Sec­ond­hand Buyer’s Guide: Tri­umph’s Speed­mas­ter

Motorcycle Monthly - - Used Bike Ride -

The Speed­mas­ter was launched in 2003. Based on the Amer­ica, the orig­i­nal model had a 790cc air-cooled dohc par­al­lel twin en­gine, ex­panded to 865cc in 2005 and in 2007 it switched to fuel in­jec­tion. De­signed as a trib­ute to the ‘hot rods’ of the 60s it has a pared-back look, los­ing the chrome on the Amer­ica.

We took out a 2014 ex­am­ple, fea­tur­ing black teardrop mir­rors and Tri­umph Short Slash Cut Si­lencers.

An 865cc, dohc air-cooled par­al­lel twin en­gine puts out 53lb-ft of torque at just 3300 revs (max­i­mum power 61bhp @ 6800 revs), housed in a tubu­lar steel cra­dle frame that sits long and low (690mm seat height, 1606mm wheel­base).

Stop­ping power comes from a sin­gle 310mm front disc sup­ported by a 285mm rear, both with two-pis­ton calipers. The pair work best ap­plied in uni­son.

Rid­ing po­si­tion is lovely. Pegs are for­ward set, the bars lean you gen­tly for­ward into an en­gaged but com­fort­able po­si­tion (you could ride in that stance all day; whether the soft sad­dle would al­low is another ques­tion). Those girder-like han­dle­bars could have come from Mr Bloor’s other busi­ness! But they work well and lend to the over­all look of the bike.

The en­gine suits the bike per­fectly. It doesn’t re­ally want to waste time un­der 30mph, but it will trun­dle (when I got into traf­fic I stuck it in first and bim­bled). Fun was set­ting up for an over­take then blip­ping the throt­tle and let­ting it punch for­ward. Mo­tor­way speeds were ef­fort­less and the rid­ing stance seemed to avoid turn­ing you into a sail.

Sus­pen­sion is quite firm for the class, but still soaked up most stuff with­out fuss. The road into Trin­ity Buoy Wharf (where I took the photos) is poorly sur­faced at present, but it trun­dled over that with­out has­sle, although the un­even ap­proach road to the round­about that turns onto my back road test sent un­wanted feed­back rip­pling through the bars.

Han­dling is pre­dictable. It holds a line per­fectly, lik­ing a dip of the hip to get it turn­ing. The way to ride it is to keep your head up, look well into the bend and let it flow from one cor­ner to the next.

Oh and the sound! The bark when open­ing the throt­tle for over­takes was ad­dic­tive. Po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect per­haps, but the Short Cut pipes sound fan­tas­tic.

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