The best things may come in threes, but there’s usually a personal favorite among them. This is certainly my case with the third edition to Triumph’s Street Twin family—the Street Cup.Its brethren—the base retro Street Twin and dirt-styled Street Scrambler—are cool in their own ways. However, when it comes to classic Bonneville styling with modern café racer flair, the Street Cup takes the limelight. It’s like the jacket in a three-piece suit; the pants and vest simply complement. The Street Twin and Street Scrambler attract, but Triumph has done more than simply excel in the styling details of the Street Cup.
One look at what Triumph coins as an Urban Sports Bonneville and the soul pivots to a love affair with cafe racer lifestyle. Immediately recognizable from the two-tone paint with hand-painted coach lining on the tank—either Racing Yellow/Silver Ice or Jet Black/Silver Ice—the Street Cup’s lines flow smoothly from flyscreen to Ace handlebars to bullet seat to rear cowl.This story is from our latest digital magazine found at the Ultimate Motorcycling App, available for free on iOS or Android devices.A few Spaniards also gave confirmed the positive vibes during tank refills. One took a few pictures with his phone, saying something in Spanish that I didn’t understand—I need to polish up on my Spanish. I didn’t need to hear words, though; his jovial expressions told the story, and I’m sure similar sentiments will surface here in the states.There’s also the comfort factor. This type of café-style appearance is usually associated with a harsh ride, the type of motorcycle you gloat to own but hate to ride more than a few miles. This is not the case with the Street Cup, something I realized within the first few hundred feet of riding during the bike in Seville, Spain. The Street Cup offers daylong comfort in the saddle for both urban and b-road situations, and a rider’s only excuse to stop throttling ahead is their own.The rider triangle was spot on for my nearly 6-foot frame, and the slick-looking bars—by far my favorite feature of the Street Cup—may look aggressive, but they are far from it. The reach brought me back to the more relaxed sportbikes of the 1990s, such as the Honda VFR800 and Suzuki TL1000.Another attribute to the comfort was the use of standard riding pegs over rearward rear-sets. When I got lazy with body positioning, there were a few times the pegs ground out, but it’s worth it considering the comfort you get in town. Other café racer advocates may disagree, but Triumph has the solution with a different set of riding pegs from its generous accessories catalog.The Street Cup’s seat height is 30.7 inches, which is up 1.2 inches over the Street Twin. Yet, due to the narrowness of the Bullet seat, reaching the ground flat foot for shorter riders should be as easy as the Street Twin. The seat is also covered with a plush Alcantara fabric material (polyester/polyurethane blend), which provided all-day comfort.The seat has the right amount of cushion—not too hard, not too soft—and allows for easy movement during those longer stretches when things start going numb, such as my hip due to a rod in the femur.With that comfort and less than 60 horsepower and a single-front disc, initial emotions for riding bliss bordered on boredom. Regardless, an area where Triumph excels is unity and compatibility; every component complements each other to create one hell of fun ride, whether traversing town or carving canyons–all while keeping onlookers envious due to timeless cafe racer styling. Yes, it’s based on the Street Twin platform, but I see this as a more approachable and affordable Thruxton.Transplanted from the Street Twin, the Street Cup’s High-Torque 900cc with its Bonneville-famous 270-degree firing order continues to produce 54 horsepower at 5900 rpm and 59 ft/lbs of torque at 3200 rpm. Though horsepower numbers are low for the 441-pound (claimed dry weight) Street Cup, the engine’s re-tune is a vast improvement over the Street Twin. From ripping through the countryside to easing through town, power is there as needed.For the intended urban rider, the engine allows short shifting into a gear higher, and remaining there and letting the right hand modulate speeds. Third gear was a sweet spot while roaming some cobblestone streets around Seville, even when I had to chug below 1000 rpm.The improved powerband is more noticeable when slamming gears through back roads, which is my typical riding style—I’m a lover of high revs, constant shifting, and loading