use of a plastic tank on a Triumph, plus the most sophisticated suspension on any Triumph ever.
1995
Triumph enters the US market again for the first time since the close of the Meriden Cooperative.
Triumph buys back UK dispatcher Andy Utting's 1992 Trident after 250,000 miles. Although the engine was hardly touched in that time, Utting went through 30 pair of tires, 120 oil changes, 24 sets of brake pads, two speedometer cables and 14 chain and sprocket sets. In exchange, he got a new Daytona 900. The workforce is up to 300 this year and production was around 12,000 units a year.
1997
Total production passes 50,000 this year. More than 11,000 motorcyclists have toured the Hinckley factory since it opened in 1990. Triumph has about 350 employees working two shifts, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., producing around 80 bikes a day for 35 countries around the world.
2000
After a 12 year absence from the Triumph line-up, Triumph reintroduces the Bonneville with a re-engineered 790cc 360 degree crank parallel twin.
In the following several years Triumph would also introduce two other motorcycles based on the basic Bonneville that would have a "retro" look to them; the Thruxton, a cafe racing style bike based on the late 1960s style street racers in England; The Scramber, an enduro style bike based on the street/dirt racing bikes of the mid-late 1960s in the United States.
2002
Along with the 100th Anniversary of Triumph Motorcycles, Triumph also enters the cruiser market hard and heavy in 2002 with the introduction of the Bonneville America (in 2003 the name is shortened to America), a laid back relaxed cruiser with the same motor as the Bonneville (with the exception of a 270 degree crank). In 2003 Triumph introduces a leaner, meaner and sportier version of the America and calls it the Speedmaster. Destined to be all time classics, as they reflect the heritage of past Triumphs, especially the 1937 Speed Twin. Both the Speedmaster and America would continue to be an essential mainstay of Triumph and fierce competition in the American cruiser market as well as world wide.
2004
In 2004 Triumph shocks the motorcycling world with the world's largest production motorcycle, the Rocket III. Like the BSA Rocket 3, 35 years earlier, it features a three cylinder motor. However, this three cylinder is a 2300cc inline three that produces 147 ft. lbs. of torque and 142 bhp. The Rocket III, has set the world land speed record for a production motorcycle over 2000cc reaching it's electronically set limiter of 140.3 mph.
2006
Triumph introduced the Daytona 675. It is 675cc parallel triple that produces 53 ft. lbs. of torque and 123 bhp. The Daytona was named "Motorcycle of The Year" three years in a row in several magazines world wide. as well as being a hit with motorcycle racers as it competes extremely well with other bikes from around the world with minimal adjusting.
2007
Led by the perennial favorites, the Speedmaster and America cruisers, as well as the iconic Bonneville and award-winning Daytona 675 sportsbike, Triumph is the best selling brand of motorcycle in Australia according to 2007 sales figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
2008
Because of world wide government enviromental regulations, all parallel twin motors are phased over to fuel injection from carburetors.
2009
Triumph commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Bonneville with a special anniversary model. Only 650 bikes are built (matching the displacement of the original Bonneville in 1959).
Triumph releases their latest incarnation of the Thundrbird (as a 2010 model), a 1600 CC parallel twin cruiser. It is named Motorcycle of the Year by several magazines.
2010
Triumph celebrates the 20 year anniversary of the Hinckley Factory.
Cascade Moto Classics in Beaverton, Oregon receives the award for being the overall best dealer of the last 15 years in North America (1994-2009).
2011
Triumph redesigns the Speedmaster and America models making them completely separate models. The frame and motor are now the only common elements.
Triumph releases the Tiger 800 and Tiger 800XC.
2013
Replacing the outdated Sprint, Triumph brings back the Trophy model name. The Trophy SE features a 1215cc 3-cylinder and shaft drive.
2015 and Beyond
Triumph Motorcycles continues to be the last and only all British owned and run vehicle manufacturer in the world.
Triumph Motorcycles is also the oldest continuous production motorcycle company in the world.