Triumph Motorcycles, made legend by the likes of Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando, has a rich history dating back to 1902.
Best known for its classic Bonneville, Scrambler and Thruxton bikes of the 1950s and 60s, Triumph has been able to hold on to its rich heritage while incorporating cutting-edge tech and modern-day environmental compliance.
“We’re able to capitalize on the fact that we have that heritage, but we update those bikes to be more modern and exciting,” says Ian Kistruck, design team leader at Triumph Motorcycles.
“One of the things we have to do is meet the regulations for countries around the world so that forces us to make the bikes more modern, usable, and fuel-efficient without losing the retro feel that our customers love,” Kistruck says.
Triumph customers—who include baby boomers who rode the original Meriden Bonnevilles—are wide ranging, but they’re all looking for a particular kind of biking experience and aesthetic.
By filling this niche market with iconic and carefully crafted bikes Triumph often manages to outperform its larger competitors.
“The passion for styling is what makes us stand out compared to some of our competitors,” Kistruck says. Our bikes are “not commodities, they’re not utilitarian; they’re products that people can look at and be proud of.”
Selling an entire experience to customers is what Triumph excels at, whether it’s biking adventures tours to the Himalayas and Bangkok or jackets fashioned after the one worn by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Yet it’s the bikes themselves that are at the heart of Triumph’s success.
Triumph’s iconic Bonneville collection ranges from the pure 1960s wire-wheeled T100 to the late 70s Bonneville SE, but all of the bikes use modern-day design and manufacturing methods and are powered by reliable 865cc fuel-injected parallel-twin unit.
“The nice thing about one of our Bonnevilles is that we have fuel injection on those bikes but the styling of the engine makes it look like it’s still got a carburetor on there,” Kistruck says.
Triumph also produces a range of other bikes including the Speed Triple, Rocket III and Daytona 675.
Photo courtesy of Triumph Motorcycles