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A Triumph replica to pay homage to The King of Cool
Limited Edition #1088 of 1100 made.
With the approval of McQueen’s son Chad, 1100 individually numbered examples of the 2012 Triumph T100 Steve McQueen Edition were sold worldwide. Fittingly, the special edition is faithfully styled as a replica of the actor’s Great Escape co-star, complete with olive-drab paint and a selection of military-inspired accessories.
Checking the McQueen Edition box gets you an undeniably cool machine that’s more utilitarian warhorse than retro-cruiser. The special edition features mil-spec Matte Khaki Green paint with a stenciled Triumph tank logo and the actor’s inimitable autograph reproduced on the side covers. Sporting a solo seat and black cargo rack, the rough rider also comes with a rugged-looking skidplate, a smaller, black-painted headlamp and many more blacked-out components, including the wheels, handlebars, suspension and mirrors. To underline their exclusivity, each bears a numbered plaque on the handlebar riser and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
The McQueen Edition is based on the T100 Bonneville that uses the more traditional wire-spoke wheels. Compared to the standard Bonneville that uses 17-inchers at both ends, the T100’s larger-diameter 19-inch front wheel imparts more relaxed handling, enhanced by more conservative steering geometry and a slightly longer wheelbase. The special edition riding position is slightly different, too, owing to the solo saddle. This is a good thing, as the stock T100’s authentic-looking platform is no paragon of comfort. This solo option uses a different foam density that almost feels like gel (but isn’t) for a more comfortable ride, and the slightly increased seat height offers more legroom. The solo saddle is narrower at the front, however, so it’s still easy even for shorter riders to reach terra firma.
The now-familiar, 865cc, air/oil-cooled parallel-twin is unaltered for this application. The 360-degree, double-up crank emits just the right Britbike thump, though this is primarily noted in the exhaust—twin, gear-driven counterbalancers prevent any vibration from reaching the seat, handlebar or footpegs, even near redline. With a claimed 67 bhp arriving at 7500 rpm and 50 lb.-ft. of torque at 5800 revs, the T100 delivers a broad spread of easily accessible power that makes this a very satisfying backroad bike. The Keihin EFI that first appeared on the Bonneville line in 2008 provides crisp throttle response, and it’s great that Triumph made the throttle bodies look like carburetors, so as not to spoil the faux vintage look. Closed-loop EFI and a three-way exhaust catalyst deliver Euro3 emissions compliance.
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