Online publications don't seem to agree on what this 'spy' shot is of. On the one hand you have Bennetts BikeSocial claiming it is the new Speedmaster whereas MCN is calling it the Bobber Cruiser (replacing the America and Speedmaster). The picture emerged a couple of days ago with only muted interest on the internet to it.
Bennetts are suggesting that Triumph hasn't made it particularly big in America, and we know that the Bobber broke Triumph's sales records when it was released so it would make sense to provide a two-up version. Last year Triumph shipped around 13,000 motorcycles to the US but Harley Davidson shipped 161,658 motorcycles, more than 12 times Triumph's sales. Though in fact the US market is not as big as the European market, and the Asia-Pacific market dwarfs even that.
Sales of the America, Speedmaster, Thunderbird Commander, and Thunderbird Nightstorm have been disappointing and these models have been quietly dropped from the production line making room for bikes based on the Modern Classic line. Given the success of the Bobber, will a two-seat version repeat that success?
So what is it that we see here? Last year we saw a spy shot of what looked like a possible Speed Twin, and if that comes to fruition then we may be seeing it towards the end of this year but there's been no more news other than that. It's also well known where Triumph's research department is in Spain and Triumph must also realise that there are loads of people ready to take pictures of anything different that appears on the roads - so it could just be Triumph pulling a fast one and duping the photographers.
The picture basically shows a two-seat Bobber - it was a criticism that the Bobber didn't have a pillion seat. There's the Bobber swing-arm (it is basically a race-bike monoshock styled to look like a hard-tail), the same engine, and the same electronics but there are loads of differences too. The rear subframe comes off a strengthened rear downtube capable of supporting a pillion, and the rider's seat is significantly different to the Bobber's though undoubtedly it will be adjustable. The front wheel is smaller which I think ruins the lines of the front-end. the footpegs have been moved forward and there's a rather unsightly link from the new position of the brake pedal to the actuator. There's also the ape-hanger bars and engine bars which seem to show clip-on cruiser foot rests.
If this is Triumph having a laugh then it's an expensive one.
Both Bennetts and MCN are saying that it's production ready, though Bennetts are saying that they are testing aftermarket accessories whereas MCN are suggesting these are standard exhausts and bars. They point to the lack of monitoring equipment. I'm not so sure. You can see the data-logger attached to the left handle-bar, and these days everything is wireless so there won't be too many wires to see. I think this is a work in progress still.
I also don't think Triumph will call it the Speedmaster as I think they'll want to capitalise on the Bobber name and distinguish it from the Bonneville range - that said I don't think they'll call it the Bobber Cruiser either. Possibly the Bobber Speedmaster, but that would suggest it was a replacement and I don't think this is. I think this is a new model that has a nod to the cruiser market but really aims more at the custom market (though it's not going to be called the Bobber Hipster either). Bobber Twin sounds good.