We were fortunate to locate a copy of the original 1912 Triumph brochure.
In that publication, Triumph highlights the impressive technical developments that the Free Engine Model brought to motorcycling. It also has some very interesting phraseology of the time in the Triumph “Constructional Details” which we have in quotation marks below …
1. Frame … Triumph was very proud of the strength of the frame on the 1912 models. Here is how they described it in their brochure … “No better evidence of the strength and suitability of the Triumph Frame than that it is quite an unheard-of thing, for one of these frames not to give satisfactory service. This is striking testimony as to the correctness of design, considering the very hard usage meted out to many, especially those on colonial roads, in which market Triumph is quite popular as at home.”
2. Triumph “Ball Bearing”Engine … “The cylinder itself is a perfect specimen of the foundryman’s art. The radiating fins are beautifully shaped, thin and deep, and provide ample cooling surface. It is cast in one piece, thus eliminating leaky joints – a fault inseparable when the cylinder and head are made separately.”
3. “Triumph Patent Fork Springs” … a large double purpose spring that was adapted by Schwinn bicycles on many of their higher end models through the 1950s.
4. “Patent Free Engine Plate Clutch” …”This is the most popular fitment ever embodied in a motorcycle, and entirely eliminates the run and jump method of mounting. The clutch of the multiple plate description is contained in the rear hub. These plates are made from a special grade of steel, and half of them engage with the hub shell, and the other half with the axle carrying the belt rim.”
5. “Patent Carburettor and handle-bar control” … Specifically designed for the Triumph Engine, “this is a most important factor in the satisfactory running of the engine – the two most important units working together in perfect unison. The piston valves controlling the throttle and air are operated from the handle-bar, and have a most sensitive adjustment which allows the driver to obtain a perfectly accurate mixture.”
6. “Variable Pulley” … “This is standard fitment to the Triumph Motor Cycle, and allows the gear to be varied from 4 ¼ to 1 to 6 ¼ to 1. This variable pulley has proved a great boon to riders living in hilly districts or touring therein, as the gear can be changed very quickly to suit varying road conditions.”
7. “Ball Bearing Magneto Ignition” … The contact breaker is connected by means of a short rod to a pair of miniature pedals mounted on the footrest socket. These pedals rock backwards and forwards – a forward position retarding, and a backwards position advancing the spark."
8. “Silencer, with patent Cut-out” … This device was opened or closed depending on location giving more power to the engine when open on rural roads. “This is connected with the exhaust port by a pipe of ample dimensions and gradual bend to enable the waste gases to get away freely. A patent cut-out is fitted working on the ratchet principle. The operating pedal requires to be depressed for either opening or closing.”
The Free Engine model had a list price of 60 pounds,10 (installment) and 55 pounds (cash) while the next highest priced model, the Tourist Trophy Roadster was 55 and 50 respectively. 60 pounds 10 is close to 5000 pounds ($7500 US) today.