Triumph UK Factory Visit

May 2004

Report by Robert Freestone

May 16, 2004, a day eagerly awaited by the Triumph Faithful. Triumph UK headquarters opened its doors on a sunny spring day (a rarity in rainy England) to riders from all over the country. Without doubt, the center of interest was the new  giant of production motorcycles, the 2.3L Rocket Three.

The event was organised by RAT for Triumph. Small factory visits occur from time to time but usually in groups of only 30 people. This was a special one off 'open day' held to celebrate the opening of the new factory following the big fire.

3,000 'Trumpeters' arrived by invitation only. Tickets were only 5 but were sold out in couple of days. Two guys had flown over from Brisbane just for the visit. They reported that Triumph is doing very well down under and has built a reputation for quality motorcycles.

There were over 10,000 ticket applications in all. The whole plant was open whereby a taped off path led right through the workshop floor in a maze like format. This walk was probably the best part of a mile. Outside, dodgem cars were provided together with wheelie demos and hamburger stands. Inside the factory, visitors walked through storage warehouses with shelving 50ft high stacked with complete bikes already crated for shipping.

Many ancillary parts are made in Thailand but engines, gearboxes, fairings, frames, plastics etc. are all made on site. The tour went through all parts of the assembly areas. The whole place was incredibly clean, no mess anywhere. We could approach working machines and view engine parts being machined to great precision through the window. Most of this part of the manufacturing process is entirely automatic and humans fill the trolley stacks with some parts and maintain the machines. Rough casting in one end, finished cases ready for assembly out the other. 

Of significance was the "Kawasaki/Yuasa" brand of production line machinery. Triumph stated openly that they use a patented Kawasaki process, obviously requiring their machinery. The main benefit of this process is that different bikes can be built on the same line. A couple of Daytona's, a Tiger, Sprint etc., all are produced one after the other. Triumph can produce to demand and don't need to stockpile all the variations of color and model.

In the huge car park (around 8 acres) were around 2,500 'Trumpets' with a few rice burners here and there. Also around 150 classic bikes, some of which are shown below. 

There was a wonderful atmosphere at the event and weather was warm, dry and sunny. Below are some photos of the day. To see more, visit the UK's site.


In The Factory    Parking Lot Gems    Home


In The Factory    Top

Jig mounted quality control for the cylinder block. A far cry from the old factory where workers would pride themselves on measuring fine tolerances with a cigarette paper. An urban myth ? We'll never know for sure...

Feeling cranky ? Then this is the place for you, if you can handle the heat. Here crankshafts are heated prior to machining. An oven is lowered down over them.


Try shoehorring one of these into your DeWalt. Giant cutters from the production line. A bargain at $20,000 each.

A quality control and reverse engineering robot runs the rule over a Daytona preparing it to measure up to the real world.


Don't you wish your bike would hang in midair while you worked on it ? A Rocket on the assembly line.

The three cylinder behemoth still unfettered by frame and running gear.


More cranks for more mills - this time for the Bonneville

All you need is a bucket of sand and a camping stove and you, too, can make one of these..

How the electrics hang together

Frame components hung out to dry


Red and black are the basic color schemes, but there's nothing to stop you ordering a personalized paint job. Custom artwork starts at about $350.00 and up.


Hundreds of machines line up for the onslaught on markets thoughout the world.

And the British are supposed to be famous for understatement...


Parking Lot Gems        Top

Triumph 3TA. A sweet little 350cc tourer that was the gateway to the bigger twins and many a 60's man's ride to work.

Triumph X75. Radical beyond its time, one of the rarest and most sought after manifestations of the Meriden triples.

BSA DBD 34 Gold Star. Would they ever dare to make this bike again under the Triumph name ?

Another British great. A variant is made to this day in Gladstone, Oregon.