Triumph motorcycle heritage

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andys
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Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby andys » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:46 am

I know Triumph are excellent motorcycles, but does the Hinckley incarnation of the brand have any right to lay claim to the heritage and lineage of the original Meridan factory.
Just wondering what people think.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby CharlieVictor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:41 pm

Not any more than BMW can claim the Mini Heritage.

John Bloor bought the Triumph name in 1983 when Meriden went bust, and building on the "legend" was the smartest marketing move ever, as from a marketing standpoint it brought so many people to motorcycling who have been seduced by the "lifestyle" conveyed through the bikes. It sells bikes !!

As you write, Hinckley productions are excellent bikes, and blurring the lines with the Meriden ones serves the purpose well. Keep in mind many (most?) Triumph buyers are motorcycle neophytes who don't know any different, and who are buying the tank badge really...
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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby CharlieVictor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:41 pm

Not any more than BMW can claim the Mini Heritage.

John Bloor bought the Triumph name in 1983 when Meriden went bust, and building on the "legend" was the smartest marketing move ever, as from a marketing standpoint it brought so many people to motorcycling who have been seduced by the "lifestyle" conveyed through the bikes. It sells bikes !!

As you write, Hinckley productions are excellent bikes, and blurring the lines with the Meriden ones serves the purpose well. Keep in mind many (most?) Triumph buyers are motorcycle neophytes who don't know any different, and who are buying the tank badge really...
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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Jockboxer » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:58 pm

It works the other way. AMC bought Norton for its heritage but did precious little to invest in that so that Norton struggled to compete with the Italian and then Japanese multis and the rest is history. Bloor bought the name but put his money where his mouth was and Triumph is now a global player again.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Rob Frankhamr » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:05 pm

I know Triumph are excellent motorcycles, but does the Hinckley incarnation of the brand have any right to lay claim to the heritage and lineage of the original Meridan factory.
Just wondering what people think.

Yes.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby andys » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:36 pm

It works the other way. AMC bought Norton for its heritage but did precious little to invest in that so that Norton struggled to compete with the Italian and then Japanese multis and the rest is history. Bloor bought the name but put his money where his mouth was and Triumph is now a global player again.
That doesn't really answer my question.
I know Triumph are excellent bikes.
What I want to know is can Triumph legitimately claim the heritage and history of the original company.
To use the example made above.
Do BMW have the right to claim the history of the original BMC Mini as their own, just because they bought the name ?

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Rob Frankhamr » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:27 pm

The simple answer is yes...

What Bloor bought in 1983 was not just the name, he also bought the manufacturing rights. Even if no further 'Meriden' machines had ever been manufactured after that, this fact alone would give Triumph Motorcycles Limited the right to claim the heritage and intelectual rights in Triumph Engineering. In fact, a substantial number of T140 Bonnevilles and TR7v Tigers were produced between 1985 and (I think) 1988. Not, admittedly by Triumph Motorcycles Ltd but under licence from them by Les Harris. From this it is clear that Triumph Motorcycles Limited not only own but have used the intelectual rights they bought.

The fact that they have continued to produce machines in a similar style and for the same market segment just confirms that they recognise the heritage and continue to respect it.

The situation with 'Mini' is quite different. Mini was never a marque until BMW purchased the rights in the name, it was a model name used by Morris, Austin and BL.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Galactic Greyhound » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:36 pm

When a Company brand i.e. 'Name' is sold to another Company, there is usually more to the sale than just the brand name.

The sales and marketing rights to the brand are often bundled into the agreement as well as this can increase the sale price and also benefit the buyer.

There may also be 'rights' still associated with the use of the brand held by other companies or individuals and agreement would also need to obtained on the validity, sale and/or continuance of these rights.

These rights can include the use of past achievements and associations of the brand so perpetuating the historical progression of a brand under a new owner.
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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby andys » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:00 pm


The situation with 'Mini' is quite different. Mini was never a marque until BMW purchased the rights in the name, it was a model name used by Morris, Austin and BL.

