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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have seen multiple insinuations that Triumphs are being made in Asia somewhere. I have a 2007 Bonneville T100 and I have found nothing to say otherwise than it is made in the UK. What are the facts?

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902 Posts
The quick check is the 11th character of your vin "J" = Jacknell road Hinckley England or "T" = Chonburi Thailand. The code seems to vary around the world, but this works for U.S. bikes.
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5,143 Posts
I GIVE A RAT'S PATOOTIE WHERE THEY'RE ASSEMBLED!!! My Bonnie gives me great motorcycle and that's all that matters.

There's no such thing as made in blah, blah, blah. Nothing is entirely made in the country of it's origon. All bikes are an amalgam of parts, it's how the parts are put together that counts be it U.S. of A. or England or Timbukto.:2gunsfiring_v1:

Well, I do give a bit of a rat's patootie.....but not much.:Tongue2:

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902 Posts
I read the 11th character designation from many sources and believe it also from someone that posted here a while back that use to work for a Triumph dealership and he quoted the following and I haven't seen anything better and if is really important to someone they can ask their dealer:

Quote: FWIW the source I'm using is the Triumph NA document called "Triumph Motorcycle VIN Definition Summary". It came from Triumph. I used to work at a dealer, and Triumph faxed us the document. It CLEARLY states that the 11th VIN position is used to designate the Assembly Plant. J = Jacknell Road, Hinkley, England. T = Chonburi, Thailand. There is no indication on this document that indicates that the 11th VIN postition indicates the "market the bike is destined for".

This is what the fields mean:
POS 1 - 3 Manufacturer
POS 4 - 6 Model
POS 7 - Engine
POS 8 - Power Output
POS 9 - Check Digit
POS 10 - Model Year
POS 11 - Assembly Plant
POS 12 - 17 - Sequence Production Number
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116 Posts
Fake or real

A hugely interesting and entertaining thread to read. For me whether it is real or fake, evolution or new, copy or rebadge or anything I just plain love riding my 07 Bonnie.

I know it isn't the same as the original but many many people here in New Zealand do not. I've lost count of the number of times I've had the comment "I used to ride one of those". I know most of it is nostalgia and rose tinted glasses and boy are many of those people surprised when I tell them its age. Having said that the new "Bonnie" doesn't fool anyone who knows motorcycles.

Regardless I plan to keep enjoying it and having fun. I sold a Speed Triple to get the Bonnie and don't regret it for one minute. If I get caught going over 87 mph (140km/hr) here it's instant loss of licence - I can't afford that. So I enjoy a bike that gives me the sensation, the enjoyment and the look that I want.

Long live the new Bonnie and all who ride it.

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93 Posts
Bonnie Hybrid

The Bonnies are made both in Taiwan and England. The frames are made in their frame shop in Taiwan, and they are shipped to Hinckley for assembly. There are other items which are made in Taiwan which I saw at the factory which were not made there on my 05 T100. The wiring harnesses for my bike are made in Japan, but I noticed several cases of wiring harnesses with Chinese origin.

Long story, short story. They are made in England from parts from several countries.

Been there, seen it....
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O.K., here is the storyline update thus far – I telephoned Triumph Motorcycles Ltd., in Hinckley at 4:30 am my time, 10:30 AM in the U.K. , Tuesday, 22 April, 2008
The following are my notes from that conversation:

I spoke briefly with the woman who answers the Office phone, who was extremely nice and pleasant. I told her what I was looking for -:

Who may I speak to that can explain…
1.) Are any Triumph motorcycles fully assembled - “Made” in Thailand?
2.) What to the letters in the 11th position on the VIN denote?

She WAS very quick to say “OH, absolutely not, all of our motorbikes are made here!”, but the more I explained, I believe the more I confused her. She said they make “parts” in Thailand and the final assembly is in the U.K.

