The rumours have been swirling for a while, but now it’s officialby Harry Fisher, on LISTEN 06:14
Triumph has a long history of off-road competition success but that was a very long time ago. Since the company was resurrected by John Bloor 30 years ago, it has succeeded in every category of road and adventure bike it has entered. The only avenue left open to Triumph was true off-road Motocross and Enduro bikes and, while rumours have been swirling for a while, today it became official; Triumph will build proper off-road bikes. There are few details but Triumph has said that the bikes will be new from the ground up, which could be taken to mean there will be no outsourced engineering other than suspension, brakes and electronics.
Triumph’s Brave New Off-Road World
In one of the most unexpected developments in the motorcycling world for a long time, Triumph today announced that the British company was developing a range of Motocross and Enduro bikes that should be ready for sale in 2022.
It’s not a complete surprise, however; rumours have been circulating for a while and the recent appointment by Triumph of off-road legends Ricky Carmichael and Iván Cervantes was a pretty big clue. The pair will help develop the machines and give Triumph guidance as it enters into a completely new class of motorcycle sport.
Details of the new bikes were virtually non-existent, but Triumph did say that “development is well underway on a comprehensive range of all-new motocross and enduro motorcycles.” Further details will be released in the coming months.
New From The Ground Up
What seems likely, given the use of the phrase, “all-new”, is that these will be new from the ground up. Will Triumph use technology from other manufacturers? It’s impossible to say but, given the company’s track record in developing all of its own models in-house, why should we expect it to be any different this time? Yes, Triumph has a partnership with Indian company Bajaj, as does KTM, but you can expect any agreements to be completely watertight in terms of taking tech from one and passing it to another.
On a business front, the move makes sense as sales of off-road bikes in the U.S. is booming. Given the fact that off-road bikes are less bound by legislation than road bikes, it would be a relatively cheap way for Triumph to boost its presence in North America.
Triumph CEO Nick Bloor had this to say;
“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Triumph brand, which everyone at Triumph is incredibly excited to be part of. We are 100% committed to making a long-lasting impact in this highly competitive and demanding world, with a single-minded ambition to deliver a winning motorcycle line-up for a whole new generation of Triumph riders.”
Perhaps it’s not as big a leap as first it seems. Triumph is a well-established company with huge resources, not to mention a good working relationship with major component suppliers, such as Bosch, Showa and Ohlins, all of whom work in the MX/Enduro field. KTM will always be the benchmark for any manufacturer coming onto the off-road class and that is who Triumph have to aim at but the company already works with some KTM-owned brands, not least of which is WP Suspension which has extensive experience of off-road suspension. Don’t rule out Triumph using WP too.
Also, Triumph has the distribution and dealer network infrastructure in place, which is often a major headache for a start-up brand.
Bring In The Experts
Of course, if you’re going to build such bikes, you are going to have to race them and Triumph has committed to competition in MX and Enduro, as evidenced by the presence of Carmichael and Cervantes.
In Carmichael and Cervantes, Triumph has two enormously experienced and successful team members for the project. Carmichael won fifteen motocross titles and five Supercross titles, with 150 career wins, while Cervantes won the Spanish national MX championship five times before moving to the world stage in Enduro, taking titles and competing in the Dakar Rally.
Ricky Carmichael - G.O.A.T.
Carmichael had this to say;
“I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining the Triumph family and even more excited to be a part of their new endeavour into the off-road product category. This is an incredible opportunity for me to join this historic brand, and I’m honoured and humbled to be a part of the development and release of Triumph’s off-road motorcycles. Building something from the ground up is something that really is intriguing to me at this stage of my career. What is impressive to me is Triumph’s dedication and passion to develop a top-of-the-class product. Everyone who I have been involved with in this project, from the engineers, design groups, R&D department, has shown extreme passion for what they’re doing, and that’s a recipe for success and something that I love being a part of.
“We all share that same passion, and that’s to be the best.
“If you’re familiar with the Triumph brand, you already know the quality of craftsmanship is top-shelf, and the off-road models will follow suit to their past! Not only are these exciting times for me, but it’s an exciting time for the off-road industry to be adding another brand to the mix and the opportunities that lie ahead for all off-road consumers. I can’t wait to see the reactions when these models hit the dealer’s showroom floors.”
Ivan Cervantes - Spanish Hero
“I’ve loved Triumph motorcycles since I was a small kid, seeing them in films and on television. So to be working with Triumph from the beginning of this project is an amazing opportunity for me – not just because it’s working with one of the world’s greatest motorcycle brands, but also for being part of building something from zero. It’s a dream come true for any racer! Like me, everyone I’m working with at Triumph is focussed to make the bikes the best they can be. I cannot wait to see the bikes competing at a world level, but I also look forward to when I can stand in a Triumph dealer and know I was part of this very special project.”
This is a fantastically exciting announcement by Triumph. Critics might say the the company has no chance of de-throning KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki or Kawasaki but history shows us that Triumph has succeeded in every class they have chosen to enter. Just because this is a completely new class has no bearing on the matter. Triumph will enter and they will win. It’s as simple as that!