The USA has always been an important market for British, European and Japanese motorcycle manufacturers. The size of the motorcycling population in America would only be ignored by the most short sighted of marketers. Breaking into the American market is tough. Americans are patriotic and will always look at buying their homegrown products first. They also tend to approach motorcycling differently and look for different characteristics in their motorcycles compared to European influenced markets. The USA is the land of the cruiser and cruising where the sound of a low revving V twin is almost part of their national heritage.
To sell motorcycles in America, foreign manufacturers have often created models of motorcycles especially for this market. Existing models are also adapted cosmetically to catch the American buyers eye. In the late 1960s and 1970s American sales of Triumph motorcycles were kept alive by styling the Bonnevilles around what appealed to the American buyer. The “peanut tank” on the Bonneville was created for the motorcycles to be attractive in America.
When the new Bonneville America was launched in 2002, it was obvious in its styling and name at which market this model was aimed. Longer, lower and more laidback this was definitely a motorcycle to suit American buyers. Triumph took the design a step further than any American styled Triumph model had done before. Although the standard parallel twin 790cc engine was retained, it was fitted with a 270 degree crank which made the motor sound more like a V twin and provided more torque at low revs; just like the Americans like it! Capacity was increased to 865cc in 2005.
In 2003 an even more customised version of the Bonneville America was launched. This model is known as the Speedmaster, a name last used by American Triumph importers in 1965. Our featured bobber is a Speedmaster which has been freshly customised by the friendly gang at Traditional Triumph in Edenvale.
Nick at Traditional Triumph built this bobber as a Speedmaster 10th anniversary commemorative custom. All the unnecessary weight has been removed. The rear mudguard has been bobbed to better show off the 170/15 tyre. The originally black frame is now silver which makes a great contrast to the flat blue paint work. Check out the chequered flag stripes. The 2 into 1 Arrow exhaust adds to this Speedmaster’s uniqueness. The front headlight and gauges, including those on the tank, are original. The standard wheels are retained but have been painted black. In 2007 Triumph introduced fuel injection on the Bonnevilles but use dummy carburettors to house the throttle bodies.
Traditional Triumph’s intention was to create an individual Speedmaster bobber without losing the comfort and rideability which their customer would expect from a standard Speedmaster. We think they have succeeded.