…At this juncture we would like to say that Triumph Cycles and Motor Cycles are being used extensively by British, French, Russian, Belgian and Japanese forces in the field, including the Indian and Canadian contingents.
– Extract from the introduction to the 1915 Triumph catalogue
With their workforce going off to War, many smaller cycle makers stopped production in 1914. The more established manufacturers, with larger factories and useful facilities, turned their factories to war production. Triumph benefitted greatly from the War, with over 30,000 motorcycles manufactured and supplied to the Allies: by the end of the war, the company had become Britain’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.
The return to civilian production after the war presented some problems for all cycle manufacturers. As well as losing many of their workforce in the war, the flu epidemic caused additional staffing issues …and when the public realised that riding a bicycle to work was much safer than catching a tram, demand in the home market greatly increased.
Though the design of Triumph bicycles changed very little after World War One – in fact Triumph design had not changed much since the early 1900s! – one interesting ‘novelty’ was introduced. In 1919, Triumph announced a new front fork with a ‘Ball End’ fork crown for the 1920 season.
The Triumph presented here is unusual in that its frame number (and 23″ frame size) show it to be a 1914 Royal Triumph; however it features the postwar front fork. Though it could have been fitted at a later stage in its life – it’s such a wonderful fork that any Triumph enthusiast might consider such an update – to me the fork looks original to the bike. Many odd things happened because of the war: if there was a shortage of machines in 1919/1920, supplying an unused 1914 Triumph frame and fitting it with the newly-introduced ball end fork makes sense.
1914 Royal Triumph No 10 Full Roadster
with Ball end fork crown
Frame No 239000
Triumph 4-bar pedals
Detachable oil bath chaincase
Triumph bicycles have many unique features: inverted brake levers, ridged mudguards, eccentric chain adjustment, lightweight tubing. A Triumph was the choice of a connoisseur. This 106-year-old machine retains its original paintwork, with faded original transfers (decals) and is in excellent all round mechanical condition. Being a Triumph, it was built to last …and it rides as well as the day it was built!
1914 TRIUMPH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
1920 TRIUMPH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS