2020 Triumph Street Twin First Ride Review

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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.

Heritage meets character in the 2020 Triumph Street Twin.

Heritage meets character in the 2020 Triumph Street Twin. (Jeff Allen /)

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.

The 900cc parallel twin delivers predictable low to midrange power that puts the rider in a happy place.

The 900cc parallel twin delivers predictable low to midrange power that puts the rider in a happy place. (Jeff Allen /)

Like any friendship, however, things can get a little heated; after riding for about 40 minutes engine heat toasts the right shin.

Confidence-inspiring lines are held throughout each turn.

Confidence-inspiring lines are held throughout each turn. (Jeff Allen /)

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.

Both ends provide 4.7 inches of travel.

Both ends provide 4.7 inches of travel. (Jeff Allen /)

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.

No brake brand loyalties here—the Street Twin has a Brembo caliper at the front and Nissin out back.

No brake brand loyalties here—the Street Twin has a Brembo caliper at the front and Nissin out back. ( Jeff Allen/)

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.

Both a rider and passenger pleaser. The spacious seat is plenty comfortable for solo or two-up rides.

Both a rider and passenger pleaser. The spacious seat is plenty comfortable for solo or two-up rides. ( Jeff Allen /)

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.

Its looks are easy on the eyes. Look closer and you can appreciate the little details like the Triumph logo centralized within the headlight.

Its looks are easy on the eyes. Look closer and you can appreciate the little details like the Triumph logo centralized within the headlight. (Jeff Allen /)

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.

Details like the round mirrors, dual exhausts, and fork gaiters point to the past.

Details like the round mirrors, dual exhausts, and fork gaiters point to the past. ( Jeff Allen /)

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.

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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.

It may look simple, but there’s an encyclopedia’s worth of information nestled in the toggle menu on the LCD.

It may look simple, but there’s an encyclopedia’s worth of information nestled in the toggle menu on the LCD. (Jeff Allen /)

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.

Old school meets new school and it couldn’t have been a more friendly encounter.

Old school meets new school and it couldn’t have been a more friendly encounter. (Jeff Allen /)

2020 Triumph Street Twin Specs

MSRP: $9,300
Engine: 900cc, SOHC, liquid-cooled, 270° crank angle parallel twin; 8 valves
Bore x Stroke: 84.6 x 80.0mm
Transmission/Final Drive: 5-speed/chain
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
Rake/Trail: 25.1º/4.0 in.
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Seat Height: 29.9 in.
Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gal.
Cycle World Measured Wet Weight: 477 lb.
Availability: Now
Contact: triumphmotorcycles.com

GEARBOX:

The Street Twin may be a bit pricier than some of the competition, but what it adds in dollars is up-spec components and a whole lot of character.

The Street Twin may be a bit pricier than some of the competition, but what it adds in dollars is up-spec components and a whole lot of character. (Jeff Allen /)

Helmet: Shoei RF-SR

Jacket: Pando Moto Capo Cor 01 

Pant: Pando Moto Kusari Kev 01 

Gloves: Racer Gloves Verano 

Boots: TCX Boots Street Ace Lady Waterproof

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