Long Term Review: Triumph Speedmaster

SAMSUNGThe Triumph Speedmaster, the bike I lusted after for almost two years was finally mine in April of 2013. Having traveled far and wide together (well… maybe), I felt it was only fair to share the good and the bad with the masses, 24,000 miles later.

The Speedmaster will immediately get labeled  things like “beginner bike”, “just another cruiser”, and “Harley wannabe”. Well, it was my first “big kid” bike, I was convinced I preferred the feet forward seating position, and if by cruiser you instantly think of Harley Davidson, guilty as charged; but I offer, there’s more than that. I could go on and on about statistics and dimensions, but honestly, I think most of us understand, despite all the most logical reasons to buy a given bike versus another; most of us choose a bike for emotional reasons and how it “feels” (those interested in stats, there’s this review).

In the beginning, I was immediately stirred by the Speedmaster’s sexy curves, generous amounts of flat black paint, chopped fenders, and subtle amounts of chrome. SAMSUNGConsidering that the U.S. motorcycle market is flooded with cruisers of every variety, the parallel twin engine, symmetrical dual exhaust, and classic British heritage, the Speedmaster stands apart. Like other cruisers, the seat is low, at 5’10” the pegs are comfortably in reach, and there’s the obvious cruiser rake. However, the Speedmaster comes with stock drag bars, which actually permit the rider to lean forward slightly vs. the typical reclined cruiser seating position. There’s no missing the deep scoop in the stock seat, which I initially felt uncertain about, over time it actually allowed for significant shifting in seating position on the long rides. Around town, feeling the cool breeze on your face is amazing; however once over 55 mph, the wind blast turns into a back breaking, arm stretching struggle to hang on. Enter the custom fly screen (more on that later); like saddle bags, the windscreen is on the top of the list of new bike accessories for many people, one of which I highly recommend for this bike. I hate the look of bags and windscreens, but if you plan on logging long miles on this bike, you’re going to wish you had one, or you have a better workout regimen than I do. On second thought, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to pick on the Speedmaster about wind protection, it’s like complaining about poor rear suspension or polishing chrome; Its a cruiser, certain ride characteristics should be expected. Frankly, it really annoys me when motorcycle journalists complain about things like storage capacity on cruisers (I said cruisers, not baggers), it’s a cruiser… what did you expect?

The Speedmaster has done everything I’ve ever asked it to do, four hundred mile days from Dayton to Red River Gorge, the daily twenty mile commute to the office (amidst the never ending downtown construction), and motorcycle vacationing in the mountains (WV & NC). The Speedmaster is the sister bike to the popular Triumph America, which Triumph offers in a “Light Touring” trim, and for obvious reasons; you can load it down with gear, ride two-up, keep up with the big displacement cruisers, and still carve up the back roads.

Things that have stood out most to me have been sportiness, tires, cost of accessories, and maintenance. The more I ride, the more I want to lean in the corners, and the Speedmaster has delivered. SAMSUNGIt’s no hooligan bike, and laughable on the race track, but I don’t get left behind when I’m chasing far sportier chassis. Metzeler tires come standard, and they’re amazing; hot summer days, and cold rainy nights, I have nothing but compliments about the stock Marathon 880’s, they stuck to the tarmac and kept the shiny side up. I replaced the rear at eighteen thousand miles, and I’m about to change the front at over twenty-four thousand. Triumph Accessories are pretty expensive; compared to Harley Davidson, probably not out of the ordinary, but when you look at readily available aftermarket parts for Asian bikes, they’re expensive. Are aftermarket parts available for Triumphs? Sure they are, but believe it or not, the Speedmaster is a niche in a niche. Obviously Triumph sells a limited number of bikes in the US each year, needless to say the Speedmaster is in the minority of those bikes; making it difficult to positively identify aftermarket parts that fit. Will they fit? Sure they do, but it’s seldom explicitly listed on the website, or there may be modifications required.

