Triumph Speedmaster – Retro Cruiser With Modern Manners

Triumph Speedmaster – Retro Cruiser With Modern Manners

New Vehicle Review July 2018 Triumph Speedmaster Retro Cruiser Modern

The Triumph Speedmaster is not just your average cruiser. It features a 1,200 cc, liquid cooled, parallel twin, high torque motor that can really set your pulse racing. The Speedmaster wears a classic hard tail look that provides the rider a distinct road presence. But how is it on what matters most? We find out.

I was sitting at my workstation and pounding away at my keyboard on what appeared like a dull Tuesday afternoon. All morning I had been crunching numbers and just when the task was getting a slightly monotonous, I received a call from Triumph Motorcycles, apprising me that the new Speedmaster was ready to be picked up. Bubbling with excitement I jumped off my seat and rushed to its office to pick up the bike.

I have a penchant for retro cruiser motorcycles that partly explains the reason for my excitement. But the Speedmaster is not just your average cruiser. It features a 1,200 cc, liquid cooled, parallel twin, high torque motor that can really set your pulse racing and wears a classic hard tail look that provides the rider a distinct road presence. For me, there couldn’t have been a better way to break the monotony. But let me tell you more about this retro cruiser and its modern mannerisms.

Machined bits here and there give the Speedmaster a raw look


Triumph manufactures a wide variety of bikes, but it has never forgotten its roots. The Speedmaster is a representation of where they began from. Boasting of a classic design, this cruiser looks straight out of the sixties. The bike is long and low slung; it is equipped with beefy 130/90 R17 tyres in the front and 150/80 R17 tyres in the rear. Specially designed for the Speedmaster by Avon, these tyres enhance its rugged appeal and house the 32 wire-spoked wheels that lend an authentic touch to this motorcycle.

The headlamp cluster comes in a classic Nacelle design offered by the British bike maker in the 50s and 60s. This design, while enhancing the bike’s retro appeal, also lends a modern feel with a full LED lamp and DRL set-up. The headlamp also casts a decent beam, to light up the way at night. The iconic beach bars are another distinctive feature of the Speedmaster. The handle bars may take some getting used to, but trust me they make riding much more comfortable. The rider foot pegs are a little forward set and this enhances the rider’s posture. With a low set seat height of just 705 mm, long beach bars extend toward the rider and forward set foot pegs and cruising on highways can be comfortable.

The monoshock has been neatly tucked away under the seat giving this bike a hardtail look

The fuel tank comes in a variety of colours and houses the Triumph logo in a rather old-school layout. Unlike the Bobber, the Triumph Speedmaster comes with a 12 l fuel tank; this tank provides the motorcycle a decent range and extends the refuelling intervals on long highway jaunts. There are ample machined bits on this motorcycle; all go towards giving it a raw and rugged look. The twin throttle bodies carry a classic look but house modern sequential fuel injection systems. Triumph has thoughtfully designed the Speedmaster with many classic looking parts that augment its retro appeal like the battery box, ignition barrel, chrome exhaust, drum brake-inspired rear wheel hub, bullet turn indicator and a branded fuel cap.

Sporting a classic hard tail look, Triumph has smartly tucked away the monoshock suspension under the rider seat. The short fender in the rear also sports a chromed-out dresser rail. We found the pillion seat to be a little small and may end up being a tad uncomfortable, if you are taking a passenger along. While Triumph has meticulously designed this cruiser to look straight out of the sixties, it has added a few modish bits like the headlamps and the instrument cluster. But unlike the retro looks, every mechanical bit boasts of modern techniques and the brand’s growing engineering prowess.

The addition of a bash plate on the underbody would add confidence to the rider


While the motorcycle’s retro looks can easily have you drooling, the mechanicals are what really sets your pulse racing. The Speedmaster features Triumph’s 1,200 cc parallel twin cylinder engine. This motor gets 270 ° firing intervals that cater to a smooth and linear power delivery. The climb up the rev band is quick; this is largely thanks to peak torque coming in at 4,000 rpm. Just like a whip, this parallel twin motor dishes out a solid 106 Nm of torque and a sweet 76 hp at 6,100 rpm. Triumph has built the ride-by-wire technology on this motorcycle, which ensures a seamless throttle response.

The motor powering the Speedmaster is shared with other models in the Triumph stable, but the one on this motorcycle has been tuned differently. At 4,500 rpm, this engine produces nearly 10 % more torque than the T120 and around 42 % more than the previous iteration of the bike. The story is the same with power figures at 6,100 rpm being 10 % more than the T120 and 25 % more than the 2015 Speedmaster. As a cruiser motorcycle, the Triumph Speedmaster offers the rider with adequate torque low down in the rev band, so even when on higher gears, one can easily pull away without downshifting. The engine is also liquid cooled and while Triumph probably offers the best engine heat dissipation in the segment, it can still get warm enough to roast your leg once the cooling fan kicks-in.

The bike has been built on a tubular steel cradle frame and features a twin sided tubular steel swing-arm. In the front, Triumph has bolted on KYB 41 mm telescopic forks, while the rear gets an adjustable KYB monoshock. The front suspension gets 90 mm of travel, while the rear monoshock features 73.3 mm of travel. The suspension set-up leans to the softer side and is comfortable over bumps and undulations. Like the Bobber, one needs to be careful over potholes and breakers because of poor ground clearance. However, the tubular frame does offer some protection, but a removable bash plate would definitely go a long way in increasing the rider’s peace of mind. The stiffness of the frame, softness of the suspension, long beach bars and fat tyres may make you think that the bike is not too manoeuvrable, but in fact this is not the case – all it takes is a little getting used to. So when you lean into a corner, there is ample control and the bike will hold the line you commit it into.

Braking on this motorcycle is facilitated by twin 310 mm discs in the front with dual pot Brembo calipers; the rear gets a 255 mm disc with a single pot Nissin caliper. The Speedmaster’s braking set-up is sharp and accurate; even when you are pushing this machine to its limits the efficiency of the brakes ensure the rider is nothing but confident. Triumph has added enough tech to make the Speedmaster a safe cruiser. This bike features ABS along with switchable traction control. It also gets road and rain riding modes that can be activated by a switch on the handle bar. Traction control, when turned on, works well to cut power if there is any slip or slide of the rear wheel. Other tech being offered on the Speedmaster includes an immobiliser, cruise control and torque assist clutch that makes clutching feel like a breeze.

Triumph has ensured a well-rounded retro look on the bike, with the inclusion of twin throttle bodies, drum brake inspired rear wheel hub and spoked rims


While everything about the Triumph Speedmaster looks retro, the mechanicals are far from that theme and rest contemporary. As a big cruiser, riding this motorcycle in the city has never made me weary and on open stretches of highways it can truly set your soul free from the monotony of the daily grind. With a steep ex-showroom price of ` 11,11,500 one may wonder if it is value for money. Well, the oomph and road presence that this motorcycle offers along with its rich heritage, features and riding comfort, cannot be weighed in monetary terms.

TEXT: Joshua Luther

PHOTO: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay