IT WAS, in many ways, the bike that gave birth to Triumph motorcycles as we know them. The first Speed Twin was unveiled just before World War II and went on to become a global sales sensation after the war, launching the British motorcycle industry into a period of world domination.

The Speed Twin was not Triumph’s first twin. That spot in history is owned by a 650 twin — the imaginatively named 6/1 of 1933 — but it was the 498cc Speed Twin that seemed to hit the market at just the right time. Good for 90mph and lighter than many of the single-cylinder British bikes doing the rounds at the time, it was a huge hit in the USA. So popular was the Triumph brand that, by 1969, it’s said that 50% of all bikes sold in America over 500cc were Triumphs. Harley-Davidson was, of course, mightily unimpressed.

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And now Triumph has brushed off the Speed Twin nameplate and bolted it onto the side of a thoroughly modern Bonneville.

It’s not the ground-breaker of the original and it’s not a rocket-ship by modern standards — but judging by the spec sheet (we won’t see the bikes until next year) it will be proper light and proper fast, at least within the genre of naked retro roadsters.

Highlights are the power (96hp compared with the regular T120 Bonneville’s 79hp) and weight (196kg compared with 224kg).

In short, the Speed Twin looks like a Bonneville that’s been put on a diet and then souped up to Thruxton R spec. In fact, it’s 10kg lighter than even the Thruxton so it should handle very well and be pretty darned quick too.

Here’s some of what Triumph has to say about the new bike:


A legend re-born

2019 Triumph Speed Twin

Changing the face of motorcycling, the original 1938 Triumph Speed Twin, with the world’s first successful parallel twin engine packaged into a game changing chassis, was a revelation to ride. Its smooth dynamic handling and superb responsive feel established Triumph as the number one motorcycle marque globally for performance and handling, setting the template for all that followed, and earning a global reputation for being the first real ‘riders bike’.

For 2019, the all-new 1200cc Speed Twin re-introduces this illustrious Triumph name to our Modern Classics line-up, setting all over again a new standard in class-leading handling, and delivering a new benchmark for how a modern custom roadster should ride and feel.

The brand new Speed Twin carries all of the contemporary custom style of the Street Twin but adds even more beautiful premium details. It delivers all the power, torque and technology of the Thruxton R, in an even more accessible modern set-up.

And, it offers all of the confidence inspiring ride and rider comfort of the Bonneville T120, but with even more engaged ergonomics.

The result, just like its iconic 20th century namesake, is a new performance icon that sets a whole new standard, with the chassis set-up, riding position, braking ability, suspension, and thrilling power delivery of a truly modern roadster.


Class leading handling

The all-new Speed Twin brings a new standard for class leading handling, with a precise, agile and dynamic modern roadster ride, and a confidence inspiring, intuitive feel.

The dedicated new frame developed from the Thruxton R delivers comfortable engaged roadster ergonomics, which combined with the high specification cartridge front forks and twin rear suspension units with adjustable spring pre-load, make for a truly unparalleled ride.

High specification twin Brembo 4-piston axial calipers on the front with twin discs, and a 2-piston floating caliper and single disc on the rear, provide excellent stopping power, complementing the motorcycle’s modern roadster character.

Adding to the confidence inspiring ride, the new Speed Twin also benefits from:

  • 17 inch, lightweight 7 spoke cast aluminium wheels
  • High specification Pirelli Rosso Corsa 3 tyres
  • ABS and switchable traction control as standard
  • Comfortable, upright, engaged riding position
  • Tapered handlebars and new upper yoke and risers
  • A comfortable new bench seat at a low height of 807mm,
    making the bike accessible for all riders
  • A significant 10 kilogram weight saving compared to the Thruxton,
    contributing to its class leading handling.

Thrilling performance

The modern roadster character comes to life through its 1200cc High Power 8 valve, parallel twin Bonneville engine, specifically updated for the new Speed Twin.

This revised high performance engine features a low inertia crank and high compression head, and is developed from the Thruxton R’s powerplant.

Engine updates include:

  • New magnesium cam cover
  • Revised clutch assembly
  • New mass optimised engine covers

Together these deliver a unique 2.5kg weight saving versus the Thruxton engine. With 97PS peak power @ 6,750rpm, the new Speed Twin achieves an impressive 76% increase over the 2016/17 Street Twin, and 49% more than the 2018 Street Twin.
Additionally the new Speed Twin engine also delivers a strong peak torque figure of 112 Nm @ 4,950rpm – an amazing 40% more than the 2018 Street Twin.

The Speed Twin’s all new distinctive twin upswept silencers, with satin black painted wrap and stainless steel end caps deliver the unmistakable sound of a British Twin, a unique exhaust note that matches its powerful and legendary character – rich, deep and full.

