If ever a name gave a false impression to a motorcycle then the Triumph Speedmaster is it, though to be fair, the Triumph Speedmaster name dates back to the 60s; this is what the US importers of Triumph called the T120R of the day, when parallel twins rules the road. Back then, the Triumph Speedmaster genuinely was fast. But back then it wasn't a cruiser. And today there aren't many cruisers that do the speed thing especially well; they're generally too heavy, lack the raw power of sportsbikes and push to much air.
Speed has no great bearing on how a cruiser functions on a daily basis. And on that score the Triumph Speedmaster challenges for the title of the easiest in the middleweight cruiser class. The Triumph Speedmaster looks great with its 865cc air-cooled 270º parallel twin engine sitting upright and proud complete with shiny slash-cut silencers gloss black headlamp surround, smooth 19 liters fuel tank finished in matte grey, asymmetrical spoked wheels and low curved seat. The only downside of the Triumph Speedmaster is probably the 730,000 THB asking price. Cruisers are now big news in the Thai motorcycle market. They're popular because they look and sound cool and are functionally the antithesis of hard riding, single-purpose sportsbikes. The riding position is almost the opposite with feet forward of the handlebar, body low and weight mainly over the rear wheel. That's why most have only a single disc up front, because the rear brake does as much work as the front, with not quite the bite of competition like the Yamaha Bolt, but there's enough to stop the Triumph Speedmaster in any situation.
On the flip side, the Triumph Speedmaster is the speed master over the Yamaha Bolt and the reason for this is simple; it revs more. Many of the V-twins don't spin to much beyond 5000rpm. The Triumph Speedmaster manages 8000rpm, and that's why it can make it to 100 from a dead stop in just over five seconds. Not bad for something only making 61 horsepower.
Despite its relative haste, the Triumph Speedmaster engine doesn't really need to rev that high; much of the time you don't bother exceeding about 4500rpm before doing the next upshift. That's because there's sufficient torque from about 3500rpm onwards to ensure brisk acceleration, without the need to exceed 5000rpm. Coincidentally, 100km/h happens to correlate with 3500rpm and that's exactly where its 72Nm of peak torque is developed. The Triumph Speedmaster seems happiest cruising at 110km/h, which equates to a real 104km/h.
One thing you can rely on with a Triumph; a first-class chassis. The Triumph Speedmaster doesn't disappoint. It is like a junior version of the Thunderbird in that there's more ground clearance than you'd expect, better than the Yamaha Bolt, especially if you set to work and grind parts of your motorcycle over the tarmac.