The Speed Twin might look like a bike from yesteryear but it’s far more current underneath than you’d expect. Jack Evans finds out what it’s like.
Triumph has now become one of the go-to names in the motorcycle business for bikes that combine the looks of yesteryear with modern-day engines and technology. The Speed Twin, which we’re looking at today, is one of the cheapest ways into this family of classic-inspired motorcycles, but does that mean it’s got a cut-price feel, too?
Well, we’ve been atop this smart-looking 900 to see whether or not it lives up to the hype currently surrounding Triumph’s motorcycle range.
The Speed Twin is available in both 900 and 1200cc guises and it’s the smaller of the two capacities that we’re trying out today. It’s arguably the easiest to live with and it’ll cost less in terms of running costs and insurance, too. As a ‘gateway’ motorcycle – or a rider’s first ‘big bike’ – it makes a great deal of sense but has also been designed to offer enough performance to keep more seasoned riders happy.
The Speed Twin is also Triumph’s best-selling model in the Modern Classics range, with many riders being attracted to this model due to its ease of customisation. If you’re after a clean slate to start a build project, then the Speed Twin 900 appears like a great place to start.
Pushing the Speed Twin 900 is, as you’d expect from the name, a 900cc parallel-twin engine which is liquid-cooled. An output of 64.1bhp is pretty reasonable for this size of motorcycle, as is the torque figure of 80Nm. You’re only getting a five-speed gearbox, however, as opposed to the six-speed unit which you’ll find on a lot of the Speed Twin’s rivals.
That engine is set within a tubular steel frame, too, while braking is taken care of by four-piston calipers from Brembo up front and two-piston versions from Nissin at the rear. Triumph also claims that you could see up to 68.9mpg from the Speed Twin – so it’s remarkably efficient – while CO2 emissions stand at 93g/km.
The Speed Twin has a really easy, very user-friendly setup. The bars are nice and wide while the relatively low seat height will suit even shorter riders who would like to feel more stable when at a stop. The parallel-twin has a reassuringly characterful sound to it, too, relayed through an exhaust which has a nice background burble.
The ride quality is good, too, with the Speed Twin managing to feel settled over all different types of surfaces. Plus, though the lack of a six-speed gearbox might initially seem like a bit of a loss, the engine’s unstressed nature means that five gears feel plenty and even cruising at motorway speeds doesn’t have it screaming.
Of course, given the complete lack of wind protection, it’s pretty blowy when you are at greater speeds, but it’s surprisingly easy to get along with. Plus, Triumph offers some optional windscreens which you could add if you plan on going for long-distance rides more often.
Again, that classic feel flows into how the Speed Twin has been designed. With its upswept bars and blacked-out components it’s got a hint of a classic to it, but it’s contrasted nicely by the brushed stainless steel exhaust sections. Some other areas get some brightwork, too, such as the front forks which really do stand out from the primary colour of the bike.
Speaking of primary colours, there are three main shades to choose from on the Speed Twin. You’ve got a completely blacked-out colourway, alongside part-red and part-green layouts too. There’s also a limited-run ‘Chrome Edition’ which, as you might expect, has loads of chrome elements for a slightly more classic appeal.
The Speed Twin might be a gateway to the ‘Modern Classics’ range but it doesn’t feel like a basic model. Given its all-round ability, low running costs and comfortable setup the Speed Twin could be a great option for all different types of riders, from those who want to use it for a Sunday blast to people who want to rely on a motorcycle for daily commutes.
The finish of the Speed Twin is what really shines through, too. It means that though this is the cheapest model in the range, it’s a bike which still feels remarkably premium across the board.