We hear plenty of industry gossip on a weekly, sometimes daily basis and it’s up to us to decipher the guff from the gold. But a few weeks ago, I heard something utterly preposterous: Triumph entering the off-road market and, in particular, motocross and enduro. Oh how I laughed in the face of my source over in the US of A.
When you consider Triumph’s current focus, which is churning out (relatively big capacity) modern classics and adventure bikes, the move into mud is a ridiculous thought. Sure, Hinckley has dipped its toes back into the racing world by supplying Moto2 engines, and entering an official British Supersport squad for the first time in years, but the brand is hardly pushing boundaries.
But yesterday the announcement came. Or, rather, the announcement of the announcement came. Ricky Carmichael – the original motocross G.O.A.T – and Ivan Cervantes – 5-time Enduro World Champion – were being paraded around on Triumph’s social media platforms, like they were about to be unveiled as ambassadors. There’s an ‘official announcement’ coming on the 20th (of July) and, unless Triumph is pulling one of the greatest April Fools’ jokes in July of all time, we should be treated to some pretty exciting news next week.
Given the sublime off-road qualities of the Tiger 900, and Triumph’s scrambling heritage (and when I say scrambling, I mean scrambling, not modern retro guffery), suddenly it all makes sense. And it’s often easier to disguise MX and enduro bikes thanks to the simplicity. So, for all we know, Ricky has already been tearing up US tracks on the new Triumph MX450, or something.
This could be awesome for another reason. If Triumph have a decent 450 engine, they could become a player in Moto3, if the rules end up changing after the current freeze, as some have suggested.
One of the talked about fixes for Moto3, I think John McPhee wants this to bring back rider skill, is about bumping the capacity to 450. I think that is a great idea, but with a caveat. I believe the current regs say that the 250’s can’t be derived from a production engine, they can’t just tune a 250 motocross engine. Why not say 450 production derived engines. That would make it easier for anyone to make a bike. A tuned Kawasaki in a Kalex frame anyone ? The tuning could be left open, or Dorna could work with all the major manufactures to offer a set of kit parts, and they are homologated
Yes, they will lose cost controls, stock engines, and kit parts can limit that. As can claiming rules. Like the old days, the less well funded teams will run stock setups, and the more well funded will do extra tuning etc.
Probable kit electronics, from say Magneti Marelli, basic TC and maps.