ION GAME

New kid on the block stack up against its pre­de­ces­sor?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Features - By Andy David­son MCN STAFF WRITER

This is an ex­cit­ing time for retro fans. The stripped-back, old­school-cool scene has well and truly taken off in a full-on bat­tle for the hip­ster crown. And it’s easy to see why: these bikes are sim­ple, com­pet­i­tively priced, ef­fort­less to ride and in­her­ently stylish. So with the likes of Du­cati’s im­pres­sive Scram­bler and Yamaha’s XSR700 fly­ing off shelves faster than tins of tuna in an apoca­lypse, Tri­umph have de­cided to re­vamp their clas­sic Bon­neville range with an all-new five bike line-up, and the first to emerge from the fac­tory gates is the Street Twin.

But be­fore we get to that, let’s go through the story so far. The mod­ern in­car­na­tion of Tri­umph res­ur­rected

the clas­sic Meri­den Bon­neville name in 2000 with a 790cc par­al­lel-twin, and in 2006 in­creased the ca­pac­ity to 865cc. Ten years on Hinckley have re­vamped the en­tire range to fu­ture­proof it against Euro 4 and bring it into line with a rapidly grow­ing throng of com­peti­tors. Shar­ing no com­po­nents with the cur­rent mod­els, the 2016 mod­ern-clas­sic range now in­cludes a T120 and T120 Black, a Thrux­ton and Thrux­ton R and this, the Street Twin. The T120s are the most au­then­tic look­ing re­place­ments for the cur­rent Bon­nevilles, while the Thrux­tons are the more per­for­mance-fo­cused range­top­pers, and all four share the same wa­ter-cooled 1199cc par­al­lel-twin (al­beit in dif­fer­ent states of tune).

That leaves the 899cc Street Twin, which Tri­umph are pitch­ing as the en­try-level bike, aimed at the widest au­di­ence pos­si­ble. The lit­tle looker is well styled, mod­ern and the clos­est to the cur­rent Bon­neville in en­gine ca­pac­ity. Ru­mours sug­gest it may even be the first in a whole fam­ily based on the new mo­tor. So we grabbed the new kid in town and brought a cur­rent spe­cial-edi­tion T100 Bon­neville Ð the Newchurch Ð and a 1959 orig­i­nal along to see how the new Street Twin fits into its icon-strewn fam­ily tree.

Pe­tite and good look­ing

At first glance the Newchurch and Street Twin look ex­tremely sim­i­lar, and youõd be for­given for mix­ing the two up. The styling changes are in­ten­tion­ally sub­tle but theyõre there, and the re­sult is a more mod­ern look­ing retro of­fer­ing in the shape of the Street Twin. Itõs done away with the T100ÕS chrome cladding and re­placed it with a brushed alu­minium ef­fect. The same goes for the ex­hausts; the twin pipes look near iden­ti­cal, ex­cept the new 900Õs brushed stain­less steel sys­tem is ac­tu­ally a dummy outer, clev­erly con­ceal­ing a dif­fer­ent pipe rout­ing and a large cat­alytic con­verter. And de­spite be­ing Euro4-com­pli­ant, the pipes sound fan­tas­tic Ð far more ag­gres­sive than the cur­rent mod­elõs.

Other than the shiny stuff, the two bikes share a sim­i­lar style, ex­cept the T100 has straighter, stronger look­ing lines. Itõs big­ger over­all, too Ð with a higher, fat­ter seat and comes across as the more mas­cu­line of the two, while the Street is curvier and cuter. Itõs also both smaller and lighter, mak­ing it in­stantly more ac­ces­si­ble and

friend­lier for shorter rid­ers. The new Street has lost all of those lit­tle retro trin­kets, which Bon­nie fans seem to adore. To keep up with the min­i­mal­ist stripped- back trend, Tri­umph have also skimped on the fake carbs that the cur­rent T100 boasts. Its fuel in­jec­tors are clev­erly de­signed to mimic carbs, re­plete with a work­ing ‘choke’, while the Street sim­ply has a drilled metal cover to hide its in­jected blushes. It now has a reg­u­lar lock­able fuel cap in­stead of a twist top, and the ig­ni­tion is un­der the clock in­stead of on the side of it. And its up­dated whiteon- black Smiths-style ana­logue dial boasts a dig­i­tal sec­tion fea­tur­ing a gear po­si­tion in­di­ca­tor, clock, trips and range-to-empty. The other change is the seat, Tri­umph reckon the new one has 25% thicker pad­ding, but all of our testers agree that the older seat is ac­tu­ally fat­ter and more com­fort­able.

