Send in by one of our regular riders:
“If like me you passed your test with no compulsory training in the 1970s, on a 250 cc bike by riding around the block while the examiner stood on the pavement, then you probably went on to ride a 650cc BSA A10 or A65, or a Triumph T100 or T120. Or perhaps a Norton Dominator or even a Commando. Perhaps your Royal Enfield Bullet or Ariel leader led to a or a more exotic Sunbeam S7 or Ariel square four, or one of the amateurs attempts to create the ideal bike, a TriBSA ( Triumph 650 in a BSA Frame) or a TriTon ( Triumph 650 in a Norton featherbed frame) or even a Douglas Dragonfly ?
Before the tide of modern (reliable and oil tight) Japanese bikes overwhelmed the then archaic British motorcycle industry, and led to its almost total extinction in a few short years, Britain was the home of bike production if not of rapid innovation. Over sixty companies made motorcycles in the UK from the early 1900s until what many thought was the death knell when Triumph finally went into receivership in 1983. It is these manufacturers that the NMM celebrates with its display of over 1,000 machines all fully restored to original condition. All of the bikes are accessible and well described.
There is just about every model ever made by the dozen or so mainstream manufacturers, including prototypes and the oddballs that never took off, and lots of examples from the smaller players too. There are TT winners, speed record breakers, before-their-time commuter machines like the 1950s folding 70cc Corgi mini-bike for the car boot (over 27,000 made !!) and lots of one off projects like the famous and very successful 1800cc twin engine Norton dragster ‘Hog Slayer’, the 1500cc twin engine Royal Enfield naked bike that topped 200mph and the jet powered Boost Plouste which topped 183mph.
Follow the history of Triumph from 1902 when they used JAP and Fafnir engines in their ‘first model’ , through the golden years of TT wins and speed records, the first Bonneville and then the just too late Trident 750cc triple. There is even the poignant prototype created by grafting another cylinder on to the Trident giving the Triumph 1000cc inline four, a last desperate attempt to take on the Japanese avalanche, but alas too late to save the company. Then the rebirth of an iconic brand through the visionary businessman John Bloor who bought the name, and built a handful of machines a week in Devon from 1983 to 1988. John then put almost £100million into the business before it broke even in 2000, and moved on to be a major player in the last 10 years. This more recent history is also covered to the present day Triumph operation which now produces 50,000 world class bikes a year.
The NMM is situated on the M42 Junction 6 island just a few miles from the old Triumph Meriden factory and the famous straight outside it, the ‘Meriden Mile’ where many a Bonneville was taken to a ‘ton’ in the good old days. Well worth an afternoon visit, more details at : http://www.nationalmotorcyclemuseum.co.uk/ ”