Dilemma time!

Nice sunny morning yesterday so I decided to take the Speed Triple out. I need to get it booked in for a couple of warranty recall jobs so thought I’d swing by my local friendly Triumph dealer while I was out and get it booked in, plus of course it’s always nice to have a nose around the showroom. I did have a bit of an ulterior motive as I’ve been interested in the Bonneville bikes for a while.

While there I got chatting to one of the salesmen and decided to take a couple of bikes for a test ride (it seemed rude to decline the offer) – A Bonneville T120 and a Speed Twin 900. I took them both down the same route, some local small twisty minor fairly bumpy roads near where I live, of which there are many – just the type of roads that the Speed Triple 1200 RS can’t cope with due to it’s stiff set up.

The T120 was the Gold Line edition – the quality of the bike was excellent and the paint job looked very nice and although it coped okay with this type of road it did feel a bit heavy and ponderous and wasn’t in its element – it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. The Speed Twin 900 on the other hand was something of a revelation and I have to admit to being rather smitten with it! It felt very light and agile and just glided over these bumpy roads – I’ve ridden the Speed Triple down this route and it’s like trying to control a bucking bronco. The ST900 has 64hp so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of performance, but from low down in the rev range I was pleasantly surprised by how well it pulled. I’m sure once you get to about 70mph it would probably quickly run out of puff, but on these kind of local roads you’re unlikely to get above 60-70 on any bike!

So here is my dilemma – I think I want one in my life :slight_smile: That would make three bikes (three Triumphs!) and although I’ve done the man-maths and I think it’s doable, I don’t think it’s sensible. Now normally when it comes to bikes “sensible” is at the bottom of the priority list, but thinking about if I had the Tiger 900, the Speed Triple 1200 and a Speed Twin 900 in the garage I’m struggling to think of a scenario where I would pick the Speed Triple over the Tiger or the Speed Twin. The cost saving of keeping it to two would also buy an awful lot of petrol per year as well.

For longer distances and touring, the Tiger is perfect – comfortable, practical, plenty fast enough, lots of toys and good wind protection. I genuinely enjoy riding it. The second bike is purely for fun local rides and I’m thinking that the Speed Twin would open up more possibilities than the Speed Triple does. I will be 60 years old this year and maybe comfort and convenience have moved higher up my priority list than outright performance, although I still get that tingle of excitement when I open the garage door and see the Speed Triple sat there waiting…

I’m genuinely torn at the moment. On the right day on the right road, the Speed Triple is an awesome machine – but you do need to pick your roads carefully. If I swapped it for the Speed Twin 900 it would mean cash back my way. I also need to add the Speed Twin 1200 into the mix – the dealer should have one on the road as a demo later this week, so I want to try that back to back with the 900 version again.

There are a couple of other options I could consider – I could keep the Speed Triple and go look at the considerably cheaper Royal Enfield Interceptor and BSA Goldstar. Or I could go all in and sell the Speed Triple and spend the extra on the latest iteration of the Norton Commando.

First world problems, don’t you just hate first world problems…… I’ll wait and see how keen my local Triumph dealer is to keep me loyal.


I do like the Speed Twin myself. Never ridden one mind.
I think they make total sense for the majority of rides I do but as you say, when the door opens and you see the Speed Triple waiting the loins are stirred :smiley:
I am also 60 this year but as yet the Triple is still comfy.
Hope you are not too confused after you ride the 1200 Twin!


Blimey that’s 3 of us turning 60 this year…!

Tough decision but I can’t imagine not having a Speed Triple in the garage. I am tempted to test ride the 1200 RR …but that would mean the 1050RS going and I love that bike …!


1st world problem eh!
As @Dawsy said, ive had a hankering for the speed twin too and I’d definitely wait for the ride on the 12 first.
Also, as i like usd forks, id get the slightly newer version with the usd’s if it was me!
Cracking bikes.


Lot of spring chickens in here (I’ll be 63 this year, Deo Volente :joy:)!

I went for the Tiger because of comfort on long trips - it’ll be so much easier to do longer hauls on that.
But my 2005 Speed triple is definitely staying, it’s just too much fun!


