The Bonneville family is a truly iconic lineup of stunning British motorcycles, this latest Triumph Speed Twin 900 packs modern retro style into an entry-level format, whilst the Scrambler 900 and T100 take the same 900 cc twin and go for an off-road and classic vintage Bonnie look respectively.
Updated in 2021, the Speed Twin 900 goes for an accessible and engaging riding experience – at least, that’s what they say. It’s Triumph’s most successful custom classic bike, and you’ll generally always spot these out and about – whether fully stock or fully custom.
It’s a true classic Bonnie in appearance, with wires tucked away neatly, and the style is immaculate. It rides like a bike that has had years of fine-tuning and development piled into it, and it sounds outrageous – I think you can tell where this review is going. But let’s get into it.
Triumph Speed Twin 900 | Pros and Cons
- Stunning motorcycle, classic heritage with modern touch.
- Ride handling is superb, sounds amazing.
- Keeps it basic, but can be specced up.
- Wish the tank was a bit bigger.
- Is there enough of a difference from previous versions?
- A tad weighty – the 1200cc version is the same weight!
What’s new on the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900?
Up until recently this 900 was known as the Street Twin (900) and was joined by the higher capacity Speed Twin 1200. Now, a rename has meant we have the Speed Twin with 900 and 1200 variants plus the Speed 400 single-cylinder due to join the Bonnie party later in the year. We’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of the single-cylinder variation, stay tuned for the launch review later this year!
At the end of last year, we reviewed the Street Twin 900 here at BikeMatters and loved it, but does this update distinguish itself enough as a new model, particularly for the entry-level A2 licence-compliant riders?
As a quick overview, the Speed Twin 900 features a 900cc parallel-twin with liquid cooling, a torque-assist clutch with 5 gears, power figures of 64.1 BHP & 80 Nm of torque, and a stainless steel 2-into-2 exhaust. Stock seat height is a low 765mm, it weighs 216 kg wet, and has a single 310mm front disc with 4-piston Brembo caliper, with rear 255mm disc with 2-piston Nissin caliper (and ABS). An analogue speedo with an LCD screen completes the analogue retro look, though it does feature ride-by-wire and two riding modes (road and rain) with switchable traction control for a modern edge.
Price for the 2023 base model starts at £8,795, and it’s available in dealers today dressed in a choice of Jet Black (£8,795, as pictured), Carnival Red/Phantom Black (£9,145), and Competition Green/Phantom Black (£9,145).
As ridden, this Speed Twin was decked out in accessories from the official Triumph catalogue at a cost totalling over £10,500. More on the accessories fitted later.
As of writing the Triumph website also lists a limited edition red-tanked Chrome Edition for £9,145. There is also mention of Matt Ironstone and Matt Silver Ice for colour options, though these aren’t currently listed online.
On the topic of price, try Lexham Insurance for a quote on a Triumph.
A Famous Parallel-Twin Engine
As it was in the Street Twin last year, this bike is all about the torque!
Powered by a liquid-cooled 900cc parallel- twin, the Speed Twin is a torquey weapon and a delight to ride. It has 8 valves, a SOHC, and a 270-degree crank to help it sound raucous – which it certainly does when firing up for the first (and every) time – a wonder in this Euro 5 compliant world, with strict emissions regulations to consider.
You have 64.1 bhp at 7500 rpm and 80 Nm torque peaking at (a seriously low) 3800 revs, making it an absolute hoot to ride around town and into the twisties, with plenty of power from the initial twist of the wrist and a heap of midrange to play with.
Power does taper out towards the top-end, though you can look at the 1200 cc model if you need more top-end – for what it is, this 900 cc is simply glorious to ride.
A2 riders rejoice, also, as it can be restricted with a kit at the dealership for £153 to meet the 47 bhp A2 limit, and removed once you get your full licence. Even fully powered it’s seriously easy to get on with, and definitely won’t scare you when restricted a tad (if you’re jumping on this from a 125 cc, for example).
Power is put to the rear wheel via a chain final drive and ride-by-wire throttle, with five gears as opposed to a customary six. The gearbox is great, and the gearing is nice and long with 5th a nice gear to cruise in – though that didn’t stop me searching for sixth on a number of occasions…
The clutch and brake levers are span adjustable, so if the clutch feels a little far out it can be adjusted – upon arrival, the clutch bite point felt a tad too far out, an easy couple of clicks to close the gap instantly addressed that.
Finally, you have two ride modes, rain and road, with a button to change it on the switchgear. Consider ‘Road’ mode the full power option, with rain mode dulling the delivery of power to the rear wheel a touch when accelerating. Traction control is here, and can be switched off if you fancy – though it saved me when riding around a dusty corner as the rear stepped out, so I’d leave it on!
Triumph Speed Twin 900 | Ride Notes
As a package, the Speed Twin 900 just simply delivers. Torque is what Triumph thrive in providing, and it’s no different here - the delivery of power over the long 5-gears is akin to a gradual accent into lunacy, accompanied by a reverberating soundtrack that will ring true around the small towns and villages that the Bonnies of old (from 1959) would have thrived doing.
Mid-range is where this bike seems to love living, it does get a little less aggro at the top end, but it suits the character of the bike. It’ll chug away when pulling in higher gears at low revs, though you’ll easily click down a gear or two for an overtake when the opportunity presents itself. You’re not lacking in speed, but the bike will naturally prefer living in the mid-range where the throttle is ultra-responsive to your inputs and it’s great fun to hoon around on.
