1916 Triumph Type H

Marque Triumph
Model Type H (commonly referred to as a 'Model H' or 'aitch')
Year 1916
cc 550
Engine 4 stroke single
Starting Kickstart
Gears 3 speed (belt secondary drive)
Top speed ?
Notes This Triumph was produced for the British war department during WW1.





The first run started with a fouled plug which made starting difficult but that was soon remedied and starting became fairly easy, especially when using the half compression lever. The soft chuffing from the engine is softened further by the belt drive giving a very gentle drive but with surprising pull. It is a 550 after all. Braking is gentle and the back brake does all the work. Handling isn't too bad and you have to get used to the slightly odd movement of the 'to and fro' fork action. So a very good first run. The dispatch rider handlebars put the body forward but the foot pegs are also forward so this will take some getting used to and the saddle will need to be adjusted.

The second run was more eventful. The clutch was slipping so much that I almost didn't make to up onto the moor. maybe I've over-oiled which could have resulted in an oily clutch? On the way back down from the photo shoot I was heading into a corner coming down from the moor to the sea when a split pin came out of the back brake mechanism giving me no back brake. Somehow I made it around the tight corner but was heading down hill fast so reached for the front brake and the nipple came off the brake immediately! (correction.. the lever has given way to the nipple so need a new lever) The next choice in the slowing down department was to engage first gear but the clutch was so oily that this did nothing to slow the Triumph which lead to the final option (bar jumping off) which was to use shoe leather (or synthetic rubber as it is now). I've never slowed down this way before but it did work after a while. So it's back in the garage awaiting a complete going over.

The feel is like a late veteran but with all the modernity of a vintage hack. The aitch has true early motor cycling chuffability and the advance lever is very useful for low rev adjustments. I just need to get it into shape so that it is reliable and safe.

IOW Scurry 2010

The aitch has successfully completed three days of bumpy Isle of Wight roads without a break down. It can now be said to have had its shakedown. A saddle spring broke and there are a couple of splits in the front mudguard. The belt didn't slip and although the braking is minimal, the engine braking did the trick coming down the hills.