Triumph says: "Real urban sports poise, presence, and agility"
Motorcyclist says: "It's a racier looking Street Twin."

Triumph's Street Cup is the urban-sport member of the newly minted Street family, which also includes the Street Scrambler. Because the Street Cup shares the motor, frame, and several major parts with the Street Twin, it's easy to assume this is merely a styling iteration. But, by adding, subtracting, and replacing key components, Triumph Motorcycles was able to transform the Street Twin into a sportier roadster while maintaining the base bike's easy-to-ride demeanor and accessibility. For the record, Triumph insists that the Street Cup is a sportier version of the Street Twin and not a small version of the Thruxton.

The Street Cup gets its vintage cafe-racer appearance by incorporating period-correct proportions and details, like brushed-aluminum instruments, clubman-style handlebars (the precursor to today’s clip-ons), a mini fly screen, classically shaped tank with hand pinstriping, and a color-matched passenger-seat cowl complete with racy number-plate graphic. The rear cowl is easily removed to reveal the passenger portion of the “bullet” seat. Brushed-aluminum bits add class and fit and finish is really good. The Triumph accessory catalog lists 120 bolt-on parts for making the Street Cup your own.

Side view of 2017 Triumph Street Cup
The Street Cup’s silhouette is classic café racer.Photo: Triumph

The heart of the Cup is the sweet 900cc liquid-cooled “high-torque” parallel-twin engine sourced from the Street Twin that delivers a claimed 55 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 59 lb-ft of torque at 3,230 rpm. Thumb the starter and you’re rewarded with a satisfying thrum from the reverse-megaphone exhausts. The 270-degree crank contributes to the bike’s visceral satisfaction by giving the engine a loping sound and feel.

When it’s time to roll, the torque-assist clutch provides two-finger effort. Off idle, our test bike exhibited a fair amount of throttle free play before the fuel injectors responded. This soft initial throttle response, combined with unintimidating low-rpm power delivery are perfect for relaxed around-town riding. As rpm rise, throttle power kicks in more sharply. There is a bit of slow-speed jerkiness, but nothing to worry about. The smooth gearbox works smartly as you row through all five gears.

2017 Street Cup 900cc engine
The 900cc “high-torque” vertical twin produces a satisfying 55 hp and 59 foot pounds of torque and a visceral soundtrack. The catalytic converter resides cleverly beneath the engine, between the frame rails.Photo: Triumph

At speed, it’s easy to feel how lively this motor is compared to previous versions of Triumph’s vertical twins. 55 hp may not seem like a lot, but it’s plenty, and the low-end torque really tickles the funny bone. Roll the ride-by-wire throttle open anywhere above 2,700 rpm and you’re rewarded with really good takeoff.

Triumph clubman handlebars
Clubman-style handlebars harken back to vintage café racing. They’re more sporty than a standard handlebar, but still high enough to make daily riding reasonably comfortable.Photo: Triumph
2017 Street Cup fairing
The color-matched flyscreen looks the part, but is only marginally effective at blocking wind.Photo: Triumph

When it’s time to whoa the go, the single front disc and newly styled Nissin caliper throws out a decent-sized anchor. The rear brake is easily controllable and ABS is always on to manage grip.

Street Cup seat cowl and seat height
A color-matched cowl caps the pillion seat and comes complete with and number plate graphic. It is held in place with two screws The little rubber tab is a non-functional detail. The Cup’s seat height is up by 30mm from the Street Twin for sportier seating and handling, but still gives flat-footed confidence when stopped.Photo: Triumph

The Alcantara-covered seat is easy on the heiny and the strong motor comfortably maintains hyper-highway speeds, but the fly screen offers only a bit of wind deflection. The handlebar location is near perfect for around town or on the highway. The rearset footpegs offer excellent ground clearance, but don’t provide much legroom.

Triumph uses clubman handlebars
Clubman handlebars have replaceable end bars and position the rider in a moderately sporty posture. Cool bar-end mirrors do a great job of monitoring bogies at your six; just beware when splitting lanes.Photo: Triumph

The 440 pounds (claimed, dry) Street Cup is easy to maneuver at slower speeds and is docile enough for relaxed urban trolling and commuting. To establish the Street Cup’s sporting capability we did our best to tear up some of southern Spain’s bullet-straight secondary roads and serpentine tarmac. High-speed stability is good, but I detected a slight high-frequency wiggle in the handlebars, perhaps caused by wind interacting with the bar-end mirrors. Despite steeper geometry than the standard Street Twin thanks to longer shocks, handling is rather slow and high-effort. True to form, the Street Cup has an 18-inch cast-aluminum wheel (wheels sizes are the same as on the Street Twin), and streetbikes have moved away from 18-inch wheels for a reason—they tend to slow down steering. In any case, the Street Cup is plenty maneuverable, especially compared to bikes from the era it emulates.

Triumph Street Cup in the canyon
Rearset footpegs provide very good cornering clearance at the expense of legroom.Photo: Triumph
Triumph Street Cup ride by wire throttle
Ride-by-wire throttle has good response beyond initial roll-on. The front brake is appropriately powerful and easy to modulate.Photo: Triumph

Twin KYB shocks and fork are basic (the shocks are preload adjustable, but that’s it) but they do an admirable job of keeping the Cup’s tires in contact with the road. The springs and damping are appropriately soft, but firm enough to carve the tightest corners with decent accuracy. In city riding, sharper bumps can be a bit jolting.

Triumph Street Cup handling
Handling is predictable and stable, but turn-in is slow. The Street Cup is a thoroughly classic-looking bike (all its modern bits are carefully hidden), but the performance and technology is pure 2017.Photo: Triumph

After some initial adjustment to the slow turn-in and somewhat vague front-end feel, I had a blast hustling the bike around the Spanish hairpin turns. Only hardcore sporting types will fault the Street Cup for its cornering performance. Triumph engineers emphasize that the Cup is not intended to compete with sportier bikes like the Thruxton. It is instead a bike that prioritizes authentic style, easy-to-access performance, and fun. Mission accomplished.

Triumph megaphone exhaust
Megaphone exhausts make lovely sounds. The classic-shaped taillight houses modern LED lighting. Bar-end mirrors give an excellent view of what’s behind.Photo: Triumph

You’ll be able to enjoy a Street Cup of your own in about a month. Bikes are due to start arriving in dealerships in late February with a price of $10,500. That’s $1,800 more than a standard Street Twin, or a 20-percent increase. A bit of a surprise given an extra $1,800 thrown at a Speed Triple gets you a Speed Triple R with upgraded Ohlins suspension and carbon-fiber body panels, but while Triumph didn’t up-spec the Street Cup, it did swap out a good number of components to end up with one good-looking and sweet-handling streetbike.

TECH SPEC

EVOLUTION
The Street Twin, outfitted in cafe-racer garb and given a taller seat and rear suspension for slightly sportier behavior.
TECH
PRICE $10,500
ENGINE 900cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 55.0 hp @ 5900 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 59.0 lb.-ft. @ 3230 rpm
FRAME Tubular-steel double cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION KYB fork; 4.7 in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB shocks adjustable for spring preload; 4.7 in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Nissin two-piston caliper, 310mm disc with ABS
REAR BRAKE Nissin two-piston caliper, 255mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 24.3°/3.9 in.
WHEELBASE 56.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 30.7 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.2 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 441 lb. dry
AVAILABLE February 2017
CONTACT triumphmotorcycles.com
VERDICT
A beautiful (albeit pricey) interpretation for classic café-racer styling, all built on the brilliant Street Twin’s foundation.