2012 Triumph America | QuickShift Review

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Ultimate MotorCycling QuickShift Review

The name Triumph America is nearly oxymoronic, yet it captures the spirit of Triumph’s smallest cruiser in a single word. Indeed, taking a seat on the America – it is only 27 inches off the ground – and grasping the grips, there is no doubt that this motorcycle has a quintessentially American ambiance.

The pullback bars feel very much like a traditional beach cruiser bicycle, and are paired with moderately feet-forward pegs. The ergonomics are natural and relaxing, making for an inviting ride.

Powering the America is a classic air-cooled V-twin of a different sort – a vertical twin, though you might not realize that without looking below the generous five-gallon tank. It is the same motor we know and love from the Bonneville line, though tuned for cruising with a nicely off-kilter 270-degree firing order that simulates the feel of twin-cylinder motors in a V-shaped configuration.

A fat-tire bike, the America has a wide 16-inch front wheel and corresponding 15-incher in the back. This healthy footprint keeps the America stable and secure when cornering. The Kayaba suspension is amenable to the turning process, setting itself nicely between soft and taut – Triumph doesn’ t forget its sporting heritage, even on its cruisers.

There’s no push from the Metzeler Marathon tires before your heels start grinding and you know it is time to ease up. Slowing down is a simple matter of backing off the throttle, as there is good engine braking, or using either of the single disc brakes at each wheel.

Hitting the scales at a claimed 550 pounds ready to go, it has an inherently light feeling that comes with its relatively lesser weight carried low. Certainly, the America is not the least bit intimidating, and is worthy of consideration by re-entry riders or those who have some time on a smaller machine.

With 60 horses on tap at 6800 rpm, the America is fine on the freeway. The 53 ft/lbs torque peak hits early at 3300 rpm, so acceleration is stronger than one expects from an 865cc powerplant. Fuel injection is flawless, though it has a manual choke-like knob for cold starts, and the injectors are effectively camouflaged as carburetors.

Triumph offers a wide range of accessories for the America, including bags, floorboards (rider and passenger), sissy bars, and windshields that can turn the bike into a light-duty tourer. Easily overlooked, the America is an enjoyable, versatile member of Triumph’s unique line of cruisers.