Jamie Looker

BIKE (UK) - - TRIUMPH’S TRIUMPHS -

IT’S AL­WAYS EX­CIT­ING when you see some­thing go­ing into con­cept that’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent to what you’ve done be­fore, and what’s in the mar­ket. I was re­ally in­trigued to see how the Bob­ber worked out. One of the unique things dur­ing its devel­op­ment was that we had an in­ter­nal build-off com­pe­ti­tion, where our en­gi­neers from all around the busi­ness got to­gether and two staff teams made build-off bikes with a bud­get of £2-3000. That was 2012, at the very early stages. The Bob­ber was in con­cept by then and the teams used a rolling chas­sis and cre­ated their own ver­sion to show what fu­ture bikes could look like – to give their in­ter­pre­ta­tion. It helped fo­cus peo­ple’s minds, and there are a few styling cues taken from that ex­er­cise which made it onto the fi­nal bike. Also, we heav­ily re­searched the cus­tom world and that en­abled us to get a feel for what would look uniquely Tri­umph. So while although it’s a unique model in many ways if you look at the tank, for ex­am­ple, it’s def­i­nitely a Tri­umph. I first rode one very late in the process, about 4-5 months be­fore it went into pro­duc­tion. It’s de­cep­tive how well it per­forms – the han­dling is su­perb and you can get the pegs down fairly eas­ily on twisty roads, yet it’s still com­fort­able cruis­ing along at 70mph. It’s the sort of bike that when you get off it you turn round and check, be­cause you can’t quite be­lieve how well it’s per­formed. I ac­tu­ally bought one be­cause I wanted to keep it for a few years, rather than have a com­pany bike that tends to go back af­ter a year. When it went on sale, we phys­i­cally could not make the bikes fast enough. Gen­er­ally we re­lease bikes into a seg­ment where we’ve got a clear range of com­pe­ti­tion and a clear un­der­stand­ing of the seg­ment size. So we can get a feel for what our mar­ket share will be, and it’s easy to be there or there­abouts [with sales pre­dic­tions]. But with the Bob­ber, be­cause it’s a such a dif­fer­ent bike it doesn’t play in a clear seg­ment, so you don’t re­ally know what sort of vol­ume you’ll sell. We went back to the build plan three or four times over a six month pe­riod try­ing to squeeze more bikes in. That is a rare oc­cur­rence, be­cause we have got a rea­son­able feel for where mar­kets will be. But we have cre­ated our own lit­tle seg­ment with the Bob­ber.

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