After showing an interest in India as early as June 2011, Triumph Motorcycles UK last month announced its decision on venturing out in the lucrative Indian imported bike scene where some analysts have mentioned that by 2020, big bikes (half liter and over) are going to capture almost 10% of the market. With the sheer volume of 2 wheelers being sold in India and the increasing spending power, it is only natural that once great Indian dream is also seen as a big fish waiting to be explored by the hallowed marques.
Then what better way to announce its arrival than to make an impact through the biggest Auto Expo in the country! To start off, Triumph Motorcycles has its own website, the Triumph Motorcycles India website. Triumph Motorcycles has showcased the entire 2012 range during the 11th Auto Expo, held at Pragati Maiden, New Delhi from 7th to 11th January, 2012 and on display were all the models ranging from the friendly Street Triple to the monster Rocket III and almost everything in between. Almost because there were some missing models, but we will get to that later. The models displayed in Hall 8 were the Street Triple, its bigger brother Speed Triple, the Daytona, the Bonneville, the Rocket III, the Thunderbird and the Tiger.
Triumph Motorcycles, just like other British Automobile ‘Brands’ (read Aston martin, Mini Cooper), is not just an automobile company, rather it is a ‘Brand’, a life style and although it has never looked at voluminous sales, the Triumph market grew by 15% last year. The enviable factor of the world’s oldest motorcycling brand is that it has its products for any kind of bike lover, so whether you love a cruiser or a sports bike or a street bike, there is a Triumph for you.
Moving on to the bikes, in general, except for the cruisers and classics and that too not including the Rocket III, all Triumph bikes have the same in-line 3 cylinder layout while the classics and cruisers, rather retro cruisers have air cooled parallel twins. On the display at the expo, you are greeted by the stunning Street Triple, the 675cc in line triple and the younger brother of the naked rockstar and iconic Speed Triple. For the uninitiated, the way to remember the names of the 675cc and the 1050cc, that is which is the Street and which is the Speed, just remember the 675 is meant for the ‘Street’ while the 1050 is for… you guessed it… ‘Speed’.
Both brothers, although almost identical to look at with the twin naked headlights and all, are different with the Speed being more muscular, thanks to the small fairing below the tank and also the single swingarm on the Speed. You will never ever see a more ‘naked’ bike than these two siblings, full of attitude and the kind of ‘you-wanna-try-me-dude’ attitude. Of course the Speed Triple has also been featured and by now has become a cult Hollywood scene when Tom Cruise rode it in Mission Impossible II. That bike with bullet holes and all, seems to have fetched a large sum of money when it went under the hammer some years ago.
Okay, moving on, you meet the Daytona 675, considered by many critics as the best middle weight super sports bike if not the best super sports bike in the world. It has little to debate against it as it known for its stunningly agililty stunning agility and take a look at the specs, the bore x stroke reads at 74 x 52.3 mm. With that kind of a ratio, maximum power figures of 125ps at a howling 12600rpm and maximum torque figures of very impressive 72Nm @ 11700rpm to move the nimble 185 kg beast, any biker would fall heads over heels for it however it looks like.
But wait, I bet you would never see a better looking sports bike in the world if you just leave aside some Italian ones and it can easily meet stride to stride to them too! You cannot really point as to what looks so good on it, but as a total package, this guy is one stunner which will stand out even among naked metal bikes. It is that good looking!
Then there is the humongous Rocket III in the middle of the display stand, actually standing there all alone and believe me, it does need a separate stand of its own. It has so much road presence that it would put a Hummer to shame and that too without even trying. Not that you can anyway choose to ignore the sheer 2.5 meters of its longitude, the monstrous 2.2 liter engine is something difficult to take your eyes off.
The bike on display here has matt finish black and even on just standing there, you could see people’s jaw dropping on the floor just due to sheer size of it and you can very well imagine what would have happened if it spoke it its deep baritone through the 3×1 exhaust. And after all, you if want the biggest baddest production motorcycle on earth, this is where you come to.
