Triumph Bobber / Speed Twin.

Fast Eddie

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Glen, I don’t recall ever writing, or implying, that Asia produced poor quality motorcycles!

I did say that Triumph did not go to Thailand for quality reasons. They went to reduce costs in order to improve profits. Period.

And I said that... Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Triumph, plus I might as well add Airbus and a vast array of military hardware by BAE systems... have all proven that British workers are very able, and perhaps you missed the point Glen where I said “provided they have proper management”.

Norton’s problems aren’t the workers fault !

Norton’s problems are cheaply sourced parts, badly trained workers, total lack of proper ‘standardised work’, total lack of proper ‘root cause problem solving’ leading to robust process improvements.

Let’s take one small issue: the oil cooler smacking the front mudguard... if the frame welders had a proper jig to angle the bracket correctly, and proper training and standardised work, and if the managers regularly confirmed that the standard was being followed, the bracket would be correct.

If the assembly process had proper standardised work and training in the correct length and orientation of the oils pipes, and the managers regularly confirmed, the cooler would be ‘pulled in’ correctly.

None of the above is rocket science, but it doesn’t happen by itself, it’s the managements job.

‘Standardised work’ is a grossly under valued and miss understood concept. Toyota are the masters of it. The Americans actually invented the ‘modern’ version of it in WW2 with the Training Within Industry initiative (google it cos it’s a very interesting story).

In summary, weak management and overly strong unions were a destructive combination in the U.K. and it’s still not fully recovered. The workers were trapped in the middle !
 
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My take on this
"It’s the trend in many manufacturing companies to keep the high tech, high precision products at ‘home’ where they have more able workforce’s and better overall control of quality, and of shore the production of lower end / simpler high volume products to the Far East"

Is that the Far East is OK to build simple stuff, but for the real tricky work we need the "more able workforce" of the " home" market. How else can the above be interpreted?
And I'm saying the sad truth is about 180degrees from the above.

Talk to Jim Bush about the goofball who assembled his 961 with the wrong length bolts holding the middle crank bearing assembly in place, and scores of other amateur screw ups.
I do wish it wasn't so.
And I agree that it is possible to build a good product in the UK or Canada, for that matter. It's just a lot more difficult than in some other places. Turnover is one of the big problems. People just start to be of use then jump to another employer in the quest for more.

Meantime I'm not buying a CanAm just because it's Canadian ....or Finish or Austrian or whatever the hell it is!
This idea that it's best to only buy things built in your own country, I dunno.
You could end up with a house and garage full of real junk! :)
 
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Just to have my say - I believe that Norton have simply got their business model wrong! They will never be able to compete with established motorcycle manufacturers as that market is shrinking anyway - and they shouldn't try! I bought a 961 because I fell in love with the looks, the sound and the feel - it was never going to be a purchase of the mind purely one of the heart. When you are spending a minimum of £15K on a toy who cares about the odd £1K here or there? Nortons were never bought by people because they represented good value for money, they were bought for nostalgic reasons.

My Ducati Diavel is superior in everyway to the Norton but I bought the Norton first regardless. I sold it on quickly not because the Ducati was a better bike but because the quality I did expect just wasn't there. I would have willingly spent extra on the Norton if I got on it and had 100% confidence it was going to be reliable. What I didn't want was a toy that I couldn't use, something which couldn't be easily maintained (lack of dealers) and something which felt under developed and fragile. The type of people who buy Nortons do so because they are British made and should represent the pinnacle of British engineering - sadly the bean counters have turned what could have been an excellent niche motorcycle into something which I fear will not be with us towards the end of next year when the necessary finance cannot be found.
 

Fast Eddie

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BritTwit

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SG recently said that the 961 is still the " backbone of the company"
Well fix your backbone before you go racing then!

Glen
Yeah, the 961 does need a good back brace.:cool:

The minimal funding, low production business model is the real problem here.
With proper financing from the beginning, that you would normally see in a manufacturing concern, Norton would have a full engineering staff, training, and QA/QC controls to prevent the types of owner issues that we have seen thus far.

There is a limit to how far the Norton name will go if the quality doesn't soon catch up.
 

Fast Eddie

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There is a limit to how far the Norton name will go if the quality doesn't soon catch up.
I think we’re already seeing that in the slow sales and poor residual values of used machines.