Overall, I would recommend the Speedmaster to anyone in the market for a cruiser. It gets 52 mpg, has a torquey 865cc engine, and turns heads every where it goes. In fact, the only warning I would give to prospective Speedmaster buyers: first, be prepared to talk old school Triumphs with strangers; second, get accustomed to sideways looks when you tell people it’s a new bike.

Pros

-Affordable (sticker price is $8,399)

-Torquey

-Metzeler tires standard

-Iconic British engine

 

Cons

-Harsh rear suspension

-Wind Protection (I guess it’s a cruiser though isn’t it?)

-Anemic pillion seat

-Limited aftermarket accessories

 

Triumph Speedmaster Long-Term Review After 45,000 Miles

motoadvr_speedmasterleftfront

 

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23 Responses to Long Term Review: Triumph Speedmaster

  1. Pingback: Going the distance: Metzeler Marathon ME 880 | Moto Adventurer

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  3. robbie says:

    am really loving my speedy.love the sound of a reving twin

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark Deshazer says:

    Rev the Speedmaster to the sky in every gear,this bike begs to be flogged and is at home in 4th/5th gear……

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ..haven’t been on bike n 40 yrs. ..drove by a Triumph dealership & decided to go n & take a look. Lots pricier rides than the Speedmaster, but fell n love with its retro loox. I’m 6’1″ with gibbons arms, but my knees stayed below the top of the tank & the reach felt about right. ..wasn’t n the market to buy. But if I get back n2 it this may be the girl. ..really like the plain Jane grey. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!!
    I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new things you post…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bob says:

    Really, these are great bikes. Just a heads-up … Triumph was not trying at all to copy Harley with the speedmaster. When you see the similiarity between the current america/speedmaster with a solo seat installed and a photo of one of the1950’s Triumph speed twins with a solo seat and wide bars installed, it’s obvious triumph was simply reproding an old chopped Triumph.
    A note to Harley fanatics: It’s human nature to like the brand of bike you ride, but the Triumph america/ speedmster line is a nod to American customizers from the 60’s, and the mods they did to their TRIUMPHS in the old days, not a copy of an Amerian market Japanese cruiser or a Harley.
    My first job was wrenching at a Triumph dealer around the end of Triumph importing the old generation bikes to america, early 80’s I guess. Did you all know that Triumph Bonnevilles continued to be produced and sold, but not imported to America, by a Triumph Subcontractor during the years they were no longer Imported to america? 15 per week they built on average during the years Triumph was “closed”. You can buy a used Triumph from every year straght back to 1902, If those bikes still exist. I own a new triumph America and am sooo tired of the Harley comparisons. I also worked on Harleys from the same dealership during the amf harley days. They were not easy to sell and not fun to work on. Buy a Triumph, ride it with pride. It’s not a copy, it’s a Triumph.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MotoADVR says:

      Good info Bob, didn’t realize the nod to vintage Triumphs. I obviously recognize vintage Bonnie and desert sleds but I haven’t spent much time looking at bobbers and whatnot. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

      Like

      • bob says:

        Thanks. I honestly like the post-amf Harleys…love the Dyna line. I only had a problem with amf era Harleys because they made my job hard chasing oil leaks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • MotoADVR says:

        I like Dynas because they’re naked but I suspect I would like the comfort of the Softail. A long time from now I suspect I’ll have a Road Glide as a 4th bike.

        Like

  9. bob says:

    So many choices….so little garage space!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree with everything mate except your comment on the wind protection problem at 55mph and above. I don’t find the wind a problem at 70mph! In fact on blustery days with side winds etc this bike doesn’t get pushed around. It is pretty much rock solid unlike other bikes I have ridden
    Keep up the good work
    Cheers Kimbo

    Liked by 1 person

    • MotoADVR says:

      Thanks for commenting Kim. I personally find the wind blast on my chest exhausting over 55 (without a windshield). Different strokes for different folks obviously. I have buddies that ride year round with no protection at all, not my bag but it’s doable. On the same note i don’t care for full size shields on cruisers, just makes no sense in my mind.

      Like

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