Flying us to England to witness the reveals of its new Speedmaster and Bobber Black seems an outsized expense for Triumph considering that riding the latest Bonneville line’s variants wasn’t part of the trip. However, the significance of the Modern Classics to Triumphs recent sales successes can’t be overstated: The Bonneville lineup accounts for 25% of the company’s total production.

So, we willingly jumped on a 787 Dreamliner to visit Triumph’s HQ in Hinckley where we saw the unveiling of the new bikes. While there, we were able to speak with several of Triumph’s reps and gain further insight into the company and its products.

Big Sales

If there’s a downturn in the motorcycle market, Triumph is ignoring it. Some 63,400 motorbikes were sold from July 2016 through this past July, a 13% growth over the previous 12 months and the fourth consecutive year of record sales. Triumph touts that it has introduced mind-boggling 15 new models in just the past two years.

2018 Triumph Speedmaster 

In basic terms, the 2018 Speedmaster is a Bobber with beach bars and a dual-seat arrangement. It also receives the new Bobber Black’s dual-disc Brembo front brakes and its footpegs are placed further forward. A 41mm Kayaba cartridge fork replaces the damping-rod 41mm legs of the regular Bobber, and it uses 16-inch wire-spoke wheels. A preload adjuster is added to the underseat shock. Cruise control, ABS and TC are standard, and it is fitted with a 12-liter fuel tank (3.2 gallons), a bit larger than Bobber’s. It uses the same frame but with the addition of subframe to accommodate a pillion. Stay tuned for our ride report from its launch in February, by which time an MSRP will have been announced.

2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Revealed

Actor Luke Evans aboard the new Speedmaster.

2018 Triumph Bobber Black

This new Black version toughens up the Bobber’s stripped-down appearance with a fat 16-inch front tire (19-inch on original Bobber), dual-disc Brembo front brakes, a larger-diameter (47mm) Showa cartridge fork (vs. 41mm non-cartridge Kayaba) and blacked-out finishes. Cruise control is now standard equipment, as are Road/Rain ride modes, ABS and TC. It’s nearly 20 pounds heavier due to fatter wheels, tires, fork and its additional front brake. It will cost more than the regular Bobber ($11,900), but no MSRP is yet set. Expect a ride report from us in December.

The new Bobber Black is a butcher version of the successful Bobber.

2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black Revealed

Quick Sales

The Bobber has been Triumph’s fastest-selling motorcycle in its long history, with more per-month registrations since its emergence at dealers this spring than any other Triumph ever. More than 6100 have been sold worldwide to date, and we like to think we helped play a part in the Bobber’s success by awarding it our Best Cruiser of 2017 in our annual MOBOs. More than 2000 of them were sold in the U.S., amounting to about one-third of production.

Best Cruiser Of 2017

Size Matters

The new Bobber Black uses a fat 16-inch front wheel and tire that adds a significant butch factor compared to the 19-inchers on the regular Bobber. Stuart Wood, Triumph’s chief engineer, insisted on the 19 as used on the previous cruiser-y Speedmasters and Americas, but he now admits the the Black’s 16s look cooler and claims they don’t degrade the Bobber’s adroit handling qualities.

Premium Products

Triumph has made a corporate decision to place its products in a so-called premium market, which is part of the reason the 250cc platform in development a few years ago was axed. The veracity of this revised strategy is backed up by sales figures of its top-line model variants. Of the three-bike Street Triple line, it’s the high-end RS that sells in the greatest numbers. The Thruxton R sells in a 7-to-3 ratio over the base model.

Triumph showed off its development mule for the Moto2 category of grand prix racing, which will use a hot-rodded version of the Street Triple’s 765cc three-cylinder engine replacing the class’ current 600cc Honda engines for the 2019 GP season.

Thai One On

Steve Sargent, Triumph’s chief product officer, tells us sales of the Street Triple line falls only a bit behind the broad Bonneville platform of bikes. Both are produced at Triumph’s three factories in Thailand, one of which is tasked solely with the manufacturing of frames. The Tiger 800s are also built in Thailand.

Triumph Factory Visitor Experience 

In conjunction with the reveals of the new Speedmaster and Bobber Black, Triumph christened its newly constructed Visitor Experience cum museum at Triumph’s headquarters and UK factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire, in England.

