Why buy it?
Gets commendable build quality
Good ride and handling
Affordable asking price
Why avoid it?
Low on features
Lacks road presence
The buzz that Triumph created with the launch of the Speed 400 across the nation was quite high. With the aggressive price tag, it went even further and had everyone intrigued about the bike. The same was the case with everyone in the BikeWale team as we were about to conduct a proper road test review soon after the first ride. So, did our excitement ripen into a content experience with the Triumph Speed 400, or did it leave us wanting more? Here’s our answer.
Styling and Quality
The Triumph Speed 400 looks like a thorough mix of retro styling with modern bits, and that too, in a balanced manner. Its round headlight, wide handlebar, partially ribbed seat, and two-tone paint scheme gel together for a very enticing and clean look. That said, the bar end mirrors and the slim build also give it a slightly sporty demeanour. We also like the two-tone paint scheme and the Triumph logo in white on the fuel tank. Overall, the Speed 400 is a thoroughbred Triumph bike in every aspect. However, in terms of visual quotient, the Speed 400 could benefit from a slightly larger size as it appears slightly smaller for a 400cc two-wheeler. Now, that’s not necessarily a flaw, but appearance sells.
On the quality front, Triumph has knocked it out of the park with the Speed 400 in the 300-400cc segment. The overall fit and finish, paint and plastic quality, as well as the welds, are quite up-market. After riding it for about a week, we haven’t come across any shoddy fits or flimsy switches. The only area where we saw scope for improvement is the plastic bit around the circular part of the instrument console. But overall, the Speed 400’s quality department is well executed. An add-on we would recommend for buyers is the tank grips for gripping the tank well.
Ergonomics and Comfort
It’s evident from the Speed 400’s styling that the rider triangle isn’t very demanding. Rather, on a good note, this swanking-looking bike is quite engaging and fun to ride. You sit ‘on’ the bike since the seat is pretty flat with a shallow scoop for the rider. Then, the footpegs are slightly rear set and the handlebar is wide but neutrally set. So, you end up with your back straight and get enough leverage from the shoulder and elbows to move as needed.
Then, there’s more than enough space for the rider to move around on the seat if needed. Even the pillion area is adequately spacious and comfortable with decent cushioning. I rode the Speed 400 from Pune to Mumbai at a stretch in pouring rain and it didn’t disappoint in terms of comfort. Despite weighing 176kg, the bike can be easily moved around in the parking area, whether you are on the saddle or pushing it around. The handlebar is low enough for the rider to stand on the left side, get a good hold of it, and move the bike around.
Performance and Handling
Triumph has gone with a 398.15cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor for the Speed 400. It makes 39.5bhp and 37.5Nm and gets a six-speed gearbox. It climbs the revs quite quickly and can be kept on the boil whenever needed. But Triumph has done a good job of muting the noises and keeping the overall NVH levels low. The bike gets a good low-end grunt to ride at ease in the city and even better mid-range to cruise on the freeway. However, the Speed 400 doesn’t shy off from revving above 8,000-9,000 rpm either. Its engine feels well-packed and guns for speeds above 135kmph without hesitation. The clutch feels decently light and modulates low speeds comfortably once you get used to it. Then, the short wheelbase and visible front end make it even more predictable while squeezing between tight spaces. We feel the gearbox could be slightly smoother with upshifts, but nothing alerting here.
The heat dissipation worked well since we encountered torrential downpours on the first day and light showers throughout the week of the ride. So, the cool ambient temperature worked in tandem with the radiator fan.
On the handling side, the Speed 400 is as youthful as you can make it to be. It’s quite obedient when riding around corners and is fun while you are at it. The wide handlebar offers notable leverage when leaned over and responds to the inputs without a second thought. We rode it in the ghats as well as in the city and were left with a grin. However, the front end feels slightly heavy and it reflects when taking complete U-turns. Hence, being a little cautious would be better so that the bike doesn’t topple.
Then, there’s the suspension which is another highlight of the Speed 400. It’s pliant and absorbs bumps without sending hard jolts to your back. While you would feel the undulations to a certain extent, it isn’t bothersome. The bike feels stable when ridden in a straight line at high speeds and also in the corners. The front and rear disc brakes have enough bite to reduce the speed in a predictable manner without the ABS intruding. The brake lever progression and feel are also nice and have good feedback.
Features and Tech
Along with the full LED illumination, the Speed 400 has quite minimal features. Its list includes a semi-digital instrument console with an analogue speedometer and an LCD for the tachometer, gear position indicator, trip meter, fuel level readout, and clock. Apart from that, Triumph has given the Speed 400 a USB charging port for added convenience. That said, it misses out on smartphone connectivity and navigation, which would have been a good value-adding feature. On the safety front, the bike gets dual-channel ABS, traction control and a side-stand engine cut-off sensor.
During the BikeWale fuel efficiency test, the Speed 400 returned 29.88kmpl of mileage. This was after riding it in mixed traffic conditions in the city and the highway. Moreover, if you pair the aforementioned figure with the Speed 400’s 13-litre fuel tank, then it can offer around 390km of range, which is a decent number. However, that is also subject to change as per your riding style and conditions.
Should You Buy It?
The Triumph Speed 400 ticks a majority of the boxes when it comes to making a good urban motorcycle. It has a peppy motor with a decent low-end and mid-range and the handling is also likeable out on the highway, ghats, and even dense traffic. The brakes and tyres compliment the agile handling and allow you to ride spiritedly when you can. Last but not the least, the build quality on the Speed 400 is just as good as what we see on some of the significantly more expensive motorcycles in the Triumph line-up.
While the Speed 400 may not have outright flaws, we feel it only needs a little more polishing. In its current state of tune, this engine feels slightly choppy and the transition from 2,000-3,000rpm could be smoother. This also boils down to the throttle opening and the overall tune. So, there’s scope and possibility for improvement there. Then, the Speed 400’s road presence isn’t as high as you’d expect it to be. But this applies to only those who want it for bragging rights of owning a Triumph bike. To conclude, it is fair to say that Triumph has made a very likeable motorcycle and one that’s easy to live with too.
So should you spend Rs. 2.33 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) on the Triumph Speed 400? Yes, you can since there’s a premium feel to the bike with a dash of engaging riding experience and commendable brand value as well.
Photography by Kapil Angane