Common Tread

Retro twins EICMA preview: Triumph Speed Twin and Royal Enfield mystery bike

Nov 01, 2018

EICMA season is just around the corner, and some last-minute releases join existing expectations like the Yamaha Tenere 700, the Svartpilen 701, and the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. 

Triumph Street Twin
Faster than a Street Twin, more practical than a Thruxton. Nieuwsmotor.nl photo.

Triumph Speed Twin

According to rumors, leaked images (shown), and pre-debut emissions filings, a new Speed Twin will debut at EICMA this year. Back in the late 1930s, Triumph debuted the original Speed Twin, which fueled a British obsession with double-barreled bikes that continues to this day. Though the Speed Triple has carried the name well, we’ll see a true reboot of the Speed Twin model very soon.

Triumph Speed Twin
Parts bin bike? Maybe, but at least they picked from some good bins. Nieuwsmotor.nl photo.

Triumph’s Modern Classics line is getting crowded, but they’re betting the Speed Twin will be different enough to deliver something new, yet rooted in Triumph’s previous successes.  CARB paperwork indicates that the Speed Twin’s engine be a 1200. So why not get a T120 or a Thruxton? Going by the leaked shots of the bike, the Speed Twin trades some retro appeal for sensibility, with cast wheels (likely 17-inchers), upright ergonomics, and a stripped-back appearance.

Triumph Speed Twin test mule
I liked the dual headlights on this test mule, which referenced the Speed Triple. Triumph put a standard round light on the Speed Twin in the end. BMH Images photo.

And compared to the Street Twin? Upgrades like the larger engine, dual front discs, and nicer trim position the Speed Twin above Triumph’s budget retro. I’d expect to see better suspension and instrumentation, too. 

Royal Enfield Twin
What do you see in there? Royal Enfield photo.

Royal Enfield Classic/Bobber

Royal Enfield quietly dropped a hint at a new model just days before EICMA with the teaser photo above. There’s a chance this is a 350- or 500-based model, but I think that’s a long shot. With their new 650 twins hitting showrooms, I expect to see them keep pushing the platform with this new machine, which looks nothing like the Continental GT or Interceptor that Julia LaPalme just reviewed. The lines say old-school standard or bobber of some kind with a cantilevered seat, LED lighting, and cast wheels. The silhouette isn’t so different from the Classic 500, and RE might just be dropping the 650 in a timeless package. Stranger but more interesting would be a 650 bobber, inspired by the successes of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber and Indian Scout Bobber. Though the 650 only makes around 47 horsepower, RE’s twins undercut the competition on price, which shouldn’t be hard when the Triumph starts at nearly $12,000 and the Indian isn’t far behind. 

Royal Enfield Classic 500
Models like the Classic 500 preserve Royal Enfield's history. Will the Classic receive the new engine? Royal Enfield photo.

Looking at the teaser, some spy a V-twin under the sheet, a la Carberry, but I’m not seeing it. I think that's an oil cooler on the frame, similar in size and placement to the 650s, but whatever they used to cover the bike is annoyingly good at its job. Either way, RE’s built something Brit-ish and you’ll see it in a week.

Stick around for all the EICMA coverage starting Tuesday as we bring you the most interesting new models and our thoughts on the motorcycle event of the year.