She kindly switched me over to the Manager of Customer Service / Warranty Service.
Very nice guy, sincerely polite and open minded. For now, I will leave his name out of this, as I wouldn’t want to cause any trouble for him. If he agrees, later I will mention him by name. We spoke for one hour and ten minutes total. He is going to get back to me via email, and I will hold him to it as I have his phone number and name now!

He initially stated very firmly that ALL Triumphs are assembled in the United Kingdom, and I believe that he believes this. He stated he has been with the company for four years.
He stated that in Thailand they assemble engines, fabricate frames, fabricate tanks, and coat the frames and tanks. He stated that the demand has grown so much over the past three years that they have expended their operations in both the U.K., and in Thailand.

Oddly, the more we spoke, the more the story slowly began to evolve. He stated that “some” bikes for the Asian and Australian markets were fully assembled in Thailand, and then shipped out from there. Then later he said “possibly” some of those Thailand bikes were shipped to the USA.

He had absolutely no idea what the “J” or “T” letters in the 11th VIN position stood for, and I believe that he didn’t. He stated that he thought the F2 and F4 small white tags on the frame denote which frame fabrication line they came from.

He began to loosen up a bit, and went into an explanation of how new international laws a few years ago drove the elimination of first the Union Jack Decal, then the “Made in Great Britain” metal tag to “Great Britain”, but all along the bikes were a mixture of parts and components from many different locales, just as (his quote) “Harley-Davidson and BMW” are not 100% comprised of parts made only in America and Germany respectively. He agreed that maintaining secrecy about any and all of this would probably cause more harm than good, as when people do not have the true story, there is a natural tendency to conjure and devise a story that seems fit, based upon whatever information is at hand, good or bad.
I could sense that throughout the conversation he was a little nervous, as would be expected from a surprise phone call from the states -and slightly hesitant to provide information over the phone. He continuously stated that he would “need to talk to someone”, to which I continuously requested if I could speak to that someone else who might know more about this. He stated that he had the most knowledge about VIN’s at the Hinckley Plant, and would certainly “get back to me”. I gave him my personal email #.

So… what do we have thus far? Nothing yet, but I haven’t given up. I’ll give the gentleman the benefit of doubt, and allow a full day for him to provide information. After which I’ll report once again. Remember – I don’t give up… ever!

Some thoughts….

Why is it that posters in this Forum, and in this thread know so much about the VIN’s, but the actual on site Triumph, Hinckley Manager of Customer Service and Warranty’s, who deals with VIN’s and recalls daily, doesn’t know anything about this “J”, or “T” theory?

Why is it that both he, and the woman who answered the phone, where initially 100% convinced that all Triumphs were assembled in the U.K., but both then became a little skeptical once I explained what WE thought? (Who’s convincing whom here?).

Why are we so worried about this? In the end, who cares! Story of my life – the relentless pursuit of the meaningless! I think it’s because someone earlier called me an idiot for no reason. I hate that, don’t you?

And lastly, and very sadly, we have unfortunately degraded from a simple question – “Where was my Triumph made?” to the thread being high-jacked and now being used as a tool to downgrade ALL Bonneville / Scrambler / Thruxton Triumphs as being “fakes”.
My stomach turns at this idea from our own people. Terrible, not worth mentioning.

That said I am going to continue to pursue this matter, to finally obtain documented truth, which I will or die trying. To me, it doesn’t matter where my bike was made as it is extremely high quality, thus far virtually faultless, and I truly enjoy every single moment riding it. The vast majority of Triumph riders are friendly, open-minded, unbiased, helpful and fun people. Don’t allow a few insignificant miscreants spoil the wonderful image for the majority!

One last little jibe – anyone who would state that the Triumph’s from the 50’ or 60’s were “better” than the Triumphs built today either never owned one back then, or wasn’t even old enough to ride back then.
1.) Leaking Amal Carbs spewing fuel all over the engine from vertical float bowl gaskets (what were they thinking?)
2.) Leaking petcocks constantly doing the same!
3.) Vibration so bad that you needed to wrench everything after every trip or stuff would simply fall off while riding?
4.) Vibration so bad that your hands and arms ached after medium to long rides?
5.) Mysterious Lucas electrical problems resulting in long walks home?
6.) Constantly needing to adjust contact points… with a matchbook cover?
7.) Spark plugs loading up with carbon and soot every month of riding?
8.) Engines needing total rebuilds after only 8 to 10 thousand miles?
9.) Less Horsepower than you have on a new Triumph.
10.) Less torque than you have on a new Triumph.
11.) Oil leaks, oil leaks, oil leaks… ahh memories!

