TRIUMPH SPEEDMASTER (2002-2011) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"A kind of cruiser variant of the Bonneville"

Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding

"A kind of cruiser variant of the Bonneville"

  • At a glance
  • 865cc  -  54 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  150 miles range
  • Low seat height (720mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Triumph Speedmaster is a kind of cruiser variant of the Bonneville 790, with the 2005 onwards Speedmaster getting an 865cc motor for more grunt. It has a low seat height in its favour, but the Triumph Speedmaster's oddball styling, low power and poor pillion accommodation make it poor value.

 

Watch the Triumph Speedmaster take on Harley-Davidsons Nightster and Moto Guzzi's Bellagio

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Triumph Speedmaster has a decent chassis, with beefy 41mm forks and a twin shock back end, plus substantial cradle frame. It's a heavy bike at 229kgs dry, but it carries the weight lowdown and most riders will admire the way the Triumph Speedmaster handles.

Engine 2 out of 5

The later Triumph Speedmaster with the 865cc motor makes more midrange torque than the 790cc powered model, but a peak power output of just 54bhp isn't going to float too many boats. Triumph Speedmaster? More like Routemaster bus...

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

There are still a few question marks over the Hinckley Triumphs overall durability; some examples seem excellent, others suffer niggling faults or corrode rapidly. The Triumph Speedmaster is a fair weather motorcycle, a summer cruiser, so if it's used as such it should prove reliable enough.

Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5

Even within the world of retro cruisers, the Triumph Speedmaster is an acquired taste. Is it supposed to compete with a Ducati GT1000, or perhaps a Kawasaki ZRX1200? It fails on both counts. A Harley 1200 Sportster matches the Triumph Speedmaster on power and holds its resale value ten times better... Find a Triumph Speedmaster for sale

Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Triumph Speedmaster is a fairly basic bike, lacking any fuel gauge and the pillion seat is pretty much emergency use only. On the upside the Triumph Speedmaster has a solid dish type rear wheel and some nice black paint on the engine and other components - massive twin front discs too.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH SPEEDMASTER (2002-2011) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

Cracking Bike

15 October 2009 by nookiebear

I first have to say this bike is much better than MCN's review. It doesn't have 54BNP, it has 61BHP, and this bike is far better than a 1200 harley sportster. My 2009 is comfortable and it does come with a fuel warning light. This bike is excellant... Read more value as it compares in price to a 883 Harley sportster. You also don't get triumph riders acting like the snotty nosed Harley riders. This bike rides really well and is very torquey and extremely customizable. I am going to fit a twin headlamp conversion so it has a front end that looks like a rocket 111. If you can't afford a thunderbird and don't want to be a twat like a harley rider get this bike, it looks so moody with the blacked engine and a spattering of chrome....fantastic.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

give it time

09 June 2009 by k12ncw

Had my 865 (carbed) speedy for 12 months now and feel that I can give honest review. At first I was dissapointed with the performance of the engine due to lack of "grunt" as this was my first cruiser (traded in k1200rs to slow me down) compared to... Read more prev Harleys I had test ridden, but as the miles have racked upto 3000+ engine is very sweet with pleasing pull away from the lights. As for comfort? have done many 4-5 hr rides 2 up and both myself and pillion have decided its the comfiest bike we have ever had (bmw gave us aching backsides after 90 mins!). My Speedy has "klic bags" panniers and a Nelson Rigg sissy bag and we have been to MCN Butlins with enough kit for 2 for 4 days with room to spare and still cruised along m/way at 85+ behind the large screen. Build qualilty seems on a par with other bikes and over winter coated it with ACF50 and it survived ok. regular 50mpg+ and the fact its not too grunty means the chain does not get a battering and seems to be lasting well (thankfully as my last 2 bikes where shafties). Worst thing I can say about the bike is :- (and its not the bike!) the tyres in the wet are HORRID!!. Have been waiting to see the new Thunderbird, but after seeing it and the price I have worked out £1000 on tuning will give the Speedy similar performance figures and thats the way I have decided to go as I am that happy with the speedy.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

Better in real life...

22 May 2009 by jeffzie

I'm still too young for a BMW for my 200-mile daily commute, and too old to carry on using a modded VMax. The Guzzi Bellagio's too tricky to get parts for, so the Speedster's a nice compromise (with a flyscreen), and sufficiently simple to service... Read more myself. It's dead easy to ride (once I got used to the footpegs being forward), and handles impeccably (actually, a lot more predictable than my 900SS). The engine's utterly gutless compared with a VMax (obviously), but nicely balanced between lumpy and smooth at the right points. I couldn't tell any performance difference between the injected and carbed models, so went carb'ed, as it was cheaper - and I can look after carbs on my own. Sounds quite respectable with the TOR pipes, too. The chrome's got to go, though. I'd prefer my ride to not look like a bordello chandelier...

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Test ride one today!

