Triumph Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide
British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph dates back to 1902, when engineer Mauritz Schulte fitted a 2.2-horsepower Belgian-made engine to what was essentially a bicycle frame. By 1907, the fledgling motorcycle maker had its own 450 cubic centimeter (cc), 3.5-horsepower engine and was producing 1,000 units annually. A little more than a decade later, some 30,000 Triumph motorcycles saw military service in WWI.
A brand steeped in tradition, it’s easy to trace a direct line from vintage Triumph motorcycles to some models still in the lineup today. The classic Speed Twin first arrived in 1937, yet it looks not unlike the modern Triumph bearing the same name, right down to its stance, the shape of the gas tank, and the Triumph logos on its sides. Even the basic architecture of its 498 cc two-cylinder engine remained essentially the same for more than 40 years.
Like domestic brands Harley-Davidson and Indian, Triumph and its riders developed a certain outlaw image over the years, fueled in part by Marlon Brando riding a Triumph Thunderbird 6T in the 1956 biker film The Wild One. Years later, stuntman Evel Knievel famously jumped the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on a Triumph – with a landing somewhat less gracefully than his takeoff.
Today, Triumph makes a full range of standard, off-road, and cruising motorcycles built on lessons learned over a 100-plus year history of racing and innovation. While many do retain a classic look, others have a more contemporary style. All are thoroughly modern underneath.
Types of Triumph Motorcycles
Perhaps best known for standard motorcycle designs using the upright two-cylinder engine layout originally introduced in the 1930s and still seen in the Street Twin and Bonneville today, the Triumph lineup also includes a number of sport bikes, cruisers, and adventure/dual-sport models designed for extended trips on or off road.
What Triumph doesn’t make are any motorcycles that most riders would consider entry level. Engines are two- and three-cylinder designs, with the smallest displacement being a 765 cc three-cylinder used in the Street Triple and a 900 cc two-cylinder in the Street Twin. There’s no shortage of models, however. From just a handful of engine designs, Triumph cranks out some three dozen model variants, although some are very similar to one another and differentiated only by a feature or two.
Triumph Motorcycle Prices
Triumph prices range from $9,300 for the Street Twin to $22,000 for the Tiger 1200 XCA. The bulk of the lineup falls in the $10,000 to $16,000 range, with an average price of just over $14,000.
That puts average Triumph prices between full-line brands like Honda and Kawasaki at the cheaper end and domestic makers Harley-Davidson and Indian that specialize in big bikes at the more expensive end. At the same time, Harley-Davidson makes models that are both more affordable and pricier than Triumph. Indian prices start in the same $9,000 range as Triumph. For comparable models, Triumph prices are competitive with other makers.
2019 Triumph Motorcycle Lineup
The Triumph lineup is divided into several series. The Roadsters and Supersports models are geared for sport riding. The Adventure series is made up of models meant for touring, or travelling on and off road. Triumph’s Modern Classics series mostly includes motorcycles meant to evoke the look of vintage models in a modern package.
Like Harley-Davidson, Triumph offers an almost limitless variety of options, accessories, and color combinations to personalize many models. Just don’t expect a lot of choices for novice riders.
Triumph Standard Motorcycles
Standard motorcycles are traditional designs, generally with an upright seating position and easy on the frills. Designed more for around town riding and commuting than long-distance traveling, standard models are typically lighter and more maneuverable than cruisers or touring models, and most do without fairings or bags. Most can accommodate a rider and one passenger, and have small to midsize engines. About half of Triumph's models fall in this category, including long-running nameplates like the Street Twin and Bonneville, all drawing heavily on the brand’s heritage.
Triumph Street Twin
Combining an old school classic look with modern technology, the Street Twin is the most affordable and closest to entry-level motorcycle available in the Triumph lineup. Power comes from a liquid-cooled, 65-horsepower, 900 cc two-cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection and matched with a five-speed transmission. Light on styling frills, the stripped down look is complemented by a matte finish. But underneath, the Street Twin features electronically controlled driving modes that can adjust throttle response and traction control settings at the flick of a switch. Single disc brakes with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) are standard, and a tire pressure monitoring system is optional. The Street Twin's seat height is 29.9 inches, and its weight is 436.5 pounds. Prices start at $9,300.
