Of the 20 two-wheelers currently produced by Triumph motorcycles, 17 are street bikes. The remaining three are big adventure bikes in the Tiger range, the smallest of which is the new Tiger 850 Sport. And unlike almost every premium mainstream bike brand out there, Triumph doesn’t run any factory official racing efforts. That all changes now, Triumph having just announced that it is out to, well, triumph on the dirt with a new family of motocross and enduro bikes that will be part of factory racing efforts in both disciplines. To help create worthy rides and fill the trophy cabinet, Triumph has enlisted two multiple-championship-winning riders to assist with development: American motocross legend Ricky Carmichael (pictured) and multiple enduro champion Ivan Cervantes from Spain.
We don’t know anything about what’s coming beyond the statement of intent right now, such as how many bikes there will be and in what displacements. For comparison, the famed Austrian off-road bike brand KTM makes 33 dirt-flingers across motocross, enduro, and supermoto disciplines in 11 displacements, with two-stroke, four-stroke, and electric powerplants. So Triumph has a lot of options. The company’s “commitment to race and win at the highest level in the sport” could be taken to mean there will definitely be 250-cc and 450-cc four-stroke models, which run in both disciplines here and in Europe. This indicates a huge investment by the brand as well. Its current competitive efforts are limited to supplying the spec engines for MotoGP’s Moto2 series and supporting the Dynavolt Triumph team in the British Supersport Championship.
Triumph used to be big into racing, however, from winning second-ever Isle of Man TT in 1908 to setting a land speed record in 1956 on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And although not a factory effort, before Steve McQueen made the Baja Boot the thing to have, he raced motorcycles, turning his Triumph Bonneville into a race-winning scrambler. McQueen’s friend and stunt double Bud Ekins rode his Triumph TR6 SCT to victory in the International Six Days Enduro in 1962 — seven years before winning the first Baja 500 in a Baja Boot.
The off-road moto sector has been growing and took off during the pandemic. Triumph filling out its range with hardcore dirt bikes could keep customers on the brand all year round, and further afield. We expect more information on what’s to come before the end of the year, perhaps at EICMA in Milan, Italy in November.