Shoptalk: Triumph Motorcycles

The coolest motorcycles on the road return to Indianapolis.

Tony Valainis

Motorcycle enthusiast Paul Warrenfelt has ridden a bike in a tuxedo. He has raced a 1935 machine 1,500 miles, manually pumping the oil every five minutes. He once rode a 1920 model cross-country. And all of them were Triumphs, a heritage British brand he fell in love with in the 1960s, when Steve McQueen made it famous. Now the oldest continuously manufactured motorcycle brand in the world, Triumph is still all about that cool, classic styling. Take the bestselling Bonneville. The electronics and engine are completely modern (and the grips are heated), but the spark-plug cap, grab bar, spoke wheels, instrument layout—it all looks exactly like the debut model did in 1959. Back then, Warrenfelt dreamed of having his own motorcycle shop some day, and after retiring, he landed a Triumph flagship store when a local dealership dropped the brand from its lineup. Now he has all 24 models and Triumph gear on the floor, but Warrenfelt probably didn’t imagine having daughters who also ride, which translates into a strong interest in both new and female cyclists, even if they have no idea who Steve McQueen is.

Triumph Indianapolis

125 N. College Ave., 463-212-7500,

Don’t Miss
The 1920 Triumph Model H, which store co-owner Paul Warrenfelt rode to win the Motorcycle Cannonball endurance race for antique bikes in 2018.

(1) Triumph “Stoke” boots, $190 (2) Tee, $25 (3) Gloves, $80 (4) Leather jacket, $400 (5) Bonneville T120, $12,300