Given the low overall volumes, and the various Ltd editions, residuals should be strong, but they’re not.

It’s a sign that ‘the market’ is not happy...
 

Eljahara

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I know I’ve been talking about a two up bike, but I decided on a Triumph Bobber TFC.
Only 200 are making its way to the states and I placed my deposit just moments ago.
I hope I made the right choice lol.
Between all the “bobber style” bikes.
Triumph, Harley-Davidson and Indian. Triumph nailed it in my opinion.
I’m a single guy and in the future I’ll probably purchase another bike, at that time it’ll definitely be a 2 up bike.
Nice
Enjoy it when it arrives - hopefully not too long a wait.
 
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My take on this
"It’s the trend in many manufacturing companies to keep the high tech, high precision products at ‘home’ where they have more able workforce’s and better overall control of quality, and of shore the production of lower end / simpler high volume products to the Far East"

Is that the Far East is OK to build simple stuff, but for the real tricky work we need the "more able workforce" of the " home" market. How else can the above be interpreted?
And I'm saying the sad truth is about 180degrees from the above.

Talk to Jim Bush about the goofball who assembled his 961 with the wrong length bolts holding the middle crank bearing assembly in place, and scores of other amateur screw ups.
I do wish it wasn't so.
And I agree that it is possible to build a good product in the UK or Canada, for that matter. It's just a lot more difficult than in some other places. Turnover is one of the big problems. People just start to be of use then jump to another employer in the quest for more.

Meantime I'm not buying a CanAm just because it's Canadian ....or Finish or Austrian or whatever the hell it is!
This idea that it's best to only buy things built in your own country, I dunno.
You could end up with a house and garage full of real junk! :)
I would never buy anything just because it's British but if the quality is there and, as Fast Eddie has said, there is absolutely no reason why it should not be, then it's the icing on the cake - it makes your purchase feel special and a pleasure to own.

The problems with the 961, as Chris Drew has said, are because of underdevelopment, lack of investment and I would say design issues. Also vibration as a natural characteristic of the type of engine can cause bits to fail and come loose which some might put down to poor construction but which is not. "Amateur screw-ups" are down to management again - poor quality training and inadequate training of workers - but if Japanese and German car manufacturers can have confidence in setting up and building cars in the UK then there can't be much wrong with the British worker.

I'm afraid you couldn't possibly end up with a house full of junk in the UK, we just don't make enough! What we do make though can stand head to head with the best quality in the world. I play guitar and have a Fender, American made, guitar. The quality is superb and it plays great but to get the best sounds I plug it into a British, hand made, amplifier - expensive but worth every penny!
 

BritTwit

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Well, now that we have all identified the problems with Norton, and the solutions, who is going to buy out SG, take control of Norton, and set it straight?

I need my supercharged 961 before I'm too old to ride it.
 
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John Bloor is a very shrewd man, he knew that if he had originally built his factory overseas then his product would certainly have flopped.
So he kept his secret plan to build the Thai factory when Triumph had built up a great reputation, on the backs of Britsh workers.
Now if that's not a slap in the face, I don't know what is.
At least SG had the balls to build Nortons in the correct country.
 
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British workers are as good as any
if trained and managed well. My British built Daytona 955i is almost as good as the Thai built Thruxton.

Country of origin is really not a guarantee of quality or lack of quality today. No country has a hold on clever , hardworking people.
I recently attended a gathering of Microsoft engineers in Houston Texas.
In attendance there was a Hindu couple, the wife in traditional costume, a Portugese couple, a Danish fellow, two young American men and a 40 year old American woman.
All were software engineers working for
Microsoft. These are highly paid jobs, in the 200k to 600k range, depending on ability and education.
Bill Gates has figured out that there are brilliant people living all over the world and that women are as clever as men. He doesn't care about country of origin.

