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Triumph buys OSET – Norton goes electric

In a move to dramatically expand its customer base, Triumph has bought OSET Bikes, a leading seller of children’s off-road electric motorcycles.

Triumph announced last year that it was moving into the off-road market, developing petrol-powered enduro and motocross machines. This latest twist underlines the company’s determination to diversify into off-road and electric bikes. OSET has helped instigate a quiet revolution in kids’ trials and motocross. It was formed in 2004 by Ian Smith, who had built an electric off-road bike for his son Oliver and realised that there was a ready market for an easy to ride off-roader which was quiet, simple to transport and cheap to run, compared to the traditional 50/80cc two-strokes. Since then, OSET has sold over 40,000 bikes and now offers a complete range for children aged three upwards, to a 24-inch wheel machine.

Triumph CEO Nick Bloor said: “We are excited about the opportunity of joining forces with OSET Bikes: a dynamic brand that has been encouraging children into motorcycling for many years and have been at the forefront of developing electric trials bikes for fun and competition.” The new stablemates will collaborate on new bikes, suggesting a broadening of Triumph’s off-road and electric ambitions.

Meanwhile, the revitalized Norton has announced its own electric project. It’s been awarded £8.5 million of funding from the government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre scheme, with a total of £17.2 million set aside for the Zero Emission Project Norton. Norton has enlisted technical help from the Warwick Manufacturing Group, which is also partnering Triumph in development of its TE-1 electric sports bike, plus five other UK-based electric power specialists.

Norton CEO Robert Henschel said: “Working alongside our world class partners, we’re confident that project Zero Emission Norton will eliminate the current dispute between a conventional and electric motorcycle to create EV products that riders desire – motorcycles that blend Norton’s uncompromising design DNA with racing performance, touring range and lightweight handling.”

BMF Chairman Jim Freeman added: “The kids riding electric off roaders are the riders of tomorrow, it’s fascinating to see how Triumph are taking that and running with it. Norton are a forward-looking company too, if they can deliver that package of performance, range and lightweight, still an elusive goal, and make it sexy, the motorcycle world will be at their feet.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top photograph courtesy of Triumph