Best Standard Motorcycle of the Year Winner: Triumph Street Twin

Best Standard Motorcycle Triumph Street Twin

When we learned that Triumph had revamped the engines in its Bonneville line, we had high hopes for what modern power would bring. However, we had no idea how substantial the result would be. Take the Triumph Street Twin, utilizing the smaller of the two engine sizes created in Hinckley, the Street could be looked at as Triumph’s entry-level bike. Although it is, that would be missing the point by a mile down your favorite winding road.

2016 Triumph Street Twin First Ride Review

Put head-to-head against the other new middleweight roadsters in our Retro Roadster Gaiternational Shootout, the Triumph decimated the competition, winning by a 10-point margin on our 100-point scale. Although Triumph’s latest engine is 35cc larger and liquid-cooled, the Street Twin’s bottom-end power is emphasized instead of the outright peak. The engine, relying on ample torque and buttery-smooth EFI tuning on the bottom end, is sure to appeal to new riders who are earning their riding chops. The slip/assist clutch also offers lower clutch effort to make launching the Street easier for newbies and smaller-handed riders alike. The Street Twin also impressed our testers with fit and finish on par with more expensive motorcycles.

Appealing to new riders is good, but saddling the Street Twin with the beginner-bike label would be grossly inaccurate. The Street wins the 2016 Best Standard Motorcycle award for being a phenomenally well-rounded motorcycle. In our shootout, it won all 11 subjective categories from engine, suspension, and brake performance to cool factor and desirability. The Street Twin is not only a great bike for novices, but also delivers top-shelf entertainment and performance for experts, as well.

Add in current technology like ABS, ride modes, and TC, and the Street Twin fills all the check marks for a modern motorcycle. The best part is that Triumph managed to cram all this performance and technology into a bike that carries the same historic profile of the Bonneville it replaced. When a manufacturer has the lineage that Triumph does, a razor’s edge must be walked to prevent the sacrifice of either historic characteristics or performance in pursuit of a new interpretation of a renowned motorcycle. Triumph successfully navigated this obstacle.

In the Street Twin, Triumph captured the look and flavor of the previous Bonneville while producing a package that could lead style-focused young, new riders into the motorcyclist fold while still providing a massively fun riding experience for enthusiasts that have many thousands of miles on their personal odometers – all at a $8,700 MSRP.

Honorable Mention: Suzuki GSX-S1000

Honorable Mention Suzuki GSX-S1000

Suzuki packed a huge bang into each of the 10,499 bucks riders will pay to own the new GSX-S1000. Beginning with an engine based on the long-stroke 2005-2008 GSX-R engine (often considered one of the most versatile GSX-R power plants ever produced), the Gixxus threw down 143 hp, second only to a bike costing $6,500 more in our recent Naked Sports Six-Way Shootout. Yeah, you read that right. Also, even with that impressive power delivery, the GSX-S managed to churn out the most miles per each gallon on our Central California thrash-fest.

2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 First Ride Review

Although ride-by-wire was eschewed in favor of the older – and presumably less expensive – SDTV system (Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve), the Gixxus offers TC to help tame the beast. Said Tom Roderick of the S1000, “Acceleration is really impressive – this bike is a V–8 with handlebars – it just keeps on pulling harder until the limiter cuts the fun.” The only gotcha’s of the engine were an abrupt off-to-on-throttle transition and a valley in the torque and hp curves in the 4,500 rpm to 7,000 rpm range. Our final answer on the engine was that “the GSX-S1000 is just an EFI flash away from streetable perfection.”

The Brembo brakes and the Bosch ABS also shine when the Suzuki is put through its paces. If only the suspension were as good as the engine and brakes are, the GSX-S1000 might be the Best Standard Motorcycle instead of the Honorable Mention. However, of all the things Suzuki could have chosen to cut costs on, the suspension might be the easiest for an owner to fix.

With the Suzuki GSX-S1000, Suzuki provides an excellent platform for challenging whatever pavement you spend your riding time on and sculpted it in a stylistically pleasing form – all for just $10,4999. For the rider who wants an open-class standard on a limited budget, the Gixxus is a hard bike to beat. We wouldn’t be surprised to watch it become one of the most popular project bike platforms in the near future.

