2008 Triumph America
Filled with muscle and attitude, the Triumph America has its own way towards the never ending highways in the U.S. and so it manages to bring that unique British feel on the bad boy’s roads.
2008 Triumph America
Transmission:Five-speed gearbox with X ring chain
Horsepower @ RPM:54bhp at 6,750rpm
Torque @ RPM:51ft.lbf at 4800rpm
Energy:Twin carburetors with throttle position sensor and electronic carburetor heaters
Top Speed:110 mph
Triumph designed the America model so that it would bring a feel of the open road deep in the rider’s heart, just so it would never be changed for anything else. The ingenious manufacturer placed a parallel twin engine on the versatile chassis and it than individualize it by adding wide bars and forward placed footpegs, features which radically contribute at the laid back riding position. Reliable, cool looking, and efficiently pulling, the Triumph America is ready to go down the open road, right next to the other motorcycling symbols.
After it reintroduced the Bonneville back in 2000, Triumph started to use the carefully-engineered 790cc parallel-twin with 360 degree firing interval on many motorcycles and so it created a larger range of products from which customers would choose.
One of those motorcycles is the Triumph Bonneville America. Launched in 2002 and featuring the engine on the recently revived model, but with a 270 degree firing interval, the America model was the next big hit planed by the manufacturer.
This was just a first step in Triumph’s plan as the bike was no longer referred to as being a Bonneville in 2003. Individualizing it was the plan, so it was simply designated the Triumph America.
It is strange how things worked out with two models at Triumph, the America and the Speedmaster. The second appeared as a consequence of the first and yet it had priority and received the 865cc motor starting with 2005 model year. The America suffered this same upgrade for 2007, together with new cast wheels, reverse cone silencers, and adjustable clutch and front brake levers.
With the America, Triumph intends going up against the best in the business, just like it does with the Speedmaster. In fact, these bikes are much alike and tend to compete with the same models.
Definitely the Triumph America was built to go up against the filled-with-heritage Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883. It does the job pretty good even though the lean and mean looking Harley has attracted a big part of the crowd on its side. The American manufacturer’s 883cc V-Twin Evolution engine is clearly the most important part, while the parallel-twin kind of looses the interest at this chapter. Styling is great in both cases, so the choice is yours.
If you are more into Japanese cruisers, I’m sure that next on your list is the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. This bike has probably caught you up with the help of its customized looks and decent power, but what’s so special about the Triumph that doesn’t let you sleep? I’m sure that if you’ve ridden it, things are already sorted out (more on that later).
Another middleweight cruiser which is suitable for the battle is the Suzuki Boulevard C50. With its combination of cruiser styling and V-twin rumble, the C50 is definitely a mean machine with plenty reserves left for you to discover. It is also the cheapest in its class, so it has a big advantage on its side.
Even though it is a middleweight cruiser, this Triumph has the talent of looking massive and able to take matters into its own hands rapidly (don’t be scared, it won’t drive itself; it still needs a rider, so what are you waiting for?).
A massive, alloy 12-spoke wheel at the front, covered with a stylish fender looks always good on a cruiser and when a heavy-duty 41mm fork sustains them, riders know they are dealing with a freedom machine. Further, the wide pullback handlebars speak about comfort on those never ending roads in the U.S. and the wide 4.4 gallons teardrop-shaped fuel tank keeps the engine well fed all through the journey.
The chromed exhaust pipes mounted on each side are a Triumph specific which couldn’t have miss the America. Neither the chromed mirrors, headlight and tachometer cover, tank ornaments, and rear fender ornaments could.
A ride with the Triumph America is all a rider needs in order to become both addicted to highway cruising and to English motorcycles. Even so, I felt like riding a bit in the city so that I get a feel of what a daily rider will encounter and I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed at all. The bike is sufficiently powerful in order to have you separated from ordinary city vehicles with ease and all the recognition goes to the 865cc, air-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin featuring 270 degree firing interval. Decent power is what this unit develops, and you won’t feel the need for more as the lightness and handling complement for any eventual need of power.
Also in the city, I noticed that the suspensions do their job properly, especially at speed bumps, and the rider’s bottom won’t be suffering. It is very easy to deal with the laid back riding position. I could actually say that it makes a rider feel proud while seeing himself in the shops windows.
