Speed Twin 900 Vs. T100 Vs. T120

Discussion in 'Triumph General Discussion' started by JonS-Triumph, Nov 4, 2023.

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  1. JonS-Triumph

    JonS-Triumph New Member

    Nov 3, 2023
    New Mexico
    A quick background. While I did some trail riding many years ago, I have never had a road bike other than my road bicycles that I put many thousands of miles on each year. I don't do that any longer. I have been retired for a couple years so I am no spring chicken. :)

    I have been advised to look for starter bikes by many people. I have looked at Honda, Suzuki, and many others. Some have said any of the three I Triumphs I have listed (Speed Twin 900 T100 and T120) are just too big, heavy, fast..... for a new rider. Over the past few weeks I have sat on a lot of brands from BMW to Suzuki, Honda, and others. Without question any of the three Triumphs I have mentioned are the most comfortable and easiest to get on and off. The balance also seems great just straddling it. The handle bars are just about perfect in all of them and the peg position seems natural to me. I don't want a sport/race bike, or an adventure bike so the choices above seem to make sense. I did sit on a Trident 660 but did not find it as comfortable as the other three.

    I have seen some YouTube videos that suggest even a T120 'could be' an OK starter bike if you have some respect for the machine.

    I am interested to hear from people with any of these three and what they think about one of them as a starter. I am leaning to the T120 because of the way it felt and some of the additional features and the 6th gear. Neither of the other choices have that.
  2. beerkat

    beerkat Senior Member

    Aug 14, 2019
    Cheshire UK
    Well I'm surprised you haven't had a mountain of replies to this post! I'm sure you will soon.
    I have a 2017 Street Twin, now called the Speed Twin 900. I have ridden bikes for over 40 years, without a break. I own several other bikes, including Japanese sports bikes, and I can honestly say the Street Twin is the easiest bike to ride I have ever owned.

    It is also probably the heaviest, so pushing it around the garage or up the slightly inclined drive requires a bit of muscle. If it helps I'm 67 and 5' 6" tall. My wife would struggle, whereas she can move the 3 Hondas. My brother owns the T120, which is slightly bigger all round and feels heavier to me, but the ST is too small for him. If you are significantly larger than I am then you may feel more at home on the T120.

    In terms of performance I don't think anyone could accuse the ST of being too fast! In fact I've beefed mine up by fitting a different (TEC) camshaft. And of course it's up to you how far you twist the throttle.
    I've never had an issue with comfort, I've ridden 300+ miles in a day on several occasions without a problem.

    You've sat on these bikes so presumably you've got a feel for the weight. If you're happy with that then I'd say you will be fine with the Speed Twin 900 but the obvious thing to do is take a test ride.
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  3. Markus

    Markus Crème de la Crème

    Oct 28, 2020
    #3 Markus, Nov 6, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2023
    I rode my T120 for 14.000 km. Yes, it is the heaviest of the bikes you mentioned in your thread. But it is easy to move and push in a garage. My wife also rode one and had no issues with it. She is only 5`5" tall. During riding you don`t feel the weight anymore. The interesting part of the T120 is the engine. The acceleration is great! You can ride it very smooth too. But there is always the possibility to "push" it. Then the torque with 105 Nm is a surprise for every other biker or driver you pass in seconds. "Torque can only be replaced by even more torque".:cool:
    Another interesting thing of the T120 is the low fuel consumption. 4.2 to 4.5 l/100 km are always possible when you ride it with a moderate speed (80-120 km/h).
  4. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!

    Sep 25, 2018
    The only answer is to test ride all your options, and have a go at pushing them around as you might have to if you had one at home. I'm no spring chicken either, and own a T120. It's a little heavier than I'd like in an ideal world, but the extra power/performance/capability makes up for that, at least for me. However, YMMV.
  5. Traveler

