Café racers tend to look cool and… that’s about it. All of the fun stuff - like turning - is secondary. And that’s because café racers often value style over function. Custom shops (and guys in garages sawing off rear sub-frames) put style above all else. Fair enough, they look cool but clunky gears, breathless motors and an argument every time you take a corner quickly wears thin.
What we want is a café racer that looks good, is a doddle to ride and fun. Well, Triumph reckon they’ve answered the call with their latest offering– the Street Cup. And they’re not wrong.
The Street Cup is actually the Street Twin in disguise - don’t panic, it’s not just an accessory job – but more on that in a bit. The Street Twin has been hugely popular since its launch a year ago, Triumph even say it’s the best seller in the Bonnie range. And that’s because it’s incredibly easy to ride, unintimidating and minimalist with mod-cons; traits which appeal to both new riders and those taking a step back.
So of course Triumph are going to take their winning formulae and extend it into new models, which is what we have here, but that’s fine with us because we’ll get all the benefits of the new Street Twin including new liquid-cooled parallel twin engine, frame, suspension and electronics package (ABS and traction control) and all wrapped up in café clothes. Brilliant.
And we’re not just talking about a yellow jumper here either, Triumph has gone to town on the café components. Mimicking the delectable Thruxton range, the Cup gets twin clocks, drop bars, a posh bullet seat and removable seat cowl, fly screen and snazzy bar-end mirrors.
There’s a bunch of other goodies too, such as new pegs, posh headlight mounts, fork protectors and bullet indicators. Exquisite finishing touches like posh decals, badges and two colour options (yellow or black) complete the look and add a further touch of class.
Triumph’s design department has done a spiffing job of transforming the Street Twin into a café racer – and they’re encouraging customers to carry on their good work with over 120 accessories.
But that’s enough about the trinkets, components aside the Street Cup’s main difference to its Twin sibling is it’s riding position and handling. Triumph has jacked up the rear suspension, increasing the seat height by 20mm and pulling it slightly further back. The bars have been dropped making them lower and further forwards. So it’s bum up, head down, which makes for a sportier riding position and a more agile bike.
"Railing round corners is easier than it should be on the Street Cup."
Sweeping round the Spanish bends on the world launch in Seville quickly impressed. The Cup’s set-up certainly adds an element of sportiness to an otherwise relaxed Street Twin. Railing round corners is easier than it should be on the Street Cup, the ground clearance has also been increased so you can tip it further than you think it should go. The rear twin Kayaba shocks (preload adjustable) do a decent job of soaking up the bumps, but anything too gnarly and they’ll throw a wobbly.
The front brake is an evolution of the Street Twin’s Nissin twin-pot caliper, which coupled with the floating brake disc has plenty of bite and does a good job of stopping in a hurry.
While it has a sportier riding position and feel, it is still essentially a Street Twin. And that means ultra-smooth, easy going riding. There’s no clunk from the five-speed gearbox, the ride-by-wire throttle pick up is silky and there’s plenty of usable and friendly power from the 54bhp 900cc motor. Add its feather light slip-assist clutch to the mix and you’ve got a sweet blend of slick and smooth riding.
Overall, it’s essentially still the Street Twin and that’s what makes the Cup such a good bike. The tweaked ergonomics add a sharper sensation to the ride, and despite the dropped bars and raised seat the riding position is still all day comfy (my gentle wrists didn’t ache once). The new bar mirrors are well placed and provide a decent rear view and the overall finish, quality of parts and attention to detail is sublime. Like the Street Twin, the Cup will appeal to a wide audience, which basically includes anyone who fancies a café racer that actually works.
The Street Cup isn’t going to blow your socks off with raw speed and racing talent. It’s an easy-going, manageable and friendly machine based on a hugely popular motorcycle and in a café racer get-up. Triumph has done a great job of extending their range.
Engine: 900cc liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel-twin
Electronics: Traction control, ABS
Frame: Tubular steel cradle
Dry weight: 200kg
Tank: 12 litres
Seat height: 780mm
Colours: Racing yellow, Silver ice.
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