Triumph Street Triple S
Agile, aggressive, and quick, the Street Triple S is designed for performance living up to its looks. Powered by an electronically fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 123-horsepower, 765 cc three-cylinder engine with an 11,250 RPM redline and paired with a six-speed transmission. The Street Triple S features two riding modes for wet or dry conditions, ABS, traction control, Showa suspension, an on-board computer, and an LCD instrument pack. The seat height is 32 inches, and the weight is 370 pounds. Prices start at $9,950.
Triumph Bonneville T100
With both the look and the name of an iconic bike from Triumph's past, the Bonneville is perhaps the most retro model in a lineup heavy on throwback influences. The two-tone tank, 55-horsepower 900 cc upright twin engine, five-speed transmission, generous use of chrome and spoked wheels all pay tribute to the original Bonneville of 1959. Modern touches include liquid cooling, single disc brakes, ABS, traction control, and an LCD instrument pod combined with an analog speedometer and tachometer. Options include heated grips and cruise control. The bike's seat height is 31.1 inches, and its weight is 470 pounds. Prices start at $10,450.
Triumph Street Triple R and R LRH
The Street Triple R builds on the performance of the Street Triple S with additional features. Powered by the same 765 cc three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission, the Street Triple R includes all the standard features of the Street Triple S, adding Brembo front brakes, an Adjustable Showa suspension, ABS, traction control (that can be turned off depending on rider preference), a five-inch color instrument display, four electronically controlled riding modes, a more sophisticated on-board computer, and more. The LRH version offers a lower 30.7-inch ride height for easier access. Both versions weigh 366 pounds. Prices for both the Street Triple R and R LRH start at $11,250
Triumph Bonneville T120
A more powerful version of the Bonneville T100, the T120 gets a liquid-cooled and fuel-injected 1,200 cc 80-horsepower two-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed transmission. Beyond that, the Bonneville T120 has the same throwback looks as its less powerful counterpart, paying homage to the 1959 Bonneville with two-tone paint, chrome pipes and engine covers, and chromed wire wheels. The T120 uses twin front and single rear disc brakes. Other standard features include ABS, heated grips, an anti-theft immobilizer, a combination of LED and analog instrumentation, traction control, and switchable driving modes for dry and wet conditions. The bike weighs 494 pounds, and its seat height is 31 inches. Prices start at $11,850.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber
A minimalist bike focused more on the ride than on frills, the Bonneville Bobber features a long, low look and a 1,200 cc 77-horsepower liquid-cooled and fuel-injected two-cylinder upright engine in the classic Triumph tradition, that's tuned for low- and mid-range torque, and paired with a six-speed transmission. Standard features include electronically controlled road and rain driving modes, single front and rear disc brakes, ABS, traction control, a trip computer, heated hand grips, an anti-theft immobilizer, and an adjustable riding position. The seat height is 27 inches, and the weight is 502 pounds. Prices start at $11,950.
Triumph Speed Twin
With its traditional styling highlighted by a large round headlight, big twin engine, upright riding position, and two-tone gas tank with the iconic Triumph logo, the Speed Twin pays tribute to the original Speed Twin of 1938. Beneath the skin, however, it is a thoroughly modern motorcycle. Powered by a liquid-cooled, two-cylinder 1,200 cc 96-horsepower engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission, the Speed Twin is equipped with updated technology including traction control, three electronically controlled driving modes, twin front and single rear disc brakes, ABS, and electronic fuel injection. Set up for handling, the Speed Twin gets a unique frame and suspension. The seat height is 31.8 inches, and the weight is 432 pounds. Prices start at $12,200.
Triumph Street Triple RS
At the top of the Street Triple Range and using the same 765 cc three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission, the RS adds a Brembo master cylinder, a more robust Showa front suspension, five electronically controlled riding modes (including track mode), a lap timer, and additional upgrades and styling tweaks. The seat height is 32.5 inches, and the weight is 366 pounds. Prices start at $12,550.
