‘Bob’ and ‘Speedy’ both Triumph
Triumph is renowned for creating new models from its existing range (just look at the many T100 Bonnie variants of a couple of years ago).
So it’s no surprise they have taken the one platform, in this case the muscular Bonneville T120, and given us two totally different bikes — the Bobber Black and Speedmaster.
The Bobber Black is for the cafe riders who want some muscle on tap, even if they only use it every now and again; the Speedmaster is for the touring rider who wants to travel our big brown land without the bulk of a big cruiser. For the launch of these two bikes, we did a city ride and some drag racing, for the Bobber Black, and went to the Hunter Valley on the Speedmaster — a perfect way to show what these two bikes are all about.
Both bikes run on borrowed power, the T120 Bonnie parallel twin. The “HT” High Torque tuned engine is bang on the right choice for both bikes.
A massive 106Nm of torque at 4000rpm gets you punching along hard from a standstill, as a certain Harley rider who thought he could smoke the Black from a set of traffic lights found out.
Blacked and bad ass is the concept for the Bobber Black.
The standard Bobber becomes the Bobber Black with a subtle difference that makes a world of difference to the ride, and that’s the front wheel.
The Bobber Black has a fat 16inch front versus the 19 on the Bobber, as well as larger 47mm forks as against the Bobber’s 41mm. The result is superior handling and more comfort. The name of the game with the Black is aggression and muscularity, and the smaller front wheel and larger forks are helped by blacking out the engine and almost everything else. It all gives the Black an air of purpose.
You can get the Bobber Black in two colours — black . . . or black. Gloss or matte, that is, and why would you want anything else? This is a mean mother that will tear up the street.
The previous Speedmaster was a pretty popular model, more so than its stablemate, the America.
I was looking forward to seeing what the new Speedmaster would be like; the previous model was light and easy to ride.
In a nutshell, while the new model is still pretty easy to ride, it feels like a much larger bike.
Having ridden the Bobber Black the day before, the first thing that left me a bit cold was the “beach”style handlebar. It was too hard to hold onto at highway speeds as it’s angled almost straight back.
Low speed riding was fine, but get up over 90km/h and it was tiring.
As a laidback cruiser, the Speedmaster fits the brief pretty well.
It’s got a bucket load of torque and is easy to fit up with a screen and panniers. Triumph has also made up two accessory kits to make things easier — the “Highway” comes with panniers, screen, comfort seat, wider and far more comfortable pillion seat and chrome engine bars, backrest and some other bits and bobs.
The “Maverick” kit strips the bike back to something more along the lines of the Bobber with a quilted brown saddle and a flatter raked out handlebar, which is something that really made it for me.
I don’t mind the forward pegs of the Speedmaster and having a handlebar I could comfortably hold onto for long periods was nice.
The Maverick also has Vance & Hines exhausts and other tasty items. I see the Maverick taking the place of the Bobber for those who don’t like the floating saddle.
Otherwise, the Speedmaster is essentially the same as the Bobber Black. Big brakes, a high torque engine and all the other delightful inclusions, although the Speedmaster is fitted with smaller 41mm forks from the standard Bobber.
The Speedmaster does have that timeless Triumph character and I reckon it would suit those coming from the previous T100 Bonnie and looking for just a bit more all round.
Triumph’s Bobber Black is all about masculinity.
The Speedmaster has that timeless Triumph character.