In 1938 Edward Turner unleashed his 500cc Speed Twin, followed by the higher performance T100 Tiger in 1939. Triumph’s first parallel twin was a nimble high performance machine 20 pounds, or more, lighter than typical twin and four cylinder machines made in America. This marked the beginning of a great run for Triumph; the parallel twin design served in a wide street and competition applications.
The Speed Twin and higher performance Tiger both received telescopic forks after World War II. By comparison the stock Tiger had 34 horsepower, about seven more than the WLDR, Harley’s flat head 750cc race bike.
Up until the “oil in frame” design of 1971, the parallel twin design Edward Turner brought to Triumph was the mainstay through its entire 75+ years at Meriden and remained so in John Bloor’s resurrection of the marque in 1995. In road racing, dirt track, enduro, drag racing and land speed record, hundreds of racers rode to fame on Edward Turner’s design, and countless racing records were set on its sound engineering.
1938 Triumph Speed Twin Specifications:
- Engine – OHV Parallel Twin
- Bore & Stroke – 63mm x 80mm
- Displacement – 497 cc’s
- Crankshaft – 360 Degree
- Lubrication – Dry Sump
- Electrics/Ignition – 6V/
- Carburetor – Amal
- Horsepower -27
- Primary – Duplex Chain
- Transmission – 4-Speed
- Frame – Single Downtube/Brazed Lug
- Fork – Tubular Girder/Friction Dampers
- Wheels/Tires – 3.00 x 20 / 3.50 x 19
- Brakes – 7″ Drum Front & Rear
- Wheelbase – 54 Inches
- Weight – 365 pounds