A stock 765 mm seat makes the bike accessible to all, and even as a taller rider (6 foot 3) it still fit me well. Shorter riders will be fine here, too, as the midriff is narrow and you’ll be able to get a foot comfortably to the ground. Though worth noting we had the accessory quilted bench seat fitted, which was flat and can you sit further back if you have lanky legs. Though far from soft, it’s great for short/mid rides – and looks the part, they say form over function, right?
The 216 kg wet weight is low down, it’s surprisingly weighty and you’ll have to keep that in mind when moving it around at low speed and by hand. At speed it feels all dialled in, and the handling when riding feels impeccable.
Though a 68.9 mpg figure is quoted by Triumph, the 12-litre tank seems to empty rapidly (perhaps that is also down to my riding). Estimated fuel remaining on fill-up displays on the LCD as 100 miles riding, I got about 80 before the fuel light came on (with two bars left, and the LCD dash relayed a 20-mile range). But the fuel light had me stressing out so I stopped, filled up, and just over 8 litres went in – so it seems 100 miles of real-world range is realistic.
The split analogue dash is nice and simple, some would say too simple, but works well and is in keeping with the classic style. Revs aren’t displayed on a dial, instead displayed as numbers on the LCD screen display (when you click through the screen with the ‘i’ button) the various options, including the time, range remaining, trip and odo. On that note, modes can be switched on the go with a press of the mode button.
If in gear and flicking the side stand out the engine will switch off – and similar when starting up the bike, the fuel injection will only whirr away once the side stand is up, leaving you to wait a couple of seconds before systems are fully operational and you can fire up.
I did take the Triumph to a bike meet, and it garnered a huge amount of attention – from Triumph fans and more. So don’t expect to get around inconspicuously, for right or wrong!
How does the Speed Twin ride? | Brakes, Suspension, Chassis
I think I’ve made clear here that the handling is impeccable, and that is down to the chassis and suspension.
There is a tubular steel twin cradle frame housing the twin motor, with a fabricated twin swingarm and twin RSUs with preload adjustment at the rear working alongside 41mm cartridge forks up front. The quoted travel on the forks is 120mm.
Your average British roads (read: can be quite adventurous at the best of times) are soaked up well by the suspension, though aftermarket Fox shocks can be added to the accessories if you really fancy an upmarket feel. I’m not sure it’s necessary, though, and have no real bones to pick with the suspension setup here – I was happily chucking this down my favourite local routes.
A single 310mm disc is mounted to an 18-inch front tyre (Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp front and rear), with a 4-piston Brembo axially-mounted caliper. At the rear, on the 17-inch wheel, is a 255 mm disc with a floating 2-piston Nissin caliper. Braking power is very good, the initial application is gentle and then has a bite, you feel the ABS lightly ticking in your foot brake if hammering on – but not to any detriment of the braking, and it feels tuned in really well.
Perfect Motorcycle for Accessories?
This one is decked out with accessories, full cost totalling around £10,500. (panniers, screen, quilted seat, heated grips, led indicators etc). As of writing, you can pick from over 90 accessories – though steady on crafting your dream bike, you’ll quickly clock over £4,000 of bonus bits if you’re anything like me.
To list the accessories on the Speed Twin 900 we had in, it’s an extensive list. We had the quilted bench seat, bar end mirrors, soft pannier kit, heated grips, fly screen, LED indicators… there was plenty here.
I’d certainly recommend going for the bar end mirrors and fly screen, and the heated grips if you’re a year-round rider. The fly screen does well to keep wind off your chest, and in my eyes tidies up the front end too.
The soft panniers are super easy to remove with buckle clips, though the panniers will need a separate luggage-style lock if you want to keep anything secure in there (just take them off with your valuables inside). There’s enough space in both for the essential items, a bag of shopping, your secondary security etc. But not enough to fit a full-face helmet.
You can really craft an absolute stunner straight from your local Triumph dealer – provided you have the budget behind you. Things like heated grips would be a nice standard fit option, but as a base model price at £8,795 you can’t have any qualms, or just do without warm mitts. At least you get an under-seat USB socket as standard!
Verdict: Triumph Speed Twin 900
My two weeks with the Triumph Speed Twin 900 is a fantastic introduction to the famed Bonneville family and has left me itching for more. A combination of fantastic riding characteristics and stunning curb appeal has really solidified what this range of Bonneville is all about – all the style without sacrificing riding character.
It’s a great combination of analogue and modern, rider modes and rider aids will step in to ease you into the ride, but the analogue dash and classic Bonnie appeal is still there to enjoy. Perhaps a larger tank would be nice, and some may argue an updated dash would be beneficial.
One thing that really strikes me, though, is there enough difference between this and the older model variations? Would you be better off going for an older generation Street Twin 900, rather than going for a brand new model? It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot different going on compared to the older iterations – but with the second-hand market seemingly holding strong, you may be better off running off to your local Triumph dealer and piecing together your perfect machine for a monthly deal.
In short, I’ve loved having the Triumph Speed Twin 900 in for two weeks, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Or perhaps I’ll have a look at the Scrambler version… keep your eyes peeled. Until then, does anyone know what time the local Triumph dealership shuts for the day?
Massive thanks to Triumph, head to their website to find out more on the current Bonneville range.
Also, give Lexham Insurance a try for an insurance quote if you’re sitting there waiting on delivery of your own motorcycle!
Triumph Speed Twin 900 Specs
|Engine||900cc liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin - 64.1 BHP, 80 NM|
|Fuel tank||12 L|
|Brakes||(F) Single Ø310mm floating disc, Brembo 4 piston fixed axial caliper, ABS (R) Single Ø255mm disc, Nissin 2 piston floating caliper, ABS|
|Seat height||765 mm|
|Suspension||(F) Ø 41mm cartridge forks (R) Twin RSUs with preload adjustment|