The Complete Book of Classic and Modern Triumph Motorcycles, 1937-Today
There are quite a few books about Triumph motorcycles, some recent, others having been published some years ago. Among them all, Ian Falloon’s latest book, “The Complete Book of Classic and Modern Triumph Motorcycles 1937-Today” is perhaps the most comprehensive.
With a total of 500 color and black and white images (including some great cut-away and exploded views of the engines) packed into the book’s 256 9.75” x 12” pages, it is lavish in its graphic content as well as in its technical detail.
Falloon covers the subject with an almost academic command of the material. That is no surprise given his extensive experience with motorcycles and motorcycle history in particular. Falloon has been directly involved in the motorcycle industry since 1976, has written 15 books on Ducati and about 15 more on BMW, Moto Guzzi, Laverda, Honda, and Kawasaki.
Though the title suggests the book picks up Triumph history in 1937, Falloon actually does begin at the very beginning in the Introduction with the founding of the Bettmann bicycle company in 1885 by Siegfried Bettmann, who changed the name of the company to Triumph in 1886.
Triumph’s first motorcycle was produced in 1902 with a Minerva engine from Belgium and by 1905, Triumph was producing its own engines.
Falloon moves the story along in the Introduction with the help of very early artwork and images of those spindly early machines and before you know it, the company’s contribution to the war effort in WWI and the post-war years is covered, leading up to chapter one where the history from 1937 to 1949 is covered in detail.
In the book’s ten chapters, he covers the major models in discrete periods of time around the introduction of each. From Edward Turner’s landmark 500cc parallel twins that first appeared in the Speed Twin in July of 1937 and in the T100 Tiger two years later to the 3T 350cc twin that debuted in 1947 through the heady days of the 650cc Bonneville and Daytona of the late fifties and on into the sixties all the way to the 750cc Trident of the seventies and the latest in the new Triumph line of 2015, Falloon covers them all.
The high and low points of Triumph history are covered including the turmoil the company went through in the early seventies and ultimate financial collapse and cessation of manufacturing at Meriden in August 1983.
The highs included the world land speed records set at Bonneville by streamliners with Triumph engines ridden by Johnny Allen in 1956 (214.40 mph—read about the 2015 Triumph Bonneville T214 that commemorates Allen’s record here, and that record lasted until 1962 when it was broken by Bill Johnson, riding the nitro methane powered Dudek Triumph streamliner to a speed record of 224.57 mph. A Triumph-powered streamliner upped the ante yet again in 1966 when Bob Leppan piloted the Gyronaut X-1 to a new record of 245.667 mph.
Falloon includes the latest Triumph land speed record attempts with Jason DiSalvo’s modified fuel class world record on a Rocket III of 174.276 mph in 2012 and the preparations for a run at the absolute motorcycle land speed record with the Castrol Rocket. For more about the Castrol Rocket, read our coverage here: Castrol Rocket and Triumph World Speed Record Attempt.
Triumph’s racing history on and off-road is recalled as well as its long association as a favorite ride of celebrities such as Steve McQueen, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
If you’ve been looking to add Triumph to your motorcycle library, but you don’t have the shelf space for all the books out there on the brand, The Complete Book of Classic and Modern Triumph Motorcycles 1937-Today may be one of the best ways to get the broadest history and model information in one book.
- Title: The Complete Book of Classic and Modern Triumph Motorcycles 1937-Today
- Author: Ian Falloon
- Published: 2015 hardcover, 256 pages, 300 color and 200 black & white images.
- Publisher: Motorbooks, Quarto Publishing Group, 400 First Ave. North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401
- ISBN: 9780760345450
- MSRP: U.S. $50.00 U.K. £35.00 $55.00 CAN