Triumph Motorcycles | Historical Timeline


1887 to 2010

Triumph Motorcycles is the British motorcycle marquee that produces a wide range of sport, cruiser and touring motorcycles that are all designed to provide outstanding motorcycling experiences.

First established in 1902 and now located in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, Triumph has set the pace with many historical motorcycles.

From the storied Bonneville to the class-leading Speed Triple, Triumph offers a blend of design, character and performance that result in truly distinctive motorcycles.

Today, Bloor Holdings Ltd. solely owns the company and its North American operations are based in Atlanta. The below timeline of Triumph Motorcycles helps depict the storied history of this famous motorcycling brand.

Triumph Motorcycles Timeline


Triumph gets ready to enter the Adventure motorcycle category with the announcement that they will shortly introduce two new models.


The Triumph Thunderbird returns to North America as 1600cc Big Twin cruiser that combines sleek looks, cool style and intuitive handling to create an immediate icon.


The Triumph Bonneville celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a special, limited edition model that commemorates the original.


Triumph is recognized as the world’s fastest growing motorcycle manufacturer. More than 41,000 units are produced.


The Triumph factory is destroyed by a devastating fire in March. Production is halted until the new factory opens in September of the same year.


The Speed Triple and Daytona models receive electronic fuel injection.


The Rider Association of Triumph, also known as R.A.T., is launched.


Production reaches 12,000 units per year. Triumph unveils its own line of technical riding apparel.


Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. is established as Triumph’s North American operations.


The Speed Triple, one of the world’s first production “streetfighter” style motorcycles, is launched at the Paris Motorcycle Show.


The Daytona’s three-cylinder engine size grows from 750cc to 900cc. A 1200cc four-cylinder engine also is offered.


The first three-cylinder motorcycles, the 750cc Daytona and 900cc Trophy, are produced.


The first of the newly designed Triumph motorcycles with modern design and engineering are launched at the Cologne Motorcycle Show.


Design, research and development begins on a new, modern line of Triumph motorcycles.


British entrepreneur John Bloor purchases the intellectual property rights to Triumph Motorcycles. Bloor retains a specialty manufacturer to continue production of the Triumph Bonneville as he assembles a new management and operations team and an entirely new line of Triumph motorcycles is designed.


A new 750cc Bonneville T140V and TR7RV Tiger models are introduced.


A labor dispute grinds production nearly to a halt until 1975 when a workers co-operative is established and production rises to 350 units per week.


The British government sponsors a merger between the BSA Group and another storied British motorcycle manufacturer, Norton Villiers. Norton-Villiers-Triumph was formed.


Triumph introduces the Trident 750cc Triple.


Production peaks at around 46,800 units per year.


Triumph and BSA merge.


A Bonneville-powered twin-engine streamliner motorcycle ridden by Bob Leppan sets a new world land speed record of 245.6mph.


The Triumph Bonneville debuts and sets a world land speed record at its namesake, the Bonneville Salt Flats. The motorcycle instantly becomes highly desired by enthusiasts worldwide.


Triumph’s 650cc Bonneville sets a world land speed record of 214.5 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats.


Marlon Brando wows movie goers riding a 6T Thunderbird in “The Wild One.”


Jack Sangster sells Triumph to BSA.


TriCor opens in Baltimore, Maryland, to distribute Triumphs on the United States’ east coast.


More Triumphs are sold in the U.S. than in any other country, including Great Britain.


The Thunderbird 650cc Twin is introduced in the United States. The model is the first Triumph motorcycle designed specifically for the U.S. market and quickly becomes Triumph’s number one seller.


Civilian production of motorcycles resumes after WWII. The Triumph Thunderbird makes its debut and is heralded for its speed, agility and styling. The Thunderbird becomes sought after by police departments and earns the moniker as “The World’s First Superbike”.


Triumph supplies the British military with motorcycles throughout WWII.


World War II’s Blitz of Coventry destroys the factory; production resumes at a temporary site in Warwick and then at a new factory in Meriden. British soldiers rode Triumphs to the front lines throughout the war, showcasing the machines’ agility and durability in difficult situations.


Triumph’s 3TW Military model is the first motorcycle to use an alternator.


Johnson Motors in Pasadena, California, becomes a United States distributor of Triumph Motorcycles.


Triumph’s 500cc Speed Twin is introduced, establishing new industry standards for performance and design for years to come.


The production of automobiles is added to Triumph’s portfolio of businesses.


Triumph introduces the “Riccy” engine that features a four-valve hemispherical head, steel cylinder and aluminum piston.


Triumph produces 30,000 Type-H models for the Allied Forces in WWI.


Production reaches 3,000 motorcycles.


Jack Marshall sets the fastest lap and won the Isle of Man motorcycle race on a Triumph.


The first engines that are designed and built by Triumph are installed in Triumph motorcycles. The 363cc engines produce 3hp at 1500rpm.


The first motorized Triumph cycle is produced. It uses a 2.25hp Minerva engine in a Triumph bicycle frame.


Triumph Cycle Co. is founded in Coventry, England as a manufacturer of bicycles.