For the Ride were among the first to blag an invite to the new Triumph Factory Visitor Experience. Here are our first impressions.
From the moment you walk the Avenue of Legends into Triumph’s new Visitor Centre you’re struck by an overwhelming sense of heritage. Plaques dedicated to founder Siegfried Bettmann (1902), landspeed legend Johnny Allen (1956) and 2014 TT winner Gary Johnson are among 44 iconic names from Triumph’s rich past that give a taste of what’s behind the doors.
Eight strands that make Triumph great
Once inside you’re greeted by the rich aroma of fresh coffee to the right. Great if you’ve had a long ride… but frankly the riches on offer to the left mean the latte can wait. As you’d expect, the guys behind one of the most innovative, exciting and forward-looking motorcycle experiences we’ve seen are keen to emphasise the eight key strands of DNA that run through every Triumph bike and rider.
And this two-level Visitor Centre captures them all in typical understated Triumph style. Attitude, Bloodline, Performance, Legends, Design, Belonging, Identity and The Ride all have their own areas, in which modern classics rub forks with genuine vintage bikes each one a nod to more than a century of evolution, expertise, passion and dedication to creating the perfect ride, both in looks and performance.
From McQueen to Tom Cruise
But this is no drab ‘behind the glass’ walk-through. It’s an immersive experience of more than an hour that will leave every true motorcycle fan in awe. It’s also a chance to get up close to the Steve McQueen bike used in the Great Escape, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 2 Speed triple with its original bullet holes and, our favourite, the original pristine Thunderbird Streamliner that Johnny Allen broke the landspeed record in back in 1956.
This is an unprecedented glimpse inside the spiritual home of the UK’s motorcycle manufacturing industry where, from first concept to rolling test road and beyond, a parade of world-class motorcycles have been produced and built.
The Triumph Bloodline has pride of place on a curving wall in the cleverly lit, industrial-feel ground floor and takes riders on a compelling journey from Triumph’s humble beginnings as a cycle manufacturer in Coventry to the world’s biggest British motorcycle brand.
Interactive technology then jolts you back to the modern day with an immersive sound and ‘wide aspect’ video wall experience that captures, with the help of headsets and a floor mounted bevelled rev counter, the sheer exhilaration, thrill and roar of the ride.
It’s that and the effortless cool and individuality that attracts stars from the world of motorsport, entertainment and industry whose lives Triumph has touched and been touched by, all proudly captured in the Legends area with an Icons Wall and, of course, the bikes they made famous.
Taste of the tour
If you haven’t signed up for the Factory Tour – entry to the Centre is free but the tour is £15 and has to be pre-booked – then you might be kicking yourself as you head upstairs. Visitors get a cheeky peek inside the factory as they climb an industrial open staircase past the original and very rare Great Escape poster and a wall of one-off Original Triumph dealer illuminated signs.
Behind the bike
Upstairs is where the dedication, passion and craftsmanship of the people working on the other side of the wall is brought simply but effectively to life in the Design zone. Here you’ll find breathtaking insights into the rigorous testing and cutting-edge technology that goes into the development of every motorcycle leaving the factory, from concept to computer aided design (CAD) and from hand-crafted clay model through to exhaustive testing, computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing and finally, assembly.
This eye-opening section, featuring test footage and interviews, charts the bike’s development from concept through to production and will give every rider food for thought next time they turn the key, whatever their level of interest in the expertise and painstaking obsession to detail that’s gone into their Triumph.
Part of the family
Triumph has spent the last couple of months asking real riders why they love their bikes, and the result in the Belonging zone is an interactive installation that underlines the global reach of the brand as well as the network of subsidiaries and dealerships always on hand to offer support. It’s a powerful message that’s further enhanced by the belief that a Triumph is first a bike but second an extension of every rider’s personality. The Identity area, with a custom tank art display, turns the spotlight on the endless quest for creating your perfect ride.
For the Ride
The end of the journey is all about The Ride, a constantly changing area that showcases the latest models against a backdrop of spectacular riding sequences, all enticing you to get involved for the leaning in, the powering out, for the wind in your face, for the feeling and the freedom, for the friendships and for the… fill in your own desire.
… and the coffee
The relentless evolution, innovation and dedication to detail are captured in a timeless illuminated display in the Centre’s 1902 Café of the engines that have powered Triumph’s quest to be fastest, first and best, right up to the new Moto2 Championship 765 engine. It’s a good opportunity to take stock over a brew, grub, free wi-fi on one of the saddle-inspired seats beneath some cool riding pop art.
There’s also a chance to make sure you look the part at the first ever dedicated Triumph Shop, packed with all the high quality gear and limited edition souvenirs you’d expect – and some you won’t – from Triumph.
For those wanting more
If the Visitor Centre whets visitors’ appetites, they can enter uncharted territory to see behind the security doors on an exclusive guided Factory Tour which reveals the insights and facts behind how every Triumph is created.