Triumph Street Twin Road Test Review

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UK’s Triumph Motors expanded their scope in the Indian market with the launch of the 900cc 2017 Bonneville Street twin. Bonneville… the name often resonates with a classic. Triumph has now converted Bonneville into a family of ‘Modern Classics’, with 3 different engine configurations available; the 900cc HT, 1200cc HT and 1200cc HP. The name ‘Bonneville’ is derived from the famous Salt plains of Utah, USA when various manufacturers from around the world present their engineering marvels which attempt to break the land speed record, year after year. Under the Bonneville family, we now have Bonneville Bobber, Bonneville T100, Bonneville T120 and the Bonneville Street twin, each having its own characteristic differentiating itself from the other. This is the fourth generation of engines, which Triumph recently upgraded in 2016.

So we have recently had our hands on the Bonneville Street Twin, and boy, we did not feel like stopping, ever. We rode it for a good 500kms, 30% city travel and 70% highway touring, just to understand the DNA of the Street twin. And we can surely say, the new 2017 Street Twin is a complete package. It is a very practical bike, something that can take you to office daily without any issues, and also be your highway hooligan for weekends and tours. Saying that, the Street Twin is the new entry level Bonneville priced at just Rs.7,00,000/- ex-factory, Delhi.

Looks

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One can easily recognize that the Street-Twin retains its original DNA of the Bonneville, yet it looks very different and makes a place for itself as a youthful and contemporarily designed Bonneville, sculpted for the 21st century rider, for those who want to ride to work on weekdays, and fuel their passion to explore on weekends. The street twin has sharp, refined stripped-back styling, inspired by the new Wave custom scene. The Street-Twin is designed, with the spirit of ‘Individualism’ and ‘Customisation’ in mind. It directly targets customizers and biking enthusiasts from around the world who wish to build their own custom bike, something that represents their own personality.

It is available in 4 different shades – Aluminium Silver, Jet Black, Cranberry Red and Matte Black. Also, the chrome, shiny engine casing from the regular Bonnevilles’ are absent here, and now come powder-coated in Black heat resistant paint. The Street Twin gets a new rear LED brake light with distinctive light pattern, differentiating it from the other Bonnevilles. The tank too, is Street-Twin specific, creating another differentiating factor for itself.

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Triumph has around 150 different OEM accessories to choose from, so that customers don’t need to wander in search of the right custom parts, and they can design their dream bike, without the hassle to go out and search, and not lose their warranty too. Considering the demand for base model of Bonneville among custom builders across the globe, Triumph has struck the right chord this time, by making available custom accessories for the Street-Twin and offering the owners plenty of scope to personalize their machines. It’s never been easier to buy and build your own custom motorcycle directly from the OEM. Triumph also offers Inspiration kits for custom designing, and offers you a complete package, with the lowest package costing around 60k. From Vance & Hines exhausts and a garage full of custom inspired parts, from tail tidy to bench seats and compact bullet indicators, there are various options to custom build your own Bonneville.

Engine

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The 2017 Street Twin now comes equipped with an all new EURO4 spec 900cc parallel twin mill, unlike the previous 865cc mill in the earlier model. The new mill features liquid cooling, a single overhead camshaft, dual counterbalance shafts, and a charismatic 270* firing interval of the crank for a perfectly smooth, refined, linear power delivery. This 900cc parallel twin is mated to a 5-speed gearbox which engages gears smoothly anytime, every time without effort. The shift is smooth and slick, well spaced, precise and is one of the best transmission setups I have played with.

Triumph calls this 900cc powerhouse HT, which means ‘High Torque’; as the name suggests, the new engine delivers 80Nm of torque at a low 3200rpm, which is an amazing 18% bump from the earlier generation engine. This torque is distributed across the power band, so there is ample usable power at every gear in all kinds of conditions. You can feel the surge of torque pushing you behind as the engine RPM raises. Though power figures have gone down, and the new Street-Twin now churns out just 55 BHP at 5900 rpm, BHP less than the earlier engine. Does this mean the 2017 model is slower than the earlier model? No, we managed to touch a top speed of 170+kmph and were easily cruising at 140kmph without any resistance from the engine. The Street-Twin clocks just 4.3 seconds in a 0-100 kmph test.

