Review: Triumph Speed Twin

December 20, 2021

Triumph reveals the new for 2021 Speed Twin. We have a look at what to expect

We all like a good news story and Triumph is surely one at present, with the Hinckley firm releasing yet another ‘new’ bike this year. This time attention has turned to the Speed Twin, which has been upgraded and improved. What’s it like?

When I say new, I mean updated. Because read between the lines of the somewhat over-hyped and buzzword-ridden press release (Triumph, we all love you but please find some new phrases to overuse) and you’ll find the Speed Twin has been made Euro 5 compliant – which it had to be if it were to continue being sold.

But while the engineers were in there, the 1200cc twin has been given a few extra horsepower to just under 100bhp and different characteristics thanks to higher compression pistons, a lower-inertia crank (similar to the Scrambler 1200), different cams with revised ports and some great touches, like the brushed aluminium silencers superbly hiding the ugly catalytic converter.

The Speed Twin is the ‘heritage sports’ model, and the new upside-down cartridge forks, sports tyres, better brakes and new wheels give a genuine credibility to this mantle.

It’s the practical, fast one of the family and as such, prices are high, starting from £11,000. By comparison, Kawasaki’s Z900RS starts at £10,650, but the BMW R NineT range are all more expensive.

No one has ridden the Speed Twin yet, but think Thruxton RS with higher ‘bars and different-shaped tank. Good handling and power with quality suspension. It’s almost as practical as the original.

All the Classics range weigh similar amounts as they have the same platform; around 215-220kg. That’s not lightweight, though Triumph does quote proper wet weight.

The seat height for the Speed Twin is 807mm. Want more people to get into motorcycling? Why make bikes so tall? Yes, the Street Twin is lower at 765mm, but thanks to the engine being effectively the same unit, they weigh the same, so are almost as intimidating. By comparison, Ducati’s Scrambler is 25kg lighter – that’s a big bag of spuds – and the seat is 10mm lower. Yes, it’s got less power, but it’s cheaper. By a lot.

This aside, I find the Bonneville range are well-made, fun bikes, having to double-take to see if it is a product of Hinckley or Meriden, and early carb or fuel injected is a sure sign they have got looks right.

While your bike meet is full of new/ old Triumphs, the Speed Twin has always stood out for being quick yet classic, traditional-looking yet sweet handling and a little naughty compared to the conservative looks, especially around the country lanes. I can’t wait to try one.

The Triumph Classic range

This is how I understand Triumph’s modern Classics range. The Street Twin is the basic Bonnie with low seat height; the Street Scrambler adds a high-level exhaust, knobblies and wire wheels; and the Bonneville T100 errs towards the classic look.

All are 900cc bikes with around 65bhp. Then there are the 1200cc bikes with around 95-100bhp. The Scrambler 1200XC and XE bring height and off-road looks; the Bonneville T120 takes you back in time (with a strong motor); the Speed Twin is the more practical Thruxton; the Bobber is for hipsters; the Speedmaster is for Harley owners; and the Thruxton for those not wanting to get rid of a sportsbike quite yet.

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