Triumph Thruxton 1200
With Cafe Racer-inspired styling cues including clip-on bars, a smaller, 17-inch front wheel, and a suspension tuned for handing with a lightweight aluminum swingarm and wheels, the Thruxton is built for performance. Powered by its own version of Triumph’s liquid-cooled and fuel-injected 1200 cc two-cylinder engine, the big twin produces 97-horsepower in Thruxton trim. The transmission is a six-speed. The suspension gets KYB front forks and rear shocks, and the brakes are twin front and single rear discs with ABS. Traction control is standard, along with three electronically controlled driving modes, adjustable suspension, LED headlights and tail lights, and an immobilizer. The ride height is 31.9 inches, and the weight is 454 pounds. Prices start at $13,000.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black
Using the same architecture and 1,200 cc 77-horsepower liquid-cooled and fuel-injected two-cylinder 1,200 cc engine and six-speed transmission as the Bonneville Bobber, the Bobber Black adds black paint, pipes, and trim, along with additional standard features including cruise control, Showa front forks, a fatter 16-inch front wheel, dual Brembo disc brakes up front, and an LED headlight. The seat height is 27 inches, and the weight is 502 pounds. Prices start at $13,150.
Triumph Speed Triple S
With a high-revving engine, performance suspension, and an aggressive riding position to match its race-bred looks, the Speed Triple S is a seriously competitive motorcycle. Powered by a fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 148-horsepower 1,050 cc three-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed transmission, the Speed Triple S features four electronically controlled riding modes, twin Brembo front and single rear disc brakes. Standard features include ABS, traction control, adjustable Showa suspension, a five-inch color instrument display, cruise control, and a USB charge port. The seat height is 32.5 inches, and the weight is 423 pounds. Prices start at $14,350.
Triumph Thruxton 1200 R
Cranking up the performance factor, the Thruxton R gets the same liquid-cooled and fuel-injected 1200 cc 97-horsepower two-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission as the base Thruxton model, along with all its other standard features. To that potent mix, the Thruxton R adds Pirelli Diablo Rossa Corsa tires, fully adjustable Showa front forks, Ohlins adjustable rear shock absorbers, Brembo twin front and single rear disc brakes, and assorted trim upgrades. Prices start at $15,400.
Triumph Speed Triple RS
That much closer to a racing motorcycle, the Speed Triple RS has the same fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 148-horsepower 1,050 cc three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission as the Speed Triple S. To that package, the Speed Triple RS adds titanium exhaust silencers, a track mode for a total of five electronically controlled riding modes, a lap timer, keyless ignition, carbon fiber trim, and more. The seat height is 32.5 inches, and the weight is 416 pounds. Prices start at $16,500.
Triumph On-Off Road Motorcycles
Designed for day trips or extended excursions far from civilization on all kinds of roads or none at all, on-off road models (also known as dual-sport or adventure bikes) are typically equipped with lots of suspension travel, high ground clearance, versatile gearing, and sufficient fuel capacity for the long haul. Another Triumph specialty, the British manufacturer offers a wide variety of models in this category, from the more street-focused Tiger 800 XR to the go-anywhere Tiger 1200 XCa.
Triumph Street Scrambler
Another model name familiar to longtime fans of the brand, the Street Scrambler gets upswept exhaust pipes for a rugged off-road look, enhanced by retro spoked wheels, and a matte-finish on the engine, tank, and fenders. Powered by an electronically fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 900 cc two-cylinder engine with 65 horsepower and a five-speed transmission, the Street Scrambler gets four-piston Brembo front and two-piston rear disc brakes with ABS. Other standard features include traction control, and three electronically controlled driving modes, including one for off-road use. The seat height is 31.1 inches, and the weight is 447 pounds. Prices start at $11,000.
Triumph Tiger 800 XR
Intended for the adventurer who spends more time on the road than off, the Tiger 800 XR is equipped for comfortable long-distance cruising, with Metzeler Tourance street tires on cast road wheels, and a seat, handlebars, and brake and clutch levers that you can adjust for a customized riding position. The engine is a liquid-cooled and electronically fuel-injected 800 cc 95-horsepower three-cylinder matched with a six-speed transmission. The brakes are twin front and single rear discs with switchable ABS. Other standard features include traction control, an on-board computer, 12 volt and USB power outlets, and an anti-theft immobilizer. The seat height adjusts between 31.88 and 32.67 inches, and the weight is 439 pounds. Tiger 800 XR prices start at $12,000.
