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Ricky Carmichael Working With Triumph to Develop Dirt Bike Models

If you wondered why PIERER Mobility Group added Gas Gas to its group of dirt bike brands (which already included KTM and Husqvarna) in 2019, the reason might have been made a bit clearer by a recent announcement from Triumph.

Triumph is pursuing the development of motocross and enduro models with the help of the GOAT Ricky Carmichael (owner of 15 AMA MX/SX championships) and 5-time Enduro Champion Ivan Cervantes. According to Triumph, the development of these models is “well underway”, so we may see production bikes soon.

Triumph undoubtedly wants in on the off-road motorcycle boom currently being enjoyed by KTM/Husqvarna/Gas Gas and others. Sales have skyrocketed in this segment, and it is viewed as an effective way to draw new riders to brand loyalty.

Here is the press release from Triumph:

Triumph is excited to announce that development is well under way on a comprehensive range of all-new competition Motocross and Enduro motorcycles. Joining our class leading and globally renowned motorcycle range this all new competition MX and Enduro family will bring all of Triumph’s engineering expertise to riders and racers worldwide. 

This will be accompanied by a landmark moment for Triumph and the MX and Enduro racing world with an all new Triumph factory race programme, and a commitment to top tier championship racing in both Motocross and Enduro series. 

Coming hand-in-hand with this commitment, to race and win at the highest level in the sport, Triumph is proud to announce that global Motocross legend Ricky Carmichael and five-times Enduro World Champion Iván Cervantes have joined the Triumph family as active partners in both bike testing and preparation for racing. 

An announcement of the timetable for the launch and reveal of the motorcycles, as well as the racing programme and the full story on the product advantages the new Triumph MX and Enduro offer, will follow in the coming months. 

“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Triumph brand, which everyone at Triumph is incredibly excited to be part of. We are 100% committed to making a long-lasting impact in this highly competitive and demanding world, with a single-minded ambition to deliver a winning motorcycle line-up for a whole new generation of Triumph riders” – Nick Bloor: CEO Triumph Motorcycles Ltd

“I am thrilled to announce that I am joining the Triumph family and even more excited to be a part of their new endeavour into the off-road product category.

This is an incredible opportunity for me to join this historic brand, and I am honoured and humbled to be a part of the development and release of their off-road motorcycles. Building something from the ground up is something that really is intriguing to me at this stage of my career. What is impressive to me is Triumph’s dedication, and passion to develop a top of the class product. Everyone that I have been involved with in this project from the engineers, design groups, R&D dept., etc., have shown extreme passion for what they are doing and that is a recipe for success and something that I love being a part of. We all share that same passion, and that’s to be the best.

If you are familiar with the Triumph brand, you already know the quality of craftsmanship is top shelf, and the off-road models will follow suit to their past!

Not only are these exciting times for me, but it’s an exciting time for the off-road industry to be adding another brand to the mix and the opportunities that lie ahead for all off-road consumers. I can’t wait to see the reactions when these models hit the dealer’s showroom floors.”– Ricky Carmichael

“I have loved Triumph motorcycles right from being a small kid, seeing them in films and on television.

So to be working with Triumph from the beginning of this project, is an amazing opportunity for me, not just because it is working with one of the world’s greatest motorcycle brands, but also for being part of building something from zero. It is a dream come true for any racer!

Like me, everyone I am working with at Triumph is focused to make the bikes the best they can be. I cannot wait to see the bikes competing at a world level, but I also look forward to when I can stand in a Triumph dealer and know I was part of this very special project.”– Ivan Cervantes

39 Comments

  1. rick says:

    It’s electric.

  2. motorhead says:

    I’m convinced with Triumph’s brand loyalty, they will sell a bunch of their new MX and Enduro bikes. Doesn’t need to be the best bike. Nobody buys the best performance bike, they buy the brand they identify with, usually for emotional reasons. Triumph already has a deep emotional connection with their customers, and more importantly with their customers’ kids, so it’s a no-brainer to jump into dirt bikes.

  3. Todd says:

    Got my doubts , but hiring Carmichael is a greAt move. Instant street cred. Hard to believe he is 41 . Seems like yesterday he was dominating

  4. Trail Rider says:

    Its really hard to imagine how Triumph could come up with an enduro line that can compete & differentiate itself from KTM, Husqvarna, Gas Gas, Beta, Sherco. I’m sure the Goat is taking this very seriously, but its a tall order. A better engine/suspension than KTM or Beta 250/300 2T? Better all-around dual sport/hard core adventure bike than KTM 500 or Beta 4T line-up? Highly unlikely.

    • Dave says:

      It’s unlikely they’ll be on the level of the best in the 1st year or 3 but I remember when all of the brands on that list were crap (certainly for MX) and/or unavailable in the US. It wasn’t very long ago.

      Things are changing pretty fast. I’m surprised that there’s enough demand for dirt bikes to justify all of these brands and I’m glad to see it. I hope it continues.

