Triumph seems to be taking the task of attracting new people into motorcycling very seriously. Only days after the launch of the new Street Triples – a family of bikes that includes not only the 765cc inline triples, but also a dedicated 660cc version that can be restricted for A2 licence-holders – I was in Seville, Spain, for the international press test ride of the new Street Cup. The bike is billed as fun, exciting, and most importantly, accessible [read: suitable for all shapes, sizes and abilities of riders, including novices and A2 riders].
With the introduction of the Street Cup, Triumph’s aim was to create a bike that was more sporty and capable than the stock Street Twin, while still maintaining its accessibility and ease of use that have been drawing the crowds. To achieve the balance, Triumph has gone beyond just accessorising the existing bike with café racer looks. The new machine not only has a race-inspired fly screen, sporty exhaust, bullet seat, removable pillion seat cowl and low bars, but the geometry has been revised too, with the rear jacked up and the riding position pushed forward towards the dropped bars to create an overall sportier stance.
The single round dash of the Street Twin has been replaced with dual clocks with polished stainless steel bezels like the ones on the Thruxtons. The large analogue speedo and tachometer are easy to read, with additional info including trips, fuel level and consumption, traction control setting (on or off) and clock available on the small digital screens.
Build and component quality is high, with adjustable clutch and brake levers, bar end mirrors with forged arms, Thruxton-style foot pegs and the two-tone paint (yellow and silver or black and silver) with hand-applied coach lining adding the final touch.
Setting off from Seville, we spent a while navigating our way out of the city. In the busy urban environment the super-light torque-assist clutch and smooth ride-by-wire throttle made stop-start riding a doddle.
The 900cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine with 54bhp is as much in its element on city streets as it is on the winding country roads. There’s plenty of pull in the lower and mid-range, with the peak torque figure of 80Nm achieved at 3,200rpm, which means you can be a bit lazy with down shifting – there’s always enough poke in the engine to get you moving even if you’re a gear too high. The five-speed gearbox transfers the power to the chain-driven rear wheel accurately and smoothly, allowing quick acceleration as well as down-shifting without any nasty surprises.
Despite the sportier, more forward-leaning riding position, the Street Cup is still a fairly comfortable bike to ride. The 780mm high bullet seat is more plush than it looks and although the bars are low, you don’t feel like you’re putting weight on your wrists. The pegs are relatively high, which may reduce comfort levels for taller riders, but my 31-inch legs rested on them quite merrily for the duration of the 115-mile test ride, with my ankles staring to stiffen up only right towards the end.
The Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tyres left a little to be desired in town where I had a couple of little slides when powering out of roundabouts, although in fairness much of the Tarmac in town had been polished by heavy traffic, making it slippery for any tyres. On the open roads out of town the tyres performed much better, but I still felt I needed to hold back a little just in case.
I remember being impressed with the agility and quick steering of the Street Twin when I tested it last year. The Street Cup seemed to require a bit more steering input for fast cornering, but once on course it took corners with admirable accuracy and poise. With the high foot pegs, there is plenty of ground clearance for cornering, and I don’t think I came close to scraping the pegs all day.
The suspension units and settings are unique for this bike, and they seem to be very suitable for fun, sporty riding. A good job too, because the only setting that you can adjust is the rear shock preload. The twisty back roads of Spain seem to be almost entirely pothole free, so the suspension would probably have to work harder back in the UK, but hitting the odd bump in the road while cornering didn’t seem to upset the bike, and it felt perfectly firm around corners, under acceleration and while braking hard.
Once you get up to speeds that can be rather unhealthy for a clean licence, the bike starts to show its limitations and feels a little less planted, but still perfectly under control. The small fly screen provides a surprising amount of wind protection if you flatten yourself on the tank. It’s not an ideal riding position for long journeys, but it helps in high winds.
At £8,600 the Street Cup is £1,100 more expensive than the Street Twin, and delivers what it promises: a higher quality finish, and most importantly, a fun, exhilarating and accessible ride. Compared to the Street Twin it’s like your mate who has succeeded in his new year’s resolution to shape up: a bit thinner, faster and overall sportier, looking smart and on-trend, but can wear you out if you spend too long with him.
Triumph Street Cup specifications:
|Engine||900cc liquid-cooled sohc parallel twin|
|Power||54bhp (40.5kW) @ 5,900rpm|
|Torque||80Nm @ 3,230rpm|
|Transmission||Five-speed, chain final drive|
|Frame||Tubular steel twin cradle|
|Tyres||Pirelli Phantom SportsComp (F) 100/90-18 (R) 150/70 R17|
|Suspension||(F) KYB 41mm forks, 120mm travel, (R) KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm travel|
|Brakes||ABS (F) Single 310mm disc, 2-piston Nissin floating caliper, (R) Single 255mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper|
|Tank capacity||12 litres|
Words: Mikko Nieminen
Photos: Alessio Barbanti / Matteo Cavadini