2016 Triumph Street Twin – The original cool retro bike gets better with a host of new-aged tech.
As it was, the Triumph Bonneville had little to no faults as far as any motorcycling fan was concerned. It looked cool without trying too hard whilst being a bike that almost anyone can hop on and ride away and look cool with easily. Crucially, it was THE bike that started the whole retro bike craze.
However, with ever-tightening emission laws taking effect, Triumph had no choice but to undertake the daunting task of bringing this much-loved and iconic classic up to date. This wasn’t a walk in the park, and the ‘new’ Bonneville had some pretty big shoes to fill as well.
But, as it went, Triumph received nothing short of overwhelmingly positive responses when it unveiled the new Bonneville range late last year, and that echoed right up until it was introduced locally not too long ago. So when exclusive Malaysian importer and distributors Fast Bikes Sdn Bhd offered us with the new 2016 Triumph Street Twin for testing, we just had to find out first hand to what Triumph did with its beloved icon.
By now, you ought to know that the 2016 Triumph Street Twin stands as the entry level or ‘baby’ model in the new Bonneville range. Having spent an entire weekend with it recently, we can honestly say that THIS IS THE HIP RETRO BIKE YOU’RE LOOKING FOR. Period.
On the surface, it is easy to see that House Hinckley has stayed true to the Bonneville’s original identity by keeping the classic looks alive with its reborn icon. No matter where we rode it, the Street Twin never fails to garner plenty of admiring smiles and glances, especially in some of the city’s most hip and upscale areas.
But, study the bike’s finer details and you’ll start to appreciate how Triumph have modernised this classic brilliantly without ruining it. For starters, there’s the full LED taillight and the alloy wheels, not forgetting that digital multi-info display that’s cleverly blended into a retro-styled single dial housing. And just in case you were wondering, there’s even a USB charging port under the seat too.
Adding to the Street Twin’s naturally cool looks further is the optional Brat Tracker Inspiration Kit outfitted on our test unit. Notable highlights here include the ribbed bench seat that was more comfortable than it looked, the blacked-out handle grips, the Scrambler-like brush aluminium sump guard, as well as the compact LED signal lights front and aft amongst others.
Looks aside, the Street Twin’s biggest trump card in its list of new-aged things – and for all its siblings too – is its new liquid-cooled twin-cylinder heart. All new Bonnevilles benefit with this as it replaces the previous model’s air-cooled iteration, allowing it to meet strict Euro 4 emission standards whilst offering improved performance and efficiency at the same time.
In the Street Twin’s case, you get Triumph’s new 900cc ‘High Torque’ unit that delivers 54hp at 5,900rpm and 80Nm of torque at 3,230rpm. All that is sent to the rear using a five-speed transmission primed with a wet multi-plate assist clutch and chain-drive setup as well.
With the Street Twin, setting land speed records isn’t in its forte. However, the adoption of liquid cooling has indeed granted this classic bike with performances mirroring any rivalling modern middleweight, not to mention a sweet new engine note too. Moreover, it is easy to master thanks to its light clutch lever pull plus the transmission’s silky smooth shift action.
With the Brat Tracker Kit, you also get to enhance the powertrain’s soundtrack further with a pair of twin Vance & Hines slip-on silencers. This option alone made the entire Brat Tracker kit worthy of its RM8,528.56 premium on top of the Street Twin’s basic asking price – more on this later.
In the ride and handling department, the Street Twin again felt really sweet here. Though the tubular steel cradle frame and accompanying tubular steel twin-sided swingarm assembly are somewhat ‘traditional’ so to speak, the Street Twin only tips the scale at 198kg dry – 11kg less than its predecessor in fact.
You still won’t be scraping knee sliders, but there’s plenty natural agility and nimbleness that will put any rivalling modern middleweight to shame really. Furthermore, the Street Twin’s seemingly compact dimensions made it a cinch to wiggle and manoeuvre about as well, especially in the concrete jungle and the mad traffic conditions that usually comes with it.
What deserved high praises here too were the Street Twin’s Kayaba-sourced suspension as it granted it with a very sublime and plush ride. Much of this comes from the high amounts of travel offered by the 41mm front forks and twin rear shocks with pre-load adjustability.
Again, don’t let looks fool you into thinking that single-disc anchors aren’t enough in slowing or halting this eager Brit on its toes. In fact, the twin-piston calipers grabbing the 310mm front disc and 255mm rear disc are easy to modulate at the lever – even for newbies! – whilst the standard-equipped ABS suite simply adds to that ease of control as well.
On that note, it is also worth pointing out that the other vastly improved area of the new Bonneville lies in its array of new electronics. Besides ABS, you’d be glad to know that the Street Twin also benefits with Traction Control and Ride-By-Wire throttle control as standard features too. Surprisingly, they didn’t feel too intrusive and, more importantly, not too ‘artificial’ either.
Perhaps the only areas where the 2016 Triumph Street Twin lacks are perhaps day-to-day practicality from the absence of storage spaces, and the limited touring ability resulting form the absence of a sixth gear.
You could remedy the former by perhaps adding a custom leather side-bag or a a soft bags set. Just don’t ruin things with a top-box – get a scooter if you’re seriously going to do that!
But as for the latter, it really isn’t a deal breaker thanks largely to the Street Twin’s compact and lightweight agility being perfectly suited for the urban condition.
It really is a beautiful urban machine that you could commute daily with, and one that would make you the King of Cool wherever you arrive, be it hipster cafés, the mall or even your office.
Of course, no one ever said that ‘cool’ was cheap. At RM55,900 (with 6% GST) sans insurance, road tax, registration costs, and those tasty Brat Tracker options, we’ll agree that the 2016 Street Twin is one expensive investment, especially considering the amount cheaper alternatives available at said price, not forgetting the new kid on the retro block that is the Scrambler Ducati.
However, said rivals don’t possess what the Street Twin, or any of its siblings for that matter, have, which is that unrivalled level of cool it owns as an icon. If you’re into all things hip, cool and retro, then this iconic British machine should be one of the things parked in your driveway.
Check out more images of the 2016 Triumph Street Twin in the gallery we’ve prepared below. Also, stay tuned as we’ll bring you our impressions of the Street Twin’s larger sibling, the 2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black, very soon.
2016 Triumph Street Twin – Specifications
|Liquid-cooled, 8-valve SOHC
parallel-twin with fuel injection
and Ride-By-Wire throttle
|5-speed manual with
wet multi-plate assist clutch
+ chain drive
|54hp @ 5,900rpm
|80Nm @ 3,230rpm
|Tubular steel cradle
with tubular steel swingarms
Kayaba 41mm forks
|WHEELS + TYRES
310mm single- disc with
Nissin dual-piston floating caliper
|3.7 l/100 km (claimed)
|RM55,900 (with 6% GST) excluding insurance, road tax, registration costs and options
Brat Tacker (as featured)
|Fast Bikes Sdn Bhd
(Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia)
2016 Triumph Street Twin test-ride