It’s Friday so it must be the Triumph Factory Tour.  In the crazy world of The BigTour 24 in 2024, this is becoming the new normal.  

We arrived at Hinckley to a warm welcome from Matt Merry who gave us a personal tour of the motorcycle exhibition which chronicled the Triumph Motorcycle company; from its formation in 1902 to the present day with its latest “stealth” range, with all the highs, lows, collapse, and ultimate resurrection in between.    

The sheer size of the collection on display was staggering, especially the uniqueness and provenance of some of the models.  Race winners, record breakers and makers, film, and TV star bikes; from Dr Who to James Bond with Mission Impossible and The Great Escape. They are all there (most of the time).  Limited editions and one-off customs.  Original concept clay models.  It’s a detailed look into what makes Triumph tick.  

Then the main event.  The Factory Tour.  This was no cursory look through a window at the worker bees.  This is an actual walk through the shop floor.  From the delivery bay and Parts dept with its 9metre racks and cable steered forklifts, it’s a huge area containing everything needed to assemble a motorcycle.  

We then moved through into the engineering areas and saw just what goes into creating a camshaft for a Rocket.  Quite a lot as it happens, in quite a short time.  With tolerances down to a micron.  Which is quite small.  

The design area was an eye opener.  The 3D printers used to mock up parts for different prototype models have revolutionised the design process, both in speed of part construction and in the ability to change options quickly and easily.  

In the paint bay we were shown the quality of the hand painted pinstripes laid down by their resident 4th Generation Triumph worker. 

 

Then we were taken into the assembly area to witness how well these machines are put together.  From a basic frame to finished product with one rolling off the production line every 8 minutes or so.  It really is seamless.  

I thought we’d be “motorcycle blind” by the end of the 90 minutes/ one-and-a-half-mile walk.  Not at all. We were like the proverbial child in a sweet shop. 

“I want that one, and that one, oh, and that one.  Don’t bother to wrap it, I’ll take it with me now please.”

Oh, if only.   Our grateful thanks go to our guide Danny for the informative but not too technical explanations.  And for the help with our kit selections afterwards.  You made us all very happy.

 

Previous slide
Next slide

Following our Factory visit we headed to the National Motorcycle Museum.  

We were met by James Hewing, the Museum Director.  Following a quick chat, we were encouraged to go and explore the facility.   

The sight that met us when we entered the first hall was astounding.  Gleaming machines, shiny chrome, nickel plate, copper, and brass.  Bright paintwork, leather, and wicker.  Yes wicker. 

It’s a walk through the history of British motorcycling.  From the start of the 20th Century up to present day.  From the practical to the follies and flights of fantasy of builders and dreamers.  

Legendary winning bikes from legendary races, ridden by legendary riders.  They sit alongside their humbler counterparts perfectly.  All sleeping but ready to roar into life, given the opportunity.  These machines are alive.  They have such character and personality.  It was a real privilege to have the chance to see them up close.  

Following our tour, we met again with James, and he kindly offered to donate 2 Family Annual Memberships to the Aviators’ Ball Charity Auction in November.  

This is yet another example of the motorcycling community getting behind us and we are really grateful for all the support.   

Wayne, Richard, Harvey, Shaun.