    Traveler Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2023
    Helena, Alabama
    I'm 78 & agree with LTF 100 %. I have the T120 as well & have no trouble at all handling it, from the garage to the road, especially as I transition from my 'Wing to something smaller. I think, perhaps without even realizing it, you adapt to doing small things that make it easier for you as you get use to anything.
  6. triumph900

    triumph900 Active Member

    Dec 24, 2017
    The whole "first bike" subject is ancient; how big, new or used, etc. There is no correct answer. It's a very personal choice. I usually recommend a used bike to start, but again, personal choice. As an example, I recent was behind someone on a brand new HD Street Glide. They were seriously uncomfortable, struggling with coming to stops, barely able to lean through slight corners. That's not much fun, particularly on a new $25000 motorcycle!
    So, gauge yourself. There's nothing wrong with starting with a new bike. Just take your time, start slowly and be careful!
    As to which to choose....?
    I own two T120s (long story, soon to be one T120). I've owned a Street Twin and a T100 as well. I love the Street Twin but I just can't get comfortable on it. For me there just isn't enough leg room. I'm only 5' 11" but my hips and knees just don't conform to the ST. That's a shame, because the ST is really a fun motorcycle. That leaves the T100/T120. While the T100 is a fine bike, the T120 is a great bike. The 6 speed, the additional torque, twin front brakes, the cruise control. Yeah, the T120 is a bit heavier, but to me, the T120 is a no-brainer.

    Happy hunting and good luck!
  7. JonS-Triumph

    JonS-Triumph New Member

    Nov 3, 2023
    New Mexico
    Thanks so much (to you and everyone else). This is the information I was looking for. BTW, I am please to see the number of 'mature' riders here. I just turned 70 and some people are uncomfortable with the idea of my taking this up at my age, but I feel (for the most part). Some additional information about the bike(s) that might fit me best. I am a little over 5' 10" but only have a 29" inseam. I am about 200 pounds.

    To be honest I had some trouble picking out the main differences between the three bikes. They look very similar - I am aware of the engine differences (the Speed Twin and T100 seem to have nearly identical drive trains). The T120 just has a larger displacement and more of the options/features I like (esp. the 6th gear). All three are listed in the Modern Classics category. Is the steering geometry or suspension meaningfully different?
  8. triumph900

    triumph900 Active Member

    Dec 24, 2017
    I don't recall the specifics, but I'm fairly sure they share very similar geometry. The T100/120 are the same and they all use the same tire sizes. The ST weighs less, followed by the T100. If I was able to get comfy on a ST I would choose it over the T100. The T120 wins for me overall on comfort and power. The 6 speed is something I need for longer rides. FWIW, I know a guy who just turned 89 and one his bikes is a ST. He's certainly one of my heroes!
  9. JonS-Triumph

    JonS-Triumph New Member

    Nov 3, 2023
    New Mexico
    Thanks for this. I too found the ST a bit less comfortable than the T120. I can not explain it exactly. There is something different. I think the seat heights are nearly identical and the seats looked very similar (way more comfy than a lot of other bikes I tired).
  10. RevPaul

    RevPaul Senior Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Cheshire, UK
    #10 RevPaul, Nov 7, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2023
    A little late to the discussion, but it might help you to know the Speed Twin 900 (formerly Street Twin) and T100 share the same chassis, the main differences are in the suspension components (T100 shocks are slightly longer giving a slightly higher seat height), the fuel tank (the ST 900 is smaller at 12 litres than the T100’s (& T120’s) 14.5 litres) and the ST 900 has a single clock where the T100 and T120 have twin clocks (which I prefer).

    The geometry of all three bikes is similar and they all use the same size wheels and tyres. Check what tyre manufacturer the bike will arrive with if going for a new bike. Triumph used to fit Pirelli Phantoms and they really weren’t good, they worked ok but most riders were pleased to change them once they’d worn out.

    I have the Street Cup which is a Cafe Racer style T100 with the smaller ST 900 fuel tank and I wish I had those extra 2.5 litres.

    I’m 6’1” and fit it fine, although it could be a little bigger. I had the loan of a T120 recently and the extra oomph wasn’t at all intimidating and I found it a lovely bike to ride, almost wondering if I should have bought the T120, but the riding position was a little too upright and the bars a little too close for my tastes.

    As you’ve noticed the relatively low centre of gravity of the Bonneville engined bikes makes their weight disappear once you’re aboard. It reads like you’re leaning towards the T100 and T120 I don’t think you’d be disappointed with either. Other Forum members who’ve started on a T120 have initially ridden the bike in Rain Mode which lowers the torque and power a little until they’ve built up their confidence.