Behind the stylish exterior sits a liquid cooling system, carefully integrated to minimise its visual impact whilst achieving clean emissions and enhancing fuel efficiency. Combined with an extended first major service interval of 10,000 miles (16,000km), this contributes to a reduced overall cost of ownership.

Advanced rider technology

The new Speed Twin features a full suite of rider-focused technology to deliver advanced rider control and safety, plus enhanced rider confidence – sensitively integrated to maintain its iconic Bonneville style and character.

The Speed Twin’s technology features include:

Three riding modes  Linked to the ride-by-wire system, the three selectable riding modes (Sport, Road and Rain), each with dedicated throttle maps and traction control settings, providing enhanced rider control and safety, and in ‘Sport’, a more immediate throttle response.

ABS The contemporary safety standard, with minimal visual impact, the ABS is responsive yet unobtrusive.

Switchable traction control  Managing the Speed Twin’s high torque delivery when traction is compromised, the switchable system offers increased rider control.

LED DRL headlight   Incorporated into the headlight, the LED daytime running light brings excellent visibility and a distinctive light profile (where legislation allows).

LED rear light & indicators  Built into the classically inspired minimal tail set-up, the LED rear light and indicators bring a distinctive rear light pattern and excellent power efficiency.

Ride-by-wire Enhancing throttle responsiveness, safety and feel.

Torque assist clutch Optimised for a lighter touch and feel to the clutch to make it easier to ride, and ride longer.

Switchgear  Elegant switchgear presents simple fingertip controls for easy access to the key features on the new twin clocks.

USB charging socket For maximum rider convenience, the USB charging socket charges riders’ essential devices.

Engine immobiliser  Transponder integrated into the key adds greater security.

Stylish twin clocks  New twin clocks, beautifully detailed and premium, incorporate a digital menu system accessed by the handlebar mounted scroll button.

Key features include:

– Riding mode setting
– Gear position indicator
– Odometer
– Trip settings
– Service indicator
– Range to empty
– Fuel level
– Average and current fuel consumption
– Access to turn off traction control features
– Clock
– TPMS indicator (when accessory fitted)
– Heated grips indicator (when accessory fitted)

Beautifully modern custom style

With all of Triumph’s timeless DNA, married to a modern stripped back custom look, muscular poise and a host of beautifully designed premium features, the Speed Twin is the most contemporary styled Bonneville ever.

Key features include:

  • Signature sculpted 14 litre fuel tank
  • Custom style bench seat
  • Minimal front and rear mudguard set-up with small rear light
    (and integrated brake and turn signals in the US and Canada)
  • Sculpted side panels with aluminium badge detailing
  • Twin upswept sports silencers
  • Contemporary bar end mirrors


Category leading finish and detailing

The new Speed Twin continues the class leading theme of the whole Bonneville family
when it comes to its premium level of finish and detailing, including:

  • Brushed aluminium mudguards, throttle body covers,
    side panel finishers and heel guards
  • Bright anodised forged aluminium headlight brackets
  • Distinctive Monza-style locking fuel cap
  • New 7-spoke aluminium wheels
  • Clear anodised aluminium swingarm
  • Painted headlamp bowl and bezel
  • Handlebar clamp with Speed Twin branding.

The new Speed Twin comes in three colour choices:

  • Silver Ice and Storm Grey, with hand-painted Graphite coach line and white stripe
  • Korosi Red and Storm Grey, with hand-painted Graphite coach line and white stripe
  • Jet Black



Engine Type Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Capacity 1200cc
Bore/Stroke 97.6 x 80 mm
Compression Ratio 11.0 : 1
Maximum Power 97 PS / 96 BHP (71.5 kW) @ 6,750 rpm
Maximum Torque 112 Nm @ 4,950 rpm
Fuel system Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin silencers
Final drive Chain
Clutch Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Gearbox 6-speed
Frame Tubular steel with aluminium cradle
Swingarm Twin-sided, aluminium
Front Wheel Cast aluminium alloy 7-spoke 17 x 3.5in
Rear Wheel Cast aluminium alloy 7-spoke 17 x 5in
Front Tyre 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tyre 160/60 ZR17
Front Suspension 41mm cartridge forks, 120mm travel
Rear Suspension Twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel
Front Brake Twin 305mm discs, Brembo 4-piston fixed calipers, ABS
Rear Brake Single 220mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Width (Handlebars) 760 mm
Height Without Mirrors 1110 mm
Seat Height 807 mm
Wheelbase 1430 mm
Rake 22.8 º
Trail 93.5 mm
Dry Weight 196 Kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 14.5 L
Fuel Consumption 4.8 l/100km
CO2 Emissions 109.0 g/km

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Peter Terlick