Triumph America 2012 Review
Welcome to America is not the catchcry you expect from a British motorbike company but in the case of Triumph it's a relevant call.
The America fuses UK engineering quality with a look straight off the US streets to create a laid-back cruiser that's easy to ride and hard to resist. And given Triumph flogs a lot of bikes in the 'States, it makes marketing sense too.
The middleweight cruiser field is as competitive as a schoolyard queue. Triumph deservedly plays at the head of the heap, pitching the America against Harley-Davidson's Iron 883 and Super Low duo.
The Harley's are the segment's top-sellers and just beat the Triumph's $13,990 sticker price. The 12-litre tank size on the Iron restricts its range as a cruiser, though, and the America probably has the edge in overall build quality.
If it was too modern it wouldn't be a classic cruiser. That hasn't stopped the Hinckley-based outfit from refining the parallel twin engine to the point where it is more than a match for the V-twins.
There's enough power to entertain new riders and encourage old hands but it is the smoothness across the rev range that makes this a willing performer, even without a sixth gear.
It is impossible to tell from looking at it that the America started life as a Bonneville. The stretched wheelbase is bracketed by a 16-inch front wheel and 15-inch rear to give it the sloping cruiser look and the low-slung seat means even the vertically challenged can put both feet down at the lights. The fuel injectors housed in fake carburettor bodies adds to the old-school charm.
There's no ABS braking but you shouldn't need it on this bike - it is a sit-back and enjoy the scenery style of machine. The biggest criticism comes in the form of the lights mounted on the tank - they're almost impossible to see in direct sunlight.
It's also easy to find the limit of the Kayaba suspension when you're riding two-up, which can be aggravating on particularly bumpy roads.
Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme restrictions stop the America from sporting L or P plates, but it is still a great cruiser to learn on. The combination of peak torque at 3300rpm and peak power at 6800rpm means it can be gently pushed along or given a decent run as your mood dictates.
The weight is low enough that it's easy to handle at walking pace and while the pegs touch down early they can be held there if you've overcooked the entry speed and desperately need the lean angle.
A slick alternative to the V-twin cruisers on the market and Triumph's now on the Harley-Davidson game of having enough genuine accessories for owners to personalise the America as their own freedom machine.