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A Brief History of Triumph Motorcycles

Today Triumph Motorcycles is the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in Britain and is currently based at Hinckley in the midlands area of the country. Recorded revenue for 2017 was just under five hundred million pounds, with a net profit of 25 million pounds. Currently the company employs two thousand employees at their West Midlands base that are still making quality British motorcycles that are still popular all over the world. Triumph first started manufacturing in 1902 by a pair of immigrants.

Production Began in 1902

Although Triumph is recognized all over the world as a British manufacturer, the company was actually started by two Germans that settled in Britain in the 1880s. Mauritz Schulte and Siegfried Bettmann were first involved in sewing machines and bicycles before they decided to join forces and to start producing motorcycles. The first machine that these two entrepreneurs built was in 1902, they attached a 211cc engine to basically a modified bicycle frame. And just five years later the company was producing a thousand units a year, under the direction of the marketing of Bettmann.

The Growth of a Company

Triumph was going from strength to strength amid fierce competition in the motorcycle industry. At the 1903 London Trade Show no fewer than 376 brand new motorcycle brands had been on exhibit, many of them were British but other countries were also well represented. In 2007, Triumph dominated the elite Isle of Man TT, securing second and third position. And one year later the brand-new cycle off the production line, a 3.5 HP machine won the TT outright, Triumph had announced itself to the world as a serious motorcycle manufacturer.

Five years late, Siegfried Bettmann had been elected as the mayor of Coventry, where the firm’s Priory Street Works were located. At the company’s peak before the Great Depression, there was three thousand workers at the Triumph plant.

Too Much, Too Fast

Perhaps the growth of Triumph was all too fast, but the Great Depression also contributed to the company’s demise. So, in 1936 the faltering motorcycle manufacturer sold out to one of their fiercest competitors for five thousand pounds, and the company fell into the hands of Ariel. The new company CEO was a man called Edward Turner, a former senior Ariel engineer. And he was responsible for developing the famous Speed Twin.

Triumph Engineering Hits the Skid Pans

In 1983 Triumph Engineering finally went into receivership, and a man called John Bloor bought the name from the Receivers. Bloor realized why the company had failed, the plant and the range of machines were outdated and not good enough to compete against the Japanese giants. It took five years of research visiting plants in Japan to learn everything about modern mass production of motorcycles, and Triumph rose like a phoenix from the ashes and a modern new company was once again in full production.

As capacity increased, Bloor set up a network of overseas distributors, and the new Triumph motorcycle models were once again available all over the world. The rest as they say is history and today Triumph is going from strength to strength.