Throwback Thursday – Triumph Model H

At the start of the First World War in 1914 the British Government needed effective communications with front line troops and replaced messengers on horses with despatch riders on motorcycles. A number of models were tested for suitability and the Triumph Model H was selected. With the rear wheel driven by a belt, the Model H was fitted with a 499 cc air-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder engine. It was also the first Triumph not to be fitted with pedals, so was a true motorcycle.

Engine differences with the previous Model A included a single cam wheel with two cams replaced separate cam wheels for the inlet and exhaust valve and the new design of cylinder casting, the Model H valve head diameter was enlarged and the valves were spaced further apart. The Model H was fitted with a Sturmey-Archer three-speed countershaft gearbox operated by a hand gear change lever.

More than 30,000 Triumph Model H motorcycles had been produced by the end of the war in 1918. The Triumph Engineering Co Ltd had been using the advertising slogan Trusty Triumph since 1910 and the Model H became known as ‘The Trusty’ as it proved reliable in wartime conditions, despite a weakness in the front fork spring. This was prone to break on rough ground, so despatch riders would strap a leather belt around it as a precaution. When the Model H was discontinued in 1923 a total of 57,000 had been produced.

Copyright – Wikipedia


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