The 2018 Triumph Speedmaster Is A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing | Cycle World
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The 2018 Triumph Speedmaster Is A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

Don’t let the passenger pillion fool you, this is still one mean cruiser

There’s an angst to the Triumph Bobber. Something about the solo seat, steep rake, and mock-hardtail line just looks like it’s rebelling against whatever ya got. But the Speedmaster is different; it has the same engine character, the same smile-inducing pull when you drop the clutch on that 1,200cc high-torque engine, but with a friendlier look and huge line of accessories to maximize touring capability.

For a small jump in the price tag, the Speedmaster takes the niche, solo city-jammer/cruiser hybrid that is the Bobber and turns it into a more traditional cruiser capable of longer miles. The ride is more effortless and casually enjoyable, but you can easily turn it up and get that rebel yell back if you want it.

2018 Triumph Speedmaster

2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

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A more cushioned seat, cruise control, preload-adjustable rear shock, improved 41mm cartridge fork, and a bigger gas tank all ensure more time between stops. Like most cruiser seats, the saddle locks you into one place, so it isn’t ideal for real aggressive riding, but that’s not what this bike was really designed for. The beach-cruiser-style handlebars look great and were nice when we were cruising along Pacific Coast Highway, but again, bringing the Speedmaster into more aggressive cornering they were a little cramped and uncomfortable.

2018 Triumph Speedmaster

Editor Morgan Gales at 6-foot-4 on the new Speedmaster, wearing XPD boots, Spidi pants and jacket, Velomacchi gloves, a Saint vest, and Shoei Hornet X2 helmet.

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The forward controls fit nicely with the look and feel of the bike—not feeling too cramped or stretched out—but they scrape when cornering. The large feelers on each peg, at more than an inch, seemed a little excessive and inhibiting, but for the third and final time, I was probably riding this bike harder than most of its intended market will. Aside from the scraping and a little discomfort from the bars, however, it held stable throwing it into turns at high speeds, performed well under hard braking, and generally felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

2018 Triumph Speedmaster

Forward controls help with the Speedmaster's relaxed cruiser vibe, while the grab bar around the rear fender adds a bit to the old-school styling, as well as a host of functions.

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Aesthetically, Triumph knew exactly what it was doing here; the chunky nameplate and scalloped paint with hand-done pinstriping on the tank—I was flashing back to my old 1977 Triumph T140 and loving every minute of it. Little details like the fuel injector made to look like vintage Amal carbs and the mock pre-unit transmission that houses the rear brake fluid reservoir all help maintain the iconic style of the Bonneville, while vaguely masking that this is an awesome, fully modern engine capable of much more than the originals it pays tribute to.

Along with the rear fender and pillion comes a wide range of accessories to diversify the Speedmaster even further. A tall windshield or waxed canvas bags can take the look one way, while short bars, mid-controls, and a rack that replaces the passenger seat will take it back a couple of steps toward Bobber style.

2018 Triumph Speedmaster

Morgan Gales riding the new Speedmaster through sunny Southern California.

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For $1,250 more than the original Bobber—and the same price as the Bobber Black— the Speedmaster offers more variety for the rider while still having the same capacity for fun and potential for similar aggressive style. Essentially, this is the Bobber your significant other will let you buy, while you know it’s going to be the wolf you hoped for.

2018 Triumph Speedmaster

Triumph's design blends modern accents with classic, simple lines for a great mixture of old and new.

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Specifications

Specifications
Price $13,150
Engine Liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° parallel twin
Bore x Stroke 97.6mm x 80mm
Displacement 1,200cc
Compression Ratio 10.0:1
Claimed Horsepower 77 hp (57kW) @ 6,100 rpm
Claimed Torque 78 lb.-ft. (106Nm) @ 4,000 rpm
Fuel Delivery Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust Chromed stainless steel 2-into-2 twin-skin exhaust system with chromed stainless silencers
Final drive Chain
Clutch Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Gearbox 6-speed
Frame Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm Twin-sided, tubular steel
Front Wheels 32-spoke, 16 x 2.5 in.
Rear Wheels 32-spoke, 16 x 3.5 in.
Front Tires 130/90B-16
Rear Tires 150/80R-16
Front Suspension 41mm KYB with cartridge damping, 3.6-in. travel
Rear Suspension KYB monoshock with linkage and stepped preload adjuster, 2.9-in. travel
Front Brakes Twin 310mm disc, Brembo two-piston floating calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes 255mm disc, Nissin single-piston floating caliper, ABS
Instrumentation LCD multi-functional instrument pack with analog speedometer, odometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, range to empty indication, service indicator, clock, 2x tripmeters, average and current fuel consumption display, traction control status display, heated grip ready (controlled by a handlebar mounted scroll button)
Handlebar Width 30.3 in. (770mm)
Height Without Mirror 40.9 in. (1040mm)
Seat Height 27.75 in. (705mm)
Wheelbase 59.5 in. (1510mm)
Rake/Trail 25.3º/3.6 in. (91mm)
Claimed Dry Weight 541 lb. (246kg)
Fuel Capacity 3.2 gal.