Now... you CAN make these old bikes usable with modern exchange and upgrade parts, modern sealants, modern tires, and engine rebalancing. But then that’s not authentic is it?

To answer your next question – Yes, I owned a ’67 triumph that I used (when it ran!) sporadically from ’69 to ’73 while I was in college. And yes, there were a few brief shining moments that I recall as being wonderful. But there were also many heartbreaks and P.O’d moments when you had to stiff a date because the bike wouldn’t run. That “stiffed” date is now my wife of 35 years this year!!

Nostalgia has a way of tricking the memory cells and making the “old days” seem a lot better than they actually were. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the old bikes, and would have one if I had both the excess of time and money to tinker with one. But to say they are “better” is just pure silliness guys, come on!

Let’s at least stick to one pointless argument at a time!

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381 Posts
When I went on the factory visit/tour 18 months ago I was told that Triumph would be building bikes in Thailand for the Asian and Australian markets, Main reason being something to do with less duties to pay in the countries they're sold in if they're built in that part of the world.

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And another thing....

Pardon me intruding on your forum as a Tiger rider. I've followed all this with interest, however I've checked my VIN with several VIN decoders on the net and in most cases it comes up as 'invalid', I've checked my documentation against the plate on the bike itself and it's correct. The plate itself by the way says Triumph Motorcycles Ltd Hinckley England.
I can only come to the conclusion that Triumph VIN plates don't conform to the ISO standard as described here for example
or here
It starts off OK - SM is UK and T is triumph, TG730 ought to be the model descriptor
but then it goes wrong Position 9 is supposed to be check digit, numerical not alphabetical. In my case it's a letter, followed by another letter in position 10 (the J or T everyone was so excited about). This position is the year of manufacture and all the sites say that the letter I have indicates a manufacture year of 1996! Oh really? Did they build 955i Tigers in 96?
Position 11 is supposed to be the plant code and the figure on my bike could represent anywhere in the world for all I know as there's no explanation for anyones plant codes that I can find - conspiracy theorists make of that what you will. The remainder of the VIN is simply a serial number so I'd guess there are a lot of Triumphs out there.
BUT the digit in the position people were talking about at the start of this thread ISN'T the factory code, or at least shouldn't be. Even if it IS a T for Thailand it doesn't square with the SMT bit on the front which does appear to comply and indicate manufacture in Britain. I don't actually care one way or the other really; as I've said elsewhere its a collection of bits from all over the place, as my last two tigers have been.:confused:

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709 Posts
This is because America uses the ISO code by law and the 11th digit has to represent the plant of assembly, whereas the rest of the world doesn't have to, so they don't. There is a different system used in United Kingdom, Europe and the Oceanias, this is why the VIN decoders don't work on your VIN.

This might help explain click

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2005 T100
2,775 Posts
I have the answer!

I can't believe it ! Triumph Vin Decoder. Got it from the Wikipedia site for Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph Vin Decoder

Here is my report

Home :: Tools & Services :: VIN Decoder

The VIN you provided belongs to a motorcycle that was manufactured in Great Britain by the Triumph corporation.

World region:

Manufactured in:
Great Britain




Body style:
Road / Street

Drive type:

2 Cylinders

Have fun!! - Sal

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2005 T100
2,775 Posts
VIN SMT910K175Jxxxxxx
DECODED 2005 Triumph
Make Triumph
Vehicle Type Motorcycle
Engine Type 865 cc, Parallel Twin; A/C; DOHC
Check Digit 7
Model Year 2005
Assy. Plant Jacknell Road, Hinckley, England
Production Seq. Number xxxxxx
Fuel Type Gasoline
Manufacturer Triumph Motorcycles Ltd.

