2019 Triumph Speed Twin: Likes and dislikes
We recently got a chance to sample the latest Bonneville in Triumph Motorcycles' portfolio, the Speed Twin. Based on the Thruxton and Thruxton R, the Speed Twin features a raft of improvements, promising to elevate the riding experience to a higher level. You can read the detailed first ride report here. But for those of you in a hurry, here's a list of what we liked and what we didn't.
You've heard the phrase 'beauty lies in simplicity' and that's what defines the way the Speed Twin looks. It looks stunning from every angle and its presence is unmissable. Key to the design is the large fuel tank, with hand-painted coach stripes and a Monza style fuel filler cap. Then you have the brushed aluminium mudguards, throttle body covers and headlamp bracket that are so well finished, you'd want to yank it off the bike and hang it up your bedroom wall. Actually you could chuck most of the furniture out of your living room and park the Speed Twin there, and it won't look out of place. The Speed Twin is effortlessly charming and I'd give full marks to the designers for this modern-classic.
The riding position is sporty yet comfortable while at 807mm, the seat height is accessible. The new bench seat may not look like it, but it is comfortable for long stints. We covered over 280km in a single day and there were no sore body parts to speak of.
The 1,200cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine is based on the Thruxton's motor but Triumph has used exotic materials to reduce its weight. The motor in the Speed Twin is 2.5kg lighter than the Thruxton's and this was achieved by using magnesium cam covers, lightened engine covers and new clutch assembly. The motor is delightfully free-revving but what's even more impressive is the generous torque spread. There's over 100Nm available from as low as 2,000rpm and the torque curve remains flat, almost throughout the rev range. What this translates to is fewer gear changes and ease of riding, which will hold especially true while riding in traffic.
The Speed Twin's frame is new and incorporates lightweight, aluminium downtubes to form the cradle. The rest of the frame is made of steel while the subframe is new as well. The chassis setup is spot on and contributes to boosting the rider's confidence in the corners.
The 41mm KYB front forks and twin KYB shocks at the rear are firm but well damped to offer good ride quality without compromising on handling.
At 22.8 degrees, the rake angle is sharp but to ensure there's no instability, the wheelbase is 15mm longer than the Thruxton's. The front alloy wheel and brake disc setup has resulted in 2.9kg in weight savings but more importantly, 28 per cent reduction in inertia. This allows the rider to turn in the bike quickly. All of this and the 10kg weight advantage over the Thruxton makes the Speed Twin a delight to chuck into corners. The bike sticks to an intended line and stock, Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIIs offer high levels of grip and feedback.
The Speed Twin has three riding modes-Road, Rain and Sport, each altering the throttle map, traction control intervention and ABS settings. Given some of the wet and greasy sections that we had to ride on, these ride modes were a boon.
The 305mm twin discs and axially-mounted Brembo brakes offer good stopping power and you don't really miss the radially-mounted calipers.
Snatchy fuelling in Sport mode
While in the Road and Rain modes, the fuelling is well judged, it gets snatchy in Sport mode. The transition from throttle on to off could have been smoother.
Also see: TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN First Ride Video
Also see: 2019 Triumph Speed Twin road test review