Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 22nd October 2019

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd was established in 1983, and is now recognised worldwide with more than 700 dealers across the globe, building around 65 thousand bikes a year.

Triumph Motorbike History

We’re taking a look at the brief history of this iconic British business, to see how it became the largest surviving motorcycle manufacturer in Britain, and one of the most successful.

Rising From Receivership

During 1983, the motorcycle manufacturing company Triumph Engineering, which had been active since 1885, went into receivership. The name and manufacturing rights were bought by John Bloor.

Bloor had been a plasterer and builder from a young age, and had built a complete house before he turned 20. By the time he acquired the rights to Triumph Engineering through his holding company, he was already running Bloor Homes, which had become one of the largest privately-owned house-building companies in the UK.

This acquisition was to keep the Triumph brand alive – and Bloor partnered with former Triumph parts dealer Les Harris, to form Bonneville Coventry Ltd. Together they were able to license and build a number of Bonneville motorcycles up until 1988.

From the success of his Homes business, Bloor wanted to start a company with an already completed product, that could be successfully exported to other countries.

Continuing Triumph’s Record

At Unit 14, Bayton Road, Bedworth, Bloor secretly started working on new range of Triumph motorcycles. He brought together a design and development team, who travelled to motorcycle factories in various countries, with the intention of creating new prototype model Triumphs, that would help revitalise the British motorcycle brand.

The first engine was completed by the new Triumph Motorcycles company in 1987, and the following year Bloor financed the construction of a new state-of-the-art production factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire. The company invited journalists down to the industrial estate, so they could see the company’s plans to mass-produce British built and designed motorcycles once more.

By 1991, they has successfully manufactured a new range of multi-cylinder Triumph motorcycles.


Setbacks And Success

2002 marked the company’s 100th anniversary as a motorcycle maker, and by then Triumph had two successful production factories.

However, it was during March of that year that the main factory was destroyed by a fire, which had spread from the back of the building. The huge blaze was tackled by over 100 firefighters and ended up decimating most of the manufacturing capacity.

Thankfully, the company was able to successfully rebuild the factory by September that same year. 2006 saw a further factory built and another was opened by 2007 – by this time Triumph were expanding their production capacity, to over 130,000 motorcycles.

Production continued to grow, topping 50,000 units in 2008 – and Triumph were churning out roughly 200 bikes for delivery a day by 2010.

A Modern Motorcycle Giant

The rebirth of Triumph Motorcycles thanks to the vision of John Bloor, has proven to be one of the biggest successes of a British business.

Numerous race track and speed records, along with endorsements from icons like Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando, further cemented the brand’s legendary status.
From the company finally posting its first profits in the year 2000, after around £100 million was thought to have been invested – to today, were Triumph Motorcycles is a global brand, boasting a wide range of motorcycles, bike products and championship victories – there’s no doubt that the British manufacturer has earned its place in motorcycle history.

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