      • Jeremy says:

        Indeed. KTM is arguably THE name in the MX and trail worlds now, but they sucked for a long time. It took time, determination, a large investment from India, and the acquisition of some key competitors to get to where they are. And timing – the abandonment of the off-road/enduro market by the Japanese OEMs allowed KTM to rise by building the bikes the Japanese didn’t want to build yet many people wanted to buy.

        Triumph won’t have the resources to suck for very long. But if they shamelessly copy a winning design and dump their R&D money into figuring out the details that aren’t so obvious when making a copy, they could potentially have something competitive in a few years.

  5. Randy P Talburt says:

    They’d do well to try and buy Sherco or TM. Their bikes are pretty dialed and I bet after 2020 their expertise could be had easier and cheaper than doing it all themselves. Coming to the party late doesn’t leave much room for missteps.

  6. Relic says:

    Currently, 5 manufacturers are making the same bike. A pro 250 or 450 has more in common with competing brands than it does with the stock version of itself. I don’t know what Triumph will do differently. Furthermore, 4T are only used in motocross. The 4 Japanese brands handed the off road market to KTM when they went 4T. Yamaha does build a WR 2T, only 20 years too late.
    This reminds me of Polaris taking millions from their utv/sled golden goose and trying to buy their way into a dying cruizer segment.
    I see several ADVs on the forest roads when I’m out there. If you have a winner, don’t mess with it.

  7. dt-175 says:

    hey mick! remember when they said that carmichael would never be big enough to ride a (two-stroke) 250!!!

    • Mick says:

      He ruined the life of a motocross racer. He was the first guy who worked out like a professional athlete. Up until him, motocross racers were all beer swilling party animals.

      • Dave says:

        Johnny O’mara and Jeff Ward were credited with being the first to really train for fitness (as opposed to just riding). Their competition like Ricky Johnson, Jeff Stanton, and pretty much everyone after followed. By the time Ricky arrived it was impossible to be competitive without taking training seriously. None of that takes anything away from Ricky. He’s the best there ever was.

        • Guu says:

          Ask about that from DeCoster or Heikki Mikkola. And they will tell you that they looked up to some very hard working men. Seriously. look at motocross from 1950’s and tell me that you can be “swilling party animal” and ride like that.

  8. motomike says:

    Ooo yea i remember Cannondale, a design ahead of the times,poorly executed.Top notch components wrapped around a slow,overweight powerplant. The dealership I was working at back then was thinking about picking them up. I rode the bike and the ATV in the parking lot. Couldn’t tell much about performance but they sounded like a coffee can full of marbles! Instead we wisely? went with ATK!

  9. Jeremy says:

    Gutsy move. If there is a more competitive and unforgiving market segment than MX, I don’t know what it is.

  10. Mick says:

    It’s interesting to see how many commenters mentioned street legal bikes. The article clearly mentions motocross and enduro, which are slight variations of the same bike. I have personally raced enduro on nothing but motocross bikes that I have lightly modified.

    Making them street legal doesn’t do anything for them at all.

    That said, making a DP bike sets a lower bar. The DRZ 400 is a 22 year old motorcycle that has little competition in its niche. But a better DRZ is still not a decent motocross or enduro bike. They might look simple. But they are not. Dirt bikes had better suspension in the 80s than most street bikes have to this day and the early 2000s brought a lot of chassis upgrades.

    BMW is a very large company with a lot of money and a lot of scientists. Their dirt bike was awful. They hired David Knight to race it and he quit mid-season saying “The guy who designed the bike wouldn’t admit that it was no good”.

    • Grover says:

      I realize the article is about moto/enduro, but wouldn’t it be nice if TRIUMPH filled a much needed empty spot in the market by producing a true 400cc dual sport that was not a 10k+ racing machine for a sensible price. Seems like a no-brainer but FAR from the capabilities of every motorcycle manufacturer out there.

    • Bart says:

      I tend to agree. The competition won’t get beat with a DOT/EPA spec bike. Hot section parts on winning 4-stroke race bikes have inspection schedules in hours, not miles. Most Triumph owners/riders I know would not put up with that on a street legal bike (including me!)

    • Mick says:

      I don’t know. Road going “dirt bikes” get no love at all. The people who buy them are an easy and an impossible bunch to please. Out of Japan you have the DR 650, a true dinosaur the day it was released. Then you have the KLR 650. See DR above except that it gains weight with each so called refresh. But somehow these are the survivors. Other bikes were made and rejected. Then you have the DRZ 400. A bike that seems about as dirt bike as street bike buyer will tolerate.

      Flash news. KTM has long made the EXC series of bikes that are dirt bikes and are street legal, with minimal street bike perversions. But “real” street bikers don’t take them seriously. They are too (add long list of complaints here).

