I had the honor of being sent to London, England for the 2016 Triumph Global Dealer Conference. Mind you the last one was in 2009 so this was a pretty big deal for Triumph and all the dealers that got to go. I can truly say that they put on an amazing show and this was certainly a once in a lifetime experience. So, how about I share a little bit with you.
After 9 hours of travel time from the U.S. to London with a layover in Dublin, I was ready to absorb as much of London as possible with the little time I had to explore because there was a welcoming dinner that night (Monday). So I hit the streets and started to explore. London is very busy, bustling with people walking everywhere and taking the trains, riding on bicycles and a ton of people on motorcycles. I even spotted quite a few Triumph motorcycles. There is so much beauty in the architecture that surrounds London both historic and modern. But before I knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the welcoming dinner.
The first official day of the conference (Tuesday) started off in a panic, I got lost trying to make my way to the correct train terminal. Triumph provided all of us with pre-paid train passes to cover the train fees to and from the convention center. I eventually made it to my destination with plenty of time to spare to get registered and my official badge handed to me. The doors to the auditorium opened up and we all flooded the entry to get the best seat. The light show from the stage really set the tone as we all anxiously waited for the opening presentation. A short video clip played on the big screens that featured Triumph’s historic moments and iconic heritage. Then the executives from Triumph walked onto the stage to talk about the company, its past, present state and future plans.
In those future plans were some very exciting new models. The newly re-designed 2016 Speed Triple R and Tiger Explorer XC rolled onto the stage. That was a pleasant surprise but I think everyone was waiting to see what all the hype was about around the much anticipated Bonneville family of bikes. Out came the Street Twin onto the stage, a new twist to the 900cc modern classic with more power, better fuel economy due to the addition of the liquid cooled feature and plus a few extra upgrades. Then the T120 bikes joined the Street Twin. The T120 offers classic styling but with more power and torque deliverability that makes it an exciting ride. In addition to more power and torque, you are also getting more upgrades such as Liquid Cooled, ABS, Ride-by-Wire and Rider Modes. But the new motorcycle line of the Bonneville family did not end there. Two beautiful Thruxton motorcycles made their way to the stage, front and center. I mentioned two bikes because there is the Thruxton and Thruxton R. But these new Thruxton motorcycles share the same 1200cc motor and electronic upgrades as their T120 brother taking the Cafe Racer to the next level.
I don’t think anyone could have predicted how well these bikes were received during the live reveal. We then got an unexpected teaser… the Triumph Bobber, one year away from its official debut to the world and there it was on stage in all its glory, a bold statement and a great way to end the reveal. The presentation closed not much longer after that and they opened up the adjacent hall to us so we can get our hands on these bike, their accessories and more. To see these bikes up close in person, inspect them with great detail and then sit on them felt like a privilege I was granted and would make any enthusiast jealous.
The hall was a massive showroom that showcased the entire Triumph motorcycle lineup from the sport bikes, to the cruisers and the new modern classics. We also got our hands on the 470+ accessories for these modern classics where you can really tailor and customize these bikes. While we are on the topic of accessories, Triumph came out with a neat concept for their Street Twin called“Inspiration Kits”. These Inspiration Kits are designed to assist the rider in completing the look for their bike that they want to achieve. The kits will include a pre-selected arrangement of accessories to bring that certain look to life.
That Tuesday night was the Gala Dinner and Triumph showed no limits to putting on a great show. A Cirque Du Sole performance dazzled the audience as our dinner commenced. The performance incorporated a rather unique display of a drum set that was housed in an even more unique compilation of Triumph motorcycles that held the drum set. I know it is hard to picture in your head but it was pretty wild to so many Triumph motorcycles morphed into one. The performance thus ended and it was time for the awards.
The next day (Wednesday) we pretty much had an open agenda to browse the hall once more to get a second and last look at the bikes and accessories. In this giant showroom was also the new Triumph World Black dealer showroom concept. This was a great preview to what can be expected in our new dealership that will open up in 2016. The layout and cool modern vibe really set the stage for the bikes, apparel and accessories. Later that night, Triumph arranged to take us all to the ever famous London Ace Cafe. This was a neat joint with great food. But what was really cool was the atmosphere and relics that plastered the walls and every nook and cranny. This place was oozing with heritage and traditions throughout the decades. I had to pick up some souvenirs of course.
Our last day in London was quite exceptional considering we were going to tour the Triumph factory in Hinkley. Triumph has two factories in Hinkley and three in Thailand. But we were going to visit the assembly plant in Hinkley to see the Triumph motorcycles in their infant stages all the way through to packaging. After about a two and half hour bus ride we finally arrived. We entered the factory through one end of the warehouse where crates were stacked a mile high down mile long rows. We weaved our way to some of the machine shops where bits and pieces are fabricated for the engine line. The engine line was staged so that we could see the progression of the line at each station. At this point they were building a bulk of Rocket III Roadsters so these were the engines we were seeing. We made our way to the chassis line where the Rocket III Roadster engines were now nestled into the frame, tires and wheels mounted, handlebars, levers, pegs etc all installed. Once the bikes were assembled, they went into a testing area for the electronics. The last part is packaging and would you believe it that they can package 16-22 bikes an hour!?
All in all, this was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget and will be forever grateful for. I am excited to get the new bikes to Fox and share them with our customers. I think they will be a huge hit. If you are curious to know more about the trip, about the bikes and want to see photos, stop in and say hi. I would love to share this experience with you!