Triumph Speed Twin First Look

The 2022 Triumph Speed Twin is a  1960s Bonneville modern classic

An static view of the 2022 Triumph Speed Twin sport roadster motorcycle

The Triumph Speed Twin set the benchmark for how a modern classic sport roadster should ride and feel. (Photos courtesy of Triumph)

Table of Contents

Performance
Ride and Handling
Styling
Pricing, Accessories
Why Buy the 2022 Triumph Speed Twin?
Specifications

BY JOE MICHAUD,
Special to Maynard’s Garage

The original Triumph Speed Twin 5T was designed in 1937 by the prolific British visionary Edward Turner. When the 5T made its debut, the 500cc parallel-twin design proved innovative in a performance world previously dominated by large displacement single-cylinder motorcycles. The 5T provided significantly more horsepower, torque, and, more importantly, less vibration than era-available performance singles.

Turner was complicated, sources say, and his inability to compromise was often an impediment to design progress. However, no one can doubt the success of his Speed Twin design. Turner’s design would set the tone — as well as the basic parallel-twin engine design — that would sustain the British motorcycle industry for nearly four decades. Even today, most Triumph devotees credit the 5T and its offspring, the 5TA, for the post-war recovery of Triumph. Its popularity would allow the model to soldier on until 1966.

Triumph cannily resurrected the famous “Speed Twin” nameplate in 2018. It marked the introduction of a line of 1200cc twin-cylinder bikes the factory called “modern classic performance roadsters.”

Four years later, the newest Speed Twin continues the panache of the sport roadster.

Metzeler Racetec RR tires on lighter 12-spoke 17-inch cast wheels.

Metzeler Racetec RR tires on lighter 12-spoke 17-inch cast wheels.

2022 Speed Twin Performance

Triumph has updated the High Power Bonneville twin engine with more midrange power and torque. The fresh enhancements boost the fun for me with the 83 foot-pounds of peak torque moved lower to 4,250 rpm. The power band is more available for real-world riding. And torque is where my motorcycle fun lives.

Rider feel has been enhanced by a reduction in rotating engine inertia. A lightened crankshaft and alternator allow the motor to rev quicker. The combined modifications raise the redline by 500 rpm to 7,250 where the horsepower peaks at 100. A revvy motor coupled with a new profile camshaft (more lift and longer duration) and fresh porting add to the fun factor. It’s all good stuff.

Brushed stainless-steel twin upswept exhaust silencers

Brushed stainless-steel twin upswept exhaust silencers are new.

Improved Handling

Triumph improved the 2022 Speed Twin handling with fresh higher-spec Marzocchi cartridge-damped forks up front. The Marzocchis are a non-adjustable, upside-down 43mm design with 120mm travel.

Twin rear shocks are pre-load adjustable only, and also give 120mm travel. Suspension mods always improve riding feel. These non-adjustable items certainly fit the moderate price point, but enthusiastic riders may tire of them.

Metzeler Racetec RR  tires wrapped on lighter 12-spoke 17-inch cast wheels make turn-in smooth and predictable.

Front brakes are by Brembo with four-piston M50 radial monobloc calipers.

Front brakes are by Brembo with four-piston M50 radial monobloc calipers.

Front brakes are Brembo four-piston M50 radial monobloc calipers squeezing twin 320mm discs. The rear stopper is a single Nissin two-caliper 220mm disc. ABS is standard. Initial bite is strong with much good feel for the bike.

The cable-pull clutch is torque-assisted, coupled through a six-speed gearbox. The shifts are as slick as a bolt-action rifle.

 Speed Twin Ride and Handling

The narrow-waisted saddle with a 31.5-inch seat height provides a slim stand-over width. The reach to the midposition pegs and tapered bars deliver an easy upright position to the rider. It sits easy-peasy and comfy in urban use. Dealing with a stretched sport-bike crouch designed for the track can often be an ergonomic distraction for urban commuting. For most of my bike business, I’ll take some upright situational awareness over sport-bike ergonomics.

There is no multi-axis lean angle sensing (IMU), no quick shifter, and no cruise control. ABS is non-cancellable and electronic controls are limited to basic ride modes — rain, road, and sport. There are no wide distinctions between the basic ride modes. After a few days of playing with the modes, I suspect most riders will simply leave in it Sport and modify their right fist as needed.

The bright headlight

All Speed Twin lighting is LED, except the headlight.