Triumph Motorcycles Factory Visitor Experience

Officially opening on November 1, the exhibit will be free to visitors. A factory tour is available at the cost of 15 pounds sterling. Attendees can see the first Triumph, the No.1, from 1902 and other significant models through the company’s 115-year history.

 

To me, the coolest bike in the Visitor Experience is the TR6A ridden by Steve McQueen in the iconic film The Great Escape. The epic jump over a fence in the movie was performed by McQueen’s longtime cohort and stunt double, Bud Ekins. It’s estimated to be the most valuable Triumph in the world.

Indian Future

Triumph made a surprising announcement in August that it had entered a non-equity partnership with India’s Bajaj Auto to jointly develop and produce a line of mid-sized motorcycles. When pressed for details on what the platform might be, Steve Sargent was unsurprisingly coy, but he did reveal the first bike will debut in about three years.

Triumph Partnering With Bajaj To Produce Mid-Sized Motorcycles

My personal favorite celebrity seen at Triumph’s soiree was three-time Grand Prix champion Freddie Spencer. Fast Freddie, the only rider to have won the 250cc and 500cc championships in a single year (1985), was in good spirits and tells us he’s enjoying life now living in London and regularly attending classic/vintage motorcycle events and riding schools throughout Europe.

The term “mid-sized” is purposely vague so as not to reveal much at this early juncture, and Sargent would only admit to it being between 300 and 700cc. I’ll guess it’ll be right in the middle, at 500cc. Later in the conversation, Sargent noted Royal Enfield sells about 600,000 bikes per year, so I’ll guess the new Triumph/Bajaj line might be a smaller platform of modern classics, probably with a parallel-Twin engine, which would allow spin-offs of a variety of models like the current Bonneville line.

Celebrity Value

Triumph understands the weight that celebrities can bring to its products, so it invited a few luminaries to the unveiling party for its two new bikes. A-list actor Luke Evans from The Hobbit trilogy, Dracula Untold, and Fast & Furious 6, 7 and 8 rode a Speedmaster on stage at the gala event, while musicians and moto enthusiasts Mark Richardson (drummer from the UK rock band Skunk Anansie) and Clayton Bellamy (from the Canadian country-rock band the Road Hammers) also attended, as did Triumph ambassador and four-time World Superbike champion, Carl Fogarty.

 

  • john phyyt

    Fast Freddie now lives in London. Wow. Would he give you guys a phone interview ?

    I for one would love to hear his views on motorcycling . USA/UK Also GP racing and why USA is no longer at the top level of the sport. Maybe you could invite him to the office when he next visits. Can the MO budget stretch to Beer and tacos?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Looks like Kevin’s twin brother.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I think it is because the U.S. is too U.S.-centric. It doesn’t give a damn what the rest of the world is doing. Look at soccer vs football, cricket vs baseball, hockey vs ice hockey, tea vs coffee. Same thing with the Dakar Rally and MotoGP. The controlling authority (ASO and Dorna) is in Europe so the U.S. is not interested.

      • John A. Stockman

        How true. Letting the major series, MotoGP, WSBK, and now our own series MotoAmerica, go to a network like beIN Sports was a huge blow to enthusiasts in the US. While both satellite providers offer it, it costs, on DirecTV, $240/year to add the package that includes beIN. Many cable companies do not even offer beIN, still. The main sports networks that are showing a lot of motorcycle racing right now, are in my basic, ie affordable, channel line up. I have sent SO many e-mails and commented in forums about how Dorna thought this was a good idea, and then KRAVE decided to go with beIN also. Yet CBSSN, NBCSN, Fox Sports 1 & 2, and MAV TV show a lot of motorcycle racing. Sidecars, many disciplines of off road, BSB, Real Road Racing, Trials, Motocross/Supercross, etc., it’s all on those previously mentioned channels. Yet I cannot watch my own national series? Is the old saying about things going to the lowest bidder true here? I thought broadcast contracts worked differently, but it’s obvious I was wrong. I have to subscribe to the Video Pass services to get MotoGP and WSBK (which is less $$ than getting a soccer channel added to my line up). But with MotoAmerica, beIN has exclusive rights to North American internet streaming of MotoAmerica; if you don’t have beIN in your “package”, you cannot access any internet racing content. I don’t know what is going on, but it doesn’t make sense to me, especially for those in charge who say they want to increase the fan base and viewership numbers, and then go with a network that many can’t even get. Oh yeah, love what Triumph is doing and lust after a triple!

