NOT JUST ANOTHER BONNIE
Over a period of time comes a recipe so perfect that it finds its name carved in the history books. Fish and chips is one. The Triumph Speed Twin is another
The Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin is unlike any of its siblings
FISH AND CHIPS IS A BRITISH DELICACY that was so popular at one point in time in the UK that it was exempt from rationing! Winston Churchill even called fish and chips as ‘good companions’. Today, its become a staple meal and is sold in over 11,000 shops across the country with the Brits consuming almost 400 million portions of the popular dish, every year! But hey, we are not Good Housekeeping and I’m not Gordon Ramsay. However, I recently witnessed something as legendary as the battered fish and fried potatoes mishmash. It also comes from the land of The Queen and its foundation is a recipe that is guaranteed to ensure success for Triumph. Behold the Bonneville Speed Twin, blokes.
Good-looking like its brethren, the Speed Twin is properly vintage with its minimalistic looks and comes packaged with a lot of tech. Based on the range-topping Thruxton, the Speed Twin shares the cradle with the cafe racer but comes with a new rear subframe to incorporate the changes to the geometry. The rake is lazier by 0.1deg and the trail is longer adding to the wheelbase. Just like the chips, made of thick-skinned potatoes, found in Britain, the Speed Twin comes sans the lard, unlike the Americans. There’s weight saving of precisely 10kg over the Thruxton, and at 196kg (dry) the Speed Twin is one of the lightest neo retros out there.
The nicely laid out twin-pod cluster is reminiscent of the glorious 20th century clocks with analogue speedo and tachometer, while the digital readouts help you toggle between trip meters and riding modes, along with other vital bits. The accessible 807mm bench seat is quilted in a typically retro manner and tapers towards the fuel tank for easy anchoring. The tall-ish handlebar is wide enough and comes with bar-end mirrors which look classy. Fortunately, it isn’t a back-breaker like the Thruxton thanks to the pegs being moved forward by a massive 38mm and being lowered by 4mm at the same time.
The roads of Mallorca were wet and full of moss; the first time I had ever witnessed it on a road, which meant the long 250km ride was to be initiated in Rain mode. I cranked the engine on and the authentic Brit soundtrack started playing. The traditional parallel
twin-acoustic soundtrack is definitely a highlight of the package. Powered by the liquid-cooled, 1.2-litre engine seen on the Thruxton in exactly the same ‘High Power’ state of tune, the Speed Twin makes 96bhp and 112Nm. However, it’s not about numbers but the creamy torque delivery when it comes to this Bonnie. Fresh fish is always important to make the perfect fish and chips. The engine here is no fresh catch but suits the motorcycle’s character to the T. Tractability is definitely one of the USPs of the engine with most of the torque being developed at a measly 2200rpm, going all the way to 6750rpm in a friendly-flat manner. Barely any downshifts are required whether you’re overtaking or slowing down for pedestrians. After warming up the tyres, I shifted straight to the full-blown Sport mode. However, the party piece and also the pooper is the Sport mode. The engine in all its glory is simply brilliant and raring to go when in Sport, even pulling the front wheel towards the sky, even with traction control on. The downside here is the fuelling at low revs, with snatchy outputs which is very unlike Triumph. But we do love our fish and chips with brown sauce, don’t we?
The piece de resistance is the ride and handling though. The ride quality of the Speed Twin is a work of genius. In Mallorca we hardly found any potholes or even speed bumps, but the Triumph Speed Twin is definitely not on the firmer side of life. The suspension travel of Kayabas at both ends is identical at 120mm, which means it rarely bottoms out, unlike the Speedmaster or Bobber. I would wager a pack of my choicest whey protein that the Speed Twin’s suspension setup is going to acquit itself admirably over the much worse roads back home. What is incredible though is that this isn’t at the cost of handling. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Whether it’s about changing directions or sticking to its line in corners, the Twin does it all with a surefootedness that is endearing.
The Speed Twin is just about perfect. Almost as perfect as fish and chips. It’s a gem of a machine that puts not a foot wrong. It feels compact and wraps around you despite its large dimensions. It’s childlike playfulness coupled with the engine’s mature performance equates to one solid package that can’t really be criticised. Triumph India is contemplating a March 2019 launch and the price is expected to be between `12-13.5 lakh, which would put it bang in between the Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport and BMW RnineT. Now, can I have mine with the British green sauce (read shade), Mr. Chef? ⌧
WHETHER IT’S ABOUT CHANGING DIRECTIONS OR STICKING TO ITS LINE IN CORNERS, THE TWIN DOES IT ALL WITH EASE
Left to right: Twin-pod analogue cum digital cluster goes well with the motorcycle’s retro theme; the Thruxton-derived motor is punchy; bench seat requires slightly more padding