2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review [City and Canyon Tested]

Although retro-style motorcycles are often lumped into a single category—even we’re guilty of doing that here at Ultimate Motorcycling—there is a wide choice of paths to pay homage to the past. Indisputably, the Triumph marque has an inexhaustible retro cache, as the brand has been building motorcycles since 1901. In the spectrum of retro motorcycles, the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 does an impressive job of balancing modern technology with vintage sensibilities.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: For Sale

Before I get in too deep, you should know that the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 is a re-branding of the Street Twin, which enjoyed some minor updates last year. I tested the Street Twin in Portugal in 2019, so it’s time to revisit the updated platform here at home, especially now that it has a snappy new name.

The 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 slots itself as the sportiest offering of the three motorcycles powered by the company’s 899cc High Torque vertical twin—the Scrambler 900 takes care of those interested in off-road styling (and a bit of capability), and the Bonneville T100 has the authentic retro styling of the 1960s. The Speed Twin has a bit of a sporting countenance, with bobbed fenders, a slimmed seat, mag-style aluminum wheels, and upswept mufflers. It is certainly a reasonable modern facsimile of what a 1960s Bonneville owner might have done to the motorcycle to make it just that little bit more competitive against friends, without going full café with uncomfortable clip-ons and a solo seat.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: Price

Despite its name, the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 is a do-it motorcycle that can satisfy many needs. With a neutral seating position, an amicable 30.1-inch seat height, a torquey motor, and a sub-$10k price tag, the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 casts a wide net among customers looking for a versatile mount.

Although it has many strengths, the Speed Twin 900 is all about its motor. The slightly oversquare SOHC powerplant has a wonderfully flat torque curve that hits its peak of 59 ft-lbs at just 3800 rpm. Peak output is a modest 64 horsepower at 7500 rpm. For comparison, the Speed Twin 900 has much more torque than a Yamaha XSR700, but not nearly as much horsepower or overrev. It’s a meaty motor that’s something of a midway point between what you’d expect from an engine powering a cruiser and a sportbike. It’s a sweet mill, but one that will disappoint throttle jockeys—take the “Speed” in the name with a grain of salt.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: MSRP

Unquestionably, the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 thrives in urban environments. The combination of the upright ergonomics, torquey motor, and assist-clutch makes it effortless to ride around town. It’s almost impossible to stall, as it makes plenty of torque right off idle and no surprises as it runs through its rev range, signing off around 7000 rpm. You have a good view of your surroundings, and the 18-inch front wheel helps you deal with potholes and other road obstacles. The narrow tires give the Speed Twin 900 enviable agility around town, even as it’s a bit hefty at 476 pounds with the 3.2-gallon fuel tank filled.

Should your in-town rides take you on the freeway, the Speed Twin holds its own at any reasonable speed. The Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires aren’t put off by rain grooves, and the suspension handles irregularities well enough, though damping adjustments are out of the question. You won’t be shocked by the acceleration of the vertical twin, especially at speed, but there’s still enough power to get you on the freeway smartly and allow you to work with fast-moving traffic once you are there.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: Colors

An essential aspect of the retro vibe when riding around town is the motorcycle’s appearance. Triumph has done an impressive job with the styling of the Speed Twin 900, and it matches the throb imbued by the 270-degree crank. Although liquid-cooled, the radiator is surreptitiously mounted, and the fuel injectors hide behind a pair of anonymous aluminum shields. On the right side, the motor has a convincing pre-unit look, and the shape of the side covers is timelessly groovy—including what looks like custom vents. Twin shocks and a conventional fork with gaiters complete the look. It is a stylish motorcycle that has an effortless cool—there’s a reason Triumph is closely associated with Steve McQueen.

With the Speed Twin 900 name, I would be remiss in not discussing its sporting prowess. The handling is reassuringly neutral, though the 18-inch front wheel severely narrows your choice of tires. You'll most likely be more than satisfied with the stock Pirellis. That’s a good thing, as there’s a lack of competition.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: Specs

Getting through the canyons is about short-shifting and corner speed. Those who like to cut-and-thrust will be disappointed by the Speed Twin 900, and I will point them in the direction of the Speed Triple 765 or Trident 660. Braking is adequate, with just a single 310mm disc in the front. Yes, there’s a four-piston Brembo caliper, albeit traditionally mounted. Still, the 100mm wide tire provides only so much braking grip. The rear can come into play, if you like, thanks to its good feel. ABS is standard and non-adjustable. Traction control can be turned on or off, though we all tended to leave it on for added safety. This isn’t the kind of bike for riding on the ragged edge.

Just as the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 is a pleasurable ride around town, it’s also grin-inducing on rural twisties. It’s all a matter of putting your head in the proper frame of mind and enjoying the experience provided. The abundant torque, easy handing, and wind-relishing upright seating position conspire to provoke a smile, even in riders with the hardest hearts.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: Road Test

The Speed Twin 900 is easy to live with. The motor starts without hesitation and warms up quickly—and we had plenty of cold-start test rides this winter. The round clock is a Bonneville-badged analog-style unit with an LCD inset that is easy enough to read. A single mode button switches between Rain and Sport, while the “i” button above the turn-signal selector scrolls you through all pertinent information. My favorite is range, though that’s not a big issue, as the motor sips just a gallon every 69 miles or so, depending on the behavior of your right wrist. The big round mirrors give a nice view of what’s coming up behind you—useful, as you won’t always be the fastest vehicle on the road.

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Review: Urban sport motorcycle

If you were a fan of the Street Twin, you’ll probably like the Speed Twin 900 name, graphics, and badging even more. We tested the new Matte Silver Ice colorway, and it looks sharp. If you see the Chrome Collection Triumph Speed Twin 900, it will be hard to resist buying one. Due to the inevitable positive attention directed your way, and the occasional question by strangers at gas stops and coffee shops, be sure to dress accordingly. With the $9895 MSRP, superb styling, and impressive finish, you can enjoy the 2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900's friendly performance along with all the “nice bike” accolades.

Photography by Kelly Callan

RIDING STYLE

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: Vertical twin w/ 270-degree firing order
  • Displacement: 899cc
  • Bore x stroke: 84.6 x 80mm
  • Maximum power: 64 horsepower @ 7500 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 59 ft-lbs @ 3800 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 11.0:1
  • Fueling: EFI
  • Valvetrain: SOHC; 8 valves
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Transmission: 5-speed
  • Clutch: Wet multiplate w/ assist function
  • Final drive: O-ring chain

CHASSIS

  • Frame: Tubular steel cradle
  • Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable KYB 41mm cartridge fork; 4.7 inches
  • Rear suspension: Spring-preload adjustable KYB shocks; 4.7 inches
  • Wheels: Cast aluminum
  • Front wheel: 18 x 2.75
  • Rear wheel: 17 x 4.25
  • Tires:
  • Front tire: 100/90 x 18
  • Rear tire: 150/70 x 17
  • Front brake: 310mm disc w/ Brembo 4-piston fixed caliper
  • Rear brake: 255mm disc w/ Nissin 2-piston floating caliper
  • ABS: Standard

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 57.1 inches
  • Rake: 25.1 degrees
  • Trail: 4.0 inches
  • Seat height: 30.1 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 3.2 gallons
  • Estimated fuel consumption: 69 mpg
  • Curb weight: 476 pounds

COLORS

  • Jet Black
  • Matte Ironstone
  • Matte Silver Ice
  • Chrome Edition (+$500)

2023 Triumph Speed Twin 900 Price: MSRP $9895