The new 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster has undergone some major changes. The unofficial 1960s name was originally reintroduced as a cruiser based on the Bonneville America back in 2003, and had an air-cooled 790cc twin-cylinder engine, before moving to 865cc and fuel injection over the years.
Now it’s back, powered by the current 1200cc HT engine, and with an overhauled chassis and specs. Which moves it up significantly in the Triumph range, and makes it a much more exciting prospect for new owners or anyone looking to upgrade.
What makes it so interesting? Let’s start with the engine and a bit of a Triumph merry-go-round. So the T120 motor first appeared in the Bonneville range as a new liquid-cooled, 8 valve SOHC parallel twin power plant. It was then used for the introduction of the Bobber and the new 2018 Bobber Black. And that version was retuned for more torque. And now the Speedmaster gets the Bobber tune back into the Bonneville range.
If that seems a bit confusing, here’s the shorter version. Like the Bobber, it’ll make 77hp at 6,100rpm and 78.2ft-lbs of torque at 4,000rpm. That’s 10% more peak torque than the current Triumph Bonneville T120, and 42% more than the smaller 2015 Triumph Speedmaster. That means it’ll pull from a lot lower in the rev range, and through the six-speed gearbox. And it’s also an overall peak power increase of 10% on the T120 and 25% on the 2015 Speedmaster. So it’ll be more capable of both relaxed riding based on the grunt, and pushing on when you want it to. Which is good.
And it gives you a clear reason to potentially choose the Speedmaster over the T120, if you want the power of the Bobber with a more traditional chassis and style. Especially as you still get a 10,000 first service interval.
It also has a deeper and richer exhaust note as a result of the newer engine and tune. That’s complimented by the twin air box, with a twin filter design and hidden cat box. And the bright chromed stainless steel exhausts.
As you’d expect, the new 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster comes with a variety of aids to help you enjoy the extra power. That includes ride-by-wire, Road and Rain riding modes, ABS, switchable traction control, a torque assist clutch, and single button cruise control.
All nice and practical. And also helpful when you want to be able to relax and cruise, or you plan on covering long distances.
And if you’re planning to tour on a Bonneville, the Speedmaster is pretty much the best choice. The fuel tank is now larger, with 12 litres of range (that’s a fair bit more than the Bobber’s 9.1 litre tank). You get a deep foam comfort seat and removable pillion seat pad as standard. And you ride in a feet forward cruiser position, with the swept-back 1950s style ‘beach bars’. Picture a boulevard in California rather than Skegness.
But there are more changes to also improve comfort and handling. The front now features KYB 41mm forks with 90mm travel and cartridge damping, while the rear KYB shock has 73.3mm of travel and a stepped preload adjuster.
But you keep a retro hardtail look with the black powder-coated ‘cage’ swinging arm, with paddock stand bobbin mounts. Which is handy if you work on your own bikes.
And you also get better stopping power. At the front are 310mm twin disc brakes with twin piston Brembo calipers. And the 255mm single rear disc has a lone single-piston Nissan caliper.
The final bit of functionality is the new LED lighting which is becoming adopted by the Triumph range. Which means you geta full LED 5-inch headlight with a Triumph badge on it, and the choice of main, dipped and LED daytime running unit. Plus the LED rear light, indicators and number plate light.
So that’s all the practical stuff. But what about looking good? Well, you’ve already seen plenty of pictures showing that it’s still a very British take on a laid-back custom motorcycle. So you keep a sculpted Bonneville tank. And items like the carb-styled twin throttle bodies, a ‘clean-line’ header pipe run, finned exhaust clamps and rubber fork gaiters.
And the Bobber influence goes beyond the engine tune with the hard tail appearance at the rear, the minimal bodywork and single clock, the rear brake hub resembling a drum, an old-style battery box and central mudguard ridges. Plus the required 16″ spoked wire wheels required for any factory vintage bike.
Basically if you like 1960s Bonneville styling, you get enough to make you happy. Combined with the cruiser style and comfort that means you can enjoy it for longer with less aches and pains. Which should appeal to a fair number of potential buyers.
There’s no price yet, but given the new engine and specs it’ll be significantly higher than the £7599 of the outgoing model when it arrives in dealers for the start of March 2018.
2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Colour Options and Gallery:
The all-new Bonneville meets Bobber comes in a choice of three colours. You can pick Jet Black, Cranberry red and Jet Black, or the Fusion White and Phantom Black with a twin hand painted coach line.
2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Accessories:
Obviously as part of the modern Triumph range, there are more potential add-ons than you can wave your wallet at. Touring screens, panniers, engine bars, Vance & Hines exhausts and a total of 130+ ways to tweak your Speedmaster to the way you want it.
And there will also be a Speedmaster range of official riding and casual clothing, including t-shirts, a quilted jacket, a checked riding shirt and a hoodie.
If you’re a bit overwhelmed by choice and not sure exactly what you want to buy, then don’t panic. For the 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster, the firm has also created two ‘Inspiration’ kits to help you achieve your desired result.
First up is the 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Highway kit. Which you’d probably guess is more touring orientated. And you’d be right. It includes a waxed cotton and leather pannier set, adjustable touring screen, comfort seat and matching wider pillion seat, and lots of chrome.
Or maybe you’ve decided on a stripped-down and meaner look. And want to use the Speedmaster rather than the Bobber or standard Bonneville? Then the 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Maverick kit will get you there with a brown quilted single seat, raked handlebars, Vance & Hines exhausts, blacked out details, and a ‘grab rail removal kit’. We could have sworn that’s usually called a screwdriver or a spanner!
So that’s the new 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster. It’s a massive upgrade and improvement on the old model, with more power, torque, handling and features. And becomes a good midway point between the practical British Bonneville range, and the stylish custom Bobber.