    Think about the sort of distances and journeys you’re likely / hope to do, quick blasts will be fun on the ST 900 and medium distance rides, but if you’re riding with others on longer runs you might value the greater range of the T100 & T120 tanks, and the more relaxed riding position. And of course the T120 has the advantage of that beefier engine, better brakes and sixth gear, you don’t have to ride it faster just because it can, but then of course the T120 is a little heavier and pricier.

    As others have said, take them for a decent test ride. I’m sure you’ll soon be a part of the Triumph family.

    Enjoy the ride:).
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  11. triumph900

    triumph900 Active Member

    Dec 24, 2017
    My wife has a ST and I bought one used to experiment with it. What I had planned on was installing T120/100 pegs, shift and brake levers. The Ts have ~1" lower pegs and they will bolt on to ST. The seat from the Ts does not fit the ST directly, and after staring at it for a while I noticed the subframe on ST was "lower" in relation to the rear fender. I don't know if that's because of the subframe or the rear fender. Anyway, after messing with it for a while I decided not pursue that option. I do wish I could get comfortable on the ST. It would be a nice complement to my T120.
    Side note - I recently saw the new 400s. The Speed 400 actually has more legroom than the ST, at least it felt like that to me. They are nice looking bikes and could possibly be a nice option for many folks looking for an affordable bike. I am looking forward to riding them.
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  12. Cali Bob

    Cali Bob New Member

    Oct 6, 2023
    Rolling Hills CA
    I just turned 67 am 5' 10 " 30" inseam and weigh around 190. I've cycled a lot but wanted a street bike having only owned Dual sports in the past. I really wanted the 660 and still do but was hoping it would be a scaled down version of the Tiger which of course it's not at all. I didn't want a bike approaching 500 pounds but when I sat on the 900 Speed Twin which is a small bike in my opinion it didn't feel unwieldy in the least . I worried the horsepower might be a bit much but bought it anyway and after adjusting the bars back slightly am delighted and just love it . Super easy to take off with the torque on tap and recreates the wonderful nostalgic feel of the 70's Triumph's and BSA's I had the pleasure of riding but never owning. It's plenty fast for my taste and the fly by wire throttle feels perfectly calibrated to me.
    The main problem and it might be my age or familiarity with bikes that are actually well sprung is the harsh ride over imperfect roads. The other issue is the seat gets real uncomfortable about an hour in . I've tried wearing padded cycle shorts and they seem to help a lot but I'm going to either find a more padded seat or rebuild mine as well as replace the shocks and fork springs (any advice much appreciated I'm in Los Angeles ) . Enjoy ! I'm certain you can't go wrong on any of the Triumphs you're considering. Oh by the way the gas tank is in no way compliant with California's stringent gas filler design. The South Coast Air Quality Mngt District must not be aware or I'm pretty sure they'd disalow the sale of these bike , the SCAQMD has unlimited powers of enforcement and is a major pain in the ass to any business owner unfortunate enough to have to deal with them.
  13. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    I bought a Street Scrambler, my first ever Triumph, in 2020 and love it to bits. The Classic Triumph range are not particularly light weight machines but they carry their weight very well on the move, especially the 215kg SS (on road use only) with it's slightly wider bars and more upright riding position and light clutch. I also have a 260Kg, 200+ bhp road bike and a 115 kg off road bike which both handle very well in their target environments. The ZZR obviously does take more pushing around and is more of a handful when manoeuvring but I don't find it a problem. I passed my test on a very lightweight 250cc trail bike in the early 80's and went straight out and bought a Z1300 at almost 300kg and 100bhp more than the 250 but never really found it intimidating although I was 40 years younger!
    Asking other peoples advice for a good starter bike is fine but you'll get different opinions and the important thing is how you feel manhandling it, the riding position and feel of the controls. If you've done some trail riding in the past, personally I don't think you'll have any problems with any of the Classic Triumph range.
  14. PH1969

    PH1969 Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Get the one with the most power, you'll thank me later.
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