TRIUMPH SPEEDMASTER (2011 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Power: 60 bhp
Seat height: Low (27.2 in / 690 mm)
Weight: High (551 lbs / 250 kg)

Prices

New £7,199
Used £5,000 - £6,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster went under the radar somewhat in 2011.

While most of the interest in Triumph’s new models was focused on the Tiger 800s, Speed Triple 1050 and even the Thunderbird Storm 1700, the Hinckley firm’s significant revisions to its two entry-level cruisers, the America and Speedmaster, were largely overlooked - but they were worth shouting about.

The two Bonneville-powered bikes were always worthy, novice-friendly and well-priced takes on the mid-range cruiser market usually identified most with Harley-Davidson Sportster models. But if they were lacking in one key respect it was style, looking more like Dame Edna Everage had been at their wardrobe. Harsh, maybe - but true.

But from 2011, both received significant makeovers intended to bring their looks bang up to date and also to emphasise the differences between the two machines. So, while the America became, more than ever, the ‘mini Harley Fat Boy’, complete with retro, 50s influenced chrome and fat tyre styling, the Speedmaster got even more hot-rod attitude courtesy of shunning chrome for matt black and getting a refreshed, kicked-out chopper look.

Considering the price you get a lot of bike for your money. This ‘junior cruiser’ doesn’t feel like a lesser bike; it’s not underpowered, doesn’t feel budget, is cool and still has big bike appeal. So good and such value for money I’d question why you’d want anything bigger unless you’re a dedicated big custom fan.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The odd combination of 19 inch front and 16 inch rear wheels, with non-adjustable front forks, twin shocks on the rear and a total weight of 250kg is never going to be the perfect recipe for sweet handling, but the Triumph Speedmaster isn’t half bad.

The problem comes when you hit any imperfections in the road as the twin shocks on the rear really struggle, jolting your spine continuously. Ride the Speedmaster two up and you’ll soon have a very unhappy pillion.

The handling is, if anything, better yet (perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised - it is a Triumph after all): stable in a straight line; a sharp, precise steerer in the turns and, despite the single disc, more than enough stopping power for most situations.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The 60bhp Bonneville parallel twin engine may not sound too exciting, but backed up by 53ftlb of torque it isn’t to be sniffed at, with enough punch to show similar size custom bikes a clean pair of heels.

The fuel- injected (yes, the injector bodies look like carbs, but they’re not) Bonnie twin is as free-revving and willing as ever, flexible enough from 3000rpm all the way up to 8000 and happy to potter or motorway cruise at 85 - areas in which the equivalent Harley 883 would be left struggling.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

There’s no real reason to question the reliability of the Triumph Bonneville derived fuel injected motor - it’s not stressed in the Speedmaster and should plod along forever. In places the quality of the components are indicative of being built to achieve the Triumphs low on sale price.

The wheels appear a little budget and the finish around the headstock isn’t top class, but you have to appreciate it’s under £7000.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

As stated, it’s a hell of a lot of bike for the money. The Speedmaster is a competitively priced, cool motorcycle from a cool brand. No reliability issues to worry about and big custom feel without the overbearing heft of a bigger capacity cruiser, yet still being more than quick enough.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

As you might expect from a relatively small capacity custom it’s rather basic, but it is also honest and reliable. The twin rear shocks have pre-load adjustment and there’s a rev counter incorporated into the fuel tank, which is a nice touch and unusual for a custom.

Specs

Engine size 865cc
Engine type 8v (90mmx 68) 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 19.3 litres
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 250kg
Front suspension 41mm non adjustment
Rear suspension Twin shock, pre load only
Front brake 310mm single disc
Rear brake 285mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90x19
Rear tyre size 170/80x15

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £7,199
Used price £5,000 - £6,000
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 60 bhp
Max torque 53 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 185 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

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

Other versions

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Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH SPEEDMASTER (2011 - on)

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

Review your TRIUMPH SPEEDMASTER (2011 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.9 out of 5 (3.9/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
5 out of 5 95% there
10 December 2013 by MickHardbeard

The only things I want to change on my bike are the indicators too big and the huge great big rear light. Would be nice if you could get a twin headlamp setup.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 The bike has Character
30 October 2013 by ratchetman

The bikes slow and heavy, the rear suspension is rock hard. It has poor ground clearance but I love it to bits. Why might you ask? I bought the bike to save my licence and health. It has worked a treat. Instead of riding balls out just looking for the next braking point I now watch the world go by and just tootle along at 55-60mph. The bike is so relaxed to ride fuelling is spot on. Its comfortable, handles well for what it is. doesnt vibrate, sounds terrific with race cans. stops reasonably well, looks brilliant and above all it has character by the bucket loads. If like me you get frustrated when your out on your sports bike with cyclists, cars, Trucks always in the way on your favourite stretch of road buy a speedmaster and chill

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Pride and joy
25 March 2012 by robertjmorgan

I've bought my Triumph Speedmaster, March 1st. I traded my Suzuki GSX750F and said goodbye to sports bikes. All I can say is that this bike is a dream. It looks great, handles well and is not only easy to ride but it's a joy to ride. Not only is it British but it's good value for money too. I'm really happy.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 Great bike
17 January 2012 by Smokey3214

I'm probably safe in assuming I've owned more bikes than anyone else commenting and it's a dynamite bike. I moved up to it after riding a Vulcan 1600 for about 8 years. I can't think of anything about it I don't prefer over the Vulcan and I liked the Vulcan. It's true, it's not a noisemaker like a Harley but I'm a grownup so I don't need to make noise to draw attention to myself. Triumph has come from out of the blue to make the best bikes in a broad range of categories.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 One cool bike
21 December 2011 by Parmenides

Superb bike.. it has looks.. it is easy to ride.. and the exhaust sound is glorious. Taking it past 90 can take planning, but it is no fun trying push it, the bike feels better when it is understressed. It is more than quick enough to get you out of trouble though. It is solid enough for commuting, and I have enough confidence in it to take it through winter. Polish the chrome, and find a way of lubing the chain, and it is the only bike you will ever want.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Fun and practical
12 December 2011 by BigCarlG

Weird that this review in particular has hit a seam of Triumph hatred... I'll try to add some balance as an owner of a Speedmaster. Frankly my experience matches the review pretty well, I use the bike everyday for both work and pleasure and it does both extremely effectively. It's happy nipping about in city traffic and will make short work of the bits of motorway I need to deal with. And being mid-sized means the fuel consumption doesn't wipe me out! For me moving from a v to a parallel twin has meant a slight change in focus and riding style, so if you are completely wedded to just one engine layout it may not be for you. Conversely, if you like the cruiser/custom riding position and grew up wanting a Triumph, as I did, then aesthetically this bike is perfect! I agree that the standard cans are too quiet though.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
1 out of 5 Clueless? Your Customers Must Be!
03 December 2011 by Ricklehurst

So you sell these, for a living, but honestly they're the best thing since automatic bobbin winding? Wow! There's a surprise!

Ride quality & brakes 1 out of 5
Engine 1 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5
Value vs rivals 1 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
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