Triumph Tiger 800 XRx and XRx LRH
With the same liquid-cooled and electronically fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 800 cc 95-horsepower three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission powertrain found in the base XR model, theTiger XRx adds additional features including cruise control, four electronically adjustable riding modes for different conditions and preferences, heated hand grips, hand guards, upgraded instrumentation with a five-inch color digital display, Brembo front brakes, and other upgrades. The XRx LRH combines the same feature set with a reduced ride height that when combined with the adjustable seat makes for a 29.9-inch seat height, allowing easier access and a lower center of gravity. Prices for both the XRx and XRx LRH start at $13,800.
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
Aimed at the rider whose adventure touring includes both on- and off-road travel, the Tiger 800 XCx gets a 21-inch front wheel, two inches larger than the one on Tiger 800 XR models. This allows for better balance and control off-road. This bike also has a more upright riding position. The electronically fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 800 cc 95-horsepower three-cylinder engine is tuned for more low-end torque, and is matched with a six-speed transmission. Five electronically controlled driving modes are standard, including one for off-road use. Other standard features include a five-inch color digital instrument display, twin front Brembo and single rear disc brakes, ABS, traction control, cruise control, adjustable Showa front suspension, 12 volt and USB power outlets, an immobilizer, and hand guards. The seat height is adjustable between 33.07 and 33.85 inches, and the weight is 452 pounds. Prices start at $14,600.
Triumph Tiger 800 XRt
At the top of the Tiger 800 XR range, the XRt uses the same electronically fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 800 cc 95-horsepower three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission powertrain found in other Tiger 800 XR models, and includes all the same features. To that, the Tiger 800 XRt adds an adjustable Showa suspension front and rear, LED headlights and tail lights, a configurable instrument display, five electronically adjustable driving modes, heated seats, and a center stand. Prices start at $15,700.
Triumph Tiger 800 XCa
The Tiger 800 XCa adds features to the same basic architecture of the Tiger 800 XCx, and uses the same liquid-cooled and electronically fuel-injected 800 cc 95-horsepower three-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed transmission. Added standard equipment includes a rider programmable driving mode for a total of six modes, LED headlights and tail lights, a programmable instrument display, heated hand grips, a heated seat, an aluminum radiator guard, a center stand, and other upgrades. The seat height adjusts from 33.07 to 33.85 inches, and the weight is 459 pounds. Prices start at $16,200.
Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
A more powerful version of the Tiger 800 XR, the Tiger 1200 XR combines a similar feature set with a more powerful engine for adventure travelers who spend more time on road than off. Power comes from a liquid-cooled and fuel-injected 1,215 cc, 139 horsepower three-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed transmission. Other standard features include three electronic driving modes for dry, wet, or off-road conditions, Brembo twin front and single rear disc brakes, ABS, traction control, adjustable suspension, cruise control, an on-board computer, 12 volt and USB power outlets, and an immobilizer. The seat height is adjustable between 32.87 and 33.66 inches, and the weight is 534 pounds. Prices start at $16,500.
Triumph Tiger 1200 XRx and XRx LRH
Using the same liquid-cooled and fuel-injected 1,215 cc 139-horsepower three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission found in the Tiger 1200 XR, the Tiger 1200 XRx adds additional features including a 5-inch color instrument display, LED headlight and tail lights, keyless ignition, heated hand grips, four riding modes, enhanced ABS, and traction control. The Tiger 1200 XRx LRH adds the same features, along with a lowered ride height and adjustable seat that bring the seat height as low as 31.25 inches for easier access and a lower center of gravity. Prices for both models start at $18,900.
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx
Triumph’s most powerful on-off road motorcycles, the 1200 XCx models are essentially the same as their 800 cc counterparts with a larger, fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 1,215 cc three-cylinder engine producing 139 horsepower. Combined with a six-speed manual transmission and five electronically controlled driving modes, the XCx is designed for travel just about anywhere regardless of conditions. Standard features include cruise control, a semi-active, adjustable suspension front and rear, Brembo dual front and single rear disc brakes, ABS, traction, LED lighting, a color 5-inch electronic instrument display, a trip computer, an electrically adjustable windshield, keyless ignition, 12 volt and USB power outlets, an anti-theft immobilizer, and more. The Tiger 1200 XCx weighs 534 pounds, and the seat height adjusts between 32.87 and 33.66 inches. Prices start at $19,700.
Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
The Tiger 1200 XRt has the same liquid-cooled and fuel-injected 1,215 cc 139-horsepower three-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission used in the Tiger 1200 XRx, along with all the same standard features. In addition, the Tiger 1200 XRt gets adaptive LED lighting, five riding modes, a hill hold control, heated hand grips, a heated seat, an electronically adjustable windshield, and other features. The weight is 536 pounds, and the ride height adjusts from 32.87 to 33.66 inches. Prices start at $21,300.
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa
The ultimate go anywhere on-off road motorcycle from Triumph, the 1200 XCa adds additional features not available on the XCx. Powered by the same fuel-injected and liquid-cooled 1,215 cc 139-horsepower three-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed manual transmission, the Tiger 1200 XCa gets all the standard features of the XCx plus a rider programmable driving mode for a total of six electronic modes, along with hill hold control for starting out on an incline, heated hand grips, a heated seat, a larger electrically adjustable windshield, and more. The seat height is adjustable from 32.87 to 33.66 inches, and the weight is 534 pounds. Prices start at $22,000.
Triumph Cruiser Motorcycles
Cruisers provide the power and comfort for extended highway riding or a day exploring back roads, either solo or with a passenger. Triumph makes one model in this category: the minimalist Bonneville Bobber Speedmaster.
Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster
Designed for cruising in classic style, the Bonneville Speedster combines a low, retro look with modern technology and creature comforts. The liquid-cooled and electronically fuel-injected 1,200 cc two-cylinder engine is tuned for low end torque for easy cruising. It produces 77 horsepower in the Speedmaster model. The transmission is a six-speed manual, and the Speedster offers two electronically controlled driving modes for wet or dry conditions. Standard features include an LED headlight, cruise control, dual front Brembo disc brakes, ABS, traction control, a trip computer, and an anti-theft immobilizer. The seat height is 27.76 inches, and the weight is 541 pounds. Prices start at $13,150.
Triumph vs. Harley-Davidson
While both brands offer motorcycles built for cruising with plenty of power and lots of customization options, the Triumph lineup includes more models built for performance on and off road.
Like Harley-Davidson, Triumph trades heavily on its past, with many models offering a retro look and style. But the brand’s modern offerings pack in lots of technology, including wide use of ABS and traction control, along with digital displays and wide availability of creature comforts like heated seats.
Both brands back their motorcycles with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Triumph is definitely the choice if you’re looking for a sporty ride. But Harley-Davidson is the way to go if you’re looking for a traditional tourer with lots of room for storage, Harley-Davidson offers more choices. Somewhat surprisingly, Harley-Davidson is also the choice if you’re looking for an entry level bike, or shopping on a budget. At $6,899, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 undercuts the least expensive Triumph Street Twin by more than $2,000.
Triumph vs. Indian
Just as is the case with Harley-Davidson, one thing Triumph shares with Indian is a long and checkered history that plays a big part in each manufacturer’s current lineup. With Indian, however, that’s about where the similarities end.
While there’s some overlap in the standard and touring models offered by Harley-Davidson and Triumph, Indian’s offering is almost entirely made up of big touring bikes. Triumph is decidedly the sportier choice, with a much larger assortment of standard and sporty rides. Triumph is also the choice if you’re looking for a dual-sport model or plan to do some off-roading.
Both brands offer a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty. And both offer models beginning in the $9,000 range. A loaded up touring model from Indian, however, can get considerably more expensive than anything from Triumph.
Triumph vs. Honda
Simply put, Honda is a much better choice if you’re shopping for your first motorcycle. Honda offers a much broader range of bikes, particularly of the smaller displacement and easy to handle variety. At $4,499, the Honda Rebel 300 is about half the price of Triumph’s least expensive model, the $9,300 Street Twin.
On the other hand, there’s no substitute for the look, feel, and sound of a big Triumph two-cylinder, and Triumph offers a much broader variety of two and three cylinder sport bikes. And both offer dual-sport models for off and on road travel. Here again, Honda has the edge on price, with the XR650L starting at $6,999. That’s less than half the cost of a Triumph Tiger XCx, although the latter is both a larger and more fully equipped motorcycle. It’s all up to your wants, needs, and pocketbook.
Honda is also an option if you’re looking for a big touring bike with lots of storage, because Triumph doesn’t play in that space. Both manufacturers offer a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.