The first product of Triumph’s ambitious tie-up with Indian manufacturing giants Bajaj Auto could be a smaller version of its successful Trident roadster in an effort to take on the popular Royal Enfield Meteor 350.
The British firm announced in 2019 that it had signed an agreement with Bajaj – the second largest manufacturer in India after Hero MotoCorp – to develop a new range of ‘baby’ Triumph models that would be built domestically but be sold globally, including the UK.
To date the two parties have remained coy as to what form these models would take but a report from Rushlane.com suggests the first motorcycle is likely to be a small-engine version of the Trident roadster.
Despite delays brought about by the coronavirus, Triumph confirmed to Visordown in October that its first Bajaj-developed model has been decided on and is going through the design and engineering phase in the UK, with a prototype expected to be unveiled at some stage in 2022.
Should this indeed be the Trident, the size of the engine it will have remains open to interpretation. The original announcement from Triumph detailed the new range of models will sit in the 200-700cc range, with Rushlane speculating this Trident would have a 250cc engine.
However, this could be pumped up to a 300cc or 350cc engine to bring it into line with the market leader in both India and the UK, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350.
Why a ‘baby’ Triumph Trident?
There has been much speculation over what the Triumph-Bajaj collaboration could throw up but a smaller version of the Trident is a very logical place to start.
To say the Trident 660 has been a success for the British marque is an understatement. It is set to end its first full year on sale among the top five best-selling motorcycles (excluding scooters) in the UK, while Triumph says it has shipped 12,500 units globally.
Moreover, Triumph has good form in expanding its well-established model lines over the years with this week alone seeing Visordown hit the road on the fourth iteration of the Triumph Tiger, the 660 Sport version, while it has recently launched its second Speed Triple 1200 in the form of the RR.
As such, an expansion of the Trident range seems inevitable and with the Street Triple occupying space above the 660cc, this is likely to come with lower displacement models.
Indeed, Triumph will be encouraged by the impressive early sales – particularly in the UK – for the no-nonsense Royal Enfield Meteor 350, a model that will be a clear target for any new motorcycle launched in that class sphere.
The ‘baby’ Trident, however, won’t just be looking to hit the mark at home though. Triumph is taking a calculated risk in shuffling its premium image in favour of targeting greater volume with more affordable models, not least because of the smaller profit margins and the crowded marketplace.
India and Asia are key to what could be a vast growth of Triumph’s global sales, which is why it needed to join forces with a domestic company to manufacture these models to keep costs and price tags low.
Interestingly though, Triumph has been at pains to insist any model that emerges from Bajaj’s factories will be available globally, suggesting it is keen to keep a broader outlook and maintain Triumph’s reputation for quality and sportiness.
Beyond the Trident, rumours of a smaller-engined Bonneville and a so-called ‘Tiger Cub’ have also persisted, plus potentially a return to the sportbike arena with a rival to the Yamaha R3 and KTM RC390.