Electronics

The lack of cruise control might feel like an oversight to some riders; inclusion during production would be a pushover for a ride-by-wire bike. Triumph already includes cruise control on other models, so perhaps it’s an additional cost saver. However, I’m not sure I would miss it. Electronic cruise control can be a boon on long commutes over open interstate roads, but I enjoy having personal control of my motorcycles.

All lighting is LED, except the headlight, oddly enough. An under-seat USB charger can keep your phone at the ready.

The claimed weight is 476 pounds, wet and ready. And the first major service is slated for 10,000 miles. That’s a nice cost saving.

Fuel capacity is a moderate 3.8 gallons with a claimed combined fuel economy of 43 mpg. I’m not a fan of the exposed bottom seams currently unavoidable on many new bike tanks. It’s less expensive to manufacture, but I always see the seams.

The bike's ergonomics are ideally proportioned.

The Speed Twin ergonomics are ideally proportioned.

Speed Twin Styling

I like that the Speed Twin looks as a Triumph should.

The modern Speed Twin has kept the open, airy silhouette of a vintage twin-shock 1960s T120. The Speed Twin would not look out of place parked in formation with my 1966 T120 and ’68 TR6R. Light, nimble, and sporty. To my eye, it simply looks right. As much as American V-Twins cling to their classic look, the Bonneville line from Triumph also stays the course. Retro sells, and I enjoy it.

The brushed stainless-steel pipes with black-capped exhaust cans look the part. Together they cleverly hide the emission-control catalyst that makes the bike Euro-5 compliant.

Brushed alloy fenders fore and aft lend a sporty detail. A bar-mounted scroll button controls the discrete multi-function LCD display. The gauges — tach and speedo — are analog and needle-swept. I love them.

Instrumentation is by twin dial analog speedometer and tachometer with LCD multi-functional displays.

Instrumentation is by twin dial analog speedometer and tachometer.

Triumph Speed Twin Pricing

Sharper-minded race folks might decide the Thruxton RS better suits their jam. But the Speed Twin at $12,500 MSRP, has the same basic horsepower and torque as the RS — albeit with a few less zooty parts, suspension, etc. — for $5,000 less.

Paint choices are three, Jet Black is standard, Red Hopper and Matt Storm Grey are $300 options. Finish and detail are superb throughout the Triumph line.

Accessories I would select include knee grips ($70), round bar-end mirrors ($199), and the quilted black seat ($430). See the list of accessories here.

A well accessorized speed twin

More than 50 Speed Twin accessories are available.

Why Buy the 2022 Triumph Speed Twin?

My dictionary defines a roadster as a “two-seat performance vehicle” so it’s not a stretch when Triumph calls the Speed Twin “a modern Classic, performance roadster.”

I’ve never bought a motorcycle simply for transportation. For me, emotion is a powerful persuader. So, I’d like to see a Speed Twin with polished alloy engine cases and wire-spoked wheels. Otherwise, this bike ticks all my boxes for a thoroughly modern 1960s Bonneville.

Joe Michaud is a San Diego-based motorcycle rider and restorer. Send him an email at jmichaud@san.rr.com.

2022 Triumph Speed Twin Specifications

Style: Sport roadster with tubular steel frame and steel cradles

POWERTRAIN

Engine: liquid-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC 1200cc High Power Bonneville parallel-twin, 270-degree crank angle

Power: 98.6 bhp at 7,250 rpm; 83 lb.-ft. torque at 4,250 rpm

Fuel injection: electronic multipoint sequential

Fuel economy: 43 mpg, estimated; combined city and highway

Exhaust: brushed stainless steel 2 into 2 system with twin silencers

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Clutch: wet, multiplate torque-assist clutch

TIRES-WHEELS

Front: 12-spoke cast aluminum alloy, 17 inches by 3.5 inches; 120/70 ZR17

Rear: cast aluminum alloy, 17 inches by 5 inches; 160/60 ZR17

SUSPENSION

Front: 43mm USD Marzocchi forks, 120mm travel

Rear: twin RSUs with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel

BRAKING

Front: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo M50 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS

Rear: Single 220mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS

BY THE NUMBERS

Wet weight: 476.2 pounds (216kg)

Fuel tank: 3.8 gallons

Seat height: 31.85 inches

Length/wheelbase: 82.6 inches (2099mm)/ 55.6 inches (1413mm)

PRICING

Speed Twin base price: $12,500 MSRP

Warranty: two-years unlimited mileage

Where assembled: Hinckley, Leicestershire, England

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Ducati DesertX First Look

The 2022 Ducati DesertX Adventure Bike is a proper desert rider and a true Ducati

A rider in the desert on the 2022 Ducati DesertX adventure bike

The 2022 Ducati DesertX goes on sale in June with a starting price of $16,795. (Photos courtesy of Ducati)

Table of Contents

Overview
DesertX Technologies
Riding Features
DesertX accessories
Pricing
Why Buy the Ducati DesertX?
Ducati DesertX Specifications

BY JOE MICHAUD
Special to Maynard’s Garage

Development of the new Ducati DesertX started as a simple concept to grow the brand’s platform for the off-road Scrambler and Multistrada. But early on, the team realized it had the potential to build a proper desert rider — and a more dedicated machine that they believed could be a true Ducati.

