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When Triumph first re-launched the Bonneville series in 2001, the bike was meant to teleport you straight back to the late 50s and fill you with nostalgia as you reminisce about the bygone era of motorcycles, or if you were the Gen X – try and recreate the magic that you saw in the movies and photos of that era. Classic motorcycles which were simple, clean cut and most importantly classy! At the same time, the Bonneville has been quite the blank canvas, allowing owners to personalise their bikes, much like in the 60s. The icing on the cake with the latest avatars being the technology like ABS, TC and even dummy carburetors to retain the vintage look.
More than a decade and a half later, the Bonneville range of motorcycles has evolved and matured with one for every kind of rider. And we were in USA, in the lion’s den, if you know what we mean, riding the latest iteration in the Bonneville family, the Speedmaster. A cruiser which retains the core Bonnie philosophy, yet giving the rider a whole different riding experience. Not uncannily though, this avatar seems to be an amalgamation of styles of a typical Bonneville, a Bobber and a cafe racer, the latter drawing reference from it’s explicit emphasis on the word ‘Speed’. In some sense it’s paradoxical to the image of a laid back ‘cruiser’, where Triumph is also trying to position it.
Last year we had ridden the Triumph Bonneville Bobber and the new Speedmaster builds on that very successful motorcycle. You get all the lovely bits and bobs of the Bobber, with the added attraction of practical everyday riding with the Speedmaster.
The new Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster might pull at your heartstrings with its classic appeal, but your head will be enamoured by the amount of new tech which is hidden within. A proper amalgamation of old and new, to give the rider the best of both worlds.
First up, the styling. If you have time at hand, you can spend a few cups of coffee finding intricate details in the motorcycle which you will not notice at first glance. From the presence of the Bonnie family in the sculpted tank, machined engine fins, twin throttle bodies disguised as carburettors, finned exhaust headers and rubber fork gaiters. All these together immediately associate the Speedmaster as a proper Bonneville. Look closer and you see the Bobber features like the hard tail look, minimal bodywork and single clock, rear hub which looks like a drum brake and a metal battery box with a stainless steel strap to keep it in place and keep the looks classy.
Finally, we have the Speedmaster’s uniqueness with the swept back beach bars, forward pegs, larger fuel tank capacity, removable pillion seat and grab rails, different chrome silencers, 16” spoke wheels and topped off with a low saddle height for a proper cruiser feel. And this isn’t even the end of it, there is lot more for the observant eye to ogle!
As much of a throwback the Speedmaster is in terms of appearance, that up to date the bike is when it comes to technology. The best of it all is probably the brakes. Nothing inspires confidence in a rider as a motorcycle with good braking capability and the Speedmaster comes blessed with two twin piston floating calliper Brembos up front and a single piston floating calliper Nissin at the rear. Together they ensure that you are never left wanting. As with all Triumph motorcycles now, this comes with ABS as well. But it is definitely not like the nakeds (Street and Speed Triple)! With a dry weight of 245 kgs, it is not lightweight by any standards, but then it is the solid feeling that makes it feel well planted as well.
One of the nicest things of most Triumph motorcycles is the neutral handling. This really is a boon for people who are new (or returning) to motorcycling. And for the seasoned hands, it allows one to push the bike around way more than a cruiser should be! The 41mm cartridge front forks and mono-shock with 73.3 mm travel do a good job in terms of comfort and a rather decent job when riding the bike hard. I was mostly scraping the pegs at every corner trying to keep up with the Bonneville Bobber which is better suited for corners thanks to its footpeg position.
The new Speedmaster uses the same engine as the T120 and the Bobber. The tune of the engine though is same as the Bobber, which is 2% more peak torque than the T120 and 10% more torque at 4500 rpm. Similarly, power is also up by 10% at 4500 rpm over the T120. What it doesn’t share with these two motorcycles, is the sound. The exhaust on the Speedmaster is unique to the bike and the aural note is quite different. The 76 bhp and 106 Nm mill ensures that the rider always has sufficient grunt in his right hand to have fun on the open road!
A motorcycle built for 2018 must have all the latest electickery in it, no matter the old school positioning of the product. And this is where Triumph delivers. The Speedmaster is laden with new stuff. A full 5” LED headlight along with LED tail light and indicators. A single button cruise control, which is easily accessible and easy to use. Switchable traction control, torque assist clutch, engine immobiliser, ride-by-wire, road and rain riding modes are some more electronics which help the rider be safer on the road. An added boon is the 16000 km service intervals, which allow you to do really long rides without worrying about visiting a service centre.
The Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster is available in 3 colours and also gets two inspiration kits, the Highway and Maverick kits. We feel that at a price of around 9.5 ex-showroom, this would be a good buy.
Get this bike if you do not want anything too flashy, but still having oodles of presence for you to be able to ride it to a Friday night party. And of course you will look the part if you do like to participate in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, which is just a bonus really.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Type Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Capacity 1200 cc
Bore Stroke 97.6 / 80mm
Max Power 76 Bhp @ 6,100 rpm
Max Torque 106 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Exhaust Chromed stainless steel 2 into 2 twin-skin exhaust system with chromed stainless silencers
Clutch Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Frame Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm Twin-sided, tubular steel
Front Wheels 32-spoke, 16 x 2.5in
Rear Wheels 32-spoke, 16 x 3.5in
Front Tyres 130/90 B16
Rear Tyres 150/80 R16
Suspension KYB 41 mm forks with cartridge damping. 90mm travel.
KYB monoshock with linkage and stepped preload adjuster, 73.3 mm rear wheel travel.
Brakes Twin 310 mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating calipers, ABS
Single 255 mm disc, Nissin single piston floating caliper, ABS
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHTS
Width 770 mm
Height 1040 mm
Seat Height 705 mm
Wheelbase 1510 mm
Rake 25.3 º
Trail 91.4 mm
Dry Weight 245.5 Kg
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