Triumph’s Bonneville Bobber was one of the biggest surprises of 2017, combining great looks, surprisingly sharp handling and clever engineering to bring something new and genuinely exciting to the cruiser market. For 2018, the Hinckley factory has taken the concept and created a new model with added practicality and more traditional styling – meet the Bonneville Speedmaster.
The Speedmaster name is not new, being the nameplate attached to the 865cc cruiser produced between 2002 and 2016, but the new bike owes nothing else to its namesake.
For starters, the new model is based on the 1200cc Bobber platform, sharing the same engine and frame, and where the previous Speedmaster featured flat dragbars and street rod styling, the 2018 incarnation has a more traditional 1960s cruiser feel. Indeed, using accessories from Triumph huge parts catalogue (totalling over 130 for this model alone) the Speedmaster can be turned into an authentic looking light bagger with an adjustable touring screen and panniers.
Indeed, added comfort and practicality are the main difference between the Speedmaster and the bike it is based upon. Where the Bobber was applauded for the ingenious engineering that gave it a stripped down, hardtail look, there is more meat on the bones of the Speedmaster. A larger fuel tank, albeit still only 12 litres, increases the bike’s touring range, while saddle is well padded and can quickly be changed between a single and twin seat setups.
The look is as traditional as it comes with the high torque (106Nm) engine designed to look like an old air-cooled mill with machined cooling fins and throttle bodies designed to look like classic carburettors. The Bobber’s hard tail look has been retained but overall the look is less edgy with swept back ‘beach’ bars, ridged mudguards, 16” spoked wheels and three classic colour combos (plain black, red and black and white and black). The riding position is also more feet forward than that of the Bobber.
For all its classic 1960s looks, the Bonneville Speedmaster is ultra modern under the skin. Tech like cruise control, traction control, riding modes, torque assist clutch and digital displays are pure 21st century – as are the all-round LED lights.
There’s no word on prices yet, but we’re expecting the Bonneville Bobber to hit dealerships in February next year, although you can see it first at Motorcycle Live next month.
Triumph has also announced another new derivative of the Bobber with the Bonneville Bobber Black. Unlike Triumph’s other Black models, which are little more than blacked out base models of the bike they are based on, the BBB actually has some higher spec components than the bike upon which it is based. Mechanically it remains the same, but the chassis has been upgraded with a new front end. Front forks are chunky 47mm units, as opposed to the 41mm items on the Bobber, and feature a twin, rather than single, front brake setup. The Black version also has a different front wheel, with a fat tyred 16” item rather than the 19” rims on the standard bike. The Black also benefits from standard cruise control and higher specification LED lights, but there’s no surprise when it comes to colour options. This bike is as black as the ace of spades, with pretty much every metal component given the dark treatment. Here is a choice of paint though, with either matt or gloss black options available.