Glen
 

Eljahara

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I bought a 961 because I fell in love with the looks, the sound and the feel - it was never going to be a purchase of the mind purely one of the heart. When you are spending a minimum of £15K on a toy who cares about the odd £1K here or there? Nortons were never bought by people because they represented good value for money, they were bought for nostalgic reasons.
I sold it on quickly not because the Ducati was a better bike but because the quality I did expect just wasn't there. I would have willingly spent extra on the Norton if I got on it and had 100% confidence it was going to be reliable. What I didn't want was a toy that I couldn't use, something which couldn't be easily maintained (lack of dealers) and something which felt under developed and fragile. The type of people who buy Nortons do so because they are British made and should represent the pinnacle of British engineering - sadly the bean counters have turned what could have been an excellent niche motorcycle into something which I fear will not be with us towards the end of next year when the necessary finance cannot be found.
+1 from me
 
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British workers are as good as any
if trained and managed well. My British built Daytona 955i is almost as good as the Thai built Thruxton.

Country of origin is really not a guarantee of quality or lack of quality today. No country has a hold on clever , hardworking people.
I recently attended a gathering of Microsoft engineers in Houston Texas.
In attendance there was a Hindu couple, the wife in traditional costume, a Portugese couple, a Danish fellow, two young American men and a 40 year old American woman.
All were software engineers working for
Microsoft. These are highly paid jobs, in the 200k to 600k range, depending on ability and education.
Bill Gates has figured out that there are brilliant people living all over the world and that women are as clever as men. He doesn't care about country of origin.

Glen
I do agree that country of origin is not a guarantee of quality but heritage matters aswell.
Do you think that if Ducatis were built in Thailand they would be so popular, absolutely no chance.
The same with BMWs.
Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs should be built in Britain, end of story.
I get that your Thruxton is a great bike, but as it's not built in England I just don't care about it and never will.
 
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Ducati has a factory in Brazil.
Doesn't seem to be hurting their popularity.

As far as the Thruxton, I'm not trying to talk anyone into anything, just discussing things hopefully relevant to the thread title. ( Which might fit better in " Motorcycle Related Discussions"
There are lots of good bikes out there that I don't care about as well.


Glen
 
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BritTwit

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I do agree that country of origin is not a guarantee of quality but heritage matters aswell.
Do you think that if Ducatis were built in Thailand they would be so popular, absolutely no chance.
The same with BMWs.
Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs should be built in Britain, end of story.
I get that your Thruxton is a great bike, but as it's not built in England I just don't care about it and never will.
How about a compromise?
The engine tag inscription could read:

Designed in the UK
Assembled in Asia
 
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Things have a habit of changing over time and what was once seen as the source of top quality changes as technology unfolds. My 'hobby' is watch repair/servicing/collecting. The British made watch of the late 1700's/early 1800's was seen as the pinnacle of workmanship, they were hand made and required thousands of small family run cottage industry workers to produce the parts, mostly in candlelight, and were paid a pittance compared to vast amounts these watches sold for. Then as we headed towards 1900 the Americans began to dominate. For the first time we saw expensive, high quality machinery that could replicate the manufacture of a precision component to such a degree that two watches made from two different runs would be almost identical in tolerances, fit and finish. These machines still needed skilled workers to operate them but being machine made mean't that prices tumbled.... and English watchmaking died a sudden death. Then we enter the early 1920's and along came the Swiss. They had been making watches all along but the quality ranged from pitiful to top-notch but they took the American manufacturing process to another lever and were able to miniaturise the component parts and innovate the mechanisms... and American watchmaking died a sudden death. Now we enter the electronic age... and all but the very cheap or high end watchmakers have all died a sudden death.

I work on the American watches circa 1880 - 1910, for me nothing comes close to these beautiful machines that just happen to tell the time... and do it to within 2secs per day, not bad for a 100 year old machine :)
 

Eljahara

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The greater emphasis on the reduction of ‘carbon footprints’ could eventually drive manufacturing back to country of origin. Reading the Bennetts article about Triumph indicates that although manufacture occurs in different parts of the world, components are still shipped around the globe on a regular basis - some tanks made in Thailand are shipped to U.K./Europe for final painting and assembly to machines, cranks and cams are sent the other way. The new BMW mini crosses back and forth across Europe before final assembly and delivery - body work produced in Germany and shipped to U.K. for assembly to chassis- shipped back to Europe to have engine Fitted etc..
This cannot be as cost effective as producing and assembling in one place but I am not in manufacturing so not in an informed position just my humble opinion.
CCM (spitfire) also have similar issues to the 961 with bits falling off/not working etc.. “another hand built quality machine” so it seems hand built and quality don’t mean what I think they do!
 
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