2018 Triumph Speedmaster | Bike Tests | Latest Tests
Just when you thought we didn’t need another Bonneville-based Triumph, the British firm goes and releases one of the most compelling versions yet
I almost feel like a shirt and black tie would be appropriate attire while on what could feasibly be the classiest classic bike on the market today. It’s Triumph’s new Bonneville-based Speedmaster and, while Charley Boorman attended the Aussie launch of the new British twin in a bid to butter us up and sell the thing to us, this new rendition of a classic Triumph does a bloody good job of selling itself.
This bike fills a gap where there seemingly wasn’t one to fill.
With the firm’s T100, T120, Bobber, Scrambler, Speed Twin, Thruxton and now the Speedmaster, you might be excused for thinking that this line of retro Triumphs has been done to death. However, as the Speedmaster proved to me, that’s simply not true.
Until you spend some time with the Speedy, it might be hard to see where she fits in.
I spent an entire day riding around some of the finest roads in New South Wales with Boorman and a bunch of Speedmasters, and it was as good a way as any to be introduced to Triumph’s latest hope.
Triumph says that, with the introduction of the new Bonneville generation, and specifically the Bonneville T120 and Bonneville Bobber, the choice has never been wider. These two models are the base for the others in the range; the T is the twin-shock variant and the very sexy Bobber platform is the variant with the hidden rear shock, resulting in a rigid rear-end look. It’s then various and clever styling cues that make the difference from one machine to the other. But ultimately they’re all based on one of the two.
The new Bonneville Speedmaster, with its custom heritage and classic Triumph DNA, uses the Bobber as its starting point, not only employing the same frame and monoshock rear-end, but also the same water-cooled parallel-twin motor. But that’s where the similarities end.
The Speedmaster in standard form is a more practical version of the Bobber, with a different seating position, the ability to carry a pillion, a bigger fuel tank and authentic-looking swept-back custom beach bars.
Using the same Bonneville 1200cc High Torque engine as the Bobber, the Speedmaster has an edge over its roadster competition. Its 106Nm at 4000rpm torque figure gives it an edge on paper, but it’s where the torque chimes in that is important and impressive. A flat curve from virtually 2500rpm means that this twin is a plodder in its purest form. It loves working at low revs and I often found myself pulling one or even two gears too high, just to revel in the unique sound and feel of the ride.
Read the full story in the current issue (Vol 22 No 22) of AMCN on sale now
By Steve Martin
Photography Nick Wood