First ride: Triumph Street Twin

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Triumph’s new £7300 Street Twin is the first of five new-generation Bonnevilles to hit showrooms in 2016. 

Arriving in dealers next month, the Street Twin is powered by a new 54bhp ‘high torque’ 900cc water-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine. The four other new bikes in the range: the T120, T120 Black, Thruxton and Thruxton R, get 1200cc motors and will arrive over the coming months.

But right now, riding the new Street Twin here at its world launch in Valencia, it’s hard not to be impressed with the way Triumph has neatly blended 60s style with 21st century performance, fun and sophistication.

With its low seat, light clutch, slick gearbox, smooth throttle and flexible power delivery it’s a breeze to ride, whether you’re new to bikes, or been around since the original Bonnie. It grips, handles and stops like a modern roadster and it’s all-day comfy for riders of all shapes and sizes. But most of all it’s fun and involving.

The new engine has a broad spread of power and torque, not to mention a wonderfully smooth throttle pick-up – albeit with a slight bit of lag at low speed when you first turn the twistgrip. The Street Twin’s motor is controlled by ride-by-wire, but it has none of the ugly throttle snatch you get from similar set-ups.

Liquid-cooling might upset the purists, but radiator aside it’s win, win, win. Not only is the new motor gruntier (it has a 59ftlb of torque – up 18% on the old Bonnie), it’s more powerful and frugal (Triumph claims an average 75.5mpg). Service intervals have increased from 6000 to 10,000-miles, too.

Like the motor, the exhausts are Euro 4 friendly, but Triumph has still managed to find a way to make them throb and look good.

Traction control and ABS are things the original 60s Bonnie could have only dreamed of, but they’re here with the new Street Twin, making life safer in tricky conditions and in an emergency. But the great thing is you’d never know the electronics are there to look at and they don’t intrude during normal riding. 

Mixing classic styling with modern technology, the Triumph also has a multi-function digital display section imbedded into the classic Smiths-style white on black speedo and a USB port under the seat. Accessories include things like heated grips and a tyre pressure monitor. 

Talking of add-ons the Street Twin is designed to be a blank canvass for customising. In standard trim it’s the most pared-down and minimalist of the new Bonneville range, but Triumph is offering over 150 dealer-fit accessories, plus three ‘Inspiration Kits’, which will transform the look of your bike: The Scrambler (£1745), The Brat Track (£1245) and The Urban (£1110). 

Out of the box, the standard Street Twin is nicely finished, from the paintwork to the welds. It features some lovely detail touches, like a stitched seat, brushed ali throttle body shroud, engraved chrome fuel cap, finned cylinder heads and dummy exhaust headers to hide the catalyser, all for just over seven grand. 

Even if you leave the styling to one side for a moment, the Street Twin is hugely competent and polished. It’s as easy to ride as the bike you took your test on, but it has the performance to keep a sportsbike refugee happy. But add in the retro style, the unrivalled Triumph heritage and the sensible price tag and you’ve got a bike that deserves to fly out of showrooms next year. 

And if the Street Twin is this good, just imagine how sensational the new 1200cc T120s and Thruxtons are going to be. 

Read the full test in MCN next Wednesday.



Price £7300
Engine 900cc (84.6 x 80mm), 8v parallel-twin
Claimed power 54bhp@5900rpm
Claimed torque 59ftlb@3200rpm
Electronics Traction control, ABS
Frame Tubular steel cradle
Dry weight 198kg
Tank size and range 12l/ n/a
Seat height 750mm
On sale: January 2016


Photos: Alessio Barbanti and Matteo Cavadini

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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.