QUICK FANG: Triumph America – America Graffiti

17 April 2013
The mid-size cruiser market is a crowded place with offerings from a heap of metric-cruiser brands; Harley-Davidson’s in there too with its 883 Sporties. To make an impact in that setting with the 2011 America, Triumph’s strategy is to emphasise its point of difference – parallel-twin power in a sea of V-twins. As Triumph puts it: “The cruiser for those who go their own way.” 
With a new 16-inch front wheel replacing the 18-inch item, and a front guard with deeper valances, the bike has more substance to its look, a bit more gravitas. To me, it takes on some of the flavour of a 1950s Harley. That’s a more ‘Classic’ style in Triumph-speak. 
The 15-inch rear wheel gets a makeover too; it’s wider now, a move that’s intended to make the tyre look better and work better. The changes aren’t limited to the wheels, though. The front indicators are mounted lower, off the bottom triple clamp, and then there’s the revised ergonomics… 
Triumph figures that by making the America’s seat a bit lower and making its controls (and the sidestand) easier to reach, it will be a better bike for smaller riders while still pleasing its existing fan-base of bigger guys. To achieve this the seat is now 25mm lower and the rider ’pegs have come back a bit, while the pillion ’pegs have been moved forward. As well, the new handlebar bend reduces the width of ’bars and brings the grips further back. 
For me all the controls are well positioned and while the ’pegs are still forward mounted, they’re in a more natural position. The end result is a riding posture that’s all about relaxed cruising – about kicking back and enjoying the rhythms of the road. 
The 865cc parallel-twin powerplant, it should be said, has more than enough poke to deliver an up-tempo version of those rhythms. It’s a smooth and torquey engine with linear throttle response, matched to a nice clutch and gearbox. It’s equally capable and happy whether you’re in a ‘cruisy’ mood or wanting to chase your mates in a mad dash along a winding backroad. 
It’s the cornering clearance that limits how hard you can push the America through the twisties – its suspension set-up is well up to the job. Having said that, the America’s ’pegs allow more lean than you’ll get on some cruisers. 
The brakes are good – plenty of power front and rear – but an ABS option would be welcomed. The new America is a good looking, capable cruiser that’s well built, fun to ride and good value for money at $13,990 (plus ORC).
SPEX - Triumph America
Type: Air-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, parallel-twin (with 270-degree crank)
Capacity: 865cc
Bore and stroke: 90 x 68mm
Compression ratio: 9.2:1
Fuel system: EFI
Type: Five-speed, constant-mesh
Final drive: Chain
Frame type: Tubular-steel cradle
Front suspension: 41mm Kayaba fork, non-adjustable
Rear suspension: Twin Kayaba shocks, adjustable for preload
Front brake: Single 310mm disc with twin-piston Nissin caliper
Rear brake: Single 285mm disc with twin-piston Nissin caliper
Wet weight: 250kg
Seat height: 695mm
Fuel capacity: 19.3lt
Max power: 45kW (60hp) at 6800rpm
Max torque: 72Nm (53ft-lb) at 3300rpm


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