Already racking up a milestone in its history this year is Triumph, celebrating its 110th birthday as the oldest existing motorcycle brand in more or less continuous existence.
Triumph produced its first motorized bicycle — powered by a Belgian Minerva engine — in 1902. One year later, by which time Husqvarna and Harley-Davidson had established, Triumph had already produced and sold more than 500 motorcycles under the ownership of German immigrant Siegfried Bettmann. In addition to producing bicycles and motorcycles at Triumph’s Coventry factory, Bettmann established a second factory in his hometown of Nuremberg, Germany, to do the same.
Triumph prospered, initially using other companies’ engines to power its products. In 1905, Triumph produced its first motorcycle built 100 percent in-house. The rest is history, as Triumph went on to become Britain’s largest and most successful manufacturer in the 1960s, and of course once again after John Bloor acquired the Triumph name and manufacturing rights in 1983, following Triumph’s closing.
Following on from the runaway success of the limited-edition Steve McQueen SE Bonneville launched in November, all 1,100 of which were immediately snapped up by eager customers around the world, Triumph will recognize its 110th birthday with a Special Anniversary Edition of the Bonneville, due to be available in May. Triumph will celebrate this landmark at the 2012 Triumph Live festival, August 31 to September 2, to be held at Mallory Park race circuit, just seven miles from Triumph’s Hinckley, England, headquarters.
Following the success of the first such occasion, a one-day event held in 2010 that attracted around 10,000 bike fans, music lovers and families to an on- and off-track celebration of all things Triumph (ending with a rock concert headlined by Mumford & Sons and The Stranglers), Triumph has decided to make the Triumph Live 2012 version much longer and bigger to celebrate its 110th birthday. “We were bowled over by the reaction to the 2010 event, and are determined to make 2012 even better,” says Triumph Motorcycles general manager Guy Masters. “Extending the event to three days allows us to include much more for customers to see and do, while the proximity of Mallory Park to the factory gives visitors an unrivaled opportunity to see our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities for themselves.”
Visitors are expected from all over Europe, and will be able to view the latest range of Triumph motorcycles, together with a selection of some of the company’s best customized bikes and key bikes from its history, as well as ride Triumphs on the Mallory Park track. Log on to the Triumph Live 2012 website for more details.