2017 Triumph Street Cup
Triumph is not shy when it comes to talking about where its interest lies right now: the Bonneville family. After all, this was the lineup that grew by 61% last year, and was so popular that Triumph had to actually raise production just to meet demand. It’s no surprise then to see the lineup continue to grow, this time around with the addition of the previously teased, cafe racer-inspired Street Cup.
Spend ten minutes on the internet and you’ll know why Triumph decided to add the Street Cup to the lineup. Cafe racers are (still) cool, with custom bike builders and every-day garage junkies building their idea of the perfect cafe racer on what seems like a daily basis.
For the Street Cup, Triumph has used the same fuel tank as the Street Twin, but swapped the seat out for a bullet seat and new seat cowl. Dropped “Ace” style bars are used, and longer shocks are used. All this changes the stance of the Street Cup, and has you seated higher and further back, with the handlebar actually positioned lower and further forward. Comfortable on longer rides? We’ll see. Cool? If you like the cafe racer styling and stance. Absolutely
Triumph says that the inspiration for the Street Cup came from the club racers of the 1960s, when riders would rock up to the track on the bikes they’d ride to work with during the week. Let’s be clear though, this is no mini Thruxton. While Triumph’s range topping retro is a sporty goer, as well as a looker, the smaller bike provides a much more neutral ride – and that’s no bad thing.
When Triumph launched the Street Twin, they also launched a whole host of accessories and special parts to allow customers to turn their bikes into café racers. With a host of subtle but important chassis modifications, the Street Cup takes things a stage further, changing the riding experience in a way that accessories alone can never achieve.
While the two bikes share the same front forks, the Cup has a slightly higher spec brake set-up, with a floating disc mated to the sliding two piston calipers. At the rear, the shocks are longer and designed especially for the Street Cup which, combined with a more steeply angled seat, cool ace bars and Thruxton style foot pegs, leads to a sportier riding position and a more forward biased weight distribution.
Personally, I found the set-up more comfortable than that of the base Street Twin, particularly at speed. While one of my lasting memories of my time with the Twin was of massive neck pain from the wind blast, a combination of the lower bars and small fly screen meant that it was never really a problem with the Cup. At 780mm, the seat height is a little higher than that of the Street Twin, but with a really narrow waistline all but the shortest riders will be able to flat foot the Cup.
In the engine department, we’ve got the same 54bhp high torque engine as not only the Street Twin and Street Scrambler, but also the Bonneville T100. Everything we’ve said before about that engine remains true. It’s a brilliantly torquey (80Nm) motor that’s a cinch to ride. There are no rider modes, none are needed, but it does come with standard traction control. The clutch is super light and the gearbox, although only sporting five speeds, is sweet and precise.
It’s the look that makes the Street Cup stand out, with high end two-tone paint, hand painted pinstripes and bar end mirrors that look cool, but which perhaps don’t provide the best rear visibility. It’s also good to see yellow as a colour option, as it’s so strongly associated with sporty Triumphs from the modern era and looks great on the new model. We rode the black version which, although classy, is far more subtle and looks far better in the metal than it does in the photos.
Detailing is lovely. In addition to the bar mounted mirrors, there’s a premium Alcantra-esque saddle with detachable rear cowl, twin clocks from the Thruxton and new shorter silencers which sound good and are said to contribute to the more forward-biased weight distribution.
Despite the sporty look, there’s a good chance that many of these are going to spend their lives as cool commuter bikes and as Sunday afternoon toys for relatively new riders. That’s no bad thing, and to this end the Street Cup delivers an engaging yet unintimidating ride. The steering is precise, if a little heavy at slow speeds, but the overall feel is neutral and easy going. It’s no sportsbike, but there’s more ground clearance and slightly sharper handling than on the Street Twin. Pirelli Phantom SportsComp tyres are standard fitment and developed by the Italian manufacturer especially for the classic Triumph range.
If I was to have one criticism of the Street Twin, then I did feel that the single front brake arrangement was a little lacking in power. The stoppers are not dreadful by any stretch of the imagination but, as well as the extra stopping power, a twin disc set-up would certainly add to street cred.
It’s not for everyone, but Triumph set out to build a cool looking bike that was easy to ride and with a broad appeal. To that end, they’ve done a great job and provided another flavour to their already extensive menu of classically styled bikes.
Overall, I was very impressed by the Triumph Street Cup. The British manufacturer is all about giving its customers choice these days. At £8600, it’s priced between the cheaper Bonneville T100 and the £300 dearer Street Scrambler. Personally, my money would be going towards the more classically styled T100, but at the end of the day you pay your money and you take your choice. Whichever flavour you prefer, it seems you can’t go wrong with a classic Triumph these days.