      You want to make a bike that will appeal the the DR/KLR/DRZ bunch? Good luck. Those guys make Goldilocks look like a pushover. If I live to be a thousand, I will never understand those guys.

      I do know that if you could make an XR400 street legal and somehow get it to be happy cruising at 80mph. You wouldn’t ever have to make another one or update it in any way. Thirty years from now it would still have a huge cult following.

      I feel like I need a shower.

      • todd says:

        Don’t forget about the Himalayan.

      • Grover says:

        Many riders would be satisfied with a DR-Z400S that had a 6 speed, fuel injection and a 34” seat height for $7K. It’s not rocket science. I’m waiting for that day but might be dead before it happens.

  11. Doc Sarvis says:

    Cant wait. Street legal 400ish dirt bike with a 3.5 gallon tank, great suspension, smooth, and quiet and my quid is yours.

  12. todd says:

    I’m really interested to see how they will compete against the already amazing bikes out there. I mean, we’re talking about the KTM/Husky 690/701, the Suzuki DRZ400, Honda CRF450L, Kawaski KLR. It’s disappointing that Yamaha is dropping the WR250R… Well, that’s for on-the-road bikes, it’s likely they will focus on competition level 250s and 450 MX bikes but it’s a start. I’ve never associated Triumph with off road bikes, except with the old Tiger Cub.

  13. Grover says:

    Triumph-
    How about developing a 400cc dual sport that has fuel injection, 6 speeds and a 34” seat height for under 8k? You’d sell about 50,000 of them in the first year. Also, you don’t need an ex-racer to develop it as there’s no need for a sophisticated off-road suspension on an $8k dual sport.

  14. Jim says:

    Triumph will see pretty quickly that the off-road competition makes the 600cc sport-bike arms race of yesteryear seem tame.

    • Mick says:

      Exactly. Remember BMW and Cannondale?

    • Dave says:

      It’s practically a spec class. If they concentrate on a 250 and 450 single + good transmission and build a chromoly frame around it, they can buy everything else the need from any of the number of suppliers that provide these parts for the existing makes.

      • Dirck Edge says:

        Good point. KYB/Showa/Marzocchi forks and shocks, as well as Brembo/Nissin/Tokico brakes are supplier items, for the most part.

        • Dave says:

          And I don’t mean to make light of the importance and difficulty of designing and tuning the whole package.

          I’ve ridden plenty of bikes with such a wonky characteristic (Superhawk fork valving?) that it left me wondering, “Who signed off on THIS?”

      • Jeremy says:

        That’s true of any racing class. The truth is it just isn’t that easy (and I know you aren’t implying that it is.) Brakes, tires, and wheels get ordered from a catalogue. The OEM designs or determines the attributes for everything else. Yamaha’s critically acclaimed version of the KYB SSS isn’t the same as Beta’s underwhelming version of that same fork, for example.

        • Guu says:

          Those are not catalogue items even if they come from small number of suppliers. Look at a Nissin front brake master cylinder on various bikes. There are design differences that translate in to performance differences.

          • Jeremy says:

            Having worked for an OEM equipment company (not motorcycle related), I can tell you those small differences are often (but not always) chosen or engineered for the spare parts business so that parts aren’t interchangeable with the supplier’s aftermarket products or another OEM using that same supplier. However, they really could buy the brakes from a supplier catalogue. Brembo, for example, has many different variants to choose from. Triumph test a number of master/caliper/rotor combos to get the bite, modulation, and power balance they are looking for. Then if Triumph wish, for a small engineering fee, Brembo can also do slight modifications to make the parts “Triumph specific.”

          • Guu says:

            Those are not the reasons in this case. Look at the master cylinders. Wear parts are interchangeable. There are however small differences that affect the performance greatly. Should be easy to spot. Motorcycle manufacturers either design these features themselves (and hold the patent) or purchase a period of exclusivity.

          • Jeremy says:

            I don’t disagree with that… There are some mods designed in for specific, performance related reasons. However, my point is that Triumph can indeed source a set of brakes that meet the performance standards of the class with no design work needed if that’s what they wish.

  15. John B. says:

    May be Trumpy can give us a “Unicorn” 600-700cc adventure bike that weighs around 180kg wet with a range of circa 400kms? As neither Husky, KTM, Yamaha et all have bothered..

    • PABLO says:

      Husky made the 701 with optional rally kit which gave it a range of 600ks+ and weighed 158kg dry, that should meet your requirements John.

      • John Brown says:

        Yes we know it in Australia as the short lived LR, just missing the $2k+ front tower and screen for some wind protection. Lack of metal rear subframe worried some who wanted to travel, though it was safe for a pillion.

    • Dave says:

      This must be much harder to do than it sounds?

  16. motomike says:

    Wow Trumpet must be doing really well as design,R&D and production of an all new segment is astronomically costly especially today! They can’t just slap another twin in a new frame like they do on other products. Big British Balls!