Rob
OK then, so what about another British motorcycle brand.
AJS.
Now being manufactured in China I believe.
Royal Enfield ?
Another great name from British motorcycle history.
Are these brands every bit as much a part of their predecessors history as Triumph ?

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Rob Frankhamr » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:19 pm

I would say that Royal Enfield India have an even stronger claim to the heritage and intelectual rights since the (British) Royal Enfield Company was a partner in the original formation of the Indian company and, until quite recently, their product was a licence built version of the original company design.

AS for AJS China, I don't know a great deal about this company but I believe they just have the AJS name. Their machines appear to be completely unconnected designs and there is a distinct gap in the continuity of the company so I would suggest that their claim (if they were to make one) would be much weaker.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Mjolinor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:25 pm

Polaroid is an example of just a name sale. The stuff they sell now is about as cheap as China can make it. I repair a lot of their products which are then sold on ebay by their returns department and believe me when I tell you that it is not the quality you would like it to be. (very conservative biting my tongue appraisal there, it's a good earner:))

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby andys » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:55 am

Polaroid is an example of just a name sale. The stuff they sell now is about as cheap as China can make it. I repair a lot of their products which are then sold on ebay by their returns department and believe me when I tell you that it is not the quality you would like it to be. (very conservative biting my tongue appraisal there, it's a good earner:))
I like triumphs, but I do find it annoying that they unashamedly market their current heritage models on bikes that Bloors company had nothing to do with.
I do admire his marketing prowess though.
I mean there are some people who genuinely believe that the Hinckley bikes are from the same Triumph who's beginnings go back almost 150 years.

AS for AJS China, I don't know a great deal about this company but I believe they just have the AJS name. Their machines appear to be completely unconnected designs and there is a distinct gap in the continuity of the company so I would suggest that their claim (if they were to make one) would be much weaker.

Rob
To be honest the early Hinkley triumphs could hardly have been described as "connected designs"
They didn't have a twin at all till recently, which was the mainstay of the original triumph brand, and their engines if anything were more japanese than British.
Their spine frames were almost exact copies of what Kawasaki were utilizing at the time in their bigger bikes.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby tigcraft » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:30 am

Interesting debate........

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby Rob Frankhamr » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:44 am


I like triumphs, but I do find it annoying that they unashamedly market their current heritage models on bikes that Bloors company had nothing to do with.


I can't, needless to say, argue with what you find annoying and I do see the point you're making but I really don't see it that way. Triumph Motorcycles Ltd do own the intellectual rights to the earlier Triumph Engineering designs because they purchased them. They can do with them as they see fit.

I would also say that their is a continuous stream of ownership with the original company... The name and rights were purchased from the Official Receiver very soon after the Meriden company went into receivership. If you say, as I think you must, that the intellectual rights of Triumph Engineering passed to NVT, then those rights can also be sold out of NVT in receivership. There is no break in their existence.

I wonder if, had Bloor bought the rights in Triumph from NVT prior to their going in to receivership, that would alter your thinking...

Another thing I would look at is the public facing business model of the two organisations. Triumph Engineering as part of NVT were, at the time of their demise, manufacturing a range of vertical twins and a triple with options on an across the frame four. Within their first eleven years of manufacturing, Triumph Motorcycles were offering... vertical twins, triples and across the frame fours.

You will say, I suspect, that the new designs are completely different from the older ones and I agree absolutely with this but, does anyone really have any doubt that the Meriden designs were well past their best? The frame and running gear was, to say the least, archaic, the engine and gearbox hadn't really changed since the second world war. Even the 'unit' engine design remained mechanically similar with low pressure dry sump engine lubrication and seperate oils for gearbox and primary transmission... Unit in name but not in nature. Don't misread me, they were good bikes for their day but the designs had been pushed to the limit of their development. Had NVT (or earlier Triumph Engineering) been able to afford it, I am quite sure that the designs they would have been offering in the early eighties would have been radically different... probably bearing as much resemblance to the later 'Hinkley' designs as they would to the earlier models. Of course, that's all conjecture but I'm very sure that, had the Meriden concern been able to survive beyond 1983 (or NVT for that matter) they would have had to introduce radically different designs otherwise their survival would have been very short lived.