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I just watch the Dakar Rally highlights on the Red Bull and Dakar Rally websites. MotoGP I just read the reviews and watch clips on YouTube and Red Bull TV. I haven’t been following MotoAmerica or WSBK. Mostly I am interested in the races KTM is participating in.

      • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

        i don’t know, awhile back i could watch Bundesliga just about anytime i wanted,but come to think of it that was before i switched to AT&T

  • Sayyed Bashir

    63,400 Triumphs sold (three times the number of Indians sold).

    • Kevin Duke

      Triumphs are sold around the world; Indians are not.

  • JMDGT

    Triumph is doing so well because they are producing some of the best bikes around.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I don’t know if I would say “best”, but I would say “interesting”, “nostalgic” and “retro”.

      • JMDGT

        Triumph is investing heavily the development of their offerings across all product segments. They understand the competition of the marketplace and strive to give the market a quality Triumph alternative. Their “retro nostalgic interesting” products carry with them modern technologies and designs that enable them to produce some of the best bikes available. That is the reality of the Triumph motorcycles of today.

  • allworld

    It’s great to know that Triumph is alive and doing well, there has been a uptick of fit and finish with their bikes over the past few years for anyone who has been paying attention.
    I am a big fan of their triples………. that is where I want to see some expansion of their line-up. The latest Trophy was nice, but too much of BMW R1200RT knock off, lesson learned……….. Lead don’t follow….

  • blansky

    As a Thunderbird owner there is a lot of contradictory information on the 1600/1700 cruiser segment. I wonder what Triumph is planning cruiser-wise or are they stepping back from that. There is also the Rocket.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I think once they invent a motorcycle, they keep it in the line-up even if they don’t produce as many. For example the Rocket III series is still there. That’s how they get up to 20 different models. The funny thing is every model I clicked on said ” Item is currently unavailable”.

      • blansky

        I think they believe their future is the Bonneville styles like these new bikes for “younger” riders and will phase out cruisers. The Thunderbird is an incredible bike but had very little marketing behind it. The Speedmaster/America cruiser style has been replaced by this Speedmaster which I’d argue is not really a cruiser even with the riding position but more of a Bonneville style.

        The Rocket is a beast and seem to sell in small numbers and wonder if they will continue that.

        I think the market segment that companies are sliding towards including Harley to some extent and Indian too is the younger rider who view cruisers as old people bikes. Obviously Harley will stick with cruisers because that’s their bread and butter but they are fully aware that to get younger riders they need to adjust.

        I think other than the US the market is Sport Touring and now the Bonneville/ Bobber/Cafe Racer kind of style. And I guess we’ll see what happens in the US as the boomers are aging out.

        Obviously there is still a big younger market for sport bikes which I doubt will change but it seems once a rider hits 25-30 they move away from sport bikes to some extent.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Cruisers will always be there because they are comfortable general purpose and touring bikes. I think there is room for all kinds of bikes: adventure, sport touring, sport bikes, cruisers, muscle bikes, naked, scrambler, retro, super moto, dirt bikes, scooters, trikes, sidecars, autocycles, CanAms and Piaggio MP3 tilting three wheelers. Variety is the spice of life.

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    i really like that Speedmaster-both are sexy bikes,but it’s nice to be able to go two up

    • John A. Stockman

      The styling is very good, definitely not the usual me-too, cruiser/American/v-twin copy. I like “different” and Triumph is doing it. I know a local dealer that brought Triumph in when they started selling again in the US. He has a lot of great things to say about the bikes, styling and the reliability, including the great factory support he receives as a seller. If I was in the market for a new bike, Triumph would get my money.

  • Jens Vik

    Visitor Experience cum museum…
    Excuse me? 😂

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    i grew up on Truiumphs, it is gratifying to see them still around-somehow they have managed to stay in the “modern” bike market without sacrificing the classics-you can get whichever you like,and i like that!

  • kenneth_moore

    “Royal Enfield sells about 600,000 motorcycles a year.” That’s an impressive number, no wonder Triumph wants a piece of it.

  • Sentinel

    If they made a Bonneville with a larger capacity fuel tank I’d buy one, but until then I’ll have to look elsewhere.

  • Idaho Renegade

    Any news on the 2018 Rocket III? Really hoping they come out with a fully dressed touring bike (preferably with a QD trunk) based on that platform.

    • Kevin Duke

      No news, but they didn’t talk about it as a dead or dying model, so perhaps it will live on with revised tuning to meet Euro4…