Yeah in an ideal world we would all have a HUUUGE garage full of bikes, not have to work and the weather would behave itself (as I am working from home looking at the wind and rain outside :worried:)
Should I risk one as a pick me up? :grinning:


I have owned both the ST900 and the speed twin, 1200, both are capable bikes in their own way.
If you are thinking about moving the speed triple on to buy one of these two I would recommend the speed twin 1200. IMO it is a brilliant bike. The big twin out rides the 900 in spades and will put a smile on your face every time you get on it.
As you say it cannot beat the performance of the triple, but it does pull like a train and goes much better than the 900.
Of course test rides are the only way to assist making your decision.


All you young whippersnappers complaining about being old… I’m 74 now (but still only 24 when I’m actually riding), and I bought a new Street Twin in 2019, now renamed the Speed Twin 900 but still the same bike. The low seat height makes it easy to paddle around (I have to back it down a slope when getting it out of the garage, and my old Yamaha TDM was getting a bit too heavy). The HT (High Torque) engine is indeed very torquey, ideal for the roads I ride on, and the handling is accurate and effortless. It’s best to bin the OSM Pirelli tyres and replace them with something better - Conti Road Attack 3s in my case. The single disc 4-pot Brembo front brake is amply powerful. The front suspension was one of the 2019 upgrades (together with the engine power and the front brake), but the rear shocks are a bit budget for the current potholed roads, and I am about to replace mine with something a bit classier. The standard exhausts make a lovely noise, and I like the feel of a twin cylinder engine. The cast wheels allow for tubeless tyres, which is a big advantage. The Carlisle Triumph dealers gave me a good test ride on one and I was smitten enough to buy one, so I can certainly recommend them.


Other things I really liked about the Speed Twin 900.

It’s simplicity, it has two modes - Road and Rain. That’s it. In reality of course it doesn’t actually need any ‘modes’

The noise. It does make a lovely noise - I’ll really miss this aspect when everything is electric but thankfully that will probably be after my time is done.

It only has one gauge. A central analogue speedometer with a small lcd display. You can scroll to a digital rev counter, but you don’t need one on this type of bike. You can just feel when it’s time to change gear. The engine doesn’t thrive on revs, it’s all about the torque.

It still has that quality feel. Despite being cheap (for a Triumph) it’s still a classy bike that doesn’t feel cheap in any way and it’s also great looking.

It is like stepping back in time compared to the huge complexity of my current bikes, but I guess that’s the whole point of it.


I still regret the phasing out of carburettors…

Edit: Although I do remember a character-forming occasion when the throttle valve froze open on my Norton Dominator. I had to pull the plug leads off to stop it (ouch).

Problems and problems! Been there did the thinking through, combined all three types into one which took a year to work out inc practical/ fun/ touring/ looks, exitement and what my heart wanted but it wasn’t a Triumph anymore but a R9T classic!

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As you go through your sixties I think a lot of us need to reassess our biking needs and go for something lighter. This usually means less power and we automatically think that means slow and boring. But in fact, that’s not the case. Less power yes, but less weight too so the power to weight ratio doesn’t alter that much and lighter bikes are easier to flip in and out of bends and far easier to man handle. You are also less likely to drop them. I get just as much thrill out of my 700 Tracer as I need. For it’s 73 bhp and 50 nm torque it’s plenty fast enough for me. My Z900rs at 115 bhp is far more than I need and I’ve only done less than 2k miles in 2 1/2 years.


I am rather fond of my 900 bonnie, I chose the lighter one too. It suits the stile of bike better. Another one I really liked was the scrambler 900. It was a brilliant bike! I had the 1200 scrambler and hated it! Worst bike ever, truly horrible abortion of a thing. But then I also had the 1200 thruxton and it was sublime! I miss it. Weird but the style of bike seems to go hand in hand with the engine. The t100 I currently have is good because its the only bike I’ve owned where I’m not wanting to go fast all the time. Though its still a hoot trying to keep the momentum up on twisty roads, really good fun :grinning:


Erm… I don’t think I managed that… :laughing:

Ever thought of dumping a few hundred quid in the hands of a suspension specialist instead?

(54 btw)


Transformed my Street Triple from brilliant bike to perfect (for me).


I will be off to RaceHQ one of these days with my MV.


I bought my GSXR750 track bike after passing 60 last November
I’m obviously not one of the ‘lot’ as it’s heavier than the Street Triple :grin:


You and me both mate! :joy:

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Just a kid.