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Secrets of the new Triumph Speed Twin

Published: 19 December 2018

When Triumph set out to develop their new Speed Twin the goal was to create a bike that combined the style of a modern classic with the performance and handling of a modern roadster.

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To achieve this Triumph decided to take what they wanted from the Street Twin, Bonneville and Thruxton and put it all on a diet. The result is the Speed Twin, which weighs just 196kg dry.

What was the performance aim for the Triumph Speed Twin?

For the performance they wanted, the only choice was their most powerful production twin. "When we began we knew we wanted to use the engine from the Thruxton R," Stuart Wood, Triumph’s Chief Engineer, told MCN.

Lighter alloy wheels help shed weight on the Triumph Speed Twin

"So we took that engine, which is the high power version of the 1200cc twin with the high compression head and modified it to reduce weight. That engine is already a ‘low inertia’ model but we lightened it further with a new clutch pack and balancer shaft as well as side cases and magnesium head covers.

"That means the engine spins up quicker and saves 2.5kg, still with the long service intervals."

Triumph’s other key goal was to refine the riding position and chassis, to give the bike an aggressive look but without the more extreme riding position of the café racer Thruxton, which meant an all-new frame.

"We saved weight elsewhere, too," adds Wood. "There’s a new aluminium engine cradle in the frame, lightweight cast alloy wheels and a new battery that saves 900g without any decrease in starting power. All of these changes save 10kg over a Thruxton, which means it accelerates quicker and changes direction very easily. The Speed Twin will be a real class leader in the corners."

The Thruxton engine used in the Speed Twin has been lightened

But Triumph did not want to overdo it by using too many of the Thruxton R’s hot suspension and braking components as this would have driven the price up. "We had a lot of discussions about what level of spec and performance we wanted for this bike," says Steve Sargent, Chief Product Officer.

"We felt we had two gaps in the range at the start of this year. One was the 1200 Scrambler and the other was the Speed Twin. It was really important that the Speed Twin could provide progression for Street Twin owners but still be accessibly priced."

New aluminium engine cradles and a lighter battery save weight on the Triumph Speed Twin

The obvious remaining question is: will we see some of these improvements on the next generation of Thruxtons? "Who knows what the future holds," says Wood. Make of that what you will.

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