07 February 2009 by tamlin23

I am reviewing the Speedmaster 2004 790cc model. I am 6'1" and 16stone (100kg). These stats are highly relevant, and are seldom seen in test ride reports, I never worked out why they don't do that at the beginning of tests/reviews... Anyway,... Read more since this system is based on 'out of 5 stars', I shall explain my results. First: Ride & handling - This is my first go at feet forward riding, it was strange at first trying to find pegs beneath me, but I only did that a couple of time before I adjusted. My first ride was for roughly 1.5 hrs (70 miles), and I really enjoyed it! The bike turned when I wanted it to, very fluidly and with no scraping drama! The only downside is the low-spec rear shocks, but Hagon do a replacement for only just over £100 What a bargain! I also have size 11 feet, which meant I neded to put the arch of my foot on the peg, and point my toes out slightly, so not to foul the controls. It was still comfortable, but I was concious of the possibility of say, resting slightly on the rear brake, but it didnt happen and you could say the same for a lot of bikes I guess. Second: Equipment - I got a Tacho, but no fuel guage. I had a Bonneville before, and you soon get to know how many miles you will do between fills safely. You just have to remember to reset the trip every time. Other than that, it has everything it NEEDS. Quality & reliability: It start well and soon settles into a solid tickover. The paint is poor as on all Triumphs and shows light surface scratches really easily. Also, due probably to the wafer thin paint, rust can apear under the paint, but this varies bike to bike I hear. Other than the paint, its all solid, machined - British goodness! Value: Put against other bikes in this sector, the used values are conparable, but I would say the overall quality of this bike superceeds all the others in the middleweight cruiser market. Engine: The engine is a peach! I had a 865cc Bonnevile, and very nice it was too, but the 790cc engine is just as good, and the 270 degree timing order coupled with TOR slash cut pipes, gives a not too loud, but amazing sound. Personally I love a few cracks and pops on the over-run, and with the said pipes, this bike delivers those too. Overall - It has a stupid, stupid name, but then the 'America' is worse still. I wonder what market that bike was aimed at... subtle! Ignore the name, find a good used example, put Hagon shocks on the back and TOR pipes, keep it clean (which is quick and painless with the black engine), and you will have a very enjoyable road bike, that you can be proud to own. Not convinced? Take one for a test ride!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

'08 Speedmaster (EFI)

05 October 2008 by hugh0403

I agree with Speedie865. Much better than review. Have shortcut pipes, and have gel single seat with gel touring pillion pad addede when the wife wants to come out to play. It's really comfortable, a nice lazy ride with as much power as you need... Read more for the style of bike Do not be put off...it's the best bike I've owned yet. I tested a Harley 1200 Sportster, but the Triumph put a much bigger grin on my face, was much more comfortable, better handling, much better brakes and got more admiring looks (and didn't overheat like the Harley).

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

'08 Speedmaster (EFI)

08 August 2008 by Speedie865

Definately much better than the MCN review suggests, especially if you also read their review for the America which is basically the same bike. Just run mine in. Smooth ride, good brakes, very comfortable if a little heavy in slow moving traffic but... Read more with decent performance for a cruiser. A creditable alternative to a HD, much more presence that the Sportster and a fraction of the price of the Dyna/Softail ranges.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

2008 speedmaster efi

18 February 2008 by themaninblack

After picking up the bike on a very cold, icy day in Jan this year 2008 and riding approx 75miles back home i was impressed by the handling etc etc and now having completed the required 500 miles running in period i can only say the bike gets better... Read more with every mile. I dont think it needs a sixth gear as 85mph comes at 4000 revs and if you need any more then buy a sports bike, it handles superbly in the dry or the wet, stopping power is very good for a heavy(ish) bike, it has allways started first time every time so no complaints so far. I have added quite a few extra's ie: floorboards, short sissy bar, open pipes, lightbar and lights and plenty of chrome bits which all adds up to a very good looking bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Decent modifications

11 July 2007 by MrMcGoohan

I have owned my 2005 speedmaster for 18 months. i bought for its styling and laid back attitude. Its like a harley but with english heritage. no one will be offended by a Triumph... If you buy one i would recommend you add a small flyscreen, makes... Read more 90mph possible instead of 80mph (purely because of the wind), and i just added the short cut pipes, they really make a fantastic sound and with the breather conversion makes it a bit faster as well. there are some really cool american websites for adding or changing bits, and i have seen some really nice chopper versions. Am really happy to discuss with existing or potential buyers any time.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

An excellent British bike

21 May 2006 by jonabrad

I wish now I had bought this bike earlier. I use the bike for touring and for commuting and it does both just as well. In fact this is the first bike that I have had that I enjoy riding every day no matter what I am doing. Strengths: Bottom end... Read more grunt, the optional extras, dealer customer service. Weaknesses: Standard pipes make the bike too quiet, pillion seat needs changing as not very comfortable, would benefit from a 6th gear.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2002
Year discontinued 2011
Original price £6,949
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 54 bhp
Max torque 51 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 865cc
Engine type 8v, twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel cradle
Fuel capacity 16.6 litres
Seat height 720mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 285mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 18
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 15

History & Versions

Model history

2002: Triumph Speedmaster launched.
2005: Triumph Speedmaster gets 865cc motor, power down, torque up.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Top view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Top view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Triumph Speedmaster motorcycle review - Instruments
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