As part of its future-model electrification strategy, Triumph has this week revealed design sketches of its Project TE-1 Prototype, which may preview an upcoming electric Speed Triple.
With a clear ultimate aim of the electrification of its two-wheeled range, the sketches present an attractive sports offering, clearly aimed at the performance end of the motorcycle market, suggesting serious power will be on hand.
The bike presents as a futuristic naked-style bike, borrowing much from Triumph’s current conventionally powered line-up in terms of styling, but swapping a familiar three-cylinder petrol engine with a bespoke electrified powertrain.
Notable features include carbon-fibre components, there’s a trellis subframe supporting a minimalist monoposto tail design, belt drive and an exposed perimeter frame set to host a powerful electric motor.
It seems a great deal of effort has gone into retaining the look and feel of a motorcycle of today, the lights and fork reminiscent of the latest Speed Triple with slab-sided fairings covering the actual powerplant, minimising the ‘market culture shock’ associated with the radical new setup.
In a recent press release, Triumph chief product officer Steve Sargent suggests that its new electric motorcycles will not represent a huge departure from its current motorcycle offerings.
“The starting point for us in the TE-1 project was to gather important customer feedback about what riders really want from their motorcycles and understand how an electric motorcycle can provide the experience that riders desire,” said Mr Sargent.
“This includes considering the type of riding, range, feel and nature of power and torque delivery together with the ergonomics and bike controls.
“Taking all of this feedback into consideration we began the chassis design, focusing on bringing everything together on the TE-1 Prototype in a way that provides a riding experience that is exciting and new but ultimately familiar.
“We have begun to define the powertrain and battery interaction through the use of software refinement to deliver an exhilarating power delivery and throttle response, which provides great control and feels intuitive to the rider.
“Overall with the styling we wanted to create something that is fresh and exciting but a natural evolution of the Triumph brand. Something desirable in its own right, with distinctive Triumph DNA and definitely not something that is different just for the sake of being different.”
While the powerplant is the hero of the new bike, Triumph is also suggesting “pioneering functional safety systems” will feature. Sources suggest regenerative braking has been high on the Triumph whiteboard.
While the new modern powertrain is clearly more suited to sports and innovative modern market sectors, Triumph’s move towards electrification will present a dilemma in regard to heritage models, with old-school looks and brand lineage currently strong element for Triumph purchasers.
Does this mean we will see a shock phasing out of retro styling for the Hinckley outfit? Not likely, however, with government money clearly being poured into the project, Triumph is yelling its commitment to the development of alternatively powered models.
Triumph’s Australian wing will soon launch its latest Speed Triple, priced from $25,600 plus on-road costs, which draws power from a 1160cc triple engine delivering 132kW and 125Nm.
It will be some time before petrol makes way for electric, though these developments reiterate that companies like Triumph are readying themselves for a more sustainable transport landscape.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.