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This power and torque is available across the rev range, thus making it fun and enjoyable, allowing the rider to ride in tight city traffic as well as on open flat land highway sprints with equal ease. The new Street-Twin represents itself as a more mature and practical bike, something built for the 21st century biker. The street twin comes equipped with a Torque Clutch Assist system, allowing you to do the clutch control even with a single finger, without applying any efforts, allowing the rider to ride longer distances by conserving his energy.

This 900cc parallel twin is fuel by a EFI and is controlled by Ride by wire technology. Triumph’s Ride by Wire technology enhances throttle control, responsiveness, safety and the overall riding experience. . The Street Twin is very aggressive and targeted towards the young generation of riders, and most of the torque gets delivered in the low and mid RPM range. I loved the way Triumph has distributed the power, giving the rider the ability to use those 59hp and storm away. The new liquid cooling system by Triumph allows the engine achieve clean emissions, cools the engine better, and enhances fuel efficiency by a significant 36% than the previous Bonneville. During our ride, we were able to churn out a mileage of 22-23 kmpl from this 900cc parallel twin. The Street-Twins steel brushed exhausts deliver the unmistakable sound of a British twin, with a raw, masculine and throaty note, that matches its character.

Suspension and Chassis

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The ride quality of a bike depends on the engine, true, but a major part of the riding experience comes from these components. The chassis, Suspension, Tyres and the brakes together contribute to deliver the rider a complete experience. This 900cc HT engine comes mated to an all new Tubular steel cradle frame that offers the Street-Twin agility like no other Bonneville. This chassis is mated to a 41-mm Kayaba forks on the front, having a travel of just 120mm; while on the rear we have Kayaba twin shocks, with adjustable pre-load setup having a travel of 120mm, which is a 20% more than the earlier model. The suspension setup is stiff, keeping the bike anchored to the tarmac in corners.

Still we felt the rear suspension was inadequate; it had maxed out with me riding solo. Though I weigh 100kgs, I believe a average rider-pillion together would weigh around +120kgs. I strongly suggest installing an Engine Under-Belly Guard to make this bike practical in real world conditions, as I managed to scrape the side stand and engine casing on an average height speed breaker; a speed-breaker that a Discover125 with rider and pillion managed to cross easily. Other than that, there are no complaints and the chassis and the suspension perform in unison, to deliver a balanced and composed riding experience.

Tyres and Braking

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One thing that has changed now is the braking. Even in hard braking conditions, the weight transfer is smooth, and there are no sudden jerks felt. This makes the Street Twin forgive mistakes like Braking on corners, changes in lean angles are possible even during a corner, something both novices and professionals, both would love on this bike. Though entering a corner takes a extra effort, due to the 18 inch wheels on the front, and a smaller 17-inch wheel on the rear. Yes, the street twin now wears a 100/90-18 on the front, and a 150/90-18 Pirelli Phantom Sports comp tyres, designed to add to the classic look of the Bonneville, manufactured specifically for the Triumph Bonneville family. Due to this, the front end is heavy than the rear, and thus an added effort needs to be put to lean the bike in a corner, but once it leans, it becomes very easy to manoeuvre and control, change lean angles, and runs anchored on road, not losing its line.

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The tyres perform brilliantly and provide good response in terms of braking, sudden acceleration and deep leaning angles on tarmac as well as concrete roads, but make sure you heat them up before dipping into corners, or you might end up in some roadside field or some deep ditch.. Scary eh..! These tyres are now coupled with Cast Aluminium multi-spoke alloy wheels, making the ride a bit stiffer than the conventional Bonnevilles. Traditionally, spoke wheels are used because they are flexible, and help in absorbing the shock felt at the wheels, increasing the comfort and ride experience, but the spokes tend to become loose at regular intervals, and the spoke wheels cannot provide the balance at high speeds. Thus, the Street Twin, which is a bike designed specifically for the Young Modern Blood, has alloy wheels installed on it, to provide the right balance and reliability at high speed cruising, and allows the rider to exploit complete power from the throttle.

