It has been quite a while since Triumph Motorcycles announced the introduction of the Bobber Black and the all-new Speedmaster. It is all very nice to receive warming news like this during winter, but the wait until you can actually ride the bikes is long. A little while ago we got the anticipated phone call from Triumph Motorcycles inviting Bikebrewers to put these babies to the test.
As only one of us was available Bikebrewers decided to invite fellow journalist Vincent Burger to join for the day. And quite the day it was! We had phenomenal weather allowing us not only to really get a good feel for the bikes but to shoot great pictures in the process.
Available in any color, as long as it is black”
Henry Ford lead the way in the automotive industry in many areas. As his motive to offer 50 shades of black was different, using this colour to underline a rugged image is eagerly adopted by Triumph. The absence of ‘bling’ gives the Bobber the extra ‘umph’ that separates it from its slightly lighter brothers.
No major changes to be expected in the power plant for this bike. It has the exact same specs as the other Bobbers, but the biggest difference is to be found in the front section. A big (Avon – 130/90/16) tyre and double 310mm discs are fitted between two (47mm) forks which are also a tad bulkier then the standard Bobber. All in all still quite a change for the better in terms of looks and handling. The fat tyre adds to the excitement and corners really well. The double discs are more than welcome. With all this torque available, emergency stops may occur more often than anticipated. Torque seems to have a strange connection to the testosterone-producing glands.
That’s exactly what the Speedmaster has been designed for. Clearly with the American market in mind, but nonetheless a ride that stimulates the senses in Europe too. All the bling which is so evidently absent from the Bobber is present on this bike. It is shiny and invites you to cruise at a relaxing speed, contrary to the Bobber which makes you (me) want to go faster each time.
Does this bike make my jeans become tighter in certain areas? Not really. Even though it is not really my cup of tea, it is a wonderful bike that is reliable and handles really well. Cruising the distance, arriving in style without the adrenalin twitches in your muscles is the story here.
Don’t get me wrong here; although the Speedmaster uses the engine of the T120 Bonneville, which does not have the ‘HT’ (High Torque) mark of the Bobbers, there are plenty of horses to play around with. It is powerful enough to make you happily use the double disc brakes here too occasionally.
“Gentlemen start your engines”
My buddy Vincent and I took off for a full day of riding along the famous Dutch dikes along the shores of the ‘IJsselmeer’, from Amsterdam all the way up North. One long and very twisty road. Just perfect.
I anticipated having a constant battle who would be riding the Bobber rather than the Speedmaster Vincent being as much a speed and torque freak as me. However no such thing. He gladly rode the Speedmaster for the biggest part of the ride, so I could have my way in attempting to bring iron as close to the tarmac as possible.
Having tested the ‘standard’ Bobber already last year I knew what to expect, but was still very pleasantly surprised bythe changes the engineers made at the front of the bike. As said, it handles really well even with the bigger tyre and is a pure bliss to ride on those curvy roads with challenging corners. Yeah!
While I was constantly pumping adrenalin, Vincent took it ‘easy’, but it was still quite hard to shake him off. He stayed close enough to me to see his irritating grin in the rear-view mirror all the time. Not a pleasant sight.
It was with an initial slight reluctance from my part we switched bikes a few times. But I must admit I was pleasantly surprised each time. The Speedmaster is a great ride too. The wide handlebars and the luxury seat invite you to take a step back and let it roll. It invariably will put a smile on your face, rather than the naughty grin which comes with the Bobber Black.
“May we have your votes please?”
We both give each bike ‘douze points’. From different perspectives to each his own. My personal choice would definitely be the Bobber Black, whereas Vincent would clearly go for the Triumph Speedmaster.
Both bikes are just excellent, although we both see the Bobber as a bike which is bound to be an inspiration for builders to create their own very special project. And that is what Bikebrewers is really about isn’t it?
Until someone comes along with a grinder, a saw and a blow torch, please enjoy these two pieces of pure eye candy!