  • JMDonald

    I suggested a Street Twin to a friend that had been away from motorcycling for a few years. He didn’t buy one. What a mistake. It is a great bike. The Suzuki is no slouch either.

    • Andre Capitao Melo

      And what did he bought?

      • JMDonald

        A Honda CTX700 with DCT and ABS. He is a short guy and this bike fits him well.

        • Chris Noblett

          So he bought a big scooter, LOL.

          I kid I kid, my wife wants this bike too :)

          • JMDonald

            He sold his scooter to buy the CTX. I had to laugh too. There is a bike out there for everyone.

          • Chris Noblett

            I have a buddy who just bought the non DCT model of this bike. He loves it.

          • JMDonald

            My friend loves his too.

        • Craig Hoffman

          The CTX likely will last forever too. I wonder if anyone on the planet has sucessfully worn one out yet from normal use…

  • MarkB

    I don’t know about the “Speed Twin” of your headline, but the Street Twin does not have rider modes, AFAIK.

    • Evans Brasfield

      I hate it when I do that. :-(

      Thanks for pointing it out.

  • DickRuble

    yeah well, the Triumph had a 150cc advantage on the “competition” and, frankly, a razrr scooter would win a comparison against the Harley Street. Which leaves the asthmatic Guzzi .. and well.. it’s a 750cc with less power and torque than a big thumper. Now, what was the gas mileage for the Triumph, again?

    • Goose

      Not quite but a print mag reported high/ low/ Average of 60/ 44/ 54. Pretty good for a 900. Ridden normally you can probably add 3 to 5 MPG.

      Still doesn’t quite work for me. I want 200 miles of range to reserve at average MPG, this is more like 175 to an empty tank. Probably fine for most folks but off my list. Too bad, seem like a great bike otherwise.

      • DickRuble

        When they announced the bike, I remember clearly they proclaimed a 65+ mpg. Turns out to be 51.5 in MO testing.

        • MarkB

          You pulled the 75 mpg from an English publication, which means it used Imperial gallons. 75 mpg Imperial converts to 62 mpg American.

        • GreggJ

          MCN is a English/British publication.

          England is foreign country (at least to people in the USA), and they measure things differently over there. They have been doing that for almost 1000 years. Shocking!

          For example, note how weights are given in kg (that’s kilograms which are different than pounds), prices are in pounds (that’s British for their version of a dollar), and it says at the bottom of the page that the magazine company is registered in England and Wales. Thus MPG would be Imperial Gallons (that is what they use over there, cause you know, it is a different country and all, like when they say boot they mean trunk, or chips they mean french fries).

          So, 75.5 MPG Imperial is 62.8 MPG in the USA. About what the print magazine got at the high end (60 MPG). And as Goose pointed out, “ridden normally you can probably add 3 to 5 MPG” adding up to, wait for it…………………63 to 65 MPG in the USA.

          • DickRuble

            Well.. they can find solace in that at least their gallons are bigger..

          • DickRuble

            I still don’t buy the 65mpg, be it US. These guys (MO) got 50-51 mpg during testing. 15 extra mpg is a lot.

          • Ian Parkes

            …and when they say fanny they don’t mean arse.

        • Goose

          What GreggJ and MarkB said.

          I’m still amazed the “most advanced country in the world” is still using the moronic imperial measurement system. Oh well, at least we we don’t use “gallons per hundred miles”.

        • Andre Capitao Melo

          now you get why the rest of the world gets pissed with the USA using gallons, pounds and miles…

        • Kenneth

          I’m surprised you aren’t aware that Imperial gallons, as used in those European statistics, are 20% larger than U.S. gallons.

          • DickRuble

            We got it. Thanks!

      • DickRuble

        “60/ 44/ 54” — what are the numbers for? 60 if you push it, 44 if you ride, 54 downhill?

        • Goose

          Do the words “high/ low/ Average” confuse you? This has been the standard way to list the fuel mileage observed during the test in motorcycle magazines since I started reading them in the late sixties.

        • Starmag

          That was funny.

  • Ian Parkes

    Spotted, MarkB. You’ve got the wrong name in the headline, you MOrons.

