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When it comes to choosing the right vintage cruiser then it can be a challenge choosing between the triumph and the Harley. Both biking makers have curved a niche among biking fans from across the world and in this article we tell you why.

Triumph and Harley are symbols of unrivalled biking luxury, adventure, and comfort. The bikes are designed for those people who are in love with superior biking handling but are willing to pay the hefty price tags that these bike makers command.

Harley is an American company while Triumph is British. But, there competition goes beyond country of origin. The bike makers are known for producing classic cruisers with massive engines. This has enabled them curve a solid niche among communities of bike lovers. If you are thinking of importing one to your town but are unsure which brand to go for, this review is designed specifically for you.

What are the differences between Triumph and Harley?

Make Triumph Harley
Bike category Sportbikes, cruisers, tourers Cruisers, long haul tourers
Performance High performance bikes Moderate cruisers
Styling More inclusive styling Luxurious styling
Pricing Moderately priced Highly priced
Audience large Exclusive

Triumph vs. Harley – How do they compare?

Product range

When it comes to the product range the Triumph performs way better than the Harley. The triumph makes streetfighters, sportbikes, cruisers, tourers and retro bikes. Harley dominates in only two categories the long haul tourers and the cruisers. This lack of a wide product range makes most people prefer a Triumph. The audience also varies it is hard to convince a solid Harley fan to switch gears and join the triumph club. You have the bikes been marketed to an older generation while the triumph appeals to a variety of bike lovers.


Harleys tend to have very large engines and this contributes to them being fuel guzzlers. They are however very luxurious and this contributes to their high prices. The Triumph has bikes in almost all biking categories. You have some superbikes that give competition a run for their money. In this regards, you have some pretty looking superbikes like the 1991 Triumph 1200cc trophy. Triumph is a very new company when you compare it with Harley Davidson that has been in existence since 1903 compared to Triumph 1983. The car manufacturer entered the 750cc, 900cc and 1200cc biking category in 1990. Most of the bikes use a liquid cooled DOHC engine design that gives riders better control of their bikes.

Body design

Harley Davidson has survived the great depression and both world wars and meaning it has had enough time to improve its bike designs. The classic Harley bikes often feature the V-twin engine. This two cylinder engine enables the bike cylinders to share a common crankshaft. The difference is Harley use a 45 degree angle between the cylinders. With the unique design you have the V-twin engine producing a lot of torque while taking up little space. Harley Davidson begun been installed with electronic fuel injection in the late 90s and this contributed to a significant reduction in fuel consumption.

Harleys tend to come with the most luxurious accessories for any biking maker. You will have leather seats and widespread use of chrome. There is also the distinctive sound made by the Harley exhaust that announces its presence. But, when it comes to styling the bike Triumph have a clear edge. Harleys will come with saddlebags and in some cases passenger seats for those long travels but the curves on the Triumph are better looking than those of the Harley.

Triumph vs. Harley – A Comparison Overview

Triumph – Overview

Triumph is a British company that has curved its niche amongst cruiser lovers across the world. John Boor founded it in 1983. It during the cologne motorcycle show in 1990 that biking enthusiasts were able to sample some of Triumph product line of 750cc, 900cc, 1000cc and 1200cc four cylinder bikes. The bikes feature a DOHC liquid cooled engine that is capable of delivering enormous horsepower in spite of the terrain. The very first Triumph models were 300cc and 250cc engines.

Triumph Street Twin

The Street twin is an entry level bike for those planning on owning their first bike and at an affordable price. It features a 900cc engine that is capable of generating 64HP and 80NM of torque. All this power is delivered through a 5 speed manual gearbox. The bike from the outside is quite sporty hence making it ideal for the younger generation. You get a blacked out frame, side panels, engine and cast alloy wheels.

In 2019 the bike received some modifications to its frame that led to its having its headlamp brackets been revamped, a new instrument panel and alloy wheel design. You can now have the bike available in a matte black paint scheme. Its predecessor come with a 899cc engine that was upgraded to now produce up to 64HP. The body frame was also adjusted so that the bike is now lighter due to a lighter crankshaft, magnesium cam, and balancer rod. Some of the electronics were upgraded and you now have traction control, ABS, LED lamps and ride-by-wire throttle. You also get some two riding modes – rain and road and this allows you to ride comfortably no matter the terrain.

Triumph Street Triple 765

If you are looking for something sportier looking with more horsepower then the street triple 765 is the answer. From the frame you can tell that this is an aggressive bike designed for speed. The triple 765 is comes with an aggressive engine that is capable of producing 111HP @rpm of 11,250. This translates to 73Nm of torque @rpm of 9,100. A six speed transmission ensures that all this power is delivered to your wheels.

Suspension is great for the bike. Firstly, you get front and rear discs that are accompanied by front Showa 41mm inverted forks and rear Showa Mono shock. To ensure that you can comfortably come to a halt with all those horsepower you get 310mm twin discs accompanied with Nissin Calipers. At the rear you have a single piston Brembo caliper with 220mm single discs. You can get the bike is three variants – R, S and RS.

