Talk about modern classics and the first motorcycle manufacturer that pops into one's mind is Triumph. The company's modern classic game is quite strong and the Triumph Speed Twin is one of the newer additions to the company's modern classic range in India. It is a Bonnie alright! But it is so, so much more than just being an elder sibling to the Street Twin! Yes, it is as easy-going and accessible as the Street Twin but that's where the similarities end. The Speed Twin's focus is on performance. There is oodles of charm as well but that is a given with any current Triumph modern classic but this one, it is all about effortless performance.
Looks & design
Handsome is the word! The Speed Twin is akin to Daniel Craig-like James Bond, showing up at a party wearing a well-fitted suit. Elegant and dapper! And, the tuxedo doesn't quite hide the muscle beneath. The retro-look is unmistakeable of course but what is even more apparent is the fact that this motorcycle is in fact quite ripped. The big, rounded fuel tank with knee recesses, Monza-style filler cap and the fat Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres scream 'performance' out loud! The sophistication comes out by way of the brushed Aluminium parts, round LED headlamp and the twin-pod instrument console, all of which is old-school but definitely cool. Plus, we are big fans of those lovely bar-end mirrors too. Not only do they look good but offer decent visibility as well. Like other Triumph models, fit and finish is impeccable.
Features & cycle parts
Like other modern classic Triumphs, the Speed Twin uses a double-cradle steel frame but the rear sub-frame is new and lighter. Along with the lighter engine, lightweight Aluminium bits and the new alloys, the Speed Twin is about 7 kg lighter than the Thruxton R. As far as features are concerned, the Speed Twin gets ride-by-wire throttle along with three riding modes - Road, Rain and Sport. ABS and traction control are standard as well. In a bid to keep costs down, the Speed Twin comes fitted with 41 mm KYB forks up front and twin KYB springs at the rear unlike the Ohlins units on the Thruxton R. There are 305 discs up front, gripped by Brembo 4-spot callipers and at the rear, a 220 mm disc takes of braking duties and has a Nissin 2-pot calliper.
Also Read: Triumph Speed Twin: All You Need To Know
Engine & performance
The idea was to have a motorcycle that scores high on performance and thrill and still stays accessible enough so that new buyers do not get scared off. And, Triumph did manage to accomplish that kind of balance quite nicely. Since performance is key, the 1200 cc motor is the "high power" unit from the Thruxton R. Overall, the engine is about 2.5 kg lighter than that of the Thruxton R. The motor pumps out 96 bhp at 6,750 rpm and the peak torque output is rated at 112 Nm at 4,950 rpm.The cam covers are made of magnesium and the clutch assembly is revised as well.
Now, the interesting part here is the fact that almost 100 Nm of torque comes in as the needle hits 2,000-2,200 rpm, offering a delicious pull of torque, which in turn leads to seriously quick acceleration. The kinds where you need to hang on to the handlebars for dear life! Plus, the strong bottom-end and mid-range means you need to shift gears less frequently, which will be a boon riding in the city. While we did not get a chance to sample the Rain mode, the Road mode works best in regular riding conditions. The Sport mode renders the throttle a little choppy, so the smooth experience that the bike otherwise offers, is lost.
As far as top-end performance is concerned, well, the Speed Twin has so much to offer, even when you run out of skills and courage. The performance is no less than any middle-weight or litre-class naked roadster. It will not leave seasoned riders wanting for more! Sure, the engine isn't high-strung but way it delivers performance, it feels relaxed and effortless.
Ride & handling
We told you how the parallel-twin motor puts the 'speed' in the Speed Twin but complimenting the engine are the grippy Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres and the sure-footed way in which the motorcycle reacts to handling inputs. The bike handles well and is easy to filter through the traffic as well. In case you are in the mood, the Speed Twin can handle high speed corners with aplomb as well. But what kind of stands out is the fact that the ride quality is pliant. It can take on bumps and potholes easily and won't leave you with a sore back. Plus, the ergonomics are quite comfortable too. The riding stance is upright and while the footpegs may be slightly rear-set, they just add that tiny bit of sportiness to the overall experience. With its capabilities, the Speed Twin can actually work as a daily riding machine and we believe will be a capable touring motorcycle as well.
The Triumph Speed Twin is priced at ₹ 9.46 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi) and at that price it is a lot of motorcycle. The motorcycle offers solid performance, built very well and at that price, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, it makes so much sense that you can actually ride one to work regularly and the bike is more than game for long distance rides as well. If you are in the market to buy a modern classic, then the Speed Twin should definitely feature on your list.
Photography: Azam Siddiqui