“The chassis has been developed from the ground up specifically to go off road,” Jason Chinnock, CEO Ducati North America, said in a recent interview at the brand’s “Ready for Red” national tour of 21 cities to showcase new products. “While the X can ride anywhere in the world, the desert is the true spiritual home of this bike.”

Compared with the brand’s popular all-roads Multistrada, Chinnock said, “the Multistrada is on-road bike that can be ridden off-road, the DesertX is an off-road bike that can be ridden on the road.”

That’s the meat-and-potatoes of an Adventure Bike.

The DesertX four-valve 937cc 11-degree L-twin.

The DesertX four-valve 937cc 11-degree L-twin.

Ducati DesertX Overview

Italian motorcycle manufacturer Cagiva bought Ducati in 1985 and maintained ownership until 1996.

The stark white with red livery (the only paint scheme available), rally windscreen height, large fuel tank, stubby nose, and dual headlights of the Ducati DesertX borrow badass design cues from the successes of the Cagiva Elefant 906, which competed in the Paris-Dakar Rallies of the 1990s. It was heady times for the small Italian builder.

For the DesertX, Ducati borrowed the four-valve 937cc 11-degree L-twin from the Multistrada V2 with the desmodromic valve system. The engine was given a slight detune to 110 horsepower and 68 foot-pounds of torque to better suit its new off-road bias.

The DesertX gearbox, too, was modified with shortened ratios on gears one through five. First and second gears are especially for low-speed technical dirt work where the slip-assist clutch won’t need to be feathered to maintain balance. Sixth gear remains long for high-speed work on the dry lake beds of Baja California or urban pavement. A quick shifter is standard as well as cruise control.

The optional 2.1-gallon auxiliary fuel tank augments the main 5.5-gallon main tank.

The optional 2.1-gallon auxiliary fuel tank.

DesertX Technologies

Rider-assist technology is ubiquitous today, and DesertX has it deep. A Bosch Sensortec system monitors throttle-by-wire inputs and provides variable intervention for traction, wheelie, and engine braking. It’s common stuff on modern bikes but Ducati adds extra levels.

The DesertX has six riding modes that control the overall response characteristics of the bike. Along with the four self-explanatory standards of Sport, Touring, Urban, and Wet, Ducati has added dedicated modes of Rally and Enduro.

For experienced riders, Rally mode provides full-on 110-hp with minimal electronic interventions. Enduro mode provides 75-hp and more protection for riders with less experience. Engine power can be modified through four levels to match skill level, rider demand, or varying terrain.

The vertical 5-inch instrumentation display is positioned for clear visibility in stand-up riding.

The vertical 5-inch instrumentation display is positioned for stand-up riding.

DesertX Riding Features

DesertX lighting is full LED and the 5-inch color gauge display is oriented vertically for better viewing while standing. Three data-screen displays are available to provide custom information chosen for particular rider needs.

Braking is by Brembo, front and rear. Fronts are dual four-piston 320mm radial mounts while the rear is a single 265mm two-piston setup. Bosch Variable ABS Cornering controls and enhances snappy, rear-wheel dirt cornering. It’s primo Ducati engineering.

Rather than pulling stock from current production, the steel-tube trellis frame and aluminum swing-arm were developed specifically for off-road use. Kayaba provided the three-way adjustable suspension with bounteous travel of 9.06 inches front and 8.66 inches rear. Ground clearance is 9.8 inches. The seat is tall at 34 inches, but it can be lowered with a kit.

Rims are flange-spoked and tubeless, a 21-inch front and an 18-inch rear. A larger front hoop typically climbs off-road obstacles easier while transmitting less shock to chassis, suspension, and rider. It’s good dirt stuff. Ducati claims the 21-inch front is the first on a production bike since the 1970s.

Ducati homologated three tire choices, two from Pirelli and one from Metzler. Also, the aftermarket availability of 21- to 18-inch rubber is broad. Stock tires on the DesertX are Pirelli Scorpions.