It’s what’s in­side that counts

De­spite the design re­fresh, the pri­mary changes aren’t ac­tu­ally the most vis­i­ble ones. The new bike is just that: new. Ev­ery­thing from the chas­sis and en­gine to the tech­nol­ogy is thor­oughly mod­ern. While the T120 and Thrux­ton will both share a beefier 1199cc mo­tor, the Street Twin gets a smaller 899cc liq­uid-cooled en­gine, which Tri­umph have dubbed a ‘high-torque’ mo­tor. The eight-valve twin kicks out 59ftlb of torque at 3200rpm, while the cur­rent T100 can only claim 50.2ftlb at 5800rpm. It’s an in­crease in torque but it comes very low down in the rev range, which is use­ful for low-speed pot­ter­ing around town. Tri­umph also claim an av­er­age 75.5mpg from the new en­gine (our test route re­turned 51.45mpg) and ser­vice in­ter­vals have in­creased from 6000 to 10,000 miles. At 54bhp the Street Twin gives away 14bhp to the Newchurch, which was ap­par­ent in our third gear roll-on tests. Click into third gear, shout three, two, one, pin the throt­tle – and watch the Newchurch fly away ev­ery time.

But while it may be down on top- end thrills and out­right per­for­mance, its gen­er­ous help­ings of tech­nol­ogy more than make up for it. The Street gets a smooth and so­phis­ti­cated rideby-wire throt­tle, trac­tion con­trol, slip-as­sist clutch, ABS, an im­mo­biliser and even a USB charg­ing point – all bound to go down well with newer and younger rid­ers. All this ex­tra tech and the smooth liq­uid-cooled en­gine may not sit so well with the purists, but it does make the Street in­cred­i­bly easy to ride.

Salt flats

Well, we didn’t quite make it to Bon­neville, but the roads were salty. The snow from the night be­fore left a film of slip­pery white ice on the tar­mac. The morn­ing sun tried its best

Ôthe Street Twinõs pipes sound fan­tas­tic Ð far more ag­gres­sive than the

cur­rent mod­elõsõ

to clear it for us, but left the sur­face with layer of slush in­stead. Bar­relling down coun­try lanes felt far more se­cure on the new Street Twin with its trac­tion con­trol, ABS and feath­erlight clutch. De­spite its sin­gle disc, the twin-pis­ton Nissin front brake set-up has plenty of feel and stop­ping power. The non-ad­justable Kayaba monoshock is well damped, mak­ing for a smooth ride – un­like the T100, which is un­der damped and makes you suf­fer for its in­ad­e­quacy. Both the brake and clutch levers are heavy, too, de­mand­ing a strong squeeze. The only ben­e­fit is the T100’s power, which pulls it for­ward with more ag­gres­sion at the top end. But while the T100 may be quicker, the new boy han­dles bet­ter and is so much smoother, more man­age­able and re­spon­sive. The only gripe Bruce could pin on the Street Twin was a clunky gear­box, which doesn’t feel as re­fined as the cur­rent T100’s.

But new is bet­ter, right?

Not nec­es­sar­ily. The cur­rent 865cc Bon­nie has been around since 2006 and it’s cer­tainly time for an up­date, but the Street Twin isn’t nec­es­sar­ily it – de­spite be­ing the clos­est in ca- pac­ity of the new range. Of the bikes an­nounced to date, the new 1199cc T120 will be the big­ger, more pow­er­ful re­place­ment as it re­tains the orig­i­nal Bon­neville style more than the more mod­ern, min­i­mal Street Twin. The Street is clearly tar­geted at a dif­fer­ent au­di­ence, one that isn’t search­ing for the au­then­tic retro look, and while it bor­rows a smidge of Bon­nie style, it’s far more neo-retro. Plus it’s friend­lier, eas­ier to ride and much more mod­ern in both style and tech­nol­ogy.

So if you’re con­sid­er­ing chop­ping in your cur­rent Bon­nie for more power and speed then you’re bet­ter off wait­ing for the new T120. And if nei­ther bike ful­fils your brief, be­cause you want some­thing be­tween the two, then you need to hang on un­til the end of 2016 to find your dream new Bon­neville.

Mod­ern clock now shows gear po­si­tion Even the name mixes the old with the new The 21st cen­tury Twin gets LED rear light LCD win­dow shows mileage and trip Bon­nieõs Ôcarbsõ mask its fuel-in­jec­tion Just a reg­u­lar old bulb and lots of chrome Dinky Street

BRIT SPE­CIAL

best Cel­e­brat­ing the Bri­tish bikes and

rid­ers of 2016

Spe­cial-edi­tion Newchurch ver­sion of the T100 fea­tures spe­cial paintscheme and wheels Speedo fea­tures in-built shift light Twin carb head was first on a Tri­umph Fully re­stored, it’s now val­ued at £20,000

Lovers of the Bon­nie’s clas­sic style will have to wait un­til 2107 for the new ver­sion VER­DICT Du­cati UK sold 1015 Scram­blers last year

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