2018 Triumph Speedmaster
If there’s one lesson that Triumph has learned from the phenomenal success of its Bobber — the fastest-selling new model in the company’s storied 115-year history — it’s that yesteryear sells. Hence the Speedmaster, a marriage of traditional Bonneville visual cues with the kinda-sorta hardtail chassis of the Bobber.
It’s a retro-rod. It’s a custom. No it’s a tourer….
Marrying a traditional Bonnie tank to the Bobber’s High Torque 1200 cc parallel-twin engine and monoshock’ed frame, the Speedmaster throws in swept-back "beach" handlebars, a more comfortable seat (for two, no less) and calls the result a tourer. Indeed, one of the “inspiration” kits Triumph is offering for the Speedmaster — the Highway — offers an adjustable windshield and soft panniers that look like they could have been lifted from a classic JC Whitney catalogue. Ditto for the Maverick kit which strips the Speedmaster to the bone.
But the Speedmaster is a much higher-tech motorcycle than Triumphs of yore. Fuel injection, throttle-by-wire and a torque-assist clutch (making the clutch pull lighter than its 1200 cc would normally allow) all make the grade as does a switchable traction control system, anti-lock brakes and LED lighting. Twin front Brembo discs and a 41 mm cartridge fork ensure the Speedmaster is capable of two-up touring.
Underneath it’s a Bobber
It’s still a Bobber underneath, however. Which is a good thing. For instance, that seemingly rigid rear end is an illusion, with an (upgraded) single shock hidden under the seat. Also, that Bonneville High Torque engine is all kinds of sweetness. Though the peak output — 76 horsepower — isn’t particularly impressive, the Speedmaster offers up 78 lb-ft of torque at just 4,000 rpm. The engine lazes around at highway speeds in either fifth or sixth gear and thanks to its 270-degree crankshaft throws, Triumph’s parallel twin is uncommonly smooth. It also sounds amazing.
Triumph continues its march toward major manufacturer status, the Bobber helping propel sales last year to around 62,000. The Speedmaster — and the Bobber Black, a variation of last year’s hit — are sure to continue that trend.
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