We were invited to attend a preview of the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience, and it’s been on my to-do list for years. We had booked one of the many tours Triumph regularly run around the Hinckley HQ – and it’s the actual factory where the bikes are built, not a glorified museum.
For this reason we were there on the basis that there would be no photos/videos to be taken inside (as with all visitors, to be fair) as items may be ‘hidden in plain sight’ that members of the motorcycle press and the public may not yet be allowed to know…
Naturally, my head was on a spinner the whole time, eager to spot something I shouldn’t know yet. Danny was the tour guide for the day, an absolutely brilliant guy, but terribly good at his job – so he kept all the secrets to himself (unfortunately for me). And believe me, I tried.
That day, as I was walking around with the group, was assembly day for the new Triumph Tiger 1200! Felt a bit like Charlie in the chocolate factory, to be honest – wanted to try everything I could see.
What is it, what does the tour consist of?
Taking place at Triumph’s home in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and you can book a place on the Triumph website – there are usually 4 tours on certain days and the price includes entry to the Triumph exhibition.
Prices start at £20 pp for a factory tour that lasts around 90 minutes, and you’ll walk around a mile and a half apparently – it’s a big place that’s getting bigger right now! You can also upgrade to the ‘Full Works’ experience for a more personal tour for up to 4 people for £225.
The “Full Works” is a little more expensive (and appears to be booked for the rest of this year), but includes a free breakfast at 1902 Café, a few freebies (including the Art of Motorcycles book signed by the Triumph CEO, Nick Bloor himself), and that more personal touch of a smaller band.
You are led by your guide like a group of stray ducklings, with a headset tuned to mother hen so you can always hear what they are saying – I was led by Danny, and a quick shout out to Danny – absolute legend . Knows his stuff, kept everyone engaged and answered all questions. Best guy.
What is there to see at the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience?
Charges. I mentioned before that the Triumph Tiger 1200 was being assembled while we were there, and you literally see every step of the build process. Starting with the nuts, bolts and parts inside the boxes, through to the engine parts and hand-glued wheels – ending with a quick run test and quickshifter fitment.
I won’t spoil the tour by giving you a step-by-step guide to what’s there – you’ll have to go see for yourself – but there was a lot to enjoy and 90 minutes flew by.
Particular highlights were the 3D printing area which allows rapid development of prototypes, the visit to the paint shop area where the tanks were being sprayed by hand, the “meeting” of some robots internals who make some of the bits and pieces of the engine, and see all of Triumph’s hands on deck – young and old and full of smiles! Plus rare models, end of production models, test models… the lot.
Scoops and/or secrets?
I’d love to say I saw an upcoming Daytona 660 unit, the first glimpse of a prototype enduro machine from the R&D team, or even a Rocket 4. But… no.
While I hope Triumph’s hands are sweating reading this thinking ‘how did he see that!’ – in truth, I didn’t come away with any secrets or clues worth mentioning.
Danny was discreet and did well to brush off some of my ‘subtle’ incitements to divulge Triumph secrets to a reporter. Fair play for him. Even with the upcoming TE-1 e-bike, which we all know about and is currently in live testing, it wasn’t ready to give up on anything!
Museum and cafe – the visit does not end there.
After your tour is over (or before the tour, if you wish) you can stroll through the Triumph display, where you can easily spend a whole day reading and learning all about Triumph models from the past, including the very first prototype from 1901, various movie bikes, special editions, racing bikes, the Guy Martin land speed record missile… and more, it’s fantastic.
The 1902 Café is there for a bite to eat, and there’s also a merchandise store, with all the fine brand name goods to buy. If you could place orders for bikes there, it would be very dangerous – because I’d probably come out with a deposit paid on something.
Well worth a visit.
What a day and what a place, I highly recommend a visit. If it’s not for the simple fact that you get a behind the curtain tour of arguably the UK’s most important manufacturer, it’s a great excuse for a day out, with plenty of roads to explore in the area. .
It’s also a perfect gift for your motorcycle fanatic partner/friend/neighbor. Although a word of warning – you may come away with an itch for a triumph. One of them on display during the tour was the Triumph Tiger Tramontana, and I think I fell a little in love with it.
So it’s definitely worth a visit, and there will be plenty of events, bike parties and rallies to attend in 2022. Check the Triumph site for all their events this year. Including the largest gathering of record-breaking bikers on July 24. Many thanks to Triumph for inviting me!