1. They Once Sold Sewing Machines
Over the years and despite the ups and downs Triumph has experienced, it remains a successful and famous brand. The motorcycles they produce are wel-known for their power, style, and performance. This has led to a loyal following by motorcycle enthusiasts.
Although Triumph is now best-known for its motorcycles and also has a long history of selling cars and other products in their early days. Just like the bicycles they initially sold, one of these divergents was sewing machines which had been imported from Europe. They stopped selling sewing machines to focus on bicycles and then on motorcycles and cars.
2. Their First Motorcycle Was Produced in 1902
Motorised vehicles did not exist in the early years of the company, and the focus was on producing and selling bicycles. Triumph did not produce their first motorcycle until 1902, using engines purchased from another company. The first motorcycle, the Triumph No. 1. had a 2.2 Minerva engine. They were produced at their factory on Much Park Street in Coventry. As the Triumph No. 1 was a success, they took the decision to produce their own engines. To grow their manufacturing capability Triumph bought an old spinning mill on Priory Street in Coventry in 1907 which they transformed into a new factory providing the facilities needed to produce the engines.
3. They Produced Many Motorcycles During World War I
To aid in the war effort Triumph were called upon to manufacture vehicles like many other major manufacturers in Britain. The Allied military service in 1915 selected Triumph to supply them with Type H ‘Trusty’ motorcycles. Triumph actually manufactured 57,000 of these 499 cc air-cooled single-cylinder motorcycles during the war but it is believed that only 30,000 ever saw active service. Thanks to these lucrative manufacturing contracts during World War 1 Triumph became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the UK by 1918.
4. They Produced Military Motorcycles During World War II
Triumph was once again called on by the government World War II began in 1939 to manufacture motorcycles for the military. Triumph geared up production towards the production of military motorcycles manufacturing an estimated 50,000 for the war effort. During the Coventry blitz, the Priory Street factory was hit on November 14, 1940. As was the British way, production did not stop and they used temporary premises in Warwick with a new plant in Meriden opened in 1942.
5. Malcolm Uphill Won the Production TT in 1969 on a Triumph Bonneville
Triumph motor racing is well known throughout the world. They have been particularly successful at the Isla of Man TT events. Malcolm Uphill won the Production TT In 1969 riding a Triumph Bonneville. Malcolm's win was especially notable as he famously achieved the first ever 100mph lap average on a production motorcycle. He won the event again the following year and this time riding a Triumph Triple and was given the nickname Slippery Sam. Between 1969 and 1975 Uphill won the Production TT for seven consecutive years.
6. The Name Changed...
In 1897, 12 years after it was founded, the second name change of this company occurred. Originally S. Bettmann & Co. the name was changed to simply Triumph.
In 1897 they decided to rename the company the Triumph Cycle Company focusing on manufacturing their own range of bicycles.
In 1930 Triumph focused their attention on the motor industry manufacturing both motorcycles and cars. They decided on another name change when it became the Triumph Motor Company.
Years later in 1983 John Bloor established Triumph Motorcycles Ltd.
In 1983 Triumph went into receivership and the name and the manufacturing rights were purchased by John Bloor from the Official receiver who formed a new company initially called Bonneville Coventry Ltd.
This was later changed to Triumph Motorcycles. John didn’t relaunch the company immediately as he updated plant and the designs to compete against new rivals, such as the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers. The Bonneville continued to be produced and Bloor spent the next five years redesigning Triumph with designers creating new models. Bloor invested £80 million into the company before it eventually broke even in 2000.
7. The Main Factory Was Gutted in a Fire in 2002
Triumph experienced many ups and downs since it's creation and has weathered such turbulent events leading to the company having to almost start from scratch. An example is when a massive fire ripped through the factory completely gutting it. This unfortunately was where the majority of production took place.
Triumph refused to lay down and although this temporarily halted production, it didn’t stop Triumph. The factory was rebuilt and fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment. Within six months of the devastating fire, Triumph were back manufacturing their motorcycles launching the Daytona 600 super sports bike.
8. They Are Now the Biggest Motorcycle Manufacturer in Britain
Thanks to aggressive expansion over the last few decades, Triumph is now the biggest and most successful motorcycle manufacturer in the UK. The company has over 2,000 employees around the world, including, management, designers, administration, sales, and assembly staff.
Triumph sold more than 63,400 motorcycles in the 12 months preceding June 2017 with revenue for 2017 totaling £498.5 million (a growth of 22 percent from the previous year). Profit was £24.7 million which was up from £16.6 million the previous year.
9. 85% of Triumph Motorcycles Are Sold To Overseas Markets
In the UK Triumph has a loyal fan base, however, they are also massively popular with motorcycle rider overseas with an estimated 85% now sold there. Through the use their subsidiaries around the world Triumph ensure their products appeal to different markets. In 2017, despite selling the majority of their motorcycles overseas, Triumph still sold a record 9,400 motorcycles in the UK .
10. Triumph Motorcycles Launched a Clothing Range in 1995
In the past Triumph chose to buy their motorcycle clothing from other manufacturers but in 1995, they decided to launch and produce their own range called the Triple Collection. Iconic designs were based on celebrities who held an association with Triumph motorcycles. Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, James Dean, and Bob Dylan to name just a few. Steve McQueen was an important influence as Triumph had already named a special edition of the Bonneville after him.