- Written by Carole Nash Editor
- Created: 07 June 2016
Triumph are Great Britain’s last high volume motorcycle manufacturer. The UK’s Ducati, if you will.
Since its rebirth under John Bloor in 1984, the modern Triumph Motorcycles Ltd has learnt from the mistakes of the earlier company, and rather than asking customers to keep buying the same product, Triumph now know, react to and pre-empt the demands of their customers arguably better than any other manufacturer.
There will be a Triumph for you; it’s just a matter of choosing which one!
For the Retro
The all-new Street Twin features a brand new 900cc engine, in the parallel twin format that made Triumph a household name. Astutely, the exposed engine of the new Street Twin echoes the lines of one of the prettiest engines ever made, designer Edward Turner’s 1937 500cc masterpiece that featured in the Speed Twin motorcycle of the same year.
The original Triton 50’s and 60s café racers were modified bikes created by their owners, always made with a Triumph engine, and the company has recognised the resurgence of both this styling trend and the will to modify, building the Street Twin “to be the perfect starting point to build your own custom bike…with over 150 new stylish accessories available.”
A brand new modified bike, with a full dealer warranty and a name with over a hundred years of heritage on the tank, for less than £7500.
For the enthusiasts
Currently topping the 2016 TT practice timesheets in the Supersport class is a racing Triumph, the 675 Daytona. The Japanese manufacturers, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki, had long since come to the conclusion that the route to success in this class, both on road and track, was a 600cc in-line four cylinder engine wrapped in an aluminium frame. The new Triumph Company initially followed the same path, and even won a Junior TT with Bruce Anstey on that bike, but knew that their only true sports bike had to be different, had to offer something the other factories weren’t offering to the motorcycle buying public.
They looked again to the Triumph heritage and to engine configuration. Ducati sportsbikes were synonymous with twin cylinder engines at the time, albeit in their traditional ninety degree Vee configuration, but no-one was building a triple.
For a road-focused, real world sportsbike it theoretically offered the ideal configuration; more low end torque than an inline four, more top end power than a twin and a direct link to the last new model, the Triumph Trident.
The Triumph Daytona 675 looks different to the competition, sounds different and even feels different to sit on. So successful has this bike, and the unfaired Street Triple variant, been for the company, that the Japanese, and even the great name of MV Agusta, have released their own interpretations of Triumph’s original idea.
For the explorers
When Charlie Borman and Ewan McGregor took their Long Way Round trip on BMW GS motorcycles, they became the de facto choice of machine for the Adventure rider. This expanding market sector is hotly contested, doubtless partly due to the premium nature of the bikes in this sector. The new for 2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer models have been available for just over a month but are already attracting rave reviews, being described as better than both the competition and even the previous model.
One of the difficulties facing designers when making large, powerful Adventure bikes like the all-new Triumph Tiger Explorer is the compromise that has to be made in how the suspension works. Off-road use on bumpy trails demands soft suspension, to allow the wheels to move quickly up and down several inches over undulating terrain. On the road, firmer suspension and more control is needed, as on a sportsbike or conventional tourer. With the advent of Triumph’s new semi-active suspension system TSAS, the new Triumph Tiger Explorer XCx has the ability to switch it’s suspension characteristics to suit either environment at the touch of a button and excel in both.
In the 1990’s, semi-active suspension was being developed on Formula 1 cars, now anyone can buy the same technology directly from a Triumph showroom, on a bike costing less than fifteen thousand pounds. This is certainly no marketing gimmick, Triumph pride themselves on only making alterations to their machines to improve them “For The Ride”, this latest development builds on insightful, considered engineering and design.
A conventional chain and sprocket, as seen on most motorcycles, is cheap to build, but the water, sand, salt and mud of off-road riding wear them quickly. On the Triumph Tiger Explorer, Triumph fitted shaft drive from the outset, a closed system more like that in a car, as it is much more resilient. This also enables the use of a single-sided swinging arm at the rear, making tyre changes in both the Sahara and Surrey much easier.
The Triumph Tiger Explorer is a machine built without compromise, so you don’t have to.
For the easy riders
Cruising up a sun-kissed M6 on your Triumph Rocket III, two point three litres of Triumph triple thrumming away beneath you, wind blowing into your open-face lid whilst you catch flies in your broad grin. With every passing minute the Las Vegas of the North draws closer. As you arrive in Blackpool, the summer sun glints on the chrome but is sucked into the menacing flat black paint on your iron horse. Fish and chips on the promenade have never tasted better.
The Rocket III embraces the Easy Rider style of Milwaukee’s most famous manufacturer, but with a British twist.
The Rocket III name originated on the BSA-badged version of the 70s Triumph Trident, the bike that Malcolm Uphill famously lapped the TT course at 99.99mph on. The current bike was originally designed to compete directly with Harley Davidson’s products and to be exported to the USA, a task now more than ably performed by the excellent Thunderbird.
Triumph decided to take the Rocket III, a bike with more torque at two thousand rpm than a sportsbike makes at peak, and rebrand it as the rebel of the range, with matt black paint replacing candy-flip and much less chrome than its American rival; if you’re the biggest and baddest, you don’t need to shout about it. It has everything a Harley has, looks, sound, heritage and image, but with a unique presence and attitude. When you want one, nothing else will do.
Do you own a Triumph or think we've missed a particular model from our list? Get in touch via social media and let us know!