Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin: First Ride Review

Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin: First Ride Review

The Speed Twin brings the thrills of the Thruxton in a far more useable package

Another motorcycle based on the Bonneville? Brilliant. The Bonnies, and the range of variations they’ve spawned, have always been pleasant motorcycles. Torquey, refined, stable motorcycles oozing retro Brit vibes. They make you want to don that slick leather jacket and half-face helmet to meet the lads for a cup of tea on Sunday morning. Maybe put on a British accent to feel the part. But… what have they built now? They already have classics, scramblers, a cafe racer, a cruiser… where did they find the space to squeeze in another motorcycle? If you look hard enough, you will find one. Called the Speed Twin, it is to the T120 what the Street Twin is to the T100.

Except it isn’t. Where the Street Twin and T100 get an identical engine, the Speed Twin doesn’t share the exact same spec of engine as the T120. Instead, it borrows one from the bad boy in the family — the Thruxton. It gets the High Power tune of the 1200cc motor, with a few additional changes including a magnesium cam cover, revised clutch assembly and new engine covers. The chassis is Thruxton-derived too, but it gets a longer swingarm and kicked-out forks. The rear subframe is new too. The entire package is a whole 10kg lighter than the Thruxton. That’s not a small number.

Let’s get to the bits I like first. The engine is a gem. It’s a rorty thing, accelerating aggressively when you get on the gas and hurling the motorcycle ahead with intent. And that’s in Road mode, Sport mode dials it up even further. Refinement is great, as is tractability and the Vance and Hines pipes on our test bike made throttle opening a proper event. Second, the dynamics. The revised ergonomics (which I’ll get to in a bit) and chassis geometry means it isn’t as sharp as a Thruxton, but it still relishes a winding road. It tips in sharply, but inherits the mid-corner stability that we love in the other Bonnies as well. Braking ability is strong too, the Brembos are very progressive with good feedback.

Things that I don’t like? It’s too stiff for our roads. The suspension on a smooth road is absolutely sublime, but show it a bad patch and you won’t enjoy yourself. Second, the ergonomics — it is more upright with a wide bar instead of clip-ons, but the pegs aren’t particularly forward set. It’s a comfortable riding position for the most part, except that there’s very little for your knees to hold on to. Again, this isn’t too much of a problem on a good road, but if you’re braking a lot, you will find pressure being transferred onto your arms.

Oh, but it looks gorgeous doesn’t it? It nails the retro look and the delicious details, like the flat seat and the bar-end mirrors, add to the charm. And it isn’t just a looker, it is bubbling with character when you ride it too. It isn’t the easiest Bonnie spin-off to live with, but I’d argue that it is one of the most entertaining. And consequently, endearing. Unlike the other Bonnevilles, the Speed Twin is playful and makes you crack into a smile every time you crack open the throttle. Think of it as a more usable Thruxton. The best part? The price. At Rs 9.46 lakh, it is a steal for the sort of kit and performance it offers.

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