In case you are not aware, classic retro-styled motorbikes are in vogue right now, and very few manufacturers can rival the Triumph when it comes to retro bike-styles. The Hinckley-based motorbike-maker is clearly on to a good thing, and sales of the Bonneville classic line, which features revamped and new models, have increased by 68% over the last one year. And the Bonnie T120 made such a big impression on us that we named it our Motorcycle of the Year for 2016.
The newly launched Street Twin, a lighter, smaller and cheaper version of the legendary Bonneville, recorded the highest increase in sales figures. According to Triumph’s sales data, a substantial proportion of the buyers were new riders. Evidently, there is a ready market for simple, relatively affordable, fun, classically well-designed motorcycles.
The formula clearly works, and in this regard, Triumph has unveiled two more models based on the Street Twin-the trendy Street Scrambler and the zippy Street Cup. Designed in a manner reminiscent of the customized street racing bikes of the 60's London motorbike club scene, the Street Cup is a souped-up, no-frills café racer, but it does not attain the levels of performance of the Thruxton. It is more of a sporty Street Twin, rather than a smaller version of a Thruxton.
Whereas its gas tank, engine covers, wheels and other superficial details resemble those of the Twin, the Street Cup boasts of a distinctive, café racer-themed humped seat, a fly screen coupled with matched scowl, an instrument cluster with dual clocks, sporty foot pegs, hand-painted trim, pinstriped wheels, bar-end mirrors and stylish headlight with forged mounts.
But the differences run deeper. The bike’s chassis has been modified to have a steeper rake, and the effect of this is sharper handling. In addition, the rider is positioned slightly more than one inch higher and a bit more forward. To maintain the 60's vintage look, the bike does not have clip-ons, but instead it is equipped with an 'ace' (or dropped clubman) handlebar that is both comfortable and sporty. The front brake is an improved version of the Nissin two-piston caliper found on the Street Scrambler and Street Twin, pressing down on a single 310-millimeter floating-type disc.
The Street Cup’s 900cc parallel twin engine has a high torque and seems to generate the same levels of power as the Twin which rotates the dyno from Jett Tuning at 6,000 rpm with 52.6 hp. At the rear wheel, the bike has a torque of 56.7 pounds per foot when going at 3200rpm. It has lighter, wider and shorter silencer with a finish that is sleek and satiny black. It is also equipped with a similar ride-by-wire system that has standard ABS, switch-adjustable traction control and fixed Kayaba 41 millimeter fork rear shocks with 4.7-inch allowance. Instead of the practical but unsporty gaiters, the makers have installed plastic fork protectors that accentuate the gleaming chrome stanchions.
I had an opportunity to take the Street Cup for a spin in the breathtaking Spanish countryside around Seville. I took a three-hour tour through picturesque, cobble-paved villages and mile upon mile of flawless but sometimes complicated curves. In spite of the low-positioned clubman handlebar, the bike proved to be adaptable and comfortable.This may, in some way, be due to the fact that the footpegs are located directly below the motorbike’s rider, instead of the forcefully sporty up-and-back arrangement found in the Thruxton.
The bike’s ride-by-wire system has great calibration, which allows for seamless rolling off and on, fly screenand that meant it was easy to adjust on uneven roads (crucial when bouncing over very old cobblestones) and when you take off from a standing position. The bike also powers on smoothly, with most of its (alleged) 59-pound-per-foot torque attained from 2,250 to 4,750 rpm, and its horsepower rising steadily to a maximum of 55(alleged) at around 5,900 rpm. The bike ride was almost too effortless in my opinion, and I found myself yearning for the feisty attitude exhibited by the Scrambler, which is Cup’s sibling.
When hitting the twisties, the Street Cup was a lot of fun. Its steering was precise and it handled my 135-pound body weight well when steering in the deep leans. I did not feel nervous at any time, and it is definitely an improvement over the preceding Bonneville generation, which includes the Thruxton. In spite of the fact that it has a single disc brake, it had sufficient stopping power, even when tackling steep mountain descents. I was also happy that both the clutch levers and the brake are adjustable, something I wish all manufacturers would incorporate in their bikes as standard.
At greater speeds (which happened often during our ride), flyscreen fends off a bit of the wind-blast. But when I tucked in, I was able to minimize the lift on my helmet (a Bell Bullit) to manageable levels. While retro helmets appear cool, they may be impractical at times.
The Street Cup is a good-looking, intelligently-crafted machine with a better finish than earlier Bonnevilles. The heavy chrome and fake carburetors are gone, and in their place has come in contemporary brushed aluminum covers and components. This is the right way for retro to evolve.
Your Street Cup can be spectacular or subtle, which means you can choose between Silver Ice / Racing Yellow accompanied by yellow-colored wheel stripes or Silver Ice/Jet Black together with golden-colored wheel stripes. Both options come with hand-painted lining. Priced at $10, 500, the Street Cup is costlier than the Twin by around $1,800, but it is money well spent if you desire a sportier ride.
Image credit: pistonheads.com