History of Siegfried Bettmann & Early Triumph Bicycles

1922 Special Triumph No 21 Gent’s Roadster

TRIUMPH

JUST mile after mile of enjoyable riding with that mysterious silkiness and smoothness in running, that rigidity and responsiveness under drive, which are but a few of the reasons why the TRIUMPH exercises such a wonderful fascination over lovers of light touring mounts. Now is the time to join that happy and enthusiastic throng of TRIUMPH riders on the open road. Everything is in your favour…

– 1923 Triumph Cycle Co advert

1922 Special Triumph No 21 Gent’s Roadster 

Sturmey-Archer ‘Model A’ Three-Speed

23″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 721092

Supplied by Hayward & Son, Ironmongers & Cycle Shop, Tewkesbury

(Now sold)

This 90-year-old ‘Special’ Triumph is in very good original condition. Only the pedals have been replaced. Triumph components are unique to their bicycles – a strategy used by all the major manufacturers of the time to avoid counterfeits being made – so originality is very important. It’s fitted with a Middlemore’s saddle and a toolbag: you can see from the brochure further down the page that Triumph’s used saddles made by this company.

It’s not easy to tell the difference, but some of the paintwork appears to have been touched up on some parts of the bike. The original transfers still exist. This restoration work was carried out many years ago. The nickel parts – chainwheel, pedal cranks, handlebars, fork crowns, etc – are excellent. It’s obvious that this bicycle has been cherished during its lifetime. The owner of this machine gave up cycling some years ago, and sold his three vintage bicycles in the summer of 2012. This is a very rare machine made to the highest standards by one of Great Britain’s top manufacturers, and I had no hesitation in buying it the minute I saw it. We recently serviced it, and it’s ready to ride.

 1930 TRIUMPH CATALOGUE

MIDDLEMORE’S SADDLE & TOOLBAG 

STURMEY-ARCHER ‘MODEL A’ THREE-SPEED

 

The rear hub gear is a Sturmey Archer Model A, which is essentially a Tricoaster without the back-pedal brake. In The Sturmey-Archer Story, Tony Halland explains that although the ‘K’ hub had been introduced in 1918, the ‘A’ hub was still being advertised in 1921:

‘The launch date of the Type K is often given as 1918; it may have been designed then, but it seems unlikely that this hub reached the market in any numbers until 1922.’

Sturmey-Archer were having trouble coping with demand for the new ‘K’ hub due to a post-war shortage of materials. Outside firms were employed to help meet demand and, for a time, all Tricoasters were made in America. However, these hubs turned out to be unsatisfactory, and it was not until December 1919 that Raleigh gave approval for domestic production to resume.

TRIUMPH CYCLE CO

1914-1932 

By 1922, production was back into full swing for the cycle manufacturers. With their workforce going off to War, many companies had been forced to give up their businesses in 1914. But the more established manufacturers, with larger factories and useful facilities, had gone over to war production. Triumph had benefitted greatly from the War, with over 30,000 motorcycles manufactured and  supplied to the Allies: by 1918, the company was Britain’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.

After the end of the War – 11th November, 1918 – cycle production resumed, with companies introducing their postwar models in 1919. As you can see from the Triumph Roadster illustrated above, the design remained essentially the same as pre-war. Roller Levers were already an option by 1914, although Triumph often used older illustrations showing inverted levers. One difference was mudguards: pre-war Triumph mudguards had a central ridge unique to Triumph, whereas mudguards on their cheaper post-war models such as the ‘Special’ had a rounded profile.

After the War, original partners Bettmann and Schulte disagreed over strategy: the latter wanted to focus on automobile production at the cost of the company’s cycle business. He left Triumph in 1919, to be replaced by Colonel Claude Vivian Holbrook, who had previously worked as a motorcycle procurement officer for the War Office. Triumph did in fact move into car production, forming the Triumph Motor Co in 1921 and, within a few years, their 500,000 sq ft factory was turning out 30,000 cars and motorcycles a year. They continued to make bicycles until 1932, when the cycle business was sold to Raleigh.

HAYWARD & SONS,

HIGH ST, TEWKESBURY 

Hayward & Son’s ironmonger shop was established in Tewkesbury around 1820, with a branch subsequently opened in Upton-on-Severn. With a central retail space in Tewkesbury High St, the company also stocked bicycles. Triumph and Raleigh were two of the company’s best sellers.

Hayward & Son is still operating, although they stopped selling bicycles in the 1970s.

 

  1931 TRIUMPH CATALOGUE