Speed Twin …… Street Twin, Speed Triple, Street Triple, Speed Four. OK, no need to go any further, I am getting lost in the Triumph appellations. Let’s do otherwise.
Like most of the Hinckley manufacturer’s models, it takes on an illustrious name, one of those who marked their time. The first Speed Twin – and … she did what, when was that ?
…. Pages 22 to 27, and I already know a lot more about the original 5T model, born in 1938. It revolutionized the sector and influenced motorcycle production for many years. We learn a lot in the book “L’art motocycliste anglais” by M. Levivier and Z. Enault.
80 years later, the will is not really the same, the reason is less vital, consanguinity has happened. The 1200 Speed Twin wants to be the best of two cousins.
The first impression is symptomatic, startling in the fact that the Triumph DNA has clearly been mixed up. Is it a sportier Bonneville? Or a Thruxton plus roadster? Both. The Speed Twin is a clever mix of classic roadster and café racer. And by extension, a motorcycle for those who want a Street Twin with more muscle. A mix of genres suitable for the sporty gentleman. A more complicated exercise than it seems, because it will be necessary to find a place in a vintage range already exceptionally supplied (16 models).
The pace of the Speed Twin is quite close to a Bonneville, excited by moments of Thruxton. The more sporty moments are underlined by the conical exhausts, the headlight brackets, the bar end mirrors, the rims with sticks, a reservoir of sport brake fluid, a Monza-type tank cap and unpublished openwork airbox covers. . The saddle is not single-seater but the handlebar-passenger bar has disappeared. The brushed aluminum fenders are very small, like on the most streamlined Harley-Davidson. But the highlight is the 1200 HP motor, here transposed in the best of itself.
This twin can be found in many Triumphs (Bonneville, Bobber, Speedmaster, Thruxton, Scrambler) with an inherent adaptation for each. So far, the Thruxton was entitled to the most powerful version. To make it a serious machine in terms of sensations, the engine manufacturers took over the cafra block and then reworked it accordingly. It delivers the same 97 horsepower at 6750 rpm except that the crankcases have been lightened, that of the ACT is made of magnesium, and the clutch has been revised. Suddenly, the engine gains 2.5 kilos.
Carried by almost 100 nags and a torque set at 11.4 mkg, it’s a much faster Bonnie that we have on hand. With 196 kilos on the scale, the Speed Twin weighs 10 kilos less than the T120 for 17 more horsepower. A better power-to-weight ratio than the Thruxton with a more relaxed riding position. Here is the workhorse of this saint-nitouche.
Let’s not stop there. A look and an engine specificity just for her, that is not enough for her. So, to keep it happy, the manufacturer gave it its own chassis, consisting of a tubular steel frame derived from that of the Thruxton and an aluminum swingarm, lighter and stiffer. No surprises on the fork side and shock absorber duo, but more tone in the brake calipers with Brembo 4 pistons. Respectful of the hierarchy, it left the top of braking to the Thruxton R and its M4 monobloc radial clamps. If you still have doubts about his enthusiasm, take a look at the shoes. Bonnie cultivates retro with Pirelli Phantoms; the Speed Twin seeks velcro with Rosso III.
This Classic does not adhere to all the codes that Triumph has implemented in this family. La bougresse, she dares to refuse to wear the covers imitating carbs. New plates in brushed aluminum hide the injection system. Would she want to show her modernism more than the others? She’s got some in the trunk for that. The technological equipment is listed by the three driving modes (Rain – Road – Sport), ABS, cruise control, LED lights and indicators, traction control, assisted clutch, a key transponder, a USB port and counters …… phew, the style is safe with two dials with needles, with a rock and miles decor, completed by two digital windows rich in information.
Those who have fallen for a Street Twin and then tormented by a need for more watts will be delighted. The Speed Twin transcends that spirit with 49% more power. All this for a weight of …. Here is the icing on the custard: with 196 kilos dry, the 1200 is lighter than the 900. Far from being lost between the Bonneville and the Thruxton, it can on the contrary be boast of being the ideal gateway.
What you must remember
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Model marketed in
medium: 4.80 l
The technical aspect
Triumph 1200 Speed Twin 2019
- Tank: 14.5 liters
- Width: 760 mm
- Height: 1110 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,430 mm
- Dry weight: 196 kg
- Train before
- secondary by chain
- Rear axle
(97.6 x 80 mm)
at 6,750 rpm
at 4,950 rpm