I’ll admit, I was among the skeptical about the new Street Twin: How the hell could a larger displacement motor only make 54hp? Is the torque really going to be there across the band. Triumph shit the bed.

I was spectacularly wrong.

I got a chance to demo the Street Twin 900 this morning, and while I didn’t have it long enough to get an idea if the gas mileage estimates are true, or if the seat will be comfortable over long rides (I suspect it will be on par with the standard older Bonneville saddles), I have a really good idea of the handling and power. The torque comes on immediately and doesn’t let go until about the ton. Yes, I got it over 100mph and it still had plenty of power. It’s a squirty bike, blasting through traffic effortlessly.

I found I was cruising at 35mph in town in second gear. I didn’t go into fifth until I had gotten over 80mph. Passing a tree-filled truck on Old Route 66 outside of town, I popped the throttle in fourth gear and jumped from 75 to 85 in a blink. Similarly, passing traffic on the highway was easy. My guess — top end is between my 2010 Thruxton’s 122 and 130mph.

Handling — the bike is smaller than the old Bonneville, it’s lighter, the center of gravity is very low. It turns as easily as the Ducati Scrambler, is well mannered and stable, and the slipper clutch is effortless. I can’t stress how easy this bike is to ride, and ride hard.

If you don’t want to pay the $11k or more Triumph will be asking for the Bonnevilles and Thruxtons, you are not going to be disappointed with the “small” Street Twin — it’s brilliant!