The original Triumph Speed Twin was released in 1938 and featured a 500cc OHV vertical twin engine residing in a lightweight frame. It was the first commercially successful British parallel twin and would set the standard for countless twins to come. For 2019, Triumph has reintroduced the moniker to its Modern Classics lineup with an all-new 1,200cc motor, updated electronics and riding modes, and a frame developed from the Thruxton R.
The new Speed Twin carries over styling cues from the Street Twin but includes premium details such as a custom-style bench seat, dual-disc brakes, and cast aluminum wheels, bar-end mirrors, brushed aluminum front and rear fenders, and new sculpted side panels with Speed Twin badging.
Powered by the liquid-cooled 1,200cc eight-valve SOHC parallel twin found in the Bonneville T120, the Speed Twin features similar tuning as the Thruxton R, producing a claimed 96 peak horsepower at 6,750 rpm—an impressive 76-percent increase over the 2018 Street Twin, and 49 percent more than the new 2019 Street Twin—and 83 pound-feet of torque at 4,950 rpm.
This revised high-performance engine features a low-inertia crank and high-compression head developed from the Thruxton R’s powerplant.
Additionally, Triumph added a new magnesium cam cover, new mass-optimized engine covers, and revised the clutch assembly which it claims to produce a 5.5-pound weight savings compared to the Thruxton R engine. Overall, the Speed Twin sees a significant a 22-pound weight savings compared to the Thruxton, and a 60-pound weight savings compared to the Bonneville T120.
While the all-new Speed Twin was built on the same frame as the Thruxton R, the tapered handlebars and risers offer a more upright riding position, in keeping with its Modern Classics lineup. And, with a 31.8-inch seat height and footpegs that are farther forward than those on the Thruxton R, the Speed Twin offers a more comfortable and more approachable riding position.
Suspension on the all-new Speed Twin features a 41mm cartridge fork and twin rear shocks with adjustable spring preload, offering 4.7 inches of travel.
Up front, Brembo four-piston axial calipers grab twin 305mm discs. In the rear, Triumph utilized Nissin’s two-piston caliper and 220mm rotor. All of this is attached to lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminum wheels and wrapped in Pirelli Rosso Corsa III tires.
ABS and switchable traction control come standard on the Speed Twin. Linked to the ride-by-wire throttle system, the three selectable riding modes—Sport, Road, and Rain—provide dedicated throttle maps and traction control settings, offering enhanced rider control and safety, and in Sport mode a more immediate throttle response.
Additional details include a sculpted 3.8-gallon fuel tank, LED headlight and indicators, a torque-assist clutch designed to provide a lighter feel and easier operation, anodized forged aluminum headlight brackets, and clear anodized aluminum swingarm, as well as twin upswept exhaust silencers.
Those looking for a sportier Modern Classic with Thruxton DNA should be excited at the long-awaited return of the Speed Twin moniker. Offering a more comfortable and approachable riding position than its café-racer lineage, as well as updated electronics and riding modes that can turn the new Twin from a docile city dweller to a true canyon ripper, the new Bonneville is a much needed addition to its lineup of classically inspired twins.
The 2019 Bonneville Speed Twin will be available in three color options: Silver Ice and Storm Grey, Korosi Red and Storm Grey, as well as Jet Black.
North American dealerships should see the Speed Twin hit their floors come February, with pricing being announced January 2019.