The 21-inch front wheel is the first on a production bike since the 1970s, Ducati says.

The 21-inch front wheel is the first on a production bike since the 1970s, Ducati says.

DesertX Accessories

Ducati has developed around 50 DesertX accessories, including crash protection, electronics, various trim levels, luggage, and extra racks. Here are a few of the options:

  • Aluminum panniers (2), $1,400 and $800 for the top case. The three hard-shell cases add a voluminous 117-liter capacity for the world traveler’s appearance;
  •  Two exhaust choices by Temignoni;
  •  A rear-mounted auxiliary 2.1-gallon fuel tank, $1,500. It augments the standard 5.5 U.S. gallons main tank with the push of a button;
  •  Heated grips ($388) and a center stand ($320).

The list of accessories can be found here.

The double front LED headlight has two bi-function poly-ellipsoidal modules

The double LED headlight has two bi-function poly-ellipsoidal modules.

Ducati DesertX Pricing

The new Ducati DesertX, first seen as a concept in 2019, will be in showrooms in June.

Competing with the Honda Africa Twin, BMW GS, and the Husqvarna Norden 901, Ducati has priced the DesertX dead center in the pack. U.S. pricing is expected to start at around $16,795 before options.

Learn more about DesertX here.

The DesertX has a long-stroke Kayaba suspension and generous off-roading ground clearance of 9.8 inches.

The DesertX has a long-stroke suspension and ground clearance of 9.8 inches.

Why Buy the Ducati DesertX?

Adventure bikes have changed the motorcycle landscape much like SUVs have done to the passenger-car market. They both promise adventure without limits by putting the off-road within reach. However, like SUVs, many ADVs rarely get used off road.

The Ducati DesertX is gorgeous in white, the shape is sexy, the technology is stunning. It’s a Ducati, and I am not immune to that virus. I just don’t have the skills to exploit it.

I’ll take mine with road tires, please. And I can at least dream of Abu Dhabi.

Joe Michaud is a San Diego-based motorcycle rider and restorer. Send him email at jmichaud@san.rr.com.

A rider in the desert on the Ducati

The Ducati DesertX was developed from the ground up to go off-road.

Ducati DesertX Specifications

Style: 2 seat adventure bike with tubular steel trellis frame

POWERTRAIN

Engine: 937cc Ducati Testastretta 11-degree, L-Twin cylinders, Desmodromic valvetrain, 4 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled

Power: 110-hp at 9,250 rpm; 68 lb.-ft. torque at 6,500 rpm

Fuel injection: Bosch electronic, 53mm throttle bodies with ride-by-wire system

Exhaust: Stainless steel single muffler, catalytic converter, and 2 lambda probes

Transmission: 6-speed

Clutch: Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control

Fuel economy: NA

SUSPENSION

Front: KYB 46mm upside-down fork, fully adjustable; wheel travel, 9.1 inches; cross-spoked and tubeless wheel, 2.15 by 21 inches; Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 90/90 tires, 21-inch M+S

Rear: KYB monoshock, fully adjustable, remote preload adjustment, aluminum double-sided swingarm; wheel travel, 8.66 inches; cross-spoked and tubeless wheel, 4.5 by 18 inches; Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tire, 150/70 18-inch M+S

BRAKING

Front: 2 320mm aluminum flange semi-floating discs, radial-mount Brembo monobloc 4-piston calipers, Bosch Cornering ABS

Rear: 265mm disc, Brembo floating 2 piston caliper, Bosch cornering ABS

WEIGHTS

Dry weight: 445 pounds

Wet weight: 492 pounds

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 5.5 gallons

Seat height: 34.4 inches

Cargo capacity: almost 4.1 cubic feet (120 liters) including bags and aluminum top case

Wheelbase: 63.3 inches (1,608mm)

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Riding modes, power modes, Ducati Wheelie Control, engine brake control, Ducati Quick Shift up/down, cruise control, full LED lighting system, DRL, Ducati brake light, USB power port, 12-volt socket, self-canceling turn indicators, steering damper

Optional features include: Ducati Multimedia System, antitheft system, turn by turn navigation via the app, fog lights, heated grips, auxiliary fuel tank

Safety features include: Ducati Safety Pack of cornering ABS and traction control

PRICING

Base price: $16,795

Where assembled: Bologna, Italy

WARRANTY AND MAINTENANCE

Warranty: 24 months, unlimited mileage

Maintenance service intervals: 9,000 miles or 24 months

Valve clearance check: 18,000 miles

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