Picking the most significant Triumph motorcycle of all time would be no easy task, but the Model H has to be in the discussion. England’s sole remaining motorcycle company – ironically founded by two German immigrants – followed the predictable path from bicycle builder to motorcycle maker at the turn of the 20th century. By 1914 the firm’s engineering prowess had progressed to the point that the new Model H cast off its bicycle roots and did away with pedals altogether. Here was Triumph’s first true motorcycle. The 500cc single transmitted its power through a three-speed hand-change gearbox via belt to the rear wheel.
Among Triumph’s first customers for the bike was the British government. With World War I underway, the Royal Engineers Signal Service was in the process of replacing their dispatch riders’ horses with motorcycles. Competitive trials against other brands had proved the H’s worth and the purchase orders were drawn up. Military model production would total 30,000 before the end of hostilities. Standing up well to the rigours of wartime use, the H was called “The Trusty,” a nickname that certainly didn’t hurt peacetime sales after 1918. In all some 57,000 units were produced between 1914 and 1923.
This virtually complete example appears to be in structurally sound condition although requiring complete restoration, it is offered here without paperwork at No Reserve.