Motorcycles have very different characters. Where the Indian Scout Bobber Sixty might have a rough-and-rugged sort of attitude, something like the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S straddles the line of edgy ruthlessness. While both those types of machines serve their purposes, there is just something about a gregarious standard motorcycle, like the 2020 Triumph Street Twin, that seems so right almost all the time.
Upon riding the Street Twin, there’s an immediate congenial relationship with the bike, as if reuniting with an old friend whose friendship has been easily rekindled after some time apart. The 900cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine delivers steady, usable power across its five gears with plenty of torque in the low to midrange and a long-stretching fifth. Although vibrations can be felt in the pegs, when the digital tach hits 5,500 rpm that feeling does not make its way into the rubber-mounted handlebars. The Triumph’s gearbox and wet, multiplate assist clutch are velvety during gear changes—quick, precise, and effortless. This paired with a predictable throttle response with the help of ride-by-wire tech ultimately makes the ride controlled, comfortable, and engaging. Thanks to its Cycle World measured torque of 55.6 pound-feet at 3,700 rpm, the Street Twin is just as happy to keep the pace with city traffic as it is to leave the stoplights behind and hit the twisties.
Like any friendship, however, things can get a little heated; after riding for about 40 minutes engine heat toasts the right shin.
Curving roads are where smiles are stretched and a $9,300 check—funds permitting—is ready to be signed and delivered. The Street Twin’s responsiveness, confident handling, and torquey character in tight switchbacks or undulating sweepers makes it a stand-out machine. The tubular steel cradle chassis helps maintain a confidence-inspiring and stable line throughout each turn and exits can be left smoothly as a result of that responsive throttle.
Suspension is well-balanced; the front has a planted front-end feel in the switchbacks even though compression on the 41mm KYB fork is a little on the softer side with rebound returning somewhat quickly. KYB twin shocks’ compression is slightly stiffer and rebound is on the quick side causing a very slight buck up out of the seat when encountering sharp bumps. However, the rear tire maintains good contact with the road despite your rear leaving the seat, and the Street Twin settles its CW-measured 477 pounds with predictable stability into each turn.
The Street Twin’s braking is handled by a Brembo four-piston caliper in the front and Nissin two-piston caliper at the rear, both ABS equipped. The Brembo four-piston caliper, which was introduced for the 2019 MY, is easily modulated and clamps down with a solid bite onto the 310mm single disc. While it gets the job done, a little more pressure than expected is needed for the rear brake lever to relay commands to the single-piston Nissin caliper paired to a 255mm single disc.
That long seat has a plushness and is comfortable for hours of riding, but when long-distance soreness does start to take effect there is generous seat space to move around on. That space also contributed to comfortable two-up riding. I put my husband on the back, and he reported that the Twin’s seat was roomy and its stepped design allowed for more visibility over my helmet as well. He did say that he would have preferred knurled metal pegs over the stock rubber-covered ones. The pilot’s peg grip was not a problem for me though, but the placement does position my feet and calves up slightly, making it a little tight for my 32-inch inseam. I would imagine anyone with slightly shorter legs, however, would be happy with the location. My 6-foot height usually brings some compromises. The handlebar placement ensures an upright riding position for cruising with enough usable leverage for turns.
With its $9,300 price tag the Street Twin offers Triumph’s high-quality fit and finish. Triumph’s reputation for a well-put-together motorcycle is not betrayed by one of its least-expensive models. The clutch lever, brake lever, and brake pedal are sturdily mounted. The brushed aluminum detailing gives it a clean classy look while the upswept 2-into-2 exhausts, fork gaiters, and round rearview mirrors nod to retro-classic styling.
The round single gauge is easily readable with large numbers displayed on the LCD screen. There is plenty of toggleable information to scroll through, but it does take a lot of button pressing to get to the info you want. Passed the tachometer? Go through the nine options again. The LCD screen’s toggle menu includes odometer, two tripmeters, current mpg, average mpg, fuel range, clock, tachometer, and traction control setting. Other electronics like traction control and ride modes (Road and Rain) are switchable with a button on the left handlebar cluster.
I will not hear of any excuses for getting stranded on the side of the road with an empty tank with the Street Twin. Not only is there a 3.2-gallon tank that averages a measured 50.7 mpg, but there are three fuel indicators: a gas gauge (always displayed on the left of the LCD) and a low fuel light (on the analog gauge), in addition to the fuel range in the LCD menu. So no excuses.
Nothing is absolutely perfect and the Street Twin does warrant some gripes. First, finding the kickstand takes some serious hunting with your toe and heel. It is difficult to locate between the tighter space between the footpeg and exhaust. The fuel cap is the second problem. It spins regardless of whether it is locked or unlocked, and after you solve the locked-versus-unlocked Rubix Cube you have to find a place to set the cap while filling the tank because it is not affixed to the tank. After the tank is filled it also takes the system two to three minutes to update the fuel level and fuel range on the LCD—something that is usually instantaneously updated on other models after a fill-up.
Content in the city and über-capable in tight and sweeping turns outside the urban sprawl, the 2020 Triumph Street Twin brings on the smiles with its friendly motor, confidence-inspiring handling, and classic good looks. While there may be cheaper retro-styled parallel twins on the market, the Street Twin is an enjoyable ride with up-spec componentry and fit and finish that make it a great companion on the road.
2020 Triumph Street Twin Specs
|Engine:||900cc, SOHC, liquid-cooled, 270° crank angle parallel twin; 8 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||84.6 x 80.0mm|
|Cycle World Measured Horsepower:||60.1 hp @ 6,880 rpm|
|Cycle World Measured Torque:||55.6 lb.-ft. @ 3,700 rpm|
|Fuel System:||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection w/ ride by wire|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate assist clutch|
|Frame:||Tubular steel cradle|
|Front Suspension:||41mm KYB fork, nonadjustable w/ cartridge damping; 4.7-in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||KYB twin RSUs, adjustable for preload; 4.7-in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Brembo 4-piston fixed caliper, 310mm floating disc w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, 255mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Cast aluminum alloy multi-spoke; 2.75 x 18 in. / 4.25 x 17 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||100/90-18 / 150/70-17|
|Seat Height:||29.9 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.2 gal.|
|Cycle World Measured Wet Weight:||477 lb.|
Helmet: Shoei RF-SR
Jacket: Pando Moto Capo Cor 01
Pant: Pando Moto Kusari Kev 01
Gloves: Racer Gloves Verano