Triumph Bonneville Street Twin 900HT

The Street Twin is the base model in Triumph’s Modern Classic range. It also caters to an emerging genre of modern motorcyclist. Market research has revealed a niche for motorcycles with soul, that are simple to operate and ideal for playing in an extended urban environment. Bikes that bring the fun back into motorcycling. The Street Twin is such a bike.

The Bonnie has classic Triumph looks. Teardrop tank, waspish waist, sculpted seat. The vertical parallel twin, 900cc, twin balance shaft engine is painted black apart from the silver accent polished on the cooling fins. The motor has a 270-degree crank, ride by wire fuel injection and a five-speed gearbox. A subtle 900HT logo is apparent at the base of the barrels. This hints at a unique engine design.

The “HT” refers to high torque, 80Nm at 3,200rpm to be exact. Horsepower is only 55PS (40.5kW) at a lowly 5,900rpm. These figures translate into a wonderfully usable spread of thrust. The rich vein of torque available at low revs makes this an awesomely relaxing bike to ride. You never and I mean literally never, have to rev the hell out of this bike. From the moment the clutch is out the torquey motor simply punts you down the road. This is accompanied by a lovely baritone burble that is really music to the ear of any petrol head. The torque allows you to almost change up to get a hurry up. Short shift the solid and slick 5 speed box and latch onto the surging wave of thrust. Really pleasant.

The test bike was painted “Cranberry Red”. In truth, only the tank, adorned with the paint on Triumph logo, is red. There is a red pinstripe on the satin black mag wheels. The rest of the bike is shades of black. The exhaust and fuel injection covers are brushed stainless steel. Said exhausts have gracefully curved headers feeding into mildly upswept, reverse cone capped mufflers. The Street Twin is a handsome motorcycle. Mudguards, both back and front are painted black and are tidy, almost “bobbed”.

Gorgeous “Cranberry Red” fuel tank! #triumphstreettwin #zabikers

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What I have not yet mentioned, and it is probably because it is not really apparent, is the Street’s engine is liquid cooled. Nestled between the down tubes of the steel tubular frame is a small, almost petite radiator. The hoses are so subtly routed that you would be forgiven for thinking it is an oversize oil cooler. Neat.

Incredibly tidy radiator. #triumphstreettwin #zabikers

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The suspension is by Kayaba. 41mm front forks sport 120mm of travel, the same as the Twin preload adjustable rear shocks. The suspension copes admirably with road irregularities, giving a decent ride quality. As with most bikes with limited suspension damping adjustments, flaws only become apparent at higher speeds when you start pushing on through the corners and curves. The wide majority of riders will be perfectly happy with the suspension. The discerning few, who ask more of the bikes handling, will no doubt be satisfied by aftermarket suspension options.

The suspension is by Kayaba. 41mm front forks sport 120mm of travel. #triumphstreettwin #zabikers

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Speaking of aftermarket options, Triumph themselves offer a range of around 150 accessories with which to customise your Bonnie. This is part of the allure of the Modern Classic range. Very few bikes remain the way the factory built them. A cottage industry has sprung up building bits and bobs for these bikes. The bike you buy is simply a blank canvas on which to create your own masterpiece.

Wheel sizes are 100/90/18 front and 150/70/17 rear. The handsome mags are shod with tyres that are a re-creation of the MT28 Pirelli Phantom of the early 1980’s. Obviously compound is modern, but the pattern brings back sweet memories to those who have been around bikes for a while. Braking is sorted by twinpot Nissin calipers biting on a single 310mm front disc and a 255mm rear. The brake power and feel, coupled to ABS, does a sound job of bringing the bike to a swift controlled stop. Other features are what Triumph call a “slip-assist” clutch. This results in a light and linear clutch action.

The single instrument nacelle provides all the info you need to know. Gear indicator, fuel gauge, current average consumption, distance to empty, clock and traction control setting. Why a bike with this user friendly power delivery needs traction control, I would not know. The Street Twin has absolutely flawless fuelling, which adds to the enjoyable riding experience. The seat is a mere 750mm from the ground, so even shorter riders can be flatfooted at standstill. A wet weight of just over 200kg’s make’s the bike easy to manage, ideal for less confident or lady riders.

Running costs are also kept low by frugal fuel consumption (around 20km/L) and 16,000km service intervals. At just over 12L, the tank is a bit on the small side, however at touring speed, consumption would probably easily allow a 250km range.

So what do you get when you invest in a Street Twin? You get a really competent motorcycle that has that indefinable “cool” factor. A bike to express yourself. Instant entry to the next “distinguished gentleman’s ride”, and a bike that will reward with its versatility, ride quality, lovely motor and user friendly nature. If you find these qualities appealing then the Triumph Street Twin deserves serious consideration.

My name is Dave Cilliers. I consider cars as four wheeled shopping baskets and only worth using as a last resort! For years bikes have been my primary transport. Racing, touring, commuting or just kicking up dust on African tracks, I have owned over 270 motorcycles and ridden millions of kilometres. I am happiest when sharing my passion for motorcycles with like minded people whilst traversing Africa in search of adventure.