1939 Triumph Herrenrad Model 11

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1939 Triumph Gents Bicycle (German)

Triumph Werke Nurnberg A G


Of course, we all grew up knowing Triumph as a trusty British marque. But the company was actually set up by two Germans, originally in Coventry. In due course, because of anti-German feeling in the build up to WW1, the British and German concerns split. Acrimony followed over the use of the Triumph name. The agreement reached was that German Triumph motorcycles built for export would be badged as ‘TWN’ (Triumph Werke Nurnberg) though retaining the Triumph badges for the German market. German Triumph bicycles were not exported to Great Britain.


To read the history of Triumph, PLEASE CLICK HERE





This Triumph is a large and heavy utilitarian machine. It rides very well and reminds me of riding a big Raleigh such as a police bike.


Though illustrated in serene surroundings in the early 1930s catalogue above, by 1939 this Triumph was made for war.


Rod front brake with coaster rear.


A useful place to store your revolver


The markings on the Torpedo hub are ’39 M.’


You can see the Torpedo logo on the rear hub more clearly in the advert below


The majority of prewar German cycles featured front mudguard emblems.


You could easily imagine going to war on a machine such as this.


The German army had numerous troops on bicycles working both as reconnaissance and supply troops. As well as bicycles issued to troops, many civilian bikes were appropriated. Most bikes such as this Triumph would have seen wartime use of some sort. Period photos show a wide variety of bicycles in use. Most bikes had racks, and often had to carry ammunition boxes, machine guns, etc, but the majority simply served as local transport.




1939 German Gents Triumph & 1938 British Ladies Triumph


Peace in our time? Hitler did not keep to the promises he made to Neville Chamberlain in September 1938. A year later the German leader derided the agreement as just a ‘scrap of paper’ and invaded Poland on 1 September 1939.

These two Triumphs only met recently, many years after those sad times.

The Lady’s model is in excellent original unrestored condition. The Gents has been completely refurbished. As well as enjoying their cross-cultural companionship, they make an interesting, contrasting pair.