REVIEW: Triumph pulls out the stops with Commander, LT

Publish Date: 
Mar 13, 2014
By Mike Vaughan

The shared muscle for these twins, as mentioned, is the 1700cc torquer that powers the Storm, but detuned from 99 hp to 94 hp and with a similarly small reduction of torque. The handsome engine is black with machined finning and topped off with chromed cam covers. Chrome covers adorn the clutch and transmission as well. Power is delivered to the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission, with adjustable heel and toe shifter, via toothed belt drive.

Both bikes sport an analog speedometer positioned on the tank, with digital dual trip meters, clock and miles-to-empty readouts, that are triggered by a small switch located above the start button on the right-hand control module.

Both bikes share the same seat and seating position. The new frame has allowed the seat to be reshaped, with double the thickness of dual-density foam of previous models, while maintaining an uncompressed 27.6-inch seat height. The new seat is equipped with a small lumbar support pad and covered with an elastic covering that gives as the seat is compressed, eliminating wrinkles and hot spots that can occur with conventional seat coverings.

The major differences between the two motorcycles are external, and to a large extent cosmetic, although the reinforced leather covered bags, removable windshield and running lights that are standard on the LT are welcome and practical features not found on the standard Commander.

In addition to these items, the LT has chromed spoke wheels with genuine radial construction whitewall tires – a Triumph first – especially created for this model by Avon (see image, right), and more deeply valanced fenders. The LT also sports a standard passenger backrest and floorboards, a single round headlight, and tri-oval shaped mufflers.

The Commander sports Triumph’s signature twin headlights, somewhat larger cast aluminum alloy wheels and tires, passenger footpegs and “drain pipe” mufflers. The quality of paint and overall finish on both bikes is first rate, with hand pinstriping on the tank and fenders.

The Ride

Not being used to riding an 800-plus lb. cruiser, I was pleased that I managed to successfully wobble off the resort property while searching unsuccessfully for the foot controls without my fellow riders noticing how inept I was. Once on the streets and roads though, things smoothed out. I was able to locate the shifter, and the bike shed about 400 lbs.

After making a slight mental adjustment, the bike and I got along just fine. As the automotive road testers say, “…the controls fell easily to hand.” Both front and rear brakes are typically Triumph: very good, progressive and linear, and providing excellent feedback.

The first thing I was surprised by was the power. A twist of the throttle and I felt like I was riding in Doc Brown’s time machine from “Back To the Future.” This was true in any gear: instant torque, and lots of it, just dial up the amount you need. As a matter of practicality, in my mind, this bike could get by with just three speeds, a low, middle and high. I frequently found myself cruising along in third, and it took me a while to recognize that there were still three gears to go, with sixth being an overdrive.

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