The Triumph Speed Twin leaped onto the scene a couple of years ago as the British marque’s roadster with an edge, filling an all-important role between the congenial Bonneville T120 and brash Thruxton motorcycles. And that’s about the rub of it: The Speed Twin offers the comfort of a classic standard bike with the zippiness of sporty café machines.Three short years after its release, the 2022 Triumph Speed Twin is coming in hot with a host of updates that have an eye on performance. What do we get in 2022? Well, more power, a beefier fork, top-shelf brakes, tweaked electronics, and a few aesthetic changes kick things up a notch for the ST.
With sunny Southern California as our backdrop, we put the 2022 Speed Twin through its paces in urban and wide-open backroads alike to hit you with the Fast Facts.
The 1200cc liquid-cooled High Power vertical-twin engine is a pure delight. Triumph’s percolating parallel-twin is as charming as the day is long thanks to its impressive tractability and inviting ever-present torque. The ST’s mill plays it cool in the city, happily humming along at low speeds with ample bottom-end helping you scoot around confidently. Once out in the backcountry, this engine’s go-getter mentality pulls it to the redline, spooling up with a new sense of urgency as you dart from apex to apex.
More refinements come to the 1200cc HP powerplant. Hinkley engineers dove into the engine, reducing inertia by 17 percent on its new lightweight 270-degree crankshaft and alternator. The result is an engine that adds revs quicker than previous iterations and achieves a 500 rpm higher redline. Also helping the performance cause are new high-compression pistons, revised porting, and a new cam profile. Of course, all that new hardware and a fresh tune shifted the powerband. Its claimed 99 horsepower is reached 500 rpm higher at 6750 rpm, while we lose one ft-lb of peak torque, but it’s achieved 700 rpm earlier at 4250 rpm.
Well-spaced gearbox ratios and an assist-and-slipper clutch keep the effort at a minimum. Torque to spare and perfectly distributed gearbox ratios make settling into a nice rhythm out in the canyons a breeze. Toss in a nice assist-and-slipper clutch, and the whole shifting affair is as drama-free as can be. The only thing that would sweeten the deal is an up/down quickshifter; while that doesn’t fit the vintage motif, the spunky Speed Twin is begging for it.
Euro 5 compliance doesn’t spoil the exhaust’s fun. Visually, the upswept megaphones feature a new brushed stainless-steel finish and still belt out the same alluring exhaust note while achieving greater soot-scrubbing capabilities.
Sport, Road, and Rain riding modes make all the difference. Triumph keeps things simple by tying the throttle map and traction control settings to your respective riding mode. Sport is the most aggressive of the bunch, providing a map best suited for spirited riding with solid whacks of the throttle. It can be snatchy at lower rpm, but isn’t too egregious. Road settles things down to a gentle manner, while Rain is as demure as you might assume. In any case, neither TC (which can be disabled) nor ABS interfered prematurely.
A quick word on other electronic amenities. Although the Speed Twin isn’t positioned to chow down miles, its engine and ergos surely are capable of it. That makes the absence of cruise control on a ride-by-wire equipped bike at this price point—even as an accessory—a minor gripe. Alas, we survived without CC; we can probably survive a little longer. Fortunately, heated grips are on the dealer accessory list.
Comfy ergonomics don’t get in the way of a good time. This whippy roadster strikes a good balance between all-day comfort and getting low in the corners. The Speed Twin’s ergos blend the T120’s upright riding position with the athletic rearsets of the café-style Thruxton. Wide backswept handlebars prop you up on a 31.8-inch-high bench seat that seems much lower than what the specs dictate. Triumph didn’t want to make things as cramped as the Thruxton and kicked the rearsets 1.5-inches forward and down a hair to increase legroom, although there’s still some knee-bend that leggier will need to test out.
New chassis bits did change the geometry for the better. The refreshed Speed Twin is a little more poised these days, and luckily, tightening up the rake, trail, and wheelbase hasn’t sapped its stable nature. It is compliant as can be, taking little effort to crank over onto the edge of the tire, egging you to give the sportbike boys a run for their money. The fun yet approachable engine power marries well to a chassis that’s composed whether you’re hard on the brakes or gas, making it quite the hoot in the twist bits.
Chassis upgrades are a marked improvement. Part of the 2022 Triumph Speed Twin update is a much sturdier non-adjustable 43mm Marzocchi USD fork that kicks up the front-end feel and provides more confidence in the front end while pushing it through the canyon corners. The same spring-preload adjustable dual shocks return and do well in most situations, though rough or undulating tarmac will overwork them at pace. It isn’t worrisome, but they aren’t quite up to snuff with the stout fork. Here’s to hoping that we get hand-me-down Öhlins RSUs from the Thruxton RS.
Lightweight 17-inch, 12-spoke, cast-aluminum wheels are shod with sporty Metzeler Racetec K3 rubber. These Metzelers provide loads of grip and confidence in the corners. That’s the exact OEM tire aboard the 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, so you’d better believe that they’re designed with canyon and track ripping in mind. Of course, with common 120/70 and 160/60 tire sizes, you’ll have plenty of mileage-conscious options to choose from, should you go that route.
Brembo M50 calipers bring the stopping power. Running a USD fork allowed Triumph to toss on some nice radially mounted calipers. Lucky for us, they come in the form of powerful Brembo M50 four-piston calipers that clamp onto 320mm rotors. Yesterday’s superbike brakes will hustle the ST to a halt in a flash with tons of feel at the adjustable lever. In the rear, a two-piston Nissin caliper and 220mm disc are great for low-speed handling or correcting lines.
Designers keep the ST looking sharp as a tack. Taking a good hard look at the Triumph catalog, and you won’t find a machine in it that isn’t built with eye-catching aesthetics. Beyond the engine and chassis improvements, the Speed Twin boasts new LED lighting all-around with an anodized headlight mount, spiffed-up tank graphics, aluminum badging, and help keep Triumph as the leading purveyor of classic style.
A bevy of changes adds up to a better 2022 Triumph Speed Twin. On paper, the ’22 ST’s changes are broad and improve various aspects of the machine while only increasing the MSRP by $300. These days, the modern-classic roadster is sporting a thoroughly modern sportbike front-end propelled by a soulful and bubbly powerplant that amounts to a wickedly fun riding experience. The latest Speed Twin is another fine example of modern tech and classic style from the British brand.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends, the weekly podcast brought to you by Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Motos and Friends is brought to you by Yamaha. You can check out the amazing YZF-R7 at your local Yamaha dealer, or of course at YamahaMotorsports.com. The YZF-R7 is an amazing supersport machine that is comfortable too!
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams takes the smallest BMW ADV bike on an urban adventure in Los Angeles. The BMW G 310 GS is a full size motorcycle with a modest engine, so of course we wonder if it is a little too underpowered and might struggle. Don put it through its paces and gives us his take.
In the second segment, Neale Bayly and Kiran Ridley have returned from the Ukraine to Paris where Kiran is based.
Kiran is an award winning photojournalist, and as an accomplished documentarian, he has covered stories as diverse as drug smuggling around the Mexican border, to the devastation of the Australian Bush Fires, to the tragedy of the Mediterranean migration crisis. Neale and Kiran reminisce about their motorcycle adventure in the Ukraine, and their observations and experiences with the incredibly resilient people of Ukraine, who have been put through such brutal hardship.