You could be forgiven for passing off the Triumph Street Cup as a budget version of the Thruxton, but that’s not really the intention from Triumph, apparently. The Street Cup forms one of three strands of DNA in the Modern Classic range. Essentially, if it starts with the word ‘Street’ you’re looking at a bike that has the high torque 900cc parallel twin and two other brothers that share the same motor and skeleton. It’ll make around 54bhp and have a healthy 80Nm of torque. Regardless of whether it’s a Street Twin, a Street Cup, or the very cool Street Scrambler, it’ll have ABS, traction control, a fighting weight of around 220kilos and a different set of manners in comparison to the other two bikes that share the forename.
On paper (or under glass) at least, the Street Cup is a long way off the specification of a Thruxton, but what it lacks in hardware it makes up for with a cool set of clothes and the confident swagger of a bike that’s making more power than it actually does. The ‘Ace’ dropped bars look awkward until you put them in your hands, they shift your weight from the middle of the bike towards the front of the bike and the slightly taller (in comparison to the Street Twin) rear shocks do a great job of doing the same. The small geometric change has a sizeable impact on how the bike turns in. It’s keen to tuck into corners and needs little more than a nudge to set it on the right path. The Street Twin wasn’t exactly hard to ride to be fair, but it wasn’t pitching itself as an aggressive Café Racer that this bike is. The cute looking fly screen and tail unit compliment the style of the bike, they help it look the part rather than making it look silly. Regardless of the figures on paper, the Street Cup is a pretty little thing. There’s something about the shape of the tank, the spoked wheels and the paint style that Triumph has chosen that reminds me of an XS Yamaha. No bad thing at all, in my opinion and I’m pretty sure I share that opinion with whoever designed the Yamaha Scrambler Desert Sled that Ducati launched a few weeks ago…
Obviously you can choose from a ginormous range of accessories in your local Triumph showroom, I picked a few bits and pieces up for a closer look on the launch and the level of fit and finish was very good. If the devil really is in the detail then Triumph has clearly accepted a friend request from Beelzebub, everything from the way the wiring is routed around the front of the bike to the stitching on the Union Jack gloves is way better than I remember it being a few years ago. Simple additions to the Street Cup in the form of a fly screen and a seat cowl also show hoe well Triumph are playing this game at the minute. Just enough of a visual difference to force a second glance, without the need to whack the price tag through the roof due to over engineering the thing.
Anyway, the most important thing to consider with a bike like this, is how it rides. If you like the way it looks and it’s within your budget, it’d be easy to get carried away and buy the thing before you’ve actually poked around on the road to see if it’s up to the job. Our test route began in a deserted city. I think it was Seville, but I’m not too sure. All I know is that I got up at half three in the morning in London and by lunchtime I was riding.
The roundabouts all had negative camber and the road surface kept shifting from polished junk to grippy Tarmac. The SC felt light underneath me. I’d never have guessed it has the 200 plus kilo dry weight that it carries. The simple suspension did a good job of soaking up last minute lane changes and brake application, it quickly proved itself to be a great town bike. That relatively low seat height means you’re finding the floor easily, the low (ish bars) mean you sacrifice a tiny amount of forward visibility in comparison to the Street Twin, but when you catch your reflection in a shop window and realize how much cooler the Street Cup looks, you’ll forgive it the odd misdemeanor.
Motorway manners were good. Winding it up in fifth showed nothing but smooth fueling and a power curve that I doubt has any real peaks or dips. It just churns out the numbers until it runs out of puff. For me, that equated to about 110mph. I could possibly have squeezed a few more but it didn’t feel like the right thing to do. 90mph cruising is comfortable for both the rider and the bike.
Off the motorway on onto a peach of a road, if you’re looking for a secret gem to ride near Seville, email me and I’ll send you the details. The road surface was racetrack smooth, the corners running a constant radius and the traffic non-existent. It went on like this for what felt like miles and we went at it like anyone in our position would do. Un adjustable 41mm Kayaba forks were capable. Of course I’d have liked some swanky adjustable jobs with a bit more performance, but as it was, these were just fine. Certainly more than enough for 99% of the people that’ll end up buying one of these. More importantly the suspension feels well matched to the power the bike makes, the chassis and the brakes. I will say that the two-piston, single disc front would be the first thing I’d look to upgrade.
I know I said on the Bobber that the front brake was the weakest link, but I could live with it on that bike. On the Street Cup, I’d definitely want a more lively front brake. I get the feeling that this upgrade might have me chasing my tail and having to upgrade the suspension, which could possibly leave me wanting another 40bhp, but it is what it is. If you want more performance from your Triumph, buy a Thruxton. I’d be more than happy to leave this bike as it is if I one hundred percent believed that I could get on it wearing jeans and trainers and ride it accordingly. The problem is a good one, the Street Cup is a willing performer. It quite likes being pushed around and will work with you if you want to ride faster, all the while making a sweet noise through the standard exhaust system. It’s the kind of bike that rewards smooth inputs with swift progress. Don’t hurry the gearshift, don’t force it to deal with multiple inputs and don’t ever let go of the throttle and you’ll ride faster than you thought possible with just 54bhp. I’m not convinced if we rode this bike back to back with the Street Twin that we’d be able to ride too much faster, but I do know that this bike feels more fun when you’re riding fast. It’s easier to put it into a corner, thanks to those subtle changes in body position. In short, it feels more like a Café Racer than the Street Twin because it is a Café Racer.
Whether the Street Cup is faster than the Street Twin or not isn’t really that important. What’s important is how this bike makes you feel. I enjoyed cutting around town on it almost as much as I enjoyed firing it up and down the amazing roads that Triumph treated us to. I can’t argue that in some ways you could look at this bike and think that it needs more power, better brakes and stiffer suspension. On the other hand you could look at it and think that you have a bike with all the poise and pose of a Café Racer, along with the heavyweight heritage that Triumph badge on the side carries, but without the heavyweight price tag of the Thruxton. Whether your cup is half empty or half full is up to you, for me this Cup is most definitely half full. Grab a test ride and see for yourself. In the meantime, watch this video.
Words: @Johnatsuperbike Images: Triumph