TRIUMPH SPEEDMASTER (2011 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 qualityNext up: Value
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 rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||8v (90mmx 68) 5 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel cradle|
|Fuel capacity||19.3 litres|
|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||-|
|Used price||£4,500 - £5,500|
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
2002: Triumph Speedmaster launched.
2005: Triumph Speedmaster gets 865cc motor, power down, torque up.
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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
So you sell these, for a living, but honestly they're the best thing since automatic bobbin winding? Wow! There's a surprise!