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 Triumph - R Riccardo Fast Roadster
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Triumph D2-492-47-01
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : R Riccardo Fast Roadster
Production : 1922 - 1924
Category : (R) Racing


500 R "Ricardo" -1922

Four-valve pioneer

Triumph's founder Siegfried Bettmann was born in Germany. By WWI, he had become a naturalized Briton and the Mayor of Coventry, where he had been building motorcycles since 1902. Triumph supplied 30,000 Model Hs to the Allied armies during WWI. The chain-driven Model SD ("Spring Drive") 500 was introduced after the war. In 1921, Major Frank Halford, who worked for engineer Harry Ricardo, raced his Model SD at Brooklands on a patented alcohol fuel developed by Ricardo, which increased the performance.

Pent-Roof Cylinder Head

To make the most of the new fuel , Ricardo developed a special pent-roof bronze cylinder head with four inclined valves operated by pushrods from the original side-valve camshaft.

Years Ahead of lts Time

Triumph commissioned Ricardo to develop a production version of his racing engine. The Triumph-Ricardo was ahead of its time, with a central spark plug, plus Ricardo's patent domed "slipper" aluminum piston. Its cylinder was machined from solid steel. The long-stroke (80.5x98mm) dimensions of the original "Riccy" model restricted valve size. In 1922, an iron cylinder of 85x88mm permitted 25 percent larger valves. A team of three Riccies was entered in the 1921 TT, but placed no better than 16th. In 1922, despite the loss of his middle speed, Walter Brandish finished second in the TT at 56.52 mph. Though the Riccy was catalogued until 1927, in 1924 the works went back to two-valve technology for its racers.


Engine: 499cc (8lx97mm) air-cooled singlecylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 24 hp @ 5000 rpm

Valves: 4 overhead inclined at 90-degrees in parallel pairs

Fuel System: Triumph twin-float chamber carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed tank-shift, chain final drive

Suspension: Druid girder forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: rim (front); dummy belt pulley (rear)

Wheels: 26x3.00 inch wire (front & rear)

Weight: 249 lb

Maximum Speed: 81 mph


The Riccy in its later form, with drum front brake and dry-sump lubrication.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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