These days, there are a lot of motorcycles that are designed in such a way to pay homage to the motorcycles of our grandfathers. While I’m not really a fan of such modern classic motorcycles, like many, I also can’t help but admire such beautiful masterpieces.
Although the current travel restrictions have not allowed us to travel far from the busy streets of Metro Manila even before the declaration of ECQ Season 2, it doesn’t mean that we can no longer have fun, especially if it’s the Triumph Speed Twin we’re about to take for a spin.
A bit of history
1959 Speed Twin (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)
For those who are not familiar, motorcycle manufacturer, Triumph, is perhaps one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in the world and traces its roots back to 1885. The Speed Twin, which also has a rich history, was first introduced at the 1937 National Motorcycle Show in Britain.
Between 1938 to 1966, Triumph sold more than 45,000 Speed Twins and its parallel-twin engine configuration is considered by many to be the symbol of British-made motorcycles.
Modern Speed Twin
The new Triumph Speed Twin is the love child of the Bonneville and Thruxton. According to Triumph, the Speed Twin can carve corners much like the sporty, café racer, the Thruxton, but still has the finesse of the iconic Bonneville.
At the heart of the Speed Twin lies the parallel-twin, 1,200 cc engine that also powers the Bonneville T120 and Thruxton. It produces close to 100 Ps of power and 112 Nm of torque. What this means is that the Speed Twin can outrun any decent sportbike from one stoplight to the next.
The engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox and power delivery is governed by 3 riding modes: Road, Rain and Sport.
Styling and handling
The overall styling of the modern Speed Twin is British in every way: Triumph's signature sculpted 14.5-liter fuel tank, bar-end side mirrors, a stylish bench seat, twin “megaphone” exhausts, an aluminum swingarm, and aluminum front and rear mudguards. Also, there's no shortage when it comes to the details such as aluminum headlight brackets, throttle body covers, foot/ heel guards, and the Monza-style fuel cap.
Almost immediately after sitting on its saddle and putting the Speed Twin on its side stand, I noticed that the bike’s weight sits down below. On paper, the weight figure looks close to that of BMW’s R 1250 GS, but after riding the Speed Twin, the weight felt more like riding a 400 cc bike because it’s very light and nimble.
I almost forgot that I was sitting on a motorcycle that has an engine displacement similar to a small car.
Like I said earlier, local travel restrictions didn’t allow me to take the Speed Twin to places like Marilaque or Kaybiang Tunnel to feel its suspension thoroughly. But, I was able to play with it a little at a sweeping corner near my place. During this very short stint, I can safely say that the Speed Twin’s suspension lives up to the Thruxton’s renowned canyon-carving prowess.
When it comes to stopping power, unlike most motorcycles in its category, the Speed Twin’s is comparable to a modern sportbike – it stops precisely where you want it to stop.
Though the Speed Twin’s tenure with me was short, it was definitely sweet. Its classic form packed with modern gizmos perfectly explains why most F1 racing teams design and build their racecars on British soil with British engineering.