I tried the pronto site. Here is what i got. Looks good to me

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5,558 Posts
Anybody looking for a job at Triumph in Thailand?

Look here:

Note the description of the Plants, and what they manufacture inside. Also a reference to Factory 1, Factory 2,3,4,5 etc.

No reference to any FULL assembly going on...

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176 Posts
Hinckley is midway between Leicester and Birmingham - both 'ethnically diverse', so it's possible there will likely be a mix of different people in the workforce. Who knows? There may even be some Thai workers!!

But there's no reason any properly set up, trained and supervised workforce shouldn't be able to build 'bikes - here's what they have to match:

And here's what they've got to beat:

(Parts 2 and 3 also available!)

Good eh? :)

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5,558 Posts
Interesting site:

Note the Rocket III being used in the Logo.

Please take the time to read through this carefully. I've tried, but cannot find any reference to full bikes being assembled. I may have missed something, or perhaps my reading comprehension skills are substandard.

Note references to Factories 1, 2, 3 and 4, and what is taking place at each respective plant. Pretty clear outlines, very specific as to activities at each Factory. Again no specific reference to Full Bike Assembly. Looks to me more like component fabrication for export?

At the bottom of each page, hit the "next" button for more info.

Lies, vagueness and cover-ups on a Human Resources page? I wouldn't think so. Why would HR want to publish false information? Any HR guys out there want to comment?

Sounds like expansion is fully underway, and a lot of very High-Tech, Degreed personnel are being hired.

Note date of 05/07/ 2008. Pretty much up-to-date information.

Please, no "reading between the lines" or speculative translations. Looking for help - does anyone read "Full Motorcycle Assembly" anywhere in this HR Document from a week ago?

Thanks everyone. Let's have some fun with this.

The question is: What is going on in Thailand? Let's not degrade it into which Triumphs are better than others, low-class racial or ethnic slurs, Who's an idiot - and who's not, or requests to close it because of some deep-set fear of the unknown. This is the single-most popular, and most visited post on the TTH sector, let's keep it that way.

Thanks to all serious respondents.

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31,627 Posts
Well, as I sit here getting the cobwebs out of my head from saturday night beers, I feel I must post, before heading out into the real world for more motorcycling fun.

I tend to agree with Mr Gob-Ny-Geay (hope I spelled that right). Companies I have worked for also had manufacturing plants in Thailand. All very high quality, with exceptional attention to detail. I have no problem at all with Triumph building bikes there from a quality standpoint.

In a global manufacturing world, a manufacturing company has to be prepared to source and build components and assemblies wherever it is most cost effective to do so. Cost effective mind you, not cheap. The two are different.

For those of you who are worried about the "britishness" of your bike, will you stop riding them because the oil filters are made in the USA? The Metzeler stock tyres made in Germany? The very fine fast dissapearing carburettors made in Japan? I can assure you that a large portion of the components on these bikes come from a number of different places in the world.

The soul and feel of the bikes remains British to me. What matters is having that, and knowing that the Triumph manufacturing engineers know what quality really is, and are able to build fine motorcycles repeatably and to a price that matches market conditions, which they do. Taking a non flexible, "we're only doing it this way" approach is what killed the British bike industry in the first place.

Now, I would prefer manufacturing jobs to stay in the UK and USA, not be shipped off shore, but that is not driven by the factory actually, it is driven by a great many factors. Triumph, like a lot of other companies, are working within all the available factors to keep profitable while also meeting customer demand. I don't think that they are doing any lay offs in setting up the new plants, right?

I have not looked at the VIN number on my triumph, because I don't care where it was assembled. I have been to the Hinckley factory, and had a glimpse at the Triumph manufacturing philosophy, and I am quite confident, well within a six sigma level, that bikes built in Thailand and England will be indistinguishable from each other.

And now..............................

To the motorcycles! There's riding and wrenching afoot!
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