Before the British wing of Triumph Engineering went out of business in 1983 for production to migrate overseas, it was known for its ability to win in any market. The 1937 Triumph Speed Twin was just one more example of the engineering ingenuity of mid-century Europe.
The first model of Triumph’s Speed Twin actually rolled off the showroom floor and was sold in 1938 despite being produced a year earlier, at which point they began to turn things around for the Great Depression era Triumph Engineering.
Unfortunately, war soon came to Coventry, where Triumph positioned its primary factory. When the bombs began to fall in 1940, the factory was annihilated, along with all design specifications, technical records, and drawings of its 1937 Speed Twin, bringing a swift end to production.
Moderate by Design
Adding interest to oddity, the 1937 Triumph Speed Twin wasn’t actually much of anything in terms of engineering. Its engine was of an average size, its horsepower was high but not previously unseen, even its four-speed chain transmission wasn’t anything to cheer for.
What really set this motorcycle apart from the rest, however, was its incredibly lightweight design relative to other motorcycles with similar performance specifications. This lightweight design enabled the horsepower and engine output to go much farther, taking this vehicle from a motorcycle to a superbike.
Timeline of Versions with Changes and Pictures
Over the course of more than 80 years, only three generations of the Speed Twin were ever produced.
- Triumph Speed Twin (1937-1940)
The original models were popularized primarily in recent years due to the limited, high-value quality of these motorcycles in the eyes of collectors and historians today. However, back in the late ‘30s, Triumph had yet to make enough of them to make a name for themselves before German bombs put a stop to production.
- Triumph Speed Twin (1947-1966)
Post-war recovery began for Triumph in 1946 when the rediscovered–and somewhat redesigned–Triumph Speed Twin was brought back from the ashes of their factory.
This generation sported improved headlights with Turner nacelles and telescoping forks. In 1953, much to the dismay of the populace, Triumph swapped the generator and magneto with an alternator and battery-coil ignition.
- Triumph Speed Twin (2019-present)
In 2019 the most recent Speed Twin was produced. This model was equipped with a liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, parallel-twin engine with a displacement value of 1200cc.
The Speed Twin in the News
The recent reveal of the 2019 Triumph Speed Twin has spurred dozens of bloggers and media outlets to cover reviews of the new model’s performance testing. Much of the buzz on the web currently surrounds the question of how great (or not) the new generation really is.
Over the past few decades, the Triumph Speed Twin (in its various editions) has been seen on the sets of at least a total of 30 TV shows and films. Countless movie stars and actors have ridden on the backs of these classics.
Triumph is a household name for motorcycle enthusiasts, superbike sportsters, and even scotter connoisseurs, making it incredibly easy to find social media groups with hundreds of like-minded members who spend their free time chatting about specs and rides.
1937 Triumph Speed Twin – The Savior of Triumph
Until Triumph ceased production of the Speed Twin, business was booming more than ever before. Then, only 17 years after the last Speed Twin rolled off the assembly line, the English wing of Triumph went out of business. What does this mean? Don’t mess with the Speed Twin.