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It does not matter how fast you can go, unless you don’t know how soon you can stop. Braking is taken care by a Single 310 mm disk with a Nissin 2 piston floating calliper on the front, and a 255mm disk with Nissin 2 piston floating calliper on the rear. We were sceptical about single disk on the front being enough to bring this monster to a halt, but the Nissin brakes, and the Pirelli tyres perform surprisingly well, and provide enough feedback and bite in shredding speeds or bringing it to a quick halt. The Triumph comes equipped with a home-made ABS system and Traction Control System that help in controlling this beast. The ABS system works great to slow the bike fast without unsettling the rider. The ABS and the TCS work efficiently and surprisingly fast taking a reading every 1/3rd of a second, and adjusting itself as per the requirements. The ABS is non switchable while you can switch off the TCS system from the console. But be careful, even a slight twist on the throttle will transfer 54bhp on the rear wheel, someone experienced enough only should try riding with the TCS off.

Dimensions

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The Street Twin is 2090mm long, with an overall width of 785mm and a seat height of just 750mm, has a wheel base of 1415mm and weighs around 198kg dry. First thing noticeable from the dimensions, is the seat height, which is set quite low at 750mm, allowing riders even with heights, as low as 5 feet to fulfil their dream to buy a Bonneville. The shorter wheelbase of 1415mm, (As compared to other Bonneville’s) does show up on high speed manoeuvring and makes it the most agile Bonneville produced till date. The weight too, is much less, as compared to other Bonnevilles, thanks to Fibre parts being used in the body work, unlike metal in all other Bonnevilles. Since there are less metal parts, the clinging sound of vibration is absent, and this makes the Street Twin very silent, ready for the kill anytime, every time. The Street Twin gets a 12 litre fuel tank, which gives it a range of around 250-300 kms claims Triumph. On our testing in City and Highway both, we managed to extract around 20-22 kms per litre of petrol.

If asked what more would we like to have, we would simply answer… a bigger fuel tank; you can’t keep refuelling every 180-200kms, especially when exploring remote locations, where petrol bunks are a scarcity. We also felt that a wind-shield could have been added to the package, as there is no wind protection for the rider. Wind protection plays a important factor in deciding how early the rider gets exhausted, and how far can he ride without feeling stressed.

Features

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The Street Twin is loaded with various features. Some of them you already know, like the ABS, TCS, Ride-By-Wire, Distinctive Rear Led Light and Torque Assisted Clutch. Other than these, every Triumph comes with an Engine Immobilizer; it’s a security device that is integrated into the bike, with a transponder in the Keys of the bike, which is further linked to the ignition system. So how does it help?? Basically, if someone copies your keys and tries to steal your Triumph, the ignition will sense this, since the thief won’t have the Original key, and once the system senses this, it will prevent the engine from firing up. In addition to this, The Street-Twin also features a USB charging point, under the seat, so that the rider can charge his essential electronics like Mobile, Camera, Power Bank on the go.

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The Street-Twin houses a modern Digital cockpit, which provides direct access to information like Gear Position, Odometer, 2 trip meters, Service indicator, Range to empty, Fuel level, Average and Current MPG, A digital clock and the access to turn On/Off Traction Control System. At the touch of one simple button on the switch gear, the rider can choose what he wants to know. The console has a white backlight, which clearly displays information even on bright sunny days. Though, we personally did not like the tachometer missing from the console; the big Analogue speedometer is integrated within the Cockpit itself.

Verdict

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The Street Twin is indeed a Perfect Bonneville for today’s rider, who wants to travel in city, as well as out of it, he wants something that can flex itself as per his requirements. Priced at Rs.7,00,000/- (Ex-factory Delhi) the Street Twin can be the perfect and most accessible Canvas, to start drawing their dream motorcycle. For the first time since it was introduced, Triumph’s Modern Classic line of motorcycles has received a ground-up redesign of nearly every component, starting with the engine in 2017. All said and done, Triumph built a better bike. While there are a few areas of improvement, Triumph has definitely developed a modern and trendy bike, without forgetting its roots and traditions.

Triumph Street Twin Photo Gallery

Words & Pics by Suraj Sawant

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