  • Starmag

    I get the value thing but I’d be looking at a Bonneville or CB1100 in this category.

    • Judas_the_Priest

      I like the CB1100, but can’t get “new” in the states. I don’t understand why they only sold them for a couple of years here.

      • Starmag

        Probably the same reason you can no longer buy a new H-D XR1200. While roadsters are somewhat popular in Europe, Americans don’t buy many. Home of the silly feet forward riding position.

        • Tinwoods

          You’re a moto racist.

          • Starmag

            Well, you’ve got me there. I have raced motos.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Isn’t Suzuki more like a streetfighter/hooligan bike?

    • Dominykas Rusonis

      That’s exactly what I thought – how come GSX-S is a standard motorcycle?

    • Tinwoods

      There is no official category called “street fighter,” “hooligan,” or even “NAKED.” They all fit nicely into “standard” though.

  • Tom Dinchuk

    My brother bought a new 2016 Street Twin recently….I ride a slightly modified 2001 Bonnie ( air box removal and aftermarket muffler). As a old time Bonnie rider I was prepared to be disappointed in his ride. We switched rides and i loved his….tons of low end torque, great handling and fantastic audio to boot. His was a perfect counter point to mine; Mine is a classic Bonnie which comes on the pipe at midrange (and sounds great)…His is a bad boy flat tracker (made for the street) with it’s 270 bark and gobs of low end grunt……Looking forward to more rides where we can switch back and forth.

  • SRMark

    Now how to pick among a Scrambler Ducati, Street Twin or CB1100? I was really hoping Yamaha would have turned the Bolt C-Spec into a V-twin SR400 or, better yet, the Sakura. But there sure are some great choices out there now.

  • Gabriel Owens

    SO surprised the new Thruxton didn’t win this.

    • Chops Davis

      Thruxtons not a standard motorcycle. Great bike!

      • Tinwoods

        Of course it is. What is it if it’s not? Naked or Cafe are not classes of motorcycle.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Evidently MO got tired of heaping praise on the FZ-07?

    Have not ridden this bike, but have ridden a new Thruxton R. The 270 crank layout does sound great, especially with a very well styled for the bike Vance & Hines exhaust in place.

    I might even like this bike better than the Thrux, which has more top end power, but a short rev range. The higher tuned Thrux is only really alive between 4.5K and the 7K cutoff. With that low of a rev ceiling, trading top end for a stout off idle bottom end and having a wider overall usable range is probably worth it in this package.

    The Thrux looks cool as Hell though. It really does. Guys drool, women swoon and all that. My single friend who owns the Thrux is getting tail like I can’t believe because of that bike 😉

    • Campisi

      I was really hoping the upcoming Street Cup would pair the Thruxton’s cylinder head with the Street Twin’s shorter stroke, but CARB documents indicate that won’t be the case. Doing so would make for a decent project in a few years’ time.

  • ProDigit

    Still waiting for my ptwin 400cc 400LBS, 44HP!

  • Chops Davis

    I like the Street Twin but ultimately bought a T-120 Black. LOVE IT!

  • Joe Berk

    Not surprised at all. It is a great-looking motorcycle.

  • Paul Verstraete

    rhe suzuki sounds just like my old fz1…

    • Tinwoods

      I own an FZ1. Not even close.

  • Judas_the_Priest

    I have an ’08 Scrambler. Ride 2-up occasionally. My wife wants a bike now, she’s short (5’1″) but doesn’t want a cruiser, which is what she can really fit on. She looked at the Ducati Scrambler, but, I pointed her to the Street Twin (I rode, loved it; she has yet to ride it). She says I’m biased towards Triumph -yeah, I am – but told her this is probably one of the perfect bikes out there, like the FZ07/09, and she can fit on it. She wants sportier, but told her it isn’t out there unless she gets a 250/300, and even then still a little tall for her. She said she didn’t want to waste money if she didn’t like it. Told her I’d ride it, it won’t go to waste.

  • dbees

    Standard bike right? Where’s the Suzuki Bandit 1250S?

    • Kevin Duke

      In the last century when it was designed… 😉 Seriously, the big Bandit is a fine machine, but it’s a little long in tooth.