You would then feast your eyes on 2 classics, the Thunderbird and the legendary Bonneville, yes the same Bonne which Steve McQueen rode into glory, the same Bonne which Marlon Brando rode into glory and so many numerous actors ‘had their moment’ riding a Bonne. Nothing comes close to a Bonne if you want to have an original classic motorcycle.
If you scrutinize the looks, it is made just the way a motorcycle is meant to be, with 2 parallel air cooled engines, two side panels hoisting the air filters, spoked wheels, 2 twin pods, a round lamp, a flat seat… just perfect! It is as plain as the Mohave Desert and the Bonne Salts, and just as mesmerizing as these hallowed grounds are. This bike has absolutely no frills and no ‘added’ design components, but if you have red blood running in your veins, I dare you not to fall in love with this bike.
On the other hand, the Thunderbird is your typical cruiser, rather typical power cruiser and I say that because at 1700cc, if you do not use the word ‘power’, I don’t know when you will. The TB here was the ‘Storm’ version in matt black finish, looking as intimidating as a big liquid cooled parallel engine monster with stretched out features, bulbous tank and 2 round headlamps can be. It is just a shadow smaller to the Rocket III at 2.3 meters long but pound for pound, it can stand with the Rocket III. This is a very big bike with is extremely handsome and at over 330kg, this bike can intimidate any newbie and so is meant for weekend gateways with your friends…not now, but when you complete 40 circles or close around the sun. Don’t get fooled by its size, with almost 100 horses beneath the engine and with more than 150 Nm of torque, it can go around circles around many lighter sports bikes.
Ending the lineup was the Tiger 800, probably the lesser known bike from the Triumph stable, but undoubtedly the bike that you can get the most fun on. It weighs just 200kg for a bike that tall and big and has almost a 100 horses aiding it. The Tiger 800, of course in the same line as with the BMW F650, Honda Transalp, Suzuki V-Storm, and most KTM bikes, that is all-purpose-all-terrain and add to that any-mood-any-biker. Really, whatever kind of style a biker prefers and no matter whatever mood s/he is in, get astride the Tiger and s/he will be only one thing – A Happy Biker.
The Tiger is practical, easy to control and ride due to the tall stance, will never be out of place anywhere including in front of the cafes where you would probably find lots of British boys with tight leather pants or lots of American dudes with handlebar moustaches. It looks rugged and is actually rugged than most other bikes, it is pretty tall and (looks) big for an 800cc engine and whether you like its looks or not whether you feel at ease or not riding with say a bunch of Rocket owners, the one definitive thing you will have is the smile on your face.
So there you have it. The entire line of Triumph Motorcycles, or is it? Now, wait a minute, where is MY favorite Triumph? Where is the Thruxton, the one true mass produced Café Racer? And what about the legendary Scrambler which got a whole new attitude in 2011? And now come to think about it, I didn’t really see the 1000 cc tourer, The Sprint and neither the other cruiser, America. But fret not, what Triumph Motorcycles India is saying that the entire range will be available and this is their first public outing in India, so with time and when they get dealers, you can just search the Triumph Motorcycle UK website and ask for your model and they will get it for you.
As of now, the entire range with be bought in as CBU while plans are there, and definite plans and that too pretty soon (read mid 2012) when 4 of the models will be bought as CKD units and (now salivate!) prices are expected to start from 5.5 lacs INR starting from the Street Triple. Yes for less than 6 lacs, you can get a Triumph in your garage… for keeps! No more the Great Indian Dream, eh! And if you are young and too proud to ask money from your father, well for starters, Triumph has got the entire clothing and accessory range which will be available in all the showrooms. So a good start is half done, right. And that goes for Triumph Motorcycles too, they have promised to deliver and there is no reason why the twinkle in your eye that was there when you first saw Steve McQueen astride a Triumph in ‘the Great Escape’ finally needs to rest.
DIESEL also has his own blog, Visual Gratification, which you’ve probably heard of already.