2019 Triumph Street Twin And Street Scrambler Review | Cycle World
Courtesy of Triumph

2019 Triumph Street Twin And Street Scrambler Review

Do more power and refinement mean a better twin?

The 2019 Street Twin and Street Scrambler are revamps of two important models for Triumph. I know what some of you are thinking: Important? At the models’ shared launch, on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, the British company explains the Street Twin is by far its best-selling modern classic, and the Street Scrambler spawned a well-defined niche of retro faux off-roaders since its release in 2006. So, yes, important.

Street Twin

The 2019 Triumph Street Twin.

Courtesy of Triumph

The Street Twin first. The reason for its success, Triumph says, is a mix of entry-level price (for the British brand at least), classic looks, and easy demeanor. If there was a recurring criticism of the 2016 Street Twin, at least from some areas of the media, it was the bike’s lack of oomph. So the biggest change is the engine. Triumph call this its “High Torque” 900cc motor. There is, it says, 18 percent more power, roughly 10 hp, taking the claimed power to 65 hp. This increase is mainly delivered with help of a 500-rpm rev increase to a new redline of 7,500 rpm. Studying the supplied graphs, peak power is up, but in the 3,500-to-5,500-rpm rev range, where even Triumph says the bike will spend most of its life, there is only an increase of 0 to 4 hp. Peak torque is the same, but the curve is flattened, so it offers increased torque over a wider range.

900cc Bonneville

Triumph increased the power of its High Torque 900cc Bonneville by 18 percent.

Courtesy of Triumph

The first day of riding was in wet conditions on roads that were so slippery they caught out one rider in our group, who lost the back end while accelerating out of a roundabout and it spat him to the ground at around 20 mph. Both the glass-like surface and the Pirelli Phantoms, perhaps chosen for their retro looks rather than ultimate grip, were put in the blame frame. There didn’t seem to be diesel or oil on the road, so I was left wondering how the traction control had let it happen. I was a few yards behind when it occurred and didn’t have a slide or moment all day. The next day was dry and took in a whole royal flush of road conditions from fresh black tarmac hairpins to greasy cobbles. I was scraping pegs at times and had no lingering doubts over the tires, but it’s fair to say not many of the international test riders liked them.

Another change for 2019, that is particularly relevant, is the addition of a rain map selected from a button on the right twistgrip. It noticeably reduces power and torque. If only the downed rider had selected the rain map, it’s unlikely the crash would’ve happened.

Twin in the city

There is an ease of use in the Street Twin that works well in the city.

Courtesy of Triumph

I don’t want to dwell on the surprise fishtail that ended in a slightly scuffed silencer and engine case because it is wildly out of character with the bike. The Street Twin is so easy to ride and undemanding of its master that it risks being labeled bland by more experienced riders. In a cut-and-thrust commuting environment this familiarity allows a rider to operate on autopilot, focusing 100 percent on the job in hand, and will be a huge bonus. Triumph gives the impression the Street Twin is aimed at, and lapped up by, the new rider, which makes me realize how much motorcycling has changed now that a 900cc twin is deemed a beginner’s option, but they’re right. It doesn’t have a bad bone in its body. It’s a labradoodle of a bike; eager to please.

The seat is still low, even though it’s been raised about half an inch to 30 inches (760mm) from the previous model. Most riders will never have to deal with the risk of a tippy-toe topple in an uneven parking spot. Its torque assist clutch, which locks up as power is put through it, thanks to ramps cast into the clutch basket assembly, relies on fewer springs and therefore needs less pressure at the lever. It works; the clutch is featherlight and never gets tiring even in heavy, stop-start traffic. The machine is so well balanced and neutral that it could win campsite-slow races with ease.

Street Twin

You won’t regret buying the Street Twin on looks alone, but it is easy to ride as well.

Courtesy of Triumph

Despite the name the factory christened this generation of engine, when I was riding the Street Twin I never felt it was characterized by a thud of torque. I was revving it higher than I expected to make it pull out of hairpins. This desire to be revved means the Street Twin has a relatively sporty feel.

Another improvement for 2019 is the adoption of a cartridge-style KYB fork and Brembo four-piston caliper front brake, both giving a more premium edge over the Street Twin’s new competitor, the bargain-priced Royal Enfield Interceptor. There’s a magnesium cam cover, lighter crank and balance shafts, and increased service intervals, now up to 10,000 miles.

Other changes are largely cosmetic. There are new alloy wheels, 18-inch front, 17-inch rear, with polished spoke faces and optional tire pressure monitoring capability; freshened side panels and graphics; new finishes on headlight shell and brackets; new LED rear light; a revamped clock, that gave all the info a modern classic rider should need and, again, leaves no doubt it’s a cut above the Enfield Interceptor. There’s a USB charging socket under the seat and more than 140 accessory options. Triumph said 80 percent of all Street Twins leave a dealer with official accessories added, so few new owners will leave having shelled out just $9,300 list price for the Jet Black model ($250 more for the Korosi Red and Matt Ironstone).

Triumph Street Twin

New alloy wheels, side panels, and finishes update the Triumph Street Twin’s look.

Courtesy of Triumph

Literally everything about the bike has an ease of use, that is hard to criticize, but… It’s such a polished end product much of the character has been buffed out of it. I’m not an old duffer who wants oil leaks and self-closing tappets, but the Street Twin reminds me of the UJMs of the 1990s, the universal Japanese motorcycles that were derided, perhaps thoughtlessly, for their soulless efficiency. If you love the looks of it, I doubt you’d regret a purchase, but there is a distinct lack of X factor.

Street Twin

The Street Twin is a polished motorcycle—maybe too polished.