front suspension. The Street Cup is more satisfied in one gear, which was fourth through the twisties outside of La Palma del Condado, home to the Circuito Monteblanco F1-qualified test track.Due to the engine character and suspension setup, you simply keep it smooth and let the tires work—in this case the Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires, which were designed specially for the bike. These tires—100/90 x 18 front; 150/70 x 17 rear—remained sticky throughout the day, and took little time to warm up, something noticed during a photoshoot while switching between bikes with cold and warm tires.The Street Cup is relaxing to ride above usual pace. My typical hanging-off style virtually disappeared, and I just let the tires/suspension/engine work in unison with simple, and most times minimal, rider input. The riding became super relaxing, and surprisingly fast.Speaking of minimalism, I thought there’d be a need for a sixth gear. Five speeds and 2017 don’t correlate. In practice, there was never a need for sixth. Even at triple-digit speeds on some straightaway runs, I never felt the need to find another gear; the engines torque and high gearing of fifth will satisfy the intended rider for the Street Cup.Lever feel at the clutch is also extremely light due to the torque-assist clutch, which uses engine torque to keep the plates together during acceleration, allowing for lighter clutch springs and a resulting lighter touch at the lever. All day I used my usual two fingers on the clutch and never had an issue.Safety is enhanced on the Street Cup through the use of traction control and ABS, but available in only one setting, and only the TC can be turned off. Happily, the TC and ABS worked with rare examples of intervention.I shut the TC off a few times to try getting the rear to slide around a bit, but the Pirellis were so sticky they wouldn’t allow it. I was able to pop the clutch and burn out over raised parts of the road that are put in place to slow people down. When I tried the same with TC, the intervention was more noticeable, but not many people will perform such test-related stunts.The TC worked great on some frosty sections of the roads high in the Spanish mountains, and never allowed me to get loose. The ABS also provided minimal intervention, even when experimenting with emergency stops fro 85mph and grabbing hand full of brakes (more on brakes in a bit). For this type of urban bike, there’s no need to shut it off.For around town, the 310mm front disc and 255mm disc out back—both squeezed by two-piston Nissin calipers (thought not the same units)—provided enough stopping power for most typical situation. This stopping power is also aided by the ABS.At quicker paces, though, the brakes need aggressive use, and you’ll want to rely on serious rear brake for emergency stops. The feel at the lever gets squishy under heavy brake loads, something a dual-disc up front would surely cure.As mentioned, the Street Cup is a motorcycle that responds well to minimal input at speed. The frame and suspension are the same as the Street Twin, but the KYB 41mm forks and KYB twin shocks are sprung a bit heavier for sharper handling. There’s an obvious change compared to the standard Street Twin, though a bit more stiffness up front would be welcomed in the twisties.The Street Cup retains 4.7 inches of travel at both ends, and not once was there a fear of bottoming out under heavy braking or on bumpier roads in town. The only adjustment is spring-preload on the shocks.The agility and quick turning at pace is the most noticeable difference over the Street Twin. To achieve this, Triumph raised the rear by lengthening the shocks 8mm, which steepens the steering-head angle, bringing in the rake to 24.3 degrees, compared to 25.1 degrees on the Street Twin.Triumph does realize that some riders will want more from the suspension. This is why Triumph partnered with Fox to build some high-performance suspension with additional adjustments.The 2017 Triumph Street Cup is the factotum of factory cafe racers—it looks super cool, from the color-matched flyscreen, tank and seat cowl to the bar-end mirrors, and you can ride it as long or as far as you like, regardless of the road type.Riding Style:
This week Teejay chats to Tyler Poppe. Tyler works on the TV show Mayans MC–and yet he doesn’t ride an American V-Twin. Wassup with that?? Also, Arthur finds out from friend Mike Cardillo about his thoughts on the full-size version of the Kawasaki KLX 140R F trail bike.