Exhaust note is satisfying even though I would have gone for a more powerful sound, just for the hell of it. The thing is that I like the parallel-twin so much and I would have loved to hear it a bit better.
I didn’t manage to shift upper than third gear between red lights and stop signs and the gearbox still felt easy to use and very precise. I often happen to miss gears when finding myself on a new bike, but not this time.
Enough playing around, it is time to take this baby down the highway and see what it can really do. This is where the laid back style is more at home and the rider becomes relaxed and takes its eyes off the mirrors. It is the true riding feel expected from a cruising motorcycle, proving this way that Triumph really combined the American riding style with English engineering and attention to details.
At a TopSpeed of 110mph, this bike doesn’t let many engine vibrations get through and bother the now relaxed rider. The seat is perfect for traveling long distances as it doesn’t lose its firm feel after just a few hundreds of miles. What I could have enjoyed more was a windscreen, but this is not a touring machine so I had to be satisfied with what I got. After all, isn’t everything about the sun glasses and the wind in your face?
Triumph not only built this bike so that it would ride in style, but also to stop safely. Achieving this wasn’t so hard. There was only the need for two piston calipers applied on the 310mm disc in the front and 285mm disc at the rear. These provide the strong braking power that such a bike always has to have at its disposal and the rider will always feel confident when applying them. I generally stop using both brakes, even though cruisers aren’t very likely to pop up and do a wheelie.
Triumph built this bike so that it would make himself known to the U.S. market with an actual product that follows the American style, offering freedom and satisfaction with every single mile that it gathers. Riders will definitely be more than happy with it, and the manufacturer pleased to have completed another mission properly.
Triumph offers this bike painted in a single color, case in which the MSRP doesn’t go higher than $7,999, or two-tone colors which raise the suggested retail price to $8,199. Proving not only reliable, but affordable too, the Triumph America is one true representation of how Triumph is used to build and sell motorcycles.
With the America, Triumph proves versatile and has the power to amaze even the most experienced riders. In fact, the bike simply completes with the purposes for which it was created. Would you expect at something else from a Triumph motorcycle? I definitely don’t and I tend to take some things like bullet-proof mechanics and awesome styling for granted.
Engine and Transmission
Type: Air-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin, 270 degree firing interval
Bore x Stroke: 90 x 68mm
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Fuel System: Twin carburetors with throttle position sensor and electric carburetor heaters
Final Drive: X ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm: Twin-sided, tubular steel
Front Wheel: Alloy 12-spoke, 18 x 2.5in
Rear Wheel: Alloy 12-spoke, 15 x 3.5in
Front Tyre: 110/90 18
Rear Tyre: 170/80 15
Front Suspension: 41mm forks
Rear Suspension: Chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload
Front Brakes: Single 310mm disc, 2 piston calipers
Rear Brakes: Single 285mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Width (Handlebars): 37.8in
Seat Height: 28.3in
Rake/Trail: 33.3 degree/153mm
Weight (Dry): 497 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.4 gal
Maximum Power: 54bhp at 6,750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 51ft.lbf at 4,800rpm
Colors: Phantom Black/Sunset Red, Phantom Black/Tornado Red, Phantom Black, Pacific Blue/New England White
The America’s 865cc, air-cooled, DOHC, twin cylinder engine shares its basic architecture with the Bonnie, but the 270º firing angle provides a loping exhaust note and smooth power delivery that’s big on easy-going drive and full of character.
CVK36 Keihin Carburetors with throttle position sensor and float bowl heaters.
The America’s new seamless, teardrop-shaped tank holds more fuel as well as looking great with its chromed badges and hand painted coach lines.
Both new and experienced riders will appreciate the sure-footed ability of the chassis and the confidence-inspiring handling. The riding position is relaxed for both rider and passenger and offers a supremely comfortable ride, thanks to the large, low 28 inch seat, forward set pegs and raked handlebars.
The cast, aluminum alloy 15 inch rear rim is crowned with a fat, 170/80-section rear tire while the front, an 18 inch cast wheel, wears a 110/90 tire. Durable, wide-set telescopic forks add substance and a solid look to the America’s raked front end, while twin-piston calipers and front and rear disc brakes take care of stopping duties.
The America’s engine fires out through a pair of deep-chrome reverse silencers.