The Triumph Street Twin was first introduced in 2016 as a new member of the Triumph Bonneville family of motorbikes. In Triumph’s own words, "With its unique character, thrilling engine, distinctive sound, stripped-back styling and dynamic riding experience, the Street Twin is the perfect Bonneville for today’s rider."
The Street Twin would also go on to become the basis for a new version of the Triumph Scrambler, the Street Scrambler.
MCN were impressed by the Street Twin at its launch, saying: "With the retro scene flying high, Triumph have the world at their feet. The Hinckley firm is the cool brand of the minute – they could’ve produced anything vaguely 60s-looking, stuck their logo on the tank and watched it steamroller out of showrooms.
"The new £7300 Street Twin could quite easily have been that bike – but it’s so much better than that. There’s no question that if the Triumph were a person, it would hang out at the Ace Café in its beard and turn-ups. It would sip flat whites and look at Instagram-style pictures of flat trackers in glossy lifestyle magazines.
"But as a motorcycle it’s a superb, well thought-out and immaculately conceived roadster in its own right, and yes – it is pretty cool in the metal, too.
"After a day’s riding through the towns, motorways and mountain roads of Valencia here at its world launch, it’s hard not to be impressed with the Street Twin's ability to neatly blend 60s style with 21st century performance, fun and sophistication."
2016 Triumph Street Twin
Whether you’re new to bikes, or have been around since the original Bonnie, the Street Twin is easy to ride, fun, involving and all-day comfy. You can cruise like Beckham or dash like McQueen. Every twist of the throttle pummels you with nostalgia and those twin upswept exhausts make all the right throbbing Cool Britannia noises.
Compare the Street Twin to its out-going 865cc Bonneville predecessor, which had been around since 2006 (the first Hinckley Bonnie arrived in 2000) and the 2016 machine is more agile, easier to paddle around and smoother. The slip assist clutch is commuter bike-light and the five-speed gearbox is slick and precise.
The Street Twin has its classic looks, but it stops, goes and handles as well as any modern-day roadster and you can use the Triumph for just about anything from Sunday morning blasts to trips to the coffee shop. Stick on a fly screen, panniers and tank bag and you could even go touring.
And tucked away out of view, bringing the Bonnie into the modern age, are traction control, ABS, ride-by-wire, a digital dash and a USB port. Things like heated grips and tyre pressure monitors are also available as accessories.
Triumph Street Twin accessories
Talking of add-ons the Street Twin is designed to be a blank canvas for customising. In standard trim it’s the most pared-down and minimalist of the new range, but Triumph are offered more than 150 dealer-fit accessories.
Triumph also offered three pre-packaged Inspiration Kits to transform the Street Twin into scrambler, flat-track or urban style bikes.
The Street Twin was the only member of the Bonnie range at the time to be fitted with the liquid-cooled, 900cc ‘high torque’ 270° parallel-twin engine. Triumph claimed 54bhp, which is more than enough for mischief on a naked retro.
Liquid-cooling might upset the purists, but radiator aside it’s win/win. Not only is this motor more powerful and frugal (Triumph claim an average 75.5mpg), service intervals increased from 6000 to 10,000 miles.
The new engine has a broad spread of easy-to-manage power and a wonderfully smooth throttle pick-up. There isn’t much oomph for the first few degrees of throttle twist, which can catch you out at slow speed, but you soon get used to it.
The upshot is there’s none of the ugly throttle snatch associated with many ride-by-wire bikes. Acceleration is swift and it’ll easily top the ton, but the smooth power won’t be intimidating for newer riders.
Should I buy a Triumph Street Twin?
The Street twin was designed and developed in the UK but built at Triumph’s factory in Thailand. Any worries over build quality are quickly assuaged as a closer look doesn’t reveal any cut corners.
MCN’s reader reviews for the 2016 Triumph Street Twin reveal no areas for concern over build quality or reliability.
Three years after its initial release, the Street Twin was updated for 2019. Most notably, the engine’s power was increased from 54bhp to 64bhp, a move that will certainly please more experienced riders who are in the market. Those with A2 licences will still be able to fit a restrictor kit, too.
The 2019 bike also received rider modes; 'Rain' and 'Road', which remap the ride-by-wire throttle and alter the traction control’s level of interference.
What are the Triumph Street Twin’s rivals?
Since there have been so many manufacturers jumping on the retro bandwagon of late, the Street Twin has competition from all angles. The Yamaha XSR700, Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Moto Guzzi V7 models are the obvious contenders.
One of the Triumph’s big rivals is the Ducati Scrambler, especially in Café racer trim. Both are attractive to newer and more experienced riders, are seriously cool and infinitely customisable.
Both bikes are included in the 2019 MCN fleet, so it will be interesting to see how they compare over a long-term testing period.