The Triumph Speed Twin lapped the short loop of the BIC in just 1:16.4, making it the third-fastest motorcycle in this test. If you still aren’t impressed, here are some fun facts. The Performance Bike of 2019, the Indian FTR 1200, which clocked the best lap time produces 120bhp, and the second-fastest in our test, the BMW R 1250 GS, pushes out 134 horses. In comparison to those two, the Speed Twin makes 96bhp and 112Nm from its 1,200cc parallel-twin motor.
It is, without a doubt, a fast motorcycle, but that’s not surprising – it is, after all, powered by the same motor as the Thruxton R, which, by the way, topped our Best of 2016 ratings. Triumph has put in a lot of effort to make the engine more refined, and this is reflected in the way it rides. There are no vibrations, even when you push the motorcycle beyond the 140km/h mark. The Speed Twin isn’t just a fast motorcycle, it’s equally fun on twisty roads too – much more than you’d expect from a retro-modern offering. A lot of that has to do with the tremendous work Triumph has put in to reduce its weight. Tipping the scales at 196kgs (dry), the Speed Twin is 10kgs lighter than the Thruxton.
The suspension kit – 41mm cartridge forks at the front and adjustable twin shocks at the rear – have been set up very well to offer a good balance of ride and handling. The motorcycle inspires a lot of confidence when pushed around corners, and is well supported by the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres. I’m not a huge fan of the way the Speed Twin looks. Sure, Triumph has managed to get the retro-model appeal spot on, however, it takes the family design a bit too seriously. Moreover, while the riding posture is comfortable, we found the seat to be a bit too narrow for long-distance riding.
The Speed Twin is incredible – it’s built well, comfortable to ride, has a gem of an engine, and handles like a dream. It’s Thruxton R levels of fun in a more friendly package, and that, to me, is a big win!