Courtesy of Triumph

Street Scrambler

So on to the Street Scrambler. Immediately, this revamp of a model launched in 2017 is quirkier. It definitely has some X in its DNA, but it comes at a price, the white Scrambler is $11,000 (add $250 for red or $500 for two-tone khaki/silver).

Triumph’s Street Scrambler

Triumph’s Street Scrambler has that X factor the Street Twin is lacking.

Courtesy of Triumph

When the very first European emissions regulations were muted, back in the previous century, I remember seeing Heath Robinson-style sketches of what bikes would have to look like to pass the rumored measures. Huge warehouse-AC-style ducting and exhausts that wouldn’t look out of place on a Peterbilt were predicted. Decades later and the emissions regulations are more strict than even the most tinfoil-hat-wearing kook would have predicted, and look at these two. The Twin has what Triumph refers to as sleek, stainless steel “swan neck” downpipes. The Scrambler has the instantly recognizable individual mid-level pipes, but the catalytic converters are well hidden. Triumph camouflages its radiators remarkably well too, mainly by leading the eye to what makes its moderns so classic: handsome engines, evocative tank shapes, smart touches like good-looking bar clamps and heat shields.

Scrambler

Despite sharing much, the Street Scrambler and Street Twin feel quite different.

Courtesy of Triumph

Considering how much the pair share, it’s remarkable how different the Twin and Scrambler feel. At 31.1 inches (790mm) the Scrambler’s seat is 1.2 inches higher than the Street Twin’s. Bars are higher and wider, and the Scrambler’s wheelbase is 1.2 inch longer too. It feels more substantial. The mid-level exhaust, that establishes the bike as “a scrambler” warms the rider’s calf, but the heat shield does enough to stop scorched pant legs. When standing up, obligatory for any Street Scrambler owner to get those Mojave vibes flowing, the pipes pushed my leg out so only half the width of my boot was on the rubber-insert bear-trap footpeg.

Triumph exhaust

A mid-level exhaust establishes the Triumph’s credibility as a scrambler.

Courtesy of Triumph

Metzeler Tourance tires are fitted to 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels that have handsome black rims and hubs. There’s a bash plate and rubber gaiters as standard, all out of the desert-race dressing-up box. The 2019 Street Scrambler could probably handle the terrain and hardships as well as the first desert racers of the 1960s could, but is any owner going to try? Not many.

bash plate

A bash plate comes standard on the Street Scrambler for off-road duty.

Courtesy of Triumph

Another notable difference is the additional Off-Road riding mode the Scrambler offers. This disables the ABS and traction control and can only be switched on at a standstill, but can be turned off on the fly.

Off-Road mode

ABS and traction control can be switched off for scrambling antics in the dirt with an exclusive Off-Road mode. unfortunately we didn't get to test this function.

Courtesy of Triumph

There are many of the dynamic styling updates the Street Twin was treated to, including the fork and front brake updates, new side panel, graphics, rubber knee pads, metal finishes, and the Scrambler comes with a two-part seat, with new materials. It can be made into a solo saddle, the pillion pad replaced with a stylish alloy rack that comes as standard.

The Scrambler doesn’t feel as buzzy and urgent as the Street Twin, and it delivers the torque lower in the rev range. The spec that Triumph shared looks otherwise identical. The exhaust note of the Scrambler is more noticeable, again, adding a sprinkle of character, and, chasing a pair of them as the sun went down, I’d say the view from the rear of that distinctive high-level exhaust is memorable. It operates with a sweet-natured efficiency. It’s user-friendly in the extreme. It covers ground with aplomb but does little to really excite.

Scrambler torque

The Scrambler delivers torque lower in the rev range than the Street Twin.

Courtesy of Triumph

These two are going to be bought for looks and image alone. I prefer the styling of the Scrambler but liked the slightly more dynamic riding experience the Street Twin serves up. There is next to nothing to fault them on, beyond that most abstract of criteria: character. While prospective buyers might suggest it’s important to them, I don’t think it really is to most. As long as the exterior looks right the character box is ticked.

There is certainly an air of “if it ain’t broke...” about these 2019 updates. They’re not the most extensive of revamps, but Triumph might just have done enough to make choosing the alternatives that little bit harder.

Street Twin and Street Scrambler

The Street Twin and Street Scrambler are better motorcycles for 2019, making them a more attractive choice in their segments.

Courtesy of Triumph

SPECIFICATIONS

2019 Triumph Street Twin

PRICE $9,300 (black), $9,550 (Korosi red, Matt Ironstone)
ENGINE 900cc, liquid-cooled, SOHC, parallel twin, 4 valves/cylinder
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 65 bhp @ 7,500 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 59 lb.-ft. @ 3,800 rpm
FRAME Tubular mild steel, double cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION 41mm cartridge fork, 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Coilover twin shocks w/ adjustable preload, 4.7-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 4-piston caliper, single 310mm disc w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE 2-piston floating caliper, 255mm disc w/ ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 25.1°/4.0 in.
WHEELBASE 55.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 29.9 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.2 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 437 lb. (dry)
AVAILABLE February 2019
CONTACT triumphmotorcycles.com

 

2019 Triumph Street Scrambler

PRICE $11,000 (white), $11,250 (red), $11,500 (two-tone)
ENGINE 900cc, liquid-cooled, SOHC, parallel twin, 4 valves/cylinder
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 64 bhp @ 7,500 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 59 lb.-ft. @ 3,200 rpm
FRAME Tubular mild steel, double cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION 41mm cartridge fork, 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Coilover twin shocks w/ adjustable preload, 4.7-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 4-piston caliper, single 310mm disc w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE 2-piston floating caliper, 255mm disc w/ ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 25.6°/4.3 in.
WHEELBASE 56.9 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 29.9 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.2 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 437 lb. (dry)
AVAILABLE February 2019
CONTACT triumphmotorcycles.com

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