History was made with this motorcycle. Leading Triumph collector Dick Shepherd discovered and restored the 1901 prototype that rewrites the British brand’s history. A whole new chapter to the brand’s storied history was added.
Triumph made its first official sales in 1902, but there was a long-standing rumor of a model that existed and was referenced in old ads and reviews in 1901. A standard Triumph bicycle was used in the making of this motorcycle, with its engine sourced from yet another historic brand, Minerva. Legend has it that the motorcycle was made to gauge public interest for a Triumph motorcycle—fast forward 120 years later and the rest, as they say, is history.
Shepherd states that “[he] was incredibly excited to discover the bike had featured unique details that were not present on the first production Triumphs. Along with the bike, the collector had also received a letter from Triumph, dated in 1937, that outlined the bike’s unique origins and provided key details.”
Details such as the engine number and code which points to Triumph’s partnership with Minerva, Shepherd states: “With an engine number that is consistent with references in Minerva’s engine records of a 1901 first Triumph engagement, the historic significance of this motorcycle became incredibly clear.”
“As a lifelong passionate fan of the history and achievements of this incredible British brand, to have discovered this amazing survivor and restored it to the glorious condition it would have been in when it first went on display in 1901 has given me an immense amount of satisfaction.”
If you haven’t already guessed, Triumph is holding a historic event this year on December 14th, 2021. Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience will mark the first time that the motorcycle has been fired up and ridden in over a hundred years. It will then be displayed along with the millionth Hinckley-built Triumph in a new specially-created 120-year anniversary exhibit to be held within Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience which is absolutely free to experience and is located at the brand’s headquarters in Hinckley, England, and is open daily from Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
HISTORIC DISCOVERY OF 1901 PROTOTYPE TRIUMPH
Following the recent announcement of plans to celebrate next year’s 120th anniversary
of the most iconic British motorcycle brand, and the production of the millionth Hinckley Triumph produced, Triumph announces the landmark discovery of the very first
Triumph prototype ever built.
The 1901 Prototype
An amazing historic find, discovered and restored by leading vintage Triumph collector Dick Shepherd, the 1901 Prototype rewrites the history books, adding a whole new chapter prior to Triumph’s official sales starting in 1902. Long rumored to exist and referenced within advertising and reviews that appeared in 1901, this first Triumph prototype was developed from a standard Triumph bicycle, with an engine provided by Belgian manufacturer Minerva, in order to generate interest and gauge the public’s demand for a Triumph motorcycle.
Dick Shepherd said “Having been approached by a friend of a collector, who had sadly recently passed away, to evaluate an old Triumph, I was incredibly excited to discover that the bike they had featured unique details that were not present on the first production Triumphs. Along with the bike, the collector had also received a letter from Triumph, dated in 1937, that outlined the bike’s unique origins and provided key details.”
“With an engine number that is consistent with references in Minerva’s engine records of a 1901 first Triumph engagement, the historic significance of this motorcycle became incredibly clear.”
“As a lifelong passionate fan of the history and achievements of this incredible British brand, to have discovered this amazing survivor and restored it to the glorious condition it would have been in when it first went on display in 1901, has given me an immense amount of satisfaction.”
First unveiled at the UK’s Motorcycle Live show, the 1901 prototype will feature in a dedicated event at Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience on December 14th, where the machine will be ridden in public for the very first time in over 100 years.
This incredible, historic motorcycle will then be on display, alongside the millionth Hinckley Triumph, in a new, specially created 120-year anniversary exhibit, hosted within Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience.
The Triumph Factory Visitor Experience is free to visit and is located at Triumph’s HQ in Hinckley, England and is open daily Wednesday through Sunday, from 10am - 4.30pm.
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For further information contact:
Gina D’Ambrosio, Public Relations Manager, Triumph Motorcycles, Americas
Notes to Editors
First established in 1902, Triumph Motorcycles celebrated 119 years of motorcycle manufacture in 2021. For more than three decades, Triumph Motorcycles has been based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and has produced iconic bikes that perfectly blend authentic design, character, charisma and performance.
With more than 75,000 motorcycles delivered in financial year 2021, and close to 700 dealers across the world, Triumph is the largest British motorcycle manufacturer.
This focus, innovation and engineering passion has today created a broad range of bikes suited to all motorcycle riders, including the stunning new Speed Triple 1200 RS, Tiger Sport 660 and Trident 660, epic Tiger 900, world leading Rocket 3 R and GT, high performance Street Triple 765 RS, iconic Scrambler 1200, transcontinental Tiger 1200, and the legendary Triumph Bonneville family updated for 2021, including the Bonneville Bobber, Thruxton RS, Street Twin, Street Scrambler, and the iconic Bonneville T120 and T100, plus an exciting and accessible A2 range of Triumph motorcycles.
Triumph currently employs around 2000 personnel worldwide and has subsidiary operations in the UK, North America, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, Sweden (Scandinavia), Benelux, Brazil, India, China and Thailand as well as a network of independent distributors. Triumph has manufacturing facilities in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and Thailand plus CKD facilities in Brazil and India.
The Triumph Bonneville, famously named to celebrate Triumph’s 1956 land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, was the original British superbike and a race-winner straight out of the crate, chosen by famous motorcyclists of the past for its legendary handling, style, and character. Updated for 2021 with even more performance, capability and style, it’s that handling, character and iconic looks, married to modern rider-focused technology that makes the new Bonneville family THE authentic modern classic choice today.
Triumph has a glorious racing history, competing in and winning races in almost every class and field of motorcycle sporting achievement. From winning the second ever Isle of Man TT in 1908, through to 1960s road and track domination in Europe and America, right up to contemporary racing achievements with the 675cc Triumph triple powered 2014 Daytona 200 win, the 2014 Isle of Man Supersports TT win, the 2014 and 2015 British Supersports titles and World SuperSport racing, and in 2019, with another victory at the Isle of Man Supersports TT, by Peter Hickman.
Triumph’s racing legend continues as the exclusive engine supplier to the FIM Moto2™ World Championship since the start of the 2019 season. Triumph Motorcycles provides all of the teams with race-tuned 765cc triples, each of which is based on the class-leading Street Triple RS powerplant. Redefining the class and breaking record after record in the inaugural year, including the first ever +300km/h Moto2™ top speed, the 2020 season got even faster with another 11 all-time lap records and seven different winners from 15 races.
Triumph’s racing activities are further bolstered by a return to the British Superbike paddock in 2021 with a factory-supported race team, Dynavolt Triumph, in the British Supersport Championship.
In 2021 Triumph have announced their forthcoming entry into the Motocross and Enduro worlds as well as a new factory racing effort, with a commitment to top tier championship racing in both Motocross and Enduro series.