Britain’s Triumph motorcycles have been on the road for more than 100 years, and have maintained a reputation for quality since gaining serious ground in the 1920’s all the way through its latest incarnation under John Bloor, who’s held Triumph’s reins since the 1980’s. After his acquisition of the company, Bloor reportedly kept the designs for Triumph’s re-launch under wraps for eight years until he felt they were fully developed enough to re-establish Triumph Motorcycles as a go-to motorcycle brand.
When that moment arrived in the 1990’s, the new Triumph line that appeared was built around six roadsters that used similar components and styling features to cut down on the production costs that had bankrupted the company in the first place. That re-launch was a great success, and has allowed Triumph in recent years to expand their motorcycle designs exponentially to appeal to bike enthusiasts, increasing their sales even while other companies see the fallout from the economic downturn on their own balance sheets.
Triumph today features motorcycles across every weight class and price range, from the retro-classic Bonneville and Thruxton lines to the newer and equally well-received Thunderbird and Sprint models. There are a few of the Triumph motorcycles that are really making those that should know (motorcycle reviewers, that is) stand up and take notice however:
Cruiser Class 2010 Thunderbird
Favored by Motorcycle-USA.com’s Bryan Harley, the Cruiser performs well with extra power compensating for its weight (745 lbs). The weight is noticeable on turns, but not during acceleration. Able to brag up a rider friendly transmission, clean, classic lines, and serious power, the Thunderbird is a real spit-and-polish bike.
2009 Street Triple R
Kevin Ash from Britain’s Telegraph newspaper liked this middleweight contender for its huge motor and “exceptionally fine ride quality”; the motor sets engine standards for its class. It’s hugely responsive but can vibrate a bit which may be annoying for longer rides.
2010 Rocket III Roadster
With more torque than some economy cars, this is a stylish, massive and rigidly mounted bike with great stopping power. The rider triangle is spacious, as can be expected, with slightly less ride comfort than what might hope for. Still, the improved handling and wide handlebars offset any negatives.
2009 Triumph Sprint ST
This sport bike hasn’t been hugely updated in five years, but doesn’t really need it.. With mirror-integrated turn signals, a tall screen and higher handlebars than before and a steel fuel tank rather than plastic, the revisions since the major 2005 revamp are appropriate without being overstimulating. It’s still easy handling, has a stable suspension, and the fueling is bright.
Triumph is comfortable returning to its roots, and its revisit of the Thruxton paid out dividends. Best in cityscapes and canyons, it features nimble handling and remarkable power. An obvious throwback to the 60’s cafe racers, the throttle is described by Motrocycle.com as “crisp, smooth, and responsive”.
2009 50th Bonneville
Motorcycle.com’s Pete Brissette loved the Bonnevile, praising it for maneuverability, power, and braking capability. The 50th anniversary edition of the iconic Bonneville is largely unchanged from the 2008 for the EFI, has spoke wheels and a 19-inch front wheel.
2009 Daytona 675
Considered light and fast, narrow and nimble, it shed weight to pick up speed, and has also gained in horsepower. The redesigned cockpit, screen, and headlights improve the overall look.
2008 Speed Triple 1050
Fast, safe and angry, it’s also a civilized and refined bike. It’s a smooth ride that isn’t harmed too much by a new rear subframe which allowed for a new seat. Radial Brembo callipers have updated their noisier replacements and the new wheels for this year were a welcome update.
2010 Tiger SE
Triumph Motorcycles themselves have gotten behind this, touting it as one of the “best all-around bikes on the market”. It’s considered agile, and a great long-haul bike, with a tall riding position and standard ABS.
2008 Street Triple 675
Motorcycle-USA.com’s Adam Waheed enjoyed it for its compactness and speed. The cockpit is roomy despite compactness, the suspension does the trick for carving or cruising.
Triumph recently announced that they would be introducing a slew of new models for 2012, so motorcycle enthusiasts have much to look forward to. Given the success of Triumph’s last 15 years since their re-launch, the way forward is looking promising for one of Britain’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers.
Bryan Harley, “2010 Triumph Thunderbird Comparison Review”
Kevin Ash, “Triumph Street Triple R review: British is best in the battle of the middleweight all-rounders” Telegraph
Pete Brissette, “2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster Review” Motorcycle.com
Pete Brissette, “2009 Triumph Sprint ST Review” Motorcycle.com
Pete Brissette, “2009 Triumph Bonneville Review: Fun at 50!” Motorcycle.com
Pete Brissette, “2009 Triumph Thruxton Review: To the cafe with confidence” Motorcycle.com
Adam Waheed, “2008 Triumph Street Triple 675 First Ride” MotorcycleUSA.com
Tor Sagen, “2008 Triumph Speed Triple 1050 Review: A Sharper Speed Triple” Motorcycle.com
Tor Sagen, “2009 Triumph Daytona 675 First Ride: Lighter, Faster, Better.” Motorcycle.com