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Triumph Speed 400: First Ride Review

Authors Image

Suvil Susvirkar

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GalleryIntroductionThe VisualsThe PackageThe RideShould you buy it?

Introduction

Triumph Speed 400 Right Front Three Quarter

The Anglo-Indian partnership between Triumph Motorcycles and Bajaj Auto surprised most of us with an aggressive price tag for the British marque’s first budget-friendly, sub-500cc product, the Speed 400. This neo-retro style product is your cheapest ticket to be a part of the Triumph Motorcycles’ family, more so, for the first 10,000 customers who can avail of a special introductory price. But what makes this motorcycle so affordable? Also, does low pricing mean dull and boring? In this first ride review, we explain various aspects of the new Triumph Speed 400, including its styling, build quality, engine performance, and ride quality.

The Visuals

Triumph Speed 400 Left Front Three Quarter

The styling resemblance to the Triumph Speed Twin 900 and Speed Twin 1200 is instantly evident, and the new Speed 400, too, boasts a neo-retro design. Thus, this entry-level Speed series motorcycle features a round headlight, a semi-digital instrument cluster, a curvy fuel tank with an asymmetrically mounted chrome filler cap, a step-up seat, a side-slung exhaust, a sleek taillight, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The classic Triumph engine profile with a triangle badge, finned cylinder head, and exhaust header clamps further complements the styling and resembles the design of the motor on the higher-displacement retro-style Triumph products.

Triumph Speed 400 Right Rear Three Quarter

This motorcycle is available in three colours, and the unit in the photographs is the Carnival Red with Phantom Black paint theme. This, in my honest opinion, looks the most stylish on the list. Then, the Caspian Blue with Storm Grey colour option looks bold and likeable as well, while the Phantom Black with Storm Grey is ideal for people who prefer subtle paint themes.

Triumph Speed 400 Engine From Right

The styling is complemented by a commendable build quality, and the fit and finish look premium. The Triumph branding on the headlight and the fuel filler cap point to great attention to detail, while the 3D finish to the ‘Speed 400’ logo on the side panel adds a touch of premiumness to the package. There are, however, some elements that could have been better. The plastic around the instrument cluster, rubber cover for the USB charger, and the two-piece toolkit are clear indicators of cost-cutting. The toolkit, for example, is insufficient to do basic jobs such as adjusting the chain slack. But what about the rest of the package?

The Package

Triumph Speed 400 Left Side View

This motorcycle is powered by a newly developed, 398.15cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine with four valves and a dual-overhead-camshaft. Linked to a six-speed gearbox, this motor delivers a maximum output of 39.5bhp at 8,000rpm and a peak torque of 37.5Nm at 6,500rpm. The gearbox benefits from a slipper and assist clutch mechanism. Notably, the drive chain, similar to Triumph Motorcycles’ higher-displacement retro models, sits on the right side of the motorcycle. Then, the braking setup comprises 300mm front and 230mm rear discs with ByBre-sourced callipers and a dual-channel ABS.

Triumph Speed 400 Head Light

The electronics also include a traction control system that can be switched off easily if the rider wishes. Further, it gets full-LED lighting, a USB charger, and a semi-digital instrument cluster, which includes an analogue speedometer and an LCD screen. This compact display houses readouts such as a tachometer, fuel gauge, gear-position indicators, odometer, two trip meters, fuel economy indicator, distance to empty, and a digital clock.

Triumph Speed 400 Front Fender

Then, the suspension hardware includes 43mm upside-down front forks and a gas-charged rear monoshock. The front forks do not feature any adjustability. Meanwhile, the rear can be adjusted for 10 steps of preload. How well does this package work? In short, very well!

The Ride

Triumph Speed 400 Right Side View

The motor delivers a linear torque delivery, with nearly 80 per cent of the peak torque available from 3,000rpm. However, things get really exciting in the higher rev range, and 6,000rpm to 9,000rpm is the sweet spot to ride this motorcycle. This also makes for good highway characteristics, and the Speed 400 can cruise at 100kmph at just 6,000rpm. We also got to explore the performance of this engine without violating any traffic rules, as we managed to clock a speedometer-indicated top speed of 170kmph at Bajaj’s Chakan test track.Notably, while the refinement levels are fine for the most part, there is a significant buzz from the footpegs from 6,000rpm onwards.

Triumph Speed 400 Left Rear Three Quarter

Then, the gearbox feels crisp, and we did not suffer any shifting issues during the first ride review experience. The clutch has a light feel as well, but it’s not the lightest unit that we have tested in the recent past. Still, it isn’t cumbersome either, and one can get used to the setup very quickly.

Triumph Speed 400 Front Disc Brake

The engine performance is complemented by the braking setup that delivers a confidence-inspiring initial bite and a progressive feeling. Meanwhile, the suspension is tuned to deliver a comfortable ride quality and irons out almost every undulation on the road surface. Still, it isn’t too soft to affect the handling department. Thus, it feels sufficiently agile when pushing it from one side to another or while filtering through bumper-to-bumper traffic. What aids this short turning radius are the recesses at the front of the fuel tank that allow more room for the forks.

Triumph Speed 400 Bike Seat

The kerb weight of 176kg is sufficiently light, and you can easily lift the Speed 400 from the side-stand, and move it around with just a little bit of effort. Then, the 790mm of seat height and the narrow design of the rider’s saddle also makes it easily manageable, and flat footing was not an issue for me. For reference, I am 5’10” tall.

Should you buy it?

Triumph Speed 400 Right Side View

This has to be the easiest buying advice from me in the recent past. The Triumph Speed 400 looks stylish, feels premium, performs well, and rides comfortably – and all of this comes at a very appealing price tag of Rs. 2.23 lakh for the first 10,000 buyers. Units sold later will be available for Rs. 2.33 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi). Notably, there are some flaws that you may find bothersome. The vibrations from the footpegs in the higher rev band, a missing Bluetooth module, and the two-piece tool kit rob some points from the total list. However, the pros outweigh the cons by a big margin, and this motorcycle gets two thumbs up from me.

Photography by Kapil Angane

Gallery

Triumph Speed 400 Rear View Mirror
Triumph Speed 400 Rear Turn Indicators
Triumph Speed 400 Rear View Mirror
Triumph Speed 400 Pillion Seat
Triumph Speed 400 Tail Light
Triumph Speed 400 Silencer/Muffler
Triumph Speed 400 Bike Seat
Triumph Speed 400 Silencer/Muffler
Triumph Speed 400 Tail Light
Triumph Speed 400 Silencer/Muffler

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