A2 LICENCE RESTRICTED RETRO-STYLED ROADSTER
Over the last few years a swathe of retro styled bikes has cemented themselves in the motorcycle market – and Triumph has consistently been at the forefront of the trend. Sitting within the retro-styled Bonneville range, the Street Twin is the least expensive of Triumph’s revamped family of parallel twins – created to take on the likes of Ducati’s Scrambler and Moto Guzzi’s V7 III.
I spotted the Street Twin from afar, rolling out the back of a Triumph van, and a massive smile instantly spread across my face. It’s a gorgeous little bike, with blatant styling inspiration from the 750cc Bonnevilles of the ‘80s, including traditionally shaped engine covers and finned exhaust clamps. It also features black cast wheels and an all-new upswept brushed stainless steel twin exhaust system that only add to the overall aesthetic.
Triumph has cleverly incorporated all the necessary mod-cons, including ride-by-wire fuel-injection and electronic traction control, without detracting from its retro appearance – and the smaller details all tie in too, from its simple speedometer to the slim leather stitched seat which unlocks to reveal a USB socket. Arguably, it all works to offer a more contemporary feel than some of the other models within the Bonneville range.
Settling into the saddle for the first time, you’ll notice how short it feels. I’m 6ft 1” and with its 750mm seat heigh I could get both of my feet flat on the floor with plenty of room to spare. Triumph claim that the riding position has been set-up for ‘dynamic handling’, with a few adjustments made to the seating position from the outgoing Bonneville models. Basically, the foot pegs have been moved slightly further back and have been lowered, while the bars are a little further away and slightly lower. In practice, it offers a really authoritative riding position, with a slight sport-oriented forward lean, allowing exceptional control for the younger, shorter or more inexperienced rider. Admittedly, it does weigh in at a relatively hefty 198kg (dry), so the paddling around won’t always be straightforward, particularly for shorter riders – but once you get up to speed, the weight is distributed so well that manoeuvrability should never be a concern, even at low speeds.
On The Road
Ok, so I have to confess – I haven’t ridden a huge selection of motorcycles above 500cc. I’m still just a few months into my new job as a staff writer, and have spent most of that time tootling around on little 125’s. So, as you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to finally get my hands on Triumph’s Street Twin – and my god, what a revelation it is.
I was testing the A2 restricted version – which actually remains much the same as the standard 900cc full-licence machine. In fact, the only notable difference is the seven horsepower difference between the standard and restricted version. Its liquid-cooled, 900cc parallel twin engine kicks out 47bhp and 80Nm of torque in its restricted version. It’s vibrant and punchy right out the blocks from the bottom of the rev range, with its ride-by-wire throttle and torque-oriented motor working together to allow you to make decent progress. Ok, so it’ll run out of steam eventually, at around 90mph, but there’s more than enough power on tap to tackle some overtakes without too much forward planning. Power does drop off at higher revs and you’ll struggle to top a ton on the little Street Twin, but for the type of relaxed riding for which it’s intended, the Triumph offers plenty of power, a bunch of character and a fruity exhaust note too. Blip the throttle and you’re rewarded with an old-school Boneville gurgle from its parallel twin engine and twin exhausts. It’s also surprisingly fuel efficient, with Triumph claiming that you should be able to get 200 miles from its 12 litre tank – I didn’t quite get that return, but I did manage to achieve upwards of 60mpg, which isn’t bad at all, particularly when taking into consideration my spirited riding style as I tried to find its limits.
Chassis performance is excellent too, offering surprising stability and agility. The wide-ish handlebars allow quick and effortless changes of direction – and despite the low seat, there’s a decent amount of ground-clearance. Admittedly, I did scrape the pegs a handful of times when really pushing the limits of its lean angle, but only the sportiest of riders will find it problematic. Its 5-speed gearbox is top notch too, offering short, precise changes, and a reassuring clunk with each shift – and its adjustable clutch lever is light and easy to get on with, perfect for new and inexperienced riders.
For stopping, the Street Twin comes equipped with a single 310mm disc and Nissin 2-piston floating caliper at the front and a single 255mm disc and Nissin 2-piston floating caliper at the rear. They’re more than up to the job, and will bring you to a halt with little hassle. There are also front and rear ABS modules to help keep you in check. Admittedly, the back did step out a couple of times as I accelerated while exiting corners – but the traction control prevented it from becoming a problem.
Suspension comes in the form of KYB 41mm forks with 120mm travel at the front and KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload and 120mm of travel at the rear. Initially I found the rear shocks a little spongy, but they’re set up for all-round use and were soaking up the worst of Lincolnshire’s potholes laden roads with ease. I firmed them up slightly, and although handling improved, comfort was sacrificed, so I ended up reverting back to the original settings.
Should I Buy One?
If you’re after a retro-styled motorcycle with all the benefits of modern technology, based on one of the most popular motorcycles to ever make it to market, you could do a lot worse than the Triumph Street Twin. The chassis is exceptional, the torquey engine offers plenty of power and smooth delivery, it’s accessible, learner friendly, and lots (and lots) of fun. Ok, so it’s not Triumph’s fastest or most impressive machines, but it’s a stylish and versatile roadster that brings a new level of refinement to the iconic British parallel twin.
Throughout the three weeks I had it on test, I rode it ever day – and was genuinely gutted to see it go. Ultimately, if I had the money spare I’d have one in a heartbeat. It’s also worth noting that the Street Twin is the cheapest model within Triumph’s revamped family of entry-level parallel twin Bonneville modern classics.
Triumph also offer a comprehensive range of accessories including fly-screens, panniers and heated grips, as well as a high-level exhaust and sports seats – further enhancing the Street Twin’s appeal within the ‘hipster’ market. And, if you’re lacking creativity, Triumph have come up with three ‘inspiration kits’ to help; the Scrambler, Brat Tracker and Urban.
TRIUMPH STREET TWIN – A2 RESTRICTED
ENGINE: 900cc liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, parallel twin
POWER: 47bhp (35 kW) @ 5,900 rpm
TORQUE: 59lbs-ft (80Nm) @ 3,350 rpm
BRAKES: (F) Single 310mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS (R) Single 255mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
TYRES: (F) 100/90-18 (R) 150/70 R17
SUSPENSION: (F) KYB 41mm forks with 120mm travel (R) KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel
SEAT HEIGHT: 740mm
FUEL CAPACITY: 12 litres