View Full Version : Historical continuity

04-27-2006, 08:23 PM
My question is this--is the current Triumph the actual Triumph, or a clever copy with a purchased name, like the now-dead-again Indian and Norton? I find this question interesting for this reason.

Harley Davidson here in the USA sells itself largely on its history. There is little debate as to if this is still the same company. They've been owned by others, but few would debate that this is the same Harley Davidson.

Triumph had similar ownership changes over its long history, but had one crucial difference--the company went totally out of business, if only for a short while. John Bloor bought the name and all the remaining assets, and only wound up keeping a couple of the former employees (2 or 3 I think), and the name. All the new bikes are completely new. Now Triumph also to a certain extent sells their history. I think they've managed to also be modern as well (unlike Harley), but that historical link is critical to their identity.

So is that a valid claim? Is this a resurrection of a dead marque, or the rehabilitation of one that was once seriously ill?

tony barnhill
04-27-2006, 08:31 PM
Good question...here's a site that ties the Triumph history from beginning to present


04-28-2006, 12:21 AM
Triumph to me is like Lotus - Then & Now.
The new bikes are more Japanese - like (don't have the personality of the earlier bikes).
I prefer the older ones,but the new ones might be better as a "daily driver".

- Doug

Paul Johnson
04-28-2006, 06:30 AM
Tony offers Chadwick's site as evidence of continuity, and I agree with that. Bloor bought the whole lot in '83 before they went totally under, and several years later began production. The current version Bonneville is without doubt a Triumph that can trace its roots all the way back.

tony barnhill
04-28-2006, 09:38 AM
I dunno...this doesn't look very "Jap" to me:


04-28-2006, 02:17 PM
This question came up in part because of a feeling I had with my last bike. It was a Kawasaki W650, a really neat little parallel twin, arguably even a better copy of a late 60s Bonneville than the new Triumph. Even had a kick starter. Nice bike, but I sold it after about a year. I liked it, but it mostly just kept reminding me of the Triumph I didn't buy. I guess, for me, I couldn't separate the specific bike from the image it was trying to portray. Nice as it was, it was still just a copy of someone else's bike. Funny how that works.

To add my opinion on my own question, Triumph does seem to me to be still the same company, just making modern products. Their current line, I think, captures much of their historical flavor while being fully modern in execution. I'm not normally one for the current crop of race bike replicas, but I've seen the new Daytona 675 in person and it is quite beautiful.

And even though I just bought a Bugeye that needs the normal amount of LBC funding, I'm getting more serious about adding one of those new Bonnevilles to the garage. I can't afford to buy one, but I'm beginning to think I can't afford not to buy one.