Triumph Bonneville Bobber

The cruiser motorcycle category has mostly been occupied with Harleys and Royal Enfield bikes. The Bobber is Triumph response to competition. The biker is a close cousin to the Bonneville but with slightly more horsepower and torque. The bike offers a displacement of 1,200cc that helps it generate a horsepower of 76 and at a torque of 106Nm.

The bike is a bit heavy at 228 kg and comes with a rigid frame that helps it stand out where classic bikes are parked. The suspension is modest and suitable for all terrain driving but you will notice that the rear shock is hidden underneath the seat. The Bobber is a close competitor to the Harley forty eight and is available in four colors – red, black, green/silver and silver.

Harley – Overview

Harley Davidson has been around since the 1903. It has built for themselves a solid fan base across the world based on their highly loved cruiser bikes. The bike maker has always featured prominently among loyal biking fans and this has created a community of fans who meet occasionally to discuss anything bikes. You can easily spot a Harley due to its iconic looks and its classic design. The engines on the bikes are massive hence their popularity. Harley Davidson has been around and survived the great depression, World wars and now features very prominently in various countries across the world.

Harley Davidson Roadster

At a first glance you will notice that the roadster looks and feels like it’s built for high performance. The bike features a massive 1,202cc V-twin engine that is known for low end torque. To improve air cooling efficiency it comes with light aluminum heads and cylinders.

What makes it really stand out is that the Roadster deploys all black out styling that ensures the mirrors, guard, headlamp and belt are all black. This gives it a distinctive look. The riding position is set just right so that you get into an aggressive riding space while still have a clear look at your speedometer. To keep your ride well within your comfort zone you have 43mm front suspension with inverted forks. With additional damping features you are sure of the roadster keeping itself closely glued to the road.

When you have such a massive engine your next challenge is putting all those horsepower to a halt. The roadster comes with dual disc front brakes that are accompanied with floating rotors. The low seat stands at 785mm from the ground and with its deep scoop it is quite comfortable even at extreme high speeds. It also helps keep your center of gravity low hence you can be confident of the bike when navigating sharp corners. Lastly, you get some pretty awesome rear 18-inch and front 19-inch wheels that give the bike that classic aggressive look.

Harley VRSCDX Night rod special

The night rod special looks like something that has creeped in from a horror movie. It is all black and aggressive looking. It goes by the street name v rod or V-twin racing street custom. When it was released to the market in 2007 it caused such a stir a trend it maintained until 2017. The bike looks mean due to the black colors but it also packs some powerful liquid cooled 1,247cc engine that is capable of generating 125 worth of horsepower.

The blacked out look has been extended to the forks, wheels, engine, Swingarm, triple clamps among others. This is what makes it stand out whenever it is packed. To announce its presence the night rod comes with double exhaust barrels that with finished dual mufflers. To keep the bike firmly on the road, it comes with 240mm rear tire that properly grips the ground even under high speeds. To give you that aggressive riding position, the night rod comes with low rise handlebar that enable you to ride inclining slightly forward.

The engine used in the night special is in a class of its own. Firstly its inspired by Porsche engineers who created the revolutionary Harley engine. Harley have had a long commitment to produce high powered liquid cooled engines. This first started with the VR1000 superbike that was able to deliver more torque and horsepower. The night rod engine is liquid cooled and comes with dual overhead cams.

When it comes to durability, the night rod has undergone a variety of tests to ensure it can withstand various roads from across the world. Firstly, it performed exceptionally well when subjected to the Dusseldorf test. This test checks how the night rod performs when exposed to the German Autobahn. The bike was capable of doing over 500 hours of test drives and it scored quite well.

When it comes to electronics nothing has been spared to ensure your night rod is secure. It comes with an innovative smart security system that automatically disarms the vehicle electronics whenever you move away from the bike. The security package also includes ABS brakes. You also get self-cancelling signals. What this means is the signals will automatically turn themselves off when you are changing direction. But, it is in the braking that Harley have really outdone themselves. The high performance Brembo brakes give you enough power to stop this beast of a machine no matter the weather conditions.

Now let’s compare 2 popular Triumph vs. Harley models

Model Harley Iron 883 Triumph Bonneville
Displacement 883cc 1200cc
Mileage 17 kmpl 24.39 kmpl
Wheel type Alloy Spoke
Engine type Air cooled Liquid cooled
Torque 70 Nm @rpm 3,500 103.9 Nm @rpm 4,522
Bore 76.2mm 97.6mm
Stroke 96.8mm 80mm
Drive Type Belt drive Chain drive
Compression ratio 9.0:1 10.0:1
No. of gears 5 speed 6 speed


Harleys have built a reputation across the world for being reliable, luxurious and with powerful engines. Triumph have entered this space with a wide range of vintage bikes to take on the Harley. Overall, Triumph offers a wider category of bikes than the Harley and generally more stylish.