If we were talking about a company that set up in - say - 2018 using, lets say, the 'James' name and, again for the sake of argument, producing a tourer based around a Harley engine I would say that any attempt to claim the original 'James' heritage and intellectual rights would be very suspect. but that's not the case here.

The fact that 'Hinkley' style many of their designs on the earlier models should, I think, be considered a tribute to the earlier designs.



I mean there are some people who genuinely believe that the Hinckley bikes are from the same Triumph who's beginnings go back almost 150 years.


In a sense they are.



They didn't have a twin at all till recently, which was the mainstay of the original triumph brand, and their engines if anything were more japanese than British.


Not that recently... the first Hinkley Bonnevilles were produced in 2001, 17 years ago.



Their spine frames were almost exact copies of what Kawasaki were utilizing at the time in their bigger bikes.

I think you'll find that there is no bike manufacturer in the world that hasn't, at some time, made use of 'good practice' derived from another manufacturers work.

If one is thinking of intellectual rights, it's interesting to apply the same thinking to BMW. Does the current BMW GMBH really have a solid claim to the intellectual rights of BMW bikes dating back before 1945? There is no doubt that BMW machines were produced at Eisanach in the GDR (which was where a lot of wartime motorcycle production was carried out) more or less continuously after the war under the name EMW while production in the west didn't really start until 1948. It could be argued, therefore, that the intellectual rights rest with the first comer... i.e. EMW and not with the post war BMW. This being the case, said rights might be held to have been transfered to Russia with the Dnieper, Ural, Cossack & etc. and thence to China to Chang Jiang. As far as I'm aware, this has never been challenged and I would assume that the Soviet and Chinese organisations simply don't (or didn't) care... or perhaps the idea of crediting a heritage in the hated Nazi regime was unthinkable.

To me this begs a few questions...


  • Can Intelectual rights be split?

    ­
  • What actually comprises continuity in terms of heritage and intellectual rights?

    ­
  • Does it really matter...?
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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby CharlieVictor » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:53 pm

I like triumphs, but I do find it annoying that they unashamedly market their current heritage models on bikes that Bloors company had nothing to do with.
I do admire his marketing prowess though.
I mean there are some people who genuinely believe that the Hinckley bikes are from the same Triumph who's beginnings go back almost 150 years.


As I said, it can only fool people who have little knowlege of classic bikes. Anyone who has a genuine interest in the brand or classic motorcycles in general will know the Meriden vs Hinckley story.

By the same token I don't think they market their modern-retro bikes on Meriden's, but it just came with the territory and they took full advantage of that.
Actually Meriden's products in their times were pieces of junk, especially the 86/88 "Harris Bonneville" Rob mentioned, which were the worst of all.
Hinckley would not want to be associated with that for sure as early as 1991 when the first triples were being released !!

But in the collective memory, Hinckley has started in 2001 to write another, different narrative, which did slowly obliterate the old Meriden or Devon products bad reputation. The selling point became that if you bought a Triumph modern retro, you didn't buy a motorcycle, you bought yourself a whole lifestyle. You became the coolest guy around. You were Steve McQueen.

In this respect, the "heritage" part was not necessary a cause initiated by Bloor, but a consequence the new Triumph took full advantage of.
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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby HughMcQ » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:08 pm

  • Can Intelectual rights be split?

    ­
  • What actually comprises continuity in terms of heritage and intellectual rights?

    ­
  • Does it really matter...?
Rob
Split intellectual property rights? In theory you would think this was a no or only if two companies agreed but in practice its courts that decide. Budvar and Budweiser spring to mind. Some courts side with Budvar some with Budweiser....

