The very extensive sales of this model permit us to catalogue it at a price which competes with bicycles little known and of doubtful origin. It is thoroughly up-to-date in every respect, of a racy appearance, imparted by the sloping of the top tube and 26in wheels and upturned North Road handle-bar.
It is made throughout in our own works, of the highest grade material, by skilled mechanics, most completely equipped, and carries our full guarantee.
– Triumph Sales Catalogue
In the decade preceding World War 1, the high quality of Triumph bicycle and motorcycle manufacture ensured many racing victories. This, of course, fuelled sales, both at home and abroad.
The Gent’s Imperial and Royal Triumphs were the company’s top-of-the-range models, priced at £14 19/- 3d and £12 1/- 6d respectively. The basic Royal without any extras was £9 13/-. The ‘Special’ Triumph took over from the ‘Standard’ as one of Triumph’s budget lines, and the model featured here, the Special No 22, cost £7 18/-. What is particularly interesting is that, despite the cheap price of the normal roadster (No 21), the company added the No 22 Light Roadster with sloping top tube for the same price. It became a very popular machine because, despite the very reasonable price, the customer was still buying a bicycle made to the highest standards in Triumph’s own factory. And its racing style and light weight meant that the rider could use it for amateur racing events. All for £7 18/-!
To compare prices with the present day, multiply the sale price by 100 (approximate), i.e. the Special Triumph No 22 would cost just under £800 and the Imperial just under £1500.
1910 Special Triumph ‘No 22C’ Light Roadster
25″ Frame with Deep Drop Sloping Top Tube
– Standover Height 35.5″ sloping to 32.5″ = 3″ drop
Sturmey Archer ‘Model X’ Three Speed Gear
Frame No 167416
Though it was a popular machine in its day, a Triumph Road Racer is a rare beast these days. This example is even rarer – because, as you can see, it is a tall frame with a deep drop to its sloping top tube. This 25″ frame size was the tallest frame on offer in this model, and they designated it ‘Model 22C’ accordingly (’22A’ and ’22B’ were for 21″ and 23″ frame sizes respectively). With standard handlebars fitted for comfort, machines of this style were used as regular transportation during the week, but at the weekend would compete in amateur races, which were held regularly all over the country, usually with their mudguards and accessories removed. Triumph was well known for the light weight of its bicycles (second only to Rudge-Whitworth in this regard), so this machine would have been a contender when it was campaigned.
The transfers (decals) and box lining on the frame of this racing Triumph are mostly faded, but the machine is in original condition apart from its front mudguard, which was replaced many years ago (you can see it is totally in keeping with the rest of the bicycle), repainted handlebar, and replacement grips (which are invariably damaged when new brake cables are fitted). It retains its original brakes, handlebar with integral brakes and inverted levers, and split Triumph pedals. Although Triumph did supply some of its models with roller levers, the majority sported inverted levers, so this became a good advertising feature for the company.
This Triumph is also fitted with the ‘Model X’ Sturmey Archer three speed gear, which was introduced in 1910. Up to this point in time, gears were not considered a necessity; but Sturmey Archer’s ‘Model X’ was an excellent gear, and the company undertook a massive publicity campaign to try and change public opinion about the need for gears. As can be observed in the photo below, a unique trigger design accompanied the three speed hub, with the logo ‘Mark X’ engraved on it.
1913 TRIUMPH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
ABOVE: Head lock open.
BELOW: Head lock activated.