The Speed 400 offers you so much more than just tremendous value.
When Triumph and Bajaj announced their partnership in 2017, there was excitement and also skepticism. Can Bajaj Auto rekindle the magic it had delivered when KTM made its India debut. We got the answer at the India launch and what a shocker it was for everyone present. With an introductory price of Rs 2.23 lakh (ex-showroom), Bajaj had not only delivered value but maintained the high quality standards expected from a Triumph bike. But does the Speed 400 feel like a proper Triumph and remains true to the DNA of the British brand? We test ride the new Speed 400 on the Bajaj test track and in the realworld to get you that answer.
A roadster needs to have visual appeal and unlike the Harley-Davidson X440, the Triumph Speed 400 looks gorgeous. I love the manner in which Triumph designers have merged classic and modern design elements. The Speed 400 falls under the modern classic range of bikes from Triumph and I feel it's an apt word to describe its styling.
Design influence of the Triumph Speed Twin is clearly visible and it has good proportions too so you’re guaranteed loads of attention with this bike. The Triumph Speed 400 is among those rare bikes that can move your emotions while standing still. While the styling is eye-catchy, what will make you appreciate this bike even more is its quality
The fit and finish is top notch, the panel gaps are tight and I love the anodised finish on the subframe and the handlebar. Another great design detail is the Triumph logo on the fuel cap, handlebar mount, engine case and footpegs; such small details make the bike look so upmarket. Even the switchgear looks premium and is among the best in the segment. If I had to be critical, the paint finish could have been a tad better, but it isn't a deal breaker.
While it looks like an old-school roadster, the Triumph Speed 400 is decently loaded in the features department. You get all-LED lighting, ride-by-wire, dual channel ABS and a switchable traction control system as well. The instrument cluster is a single-pod semi-digital unit.
There’s a large analogue speedometer and a small LCD screen that displays details such as TC setting, real-time fuel efficiency, distance to empty, trip meter and tachometer. I found the tachometer to be a bit too small and it isn’t easy to read on the move. There is no Bluetooth connectivity or navigation, however there is a Type C USB charger on the console to charge your phone.
The highlight of the Speed 400 is the all-new single-cylinder which has been developed from the ground up. Bore (89mm) is the same as the Dominar 400, but the stroke is different. According to Bajaj, they went with the same bore figure as it reduced engine development timeline and it suited the character of this powerplant. However, the internals are completely different though.
The Speed 400 makes 16% more power(40 bhp @ 8,000rpm) than its nearest competitor in the segment, but the highlight is the torque (37.5Nm @ 6,500rpm). 80% of which is made available at just 3,000 rpm. And the dollops of torque arriving at low rpm gives it that punchy nature. A healthy spread of low end torque also means that you can potter at city speeds in 3rd gear effortlessly.
The throttle response is sharp and snappy, it feels properly quick, not KTM quick, but for a roadster the performance is great and it sets a new benchmark. On the Bajaj test track I could see a speedo indicated top whack of 165kmph. Refinement is good, but you feel the buzz on higher revs, but once the bike settles at speed, it feels very calm. You can cruise at 120kmph easily, making it a proper mile Muncher.
The Speed 400 sports a 6-speed transmission with a slipper clutch. Gear shifts are precise and the clutch action is good, but actuation could have been a tad lighter for a more effortless ride at city speeds. Claimed fuel efficiency is between 25-30kmpl in the real world and with a 13 litre fuel tank, one can clock a range of around 300km, so less fuel stops while touring.
The Modern Classic range of Triumphs are renowned for their easy and predictable handling. Gladly, the Speed 400 carries forward that legacy as it feels stable around fast corners.
Only when you push it very hard does the rear feel a bit squishy, but then again you wouldn't actually go corner hunting with a roadster, you have the KTMs for that. Even riding through traffic, the baby Triumph feels agile and requires very less effort to change directions. There are two tyre options, we were riding the Apollo Alpha H1 and even on wet roads they feel assuring, but I can't comment on the MRF tyres.
Hop on the motorcycle and the first thing you notice, how low the 790mm seat height feels. It also narrows down near the fuel tank and this means shorter riders will have no issues. The Triumph Speed 400 is also among the lightest bikes in the segment at 176kg and moving it for parking is easy. The wide handlebar is set low, while the footpegs are centre-set, which results in an upright and comfortable riding posture.
Even for the pillion rider, there is loads of space and you don’t brush against the rider. Another important takeaway is that the touch points on the motorcycle feel premium and from behind the handlebar, you feel as if you're sitting on a premium motorcycle with a price tag upwards of Rs 7 lakh.
The Speed 400 comes equipped with a 43mm USD fork and a monoshock setup, both the units have been developed by Endurance. I was pleasantly surprised by the ride quality of the bike as it glided over undulations and broken roads. The rear monoshock was in the softest setting and even a few clicks up wouldn’t have unsettled the ride, only on sharp bumps one has to be a bit careful.
Stopping power is courtesy disc brakes on either end with dual channel ABS being standard. I did a hard stop at 120 kmph and it came to a standstill without any drama. Triumph claims that the Speed 400 has the best braking performance for a bike in this segment. While there is bite, the lever action is a bit too soft for my liking and there isn’t much feel through the lever.
Triumph had hit it out of the park with the pricing of the Speed 400 and it has disrupted the market. The first 10,000 units will retail for Rs 2.23 lakh and later the price will be Rs 2.33 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom), which is phenomenal!
So should you buy the baby Triumph just for the value quotient it delivers or is there more merit to the bike? And the answer is a resounding yes! The performance is exciting, handling is joyful, it looks gorgeous, offers a comfortable ride and last but not the least the quality of the bike is so premium! More importantly, the Speed 400 feels like a scaled-down Triumph rather than a motorcycle built at a cost with a Triumph logo.
And as expected Triumph has already received over 10,000 bookings for the new 400 family, which confirms that it has a winner on their hands. The British brand and Bajaj Auto have made their move, can its rivals retaliate? The battle royale of the premium entry-level bike segment has just commenced!
2023 KTM 390 Duke Review - The Benchmark!
Arun Mohan Nadar Sept 17, 2023
2023 Tata Nexon EV Review: Electric Ambitions
Ameya Naik Sept 13, 2023
TVS Apache RTR 310 Review: The Apache Goes Wild
Arun Mohan Nadar Sept 11, 2023
Exclusive: Kia EV9 Review
Siddharth Vinayak Patankar Sept 9, 2023
Asus ROG Ally Review: The Ultimate Handheld
Siddharth Chauhan Sept 8, 2023