Most U.S. gearheads know the title Triumph due to Hollywood within the Nineteen Fifties and 60s.
That’s as a result of Triumph bikes had been widespread on-screen rides in lots of well-known movies—Marlon Brando rode a Triumph Thunderbird in “The Wild Ones” and Steve McQueen scrambled by the German countryside in “The Nice Escape” on a Triumph Trophy.
However Triumph had been cranking out bikes lengthy earlier than they obtained immortalized on the silver display.
Actually, 2022 marks Triumph’s one hundred and twentieth anniversary. And to have fun, it’s showcasing the very first motorcycle it ever constructed.
Formally dubbed a prototype, this explicit bike pre-dates any manufacturing mannequin and was constructed to gauge public curiosity in a motor-powered bicycle—which makes excellent sense, as Triumph truly began off as a bicycle firm within the Eighteen Eighties.
The pivot in direction of engine energy started in 1901 with the prototype you see right here. In some ways, this bike is a little bit of a “lacking hyperlink” between Triumph’s bicycles and the precise motorbikes that started leaving the Triumph Manufacturing facility in Coventry, England in 1902—it’s little greater than a Triumph bicycle fitted with a gasoline-powered engine sourced from the Belgian firm Minerva.
However the precise manufacturing motorcycle mannequin, merely dubbed “No. 1,” wasn’t a lot fancier. It too used the identical recipe of a Triumph bicycle outfitted with a motor sourced from Minerva, and it nonetheless featured foot-powered pedals to complement the engine’s modest two horsepower.
It wasn’t till 1905 that Triumph moved manufacturing utterly in-house, and commenced assembling its personal bike engines. A decade later in 1915, the Mannequin H was launched that may eliminate the vestigial foot pedals and grow to be Triumph’s first “true” bike.
In a curious twist, this prototype went lacking for a number of many years, solely to resurface lately within the arms of a personal collector. It was found together with some historic Triumph documentation to corroborate its provenance and the stamping marks on the bike’s Minerva engine additionally verify that this prototype pre-dates all different Triumph motorbikes.
The prototype underwent an in depth restoration and was retuned to working, using situation late in 2021. It’s presently on show at Triumph’s HQ in Hinckley, England.