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      20.03.2003 23:02
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      The Triumph brand just had its 100th anniversary and it's now almost ten years since the reborn Triumph launched its first new models on the German market. It is well known that industry captain Mr. John Bloor is the man behind the new Triumphs and has been since he bought the Triumph name when the old firm went bankrupt. Owning both a real old pre-Bloor Triumph and since a while a less older Hinckley Triumph myself I must confess I struggle to this day with the reborn marque. The same seems to go for the majority of the UK market where the new Triumph brand is but a small player amongst all others and especially compared to the big Japanese four. Unlike in the old days, where reviews were written through rosetinted goggles, the reborn brand also doesn't seem to raise much chauvinist reflexes in the home motorcycle press, where each new model is now mercilessly portrayed against the fierce foreign opposition. On the other hand the old (Meriden/Coventry) Triumph models continue until this day to benefit from a positive attitude full of affection and nostalgia, a bit like a parent would have towards a prodigal son. In spite of all differences, and in this case the undeniable weaknesses found in the old models, love prevails. This is no longer the case of course for the new Triumphs where, and justly so, they are measured up to all other new motorcycles. So in the beginning of the nineteen nineties Mr. Bloor came up with this modular range of sparkling new models all based around the same three or four cylinder engine and frame. No sign of a vertical twin anywhere in sight yet and even the new Triumph logo marked the rupture through its subtle different more angular styling of the letters. The rupture was also clear in the products themselves, so no more oilstained and troublesome and rather lightweight twins but bulky powerful but heavy three and four cylinders with modern electrics and styling very much inspired on what the big Jap
      anese four had on offer in the late nineteen eighties, an impression amplified by the use of much Japanese parts on the motorcycles (brakes, switchgear, carburettors, etc.) In fact even now, ten years on, the only thing that for me, not taking into account the reborn Bonneville line (see further), really makes Triumph stand out from the crowd is its three cylinder engine which in a way is a direct descendant from the Trident of the previous era. Triumph is the only major manufacturer offering this type of engine layout which really combines the strongpoints of big capacity two (low down torque) and four cylinder (engine speed, peak performance) engines. And then, just a few years ago, the Bonneville rose from its ashes, finally retying the knots with the huge Triumph heritage which had been (intentionally ?) avoided so far by the new Triumph factory. Be it with some minor modifications which not always please the purists but the new two cylinder models, standard Bonneville, T100, America and Speedmaster do seem to find acceptance in today's motorcycleworld where marketniches have become very important dividing all models into the supersports, sportstouring, touring, cruising, and adventure categories. It also seems that the new Bonneville seems to finally convince people that stayed more oriented towards the old Triumphs. No one can ignore the brilliant achievement made by Mr Bloor where from scratch in less than a decade he confronted the world with a reborn brand, offering reliable and very performing machines and being able without too much disruption to survive a major fire in one of its production plants only last year. It is unlikely that Triumph will ever regain its dominant position of yesteryear but it looks like the marque is back to stay, nestling itself comfortably amongst the other smaller European manufacturers that have survived the troublesome seventies and eightties and all have their own loyal brand followers.

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