2018 Triumph Speedmaster Review - Easy Rider


Triumph launched the brand new Bonneville Speedmaster a fortnight ago, and they were kind enough to let us take one home for a week after the launch.

Words: Nile Bijoux   |   Photos NB
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The Speedmaster is Triumph’s laid-back cruiser, with forward-mounted pegs, swept-back ‘beach’ bars and the ability to take a passenger. We’ve already been over the specs in the launch report but here’s a refresher.

Beneath the 12L tank is the same high-torque, 1200cc parallel-twin engine as in the T120 and Bobber. Peak output is a claimed 57kW with 105Nm. A new set of slash-cut mufflers rounds off the blackened look and provides a pleasing rumble.Three colours are available - Jet Black, Cranberry Red, and a Fusion White/Phantom Black combo, complete with a twin hand-painted coach line.

It pulls in third gear from below 50km/h easily, and you can rev it out nicely to about 6500rpm.

Triumph reckons Speedmaster competes head on with the Indian Scout and Harley-Davidson 1200 Custom, and we’d say it’s a worthy competitor. The Bonneville engine is a beauty, with plenty of torque to keep you rumbling along. It pulls in third gear from below 50km/h easily, and you can rev it out nicely to about 6500rpm. While it’s no Daytona, it’s no slouch either. Twin Brembo callipers squeeze two 310mm discs at the front while the rear is a 255mm disc affair. ABS is standard.

Probably a good thing too, as the Speedmaster is a rather weighty thing. Triumph claims a 246kg dry weight and we measured it at 262kg with about half a tank of petrol. Surprisingly, it doesn’t feel that on the road, the 41mm Kayaba fork and hidden rear monoshock doing well to absorb road abnormalities and allow a reasonable degree of quick riding.

A new one-button cruise control system has debuted on the Speedmaster and Bobber Black sibling. Single clicks turn the system on, engage the speed you want, and deactivate, in that order. Pulling the clutch, rolling the throttle back further than it naturally sits or applying the brakes also return control to the rider. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a speed adjustment toggle as well, as this currently requires a reset of the system to change the speed.

A ride-by-wire throttle allows two riding modes (Road and Rain), and the torque assist clutch reduces pull effort on the lever. A single gauge and mirrors mounted out on the beach bars keep things nice and clean in front of the rider’s eyes.

The engineers at Hinkley have made an effort to keep the Speedmaster looking as vintage as possible while still being a 2018 machine. You get things like a machined oil filler cap, carburettor-styled fuel injectors and more chrome than Fury Road.


Triumph has also designed two inspiration kits for those who want something truly unique. The ‘Highway’ kit includes a full waxed cotton and leather pannier set, adjustable touring screen, comfort rider seat, matching wider pillion seat, and a host of chrome features. These include engine bars, passenger backrest, luggage rack and a polished machined oil filler cap.

The ‘Maverick’ kit gives the Speedmaster an even more stripped back attitude with a brown quilted single seat set up, flatter raked out handlebars, and black Vance & Hines exhausts. Other blacked-out details consist of exhaust headers, oil filler cap, a grab rail removal kit and rear mudguard finisher for a stylish and minimal rear end.

Of course, buyers can pick and choose what they want as well. We’d recommend the comfort rider’s seat (because who doesn’t want more comfort?) and Vance & Hines exhaust kit to start with.

As mentioned, the competition is the Scout and the 1200 Custom, the former undercutting the Speedmaster ($22,490) by a grand ($21,495) and the latter even more so at $19,250. However, neither offers the breadth of equipment that’s standard on the Triumph, nor the sheer torque.

Gear supplied by Motomail and Rev' It!

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