No it’s not April Fools, we have actually known about this development being in the wings for some time. Last year Triumph started to do some promotional tie-ups with Ricky Carmichael, often referred to in motocross circles as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), thus it didn’t take a rocket scientist to put two and two together and come up with the idea that Triumph was gearing up to enter the dirtbike market in some shape or form.
Triumph have a long history in both Trials and Scrambles but that was a very long time ago. Today though Triumph have officially and publicly announced that development is well under way on a comprehensive range of all-new competition focussed Triumph Motocross and Enduro motorcycles.
Nick Bloor, CEO Triumph Motorcycles Ltd
“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 per cent 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.”
Of course this is no new start-up brand entering the dirtbike arena as Triumph are now a huge company with major resources at their disposal. Triumph already have well established supply chain links with the likes of Bosch, Continental, Showa and Ohlins that all supply components for models in the current Triumph range.
Of course it will be the might of KTM AG with their KTM, Husqvarna and GASGAS brands that Triumph will be eager to try and compete with. Triumph already work closely with KTM via their WP Suspension subsidiary whose electronic suspension system they use on the Tiger 1200, there have also been other tie-ups where KTM brands have supplied components to Triumph.
The well-established global dealer network, parts supply chains and infrastructure mean that Triumph have the resources to really make an impact in the dirtbike arena.
Paul Chiodo, Managing Director Triumph Motorcycles Australia
“Triumph has a rich heritage in off-road motorcycling that harks right back to its roots. The confirmation that this beloved British brand is entering the off-road market is hugely exciting for Triumph enthusiasts across Australia and, through our network of passionate dealers, we look forward to welcoming them. This is going to be huge.”
Racing is a big part of the program
Triumph have also committed to proving their product on the racetracks and mountains of the world with an all-new Triumph factory race program focussed on top-tier championship racing in both Motocross and Enduro series. That’s the official word but one would certainly not discount a rally entry coming down the line.
Five-times Enduro World Champion Iván Cervantes has joined the Triumph family alongside Ricky Carmichael and both have agreed to be active partners in both bike testing and preparation for racing.
“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.”
“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.”
Triumph also announced earlier this year that they had hired Jeremy Appleton away from Alpinestars and appointed him as Global Racing Manager.
The formula for dirtbike success
Of course the formula for success has now long been established across both the motocross and enduro scenes. Single-cylinder engines displacing 250 or 450 cc with punch but with the smoothest possible power deliveries, housed in motorcycles made as light as practical and suspended by suspension packages that are supple while retaining damping control and bottoming resistance under huge loads is pretty much the agreed formula. Any sort of remotely sophisticated traction control systems are banned from competition. There are dirtbikes on the market with traction control but those systems are quite basic and rudimentary that just reduce engine power when the ECU recognises that RPM is increasing too fast in that particular gear for traction to have been maintained.
If Triumph are going racing then the launch line-up simply have to be 250 and 450 cc with motorcycles that closely followed the established norms in the sector. This is a given.
Triumph’s chances of success?
With all that in mind it is hard to imagine how Triumph will be able to come into the market with any significant point of difference from the brands that currently dominate the space. Modern Triumph though have proved time and again that they are certainly no dummies and pump out some great motorcycles with an enviable reliability record. Whatever they have in store for us, and while the base models have to be 250 and 450 cc singles, I really do hope they have been able to pin down some significant point of differences that might liven up the sector and make them stand out from the crowd.
With KTM currently selling both four and two-stroke enduro bikes for more than 15-grand, and selling them in record numbers, there is certainly the space for another manufacturer to have a red hot go at capturing part of that market, which in-turn, should hopefully also help prevent prices climbing even further in the future due to more competition in the sector.
All Triumph models, while still developed and tested in the UK, are now built in Thailand which might help Triumph undercut most of the established brands on pricing.
Electric has to form part of the picture eventually
At the end of the current decade the EU6 emissions restrictions that will come into force around much of the world will pretty much sound the death knell of internal combustion engined vehicles.
Cars and motorcycles that are already on the road will not be immediately impacted and will continue to be able to be driven and ridden for some time in the future. Those restrictions will probably vary widely across the globe but some countries have already mandated that no new petrol powered vehicles will be allowed to be sold on their soil from 2035 or even before. Thus any undertakings to design and produce new conventional engines will cease long before that date.
Research and developments budgets that would normally be used for engine innovation are already being curtailed and those funds directed towards research in battery powered technology and electric vehicles. The massive investments required to produce all new petrol powered drivetrains are rapidly disappearing thus we believe that Triumph will have electric technology in their off-road development schedule right from the off when it comes to their arrival in the dirtbike arena.
One would have to imagine that we are at least 12 months away from seeing dirtbikes with Triumph badges appear on dealer floors. If we look back at how the Triumph press announcements regarding new models that is the par for this course, so if that history rings true we can expect to be seeing Triumph motocross and enduro bikes in dealers floor by mid to late 2022.
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