Heritage continuity? It seems to matter legally. I remember reading somewhere that Ford had to ask permission from Triumph to use the name Thunderbird. Triumph seems to have lost those rights when they went bust as when they relaunched the Thunderbird they had to ask Ford if they could use the name.

Does it really matter? Probably not - I think most people who always wanted a Triumph but couldn't afford one in their younger years are just as happy to buy a modern machine from the relaunched brand (maybe more happier due to better performance and reliability). The people who this really does matter to are the lawyers who are the ones who make most money from any of these disputes.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby andys » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:50 pm

Bloor did indeed purchase the triumph brand name shortly after the original company went under but his first bikes didn't appear till 1991almost 10-years later.
What was interesting at the time was that Bloors bikes had virtually nothing in common with the Meridan companies.
What people often say is how unreliable and generally rubbish the original bikes were, and I agree, but despite that Triumph have no reservations in using those earlier machines in it's advertising today.
This is where the rub comes for me.
Triumph shut up shop, sold everything off, and vanished off the face of the earth.
Then, seven years later, the brand name reappears, under completely new ownership, in a completely different location, with a very different type of product, claiming to be the very same company that vanished almost a decade earlier, risen from the ashes.
#-o
Of course they enjoyed a great deal of success, but would that incredible corporate achievement have been possible without the triumph badge.
What if the bikes had just been named Bloor motorcycles.
As I said, I'm not decrying the bikes, which are on a par with nearly everything made today, but I do feel that Bloor cheated a bit by buying the name and then laying claim to all of the achievements made under that name, which his company was never a part of.
That's never sat well with me.
When I was buying my R NINE T I was considering a Thruxton.
I had a test ride on one and found it in some ways to be a better bike than the BMW, but I couldn't quite pull the trigger for the reasons mentioned.
Add into the mix that Triumphs heritage bikes are now built solely in Thailand, and it all becomes a bit laughable.
It wouldn't bother me if I were buying a Japanese bike, but like many others here I'm sure, if I'm buying European, I at least want it to be assembled in the country it purports to be from.
Not of course that this is of any concern to triumph, who's business is not suffering for the lack of my custom.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby CharlieVictor » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:24 am

but I do feel that Bloor cheated a bit by buying the name and then laying claim to all of the achievements made under that name, which his company was never a part of.

At the risk of sounding a bit thick, it is the other way around Andys : Bloor bought a brand name with the intention of using it some day (okay, perhaps with a megalomaniac angle to be the one to resurect the British motorcycle industry single handed).

When it finally came out in 1991, the PUBLIC, the PRESS, associated Bloor's Triumph to the history of the brand, as a natural consequence of using the name.
Then all Triumph had to do was surf on that perception!! It was a unintended although forseeable, consequence.

Bloor's Triumph did NOT want to, would NOT (especially because of the old models bad reputation) be associated with Meriden. That association appeared as a "must be avoided at all costs" prior to the 1991 range launch...

Check Triumph adverts of the time.. Besides a "The British Motorcycle Is Back", there is absolutely no association or connection to Meriden, which was perceived as a failure, both technically and industrially.
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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby andys » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:15 am


Check Triumph adverts of the time.. Besides a "The British Motorcycle Is Back", there is absolutely no association or connection to Meriden, which was perceived as a failure, both technically and industrially.
But look at the advertising now.
They are more than happy to be associated with the meridan bikes nowadays.

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Re: Triumph motorcycle heritage

Postby CharlieVictor » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:49 pm


Check Triumph adverts of the time.. Besides a "The British Motorcycle Is Back", there is absolutely no association or connection to Meriden, which was perceived as a failure, both technically and industrially.
But look at the advertising now.
They are more than happy to be associated with the meridan bikes nowadays.
Absolutely, and why wouldn't they? It was an unexpected turn of events. People collective memory is very selective ! :-k
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