10 years from now I’m convinced Triumph’s top brass will be hauled in front of a judge on charges of phone tapping and computer hacking. The recent upgrade to the Street Twin and Scrambler (Ride Report here), launch of the Speedmaster and the eagerly anticipated launch of the 1200 Scrambler indicate that there’s more than just a bit of eavesdropping going on in Hinckley. Here in the Bike Shed we might exist in the microcosm of a niche within motorcycling but a day doesn’t go by without people turning up on, and complimenting their Triumphs, not to mentioned the social media response if we post a custom one. It’s as foolproof as MCN sticking Rossi on the front cover. Customers are being given exactly what they want. And not in an Apple-esque fashion of giving people what they didn’t know they wanted.
Despite the range seemingly comprehensive and catering to anyone on two wheels there has actually been a bit of a gap. One that Dutch has tried to fill recently. A bike with the stance and comfort of a Bonneville T120 but with the power and handling of the Thruxton. After a last straw moment filtering through London with clipons Dutch shipped his modded Thruxton to Down & Out for a makeover, primarily to have 16″ Bobber Black wheels fitted along with a pair of elder statesman friendly handlebars. He’s very pleased with himself, as he should be, it’s a great idea and apparently awesome to ride – read his review here. But was he a little impatient? Especially knowing plans were afoot for a production bike that would tick all the boxes.
He’s just looked over my shoulder and seen these pics…..
“I don’t know whether to be super-pleased or secretly gutted. I love my Thruxton/Hoxton and sticking handlebars on it a couple of months ago was one of the best mods I’ve ever made to any bike. I like upright bikes – but I also like quick bikes with good handling and loads of torque – with timeless looks (as apposed to retro). The T120 was just too classic, and its 1200 ‘high-torque’ engine was too tamely fuelled in comparison to the Thruxton 1200’s ‘high-power’ setup, especially on it’s sports map. … What I wanted – what I ‘needed’ – was a Thruxton with handlebars, and ideally after a 20kg weight-loss programme, and so I built one – and to be fair, I harped on about doing it for months.”
“I did have some inkling as to what Triumph were up to with the Speed Twin, as we all exchanged knowing nods and winks at various launches, while I hoped they’d accidentally give too much away after a beer or three, but I had no idea the Speed Twin was going to look this good – on paper at least. I expected a Thruxton with bars, but I didn’t expect light wheels, chassis and engine parts, or a shorter tank and short metal fenders. I’m told this is the Lopez brother’s favourite of all the Bonnies, and she is made to thrash. … All this bike needs is some adjustable suspension (I’m taking bets on an R version announced at the end of 2019) and a slightly bolder paint job on the tank. My next call to Down & Out Customs might be rather shorter than usual!”
“Bugger. I really want to ride one. I hope it doesn’t consign my Hoxton 2.0 to the has-been pile. At least they didn’t fit my silly 16-inchers…- Dutch “
And here it is, the all-new Triumph Speed Twin. There’s a whole host of bumph to get through on the press release but if you read no further the key point to note is – the Speed Twin is a whole 10kgs lighter than the current Thruxton 1200, with the same punchy torque and power.
An already exhilarating bike just got a whole load better, and that’s with all the homologated stuff attached. I dare say there’s that again to be saved in swapping to a custom exhaust system. But frankly that nullifies the wizardry that is the stock system with its clever routing of smelly gases, neatly placed lambda sensors and hidden cat. The use of magnesium engine cases and a redesigned torque assist (super light) clutch basket are responsible for 2.5kgs of weight saving on the power plant alone.
Rolling on 17″ lightweight aluminium wheels and Pirelli Diablo Corsas the Speed Twin is going to be a hoot to ride. The upright and commanding riding position is paired with tweaked ergonomics to put the rider in a position somewhere between the racier Thruxton and chilled Bonneville. The frame is also specific to the Speed Twin, with altered geometry, complimented by a new cartridge fork for more spirited and aggressive riding.
The styling is a slam dunk too. Those who moan about the Bonneville family’s faux carbs will be pleased to see smart, brushed aluminium shrouds covering the throttle bodies. New side panels with mesh slots feeding the airbox look good too. And the wafer thin aluminium mudguards seen on the Scrambler 1200 a few weeks ago feature on the Speed Twin, but without the need to keep roost away from radiator and rider, here they’re much shorter. In fact if you wound the clock back a decade and showed a pro builder this setup with the already looped subframe and told them it was from a showroom ready bike they’d laugh you out of the workshop.
There’s very little that actually needs removing from Triumphs these days, but there’s plenty to bolt on from the voluminous accessories catalogue. But before anyone gets all upset about the big meanie manufacturers spoiling the custom party just be thankful they’ve all been so glacial in copying what Harley-Davidson have been doing since god was a lad. This is a decent looking motorcycle straight from the crate but there’s plenty of dehomologating to be done and angles for customising – it’ll just take more thought than snubbing a rear end and fitting a few Motogadget trinkets.
Having ridden every single iteration of the Modern Classics range I do concur with Dutch that a Bonnie with Thruxton poke and handling would make for a near perfect bike, especially as we’re both twin cylinder guys, but I wager he’ll be calling Jack Lilley in a few months to p/x his Hoxton 2.0 for a new Speed Twin.
In the meantime I’ll save the team at Hinckley getting into any more hot water over their supposed ‘telepathy’. Guys, you’ve built a bike I can’t wait to ride – nice one!
Hopefully that does the trick and we’ll report back from a sunny press launch early in the new year with all the facts and figures.