Triumph History & Timeline

Below you can view two PDFs provided courtesy of Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd.



2009 The Triumph Bonneville celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a special, limited edition model that commemorates the original.

2007 Triumph is recognized as the world’s fastest growing motorcycle manufacturer. More than 41,000 units are produced.

2002 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.

1996 The Speed Triple and Daytona models receive electronic fuel injection.

1996 The Rider Association of Triumph, also known as R.A.T., is launched.

1995 Production reaches 12,000 units per year. Triumph unveils its own clothing range.

1994 Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. is established as Triumph’s North American operations.

1993 The Speed Triple, one of the world’s first production “streetfighter” style motorcycles, is launched at the Paris Motorcycle Show.

1993 The Daytona’s three-cylinder engine size grows from 750cc to 900cc. A 1200cc four-cylinder engine also is offered.

1991 The first three-cylinder motorcycles, the 750cc Daytona and 900cc Trophy, are produced.

1990 The first of the newly designed Triumph motorcycles with modern design and engineering are launched at the Cologne Motorcycle Show.

1984 Design, research and development begins on a new, modern line of Triumph motorcycles.

1983 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.

1973 A new 750cc Bonneville T140V and TR7RV Tiger models are introduced.

1973 A labour dispute grinds production nearly to a halt until 1975 when a workers co-operative is established and production rises to 350 units per week.

1972 The British government sponsors a merger between the BSA Group and another storied British motorcycle manufacturer, Norton Villiers. Norton-Villiers-Triumph was formed.

1969 Triumph introduces the Trident 750cc Triple.

1969 Production peaks at around 46,800 units per year.

1965 Triumph and BSA merge.

1960 A Bonneville-powered twin-engine streamliner motorcycle ridden by Bob Leppan sets a new world land speed record of 245.6mph.

1960 The Bonneville T120 is introduced. With its 650cc engine, the model becomes the first motorcycle to lap the Isle of Man at 100mph.

1959 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.

1956 Triumph’s 650cc Bonneville sets a world land speed record of 214.5 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

1953 Marlon Brando wows movie goers riding a 6T Thunderbird in “The Wild One.”

1951 Jack Sangster sells Triumph to BSA.

1951 TriCor opens in Baltimore, Maryland, to distribute Triumphs on the United States’ east coast.

1949 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.

1951 More Triumphs are sold in the U.S. than in any other country, including Great Britain.

1946 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.”

1940-1945 Triumph supplies the British military with motorcycles throughout WWII.

1940 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.

1940 Triumph’s 3TW Military model is the first motorcycle to use an alternator.

1937 Johnson Motors in Pasadena, California, becomes a United States distributor of Triumph Motorcycles.

1937 Triumph’s 500cc Speed Twin is introduced, establishing new industry standards for performance and design for years to come.

1935 Triumph Motorcycle Works is sold to Jack Sangster and renamed Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd., separating the motorcycle and automobile businesses.

1923 The production of automobiles is added to Triumph’s portfolio of businesses.

1922 Triumph introduces the “Riccy” engine that features a four-valve hemispherical head, steel cylinder and aluminium piston.

1914-1918 Triumph produces 30,000 Type-H models for the Allied Forces in WWI.

1909 Production reaches 3,000 motorcycles.

1908 Jack Marshall sets the fastest lap and won the Isle of Man motorcycle race on a Triumph.

1905 The first engines that are designed and built by Triumph are installed in Triumph motorcycles. The 363cc engines produce 3hp at 1500rpm.

1902 The first motorized Triumph cycle is produced. It uses a 2.25hp Minerva engine in a Triumph bicycle frame.

1887 Triumph Cycle Co. is founded in Coventry, England as a manufacturer of bicycles.

Triumph Motorcycles ( is a British motorcycle marque located in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, The company is solely owned by Bloor Holdings Ltd.

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