Triumph's secret retro streetfighter

Published: 23 November 2016

Street fighter uses Thruxton power and Street Triple style.

Highlights

  • Thruxton R fork and shocks
  • Retuned T120 engine
  • T120 Bonneville frame
  • Headlamps nicked straight from the 2007 Street Triple
  • Expected to be called a Speed Twin and to arrive in late 2017

Triumph are planning to unleash this street fighter version of the Thruxton R with the same grunty, 1200cc parallel twin at its heart. This cool and capable-looking machine is expected to carry the legendary Speed Twin name that the firm re-registered some time ago. And it will build on the blazing success of the firm’s two new Thruxtons, T120 Bonnevilles, Bobber and five-strong family of T100-engined bikes. 

Essentially a street-fighter version of the Thruxton R, the new Speed Twin is a clever crossover of styles, blending the now legendary bug-eye twin round headlamps and upright riding position from the first-generation Street Triple, with the highly polished Thruxton chassis and engine. 

Aggressive

Although the T100 and T120 engines are virtually indistinguishable – especially as this bike is using the primary cover from a T100 Black – the transmission cover is clearly a T120 item. The most telling giveaway is barely visible, but nestling just behind the rider’s right thigh you can just make out the unmistakable form of the T120’s throttle bodies, which masquerade as old-school carburettors. 

With a single large headlamp, this new model would look a lot less remarkable, but by using the Street Triple’s bug eyes, Triumph have added a hint of contemporary styling to what is an otherwise heavily retro offering. 

It’s clearly a well-used test bike, and could even be a reused and adapted Thruxton/Bonneville development bike. This fairly early-stage test mule is rolling on completely mismatched wheels; a cast item taken from the Street Triple at the front and a Thruxton laced rim on the rear – running Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres. The most likely reason for this is that Triumph are intending to use cast wheels on the new model. Not only would they better suit the more aggressive stance of this bike, but they would also differentiate the model further from the T120 Bonnevilles, which use an 18in laced front rim. 

Crude solutions

The other hint that this is an early bike is the lack of bespoke parts – Triumph have gone to great lengths to give each new model iteration its own styling parts – and the crude solutions to many of the engineering challenges, suggesting this bike is some way off going into production. A rough triple clamp holds an extremely crude sheet of plate bolted between the top and bottom yokes, onto which the headlamps and clocks are bolted. On top of that is a Jenga-like stack of plates to allow the fat, flat bar to be mounted at various heights and fore/aft positions as the testers evaluate the best rider triangle of seat-bars-pegs. 

The very earliest we might see it at the end of 2017.

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