Triumph Speed Twin

Triumph Speed Twin

 

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Triumph the legend

 

 

Introduction

Triumph Speed Twin

 

The Triumph Speed ​​Twin was a mythical motorcycle, in an era dominated by motorcycles with large single-cylinder engines, it was one of the first to assemble a two-cylinder engine, a vehicle with which a new era began within the British motorcycle market.

The Speed ​​Twin redefined the codes of manufacture and design, its launch in July 1937 was a starting point for the technological and commercial development of the two-wheel industry. A motorcycle with an admirable performance and a strong commercial success.

Creation of one of the men who was born to revolutionize the British motorcycle industry, and a brand that until now is a symbol for motorcycle lovers.

 

 

Edward Turner

Triumph Speed Twin

 

Edward Turner arrived at Triumph as Managing Director and Chief Designer, but soon he would take control of all the Departments, from Sales to Engineering and Design. He was considered a very bold and confident manager.

Marlon Brando con su Thunderbird | Triumph, la leyenda

Edward Turner | Triumph Speed Twin

He was a brilliant young man with great talent for engineering. When he was 17 years old, he joined the Merchant Navy. After returning from the adventure in the sea, he bought a small bicycle shop and, taking advantage of the motorcycle boom, decided to create his own, designs its own 350 cc single-cylinder engine.

In 1928 he moved to Mindlands, the heart of the motorcycle industry, with his project completed for someone to produce and sell it, although he could not achieve it, the Ariel brand named him as Chief Development Engineer and put him to work with one of the greats of the industry, Val Page. When Page moves to Triumph, Turner inherits the position of chief designer.

With Ariel facing bankruptcy, with no budget for new designs, Turner applies his magic by renewing the designs of Val Page, transforming boring motorcycles into real objects of desire for motorcycle enthusiasts.

In addition to being a brilliant engineer, he was considered talented for his business vision, had direct communication with the commercial network and was fully involved in the design of the Sales and Advertising strategy. He was also considered an excellent testator of motorcycles. But above all things, he was an excellent manager of production costs and his business vision distinguished him from the rest of the engineers, this talent he would use to take Triumph to another level.

With Ariel facing bankruptcy, with no budget for new designs, Turner applies his magic by renewing the designs of Val Page, transforming boring motorcycles into real objects of desire for motorcycle enthusiasts.

 

 

A successful plan

Triumph Speed Twin

 

Turner’s initial plan was to evaluate the available resources and reduce the multiplicity of components. The rationalization of manufacturing involved the rationalization of the existing range of Triumph motorcycles designed by Val Page. Turner selected a model of each displacement, 250, 350 and 500 cc, and with a facelift in the designs and a change of name to others more sports, created a more modern product offer.

Triumph Speed Twin

Triumph Tiger 90 1937 | Triumph Speed Twin

The technical improvements were minimal, the new Turner Tiger were an immediate success. He was the only one who considered design and style as a powerful sales tool. In addition, he had the ability to anticipate what people demanded on a motorcycle.

Without supporting the redesign costs, to the existing 5/5, 3/2 and L2 / 1 installed chromed tanks and rubber knee supports, changed the brake levers and inverted clutches, added many details in chrome and tubes mid-height escape, this made the bikes seem lighter and sportier, but the key was to change the name, the Tiger 70, 80 and 90 were born. A commercial success.

The technical improvements were minimal, the new Turner Tiger were an immediate success. He was the only one who considered design and style as a powerful sales tool. In addition, he had the ability to anticipate what people demanded on a motorcycle.

 

 

The Speed Twin

Triumph Speed Twin

 

Turner’s intention was always to create a two-cylinder, an idea he had tried to develop in his previous stage in Ariel. Val Page, at the same time, was developing it in Triumph, a 650cc vertical bicylindrical, 6/1, which Turner inherited when he took control of Triumph in 1936. Although he saw it solid from the engineering point of view, he did not consider it Not at all attractive, for this reason, he starts the construction of a new twin-cylinder that will be launched in 1937.

One of the reasons why the appearance of the Speed ​​Twin was so fast is that Turner was not especially an innovator, he was extremely good at joining and adapting already existing components and design features already tested. He knew about the aesthetic conservatism of the biker customer of the time and understood that the new two-cylinder should look like the existing single-cylinder engine.

This facility to reuse existing developments and this vision of functional design made the engine of the new Speed ​​Twin was narrower than the 500 cc single-cylinder of the Tiger 90, this would allow to share the chassis to both vehicles with the consequent cost savings of production.

The new Speed ​​Twin was a bit more expensive than the Tiger 90, only 5 pounds, weighing, in addition, practically the same. And although the appearance was very similar to a single cylinder, the new engine was much softer, it started better and provided better acceleration. Another feature was the quietness of its operation and its escapes compared to the roughness of the single-cylinder. As expected, a lot of chrome was used for the finishes of the new bike.

Triumph Speed Twin

Trimph Speed Twin 1938 | Triumph Speed Twin

The Speed ​​Twin was first introduced to the press at the end of July 1937, initially at The Motor Cycle, and then with an official presentation at the Earls Court Motorcycle Show in August. As Turner had anticipated, the public liked the new bike and the Speed ​​Twin was an instant success.

The first road tests were made in October 1937, the Motor Cycle test showed an impressive top speed of 150 km / h. After the tests, the analyzes were really good and the comments impressive “The smoothness of the engine is really amazing in all the gears and after a particularly hard driving the engine has finished as clean as the start”.

It was not long before the new Speed ​​Twin attracted the eyes of the recordsman, Mar Winslow developed an enhanced Speed ​​Twin, and in October 1938, Ivan Wicksteed set a new speed record in Brooklands of 190 km / h.

In March of 1938, Les Fredericks set a new record of 12 hours at the Coorong Circuit in South Australia.

One of the reasons why the appearance of the Speed ​​Twin was so fast is that Turner was not especially an innovator, he was extremely good at joining and adapting already existing components and design features already tested. He knew about the aesthetic conservatism of the biker customer of the time and understood that the new two-cylinder should look like the existing single-cylinder engine.

Another important event occurred in early 1938 when the London Metropolitan Police Force decided to expand its motorcycle force. They selected the Speed ​​Twin on other models from seven manufacturers and although initially only 20 were purchased, this eventually led Triumph to produce specific police models, both for the United Kingdom and abroad.

It is possible that the police models were not the most profitable, but they kept the profile of Triumph high and the number of kilometers made were legendary. In 1946, the average number of kilometers of many of the 42 Speed ​​Twin of the Metropolitan Police was 150,000 km.

 

 

 

Source: “Triumph motorcycles 1937-today ” of Ian Falloon

Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2019 | Triumph Speed Twin