The Triumph Speed 400 has entered the Indian market to make its presence felt as a fierce competitor in the 300-cc to 400-cc space. We swing a leg over it to find out if the Bajaj-Triumph partnership has figured out the winning formula.
The Triumph Speed 400 has been one of the most awaited launches of 2023. This is the first product to be born out of the Bajaj-Triumph collaboration and launched at a price of Rs 2.33 lakh (ex-showroom), it has already made waves in our market. The styling of the Speed 400 follows the silhouette of the bigger Speed Twin models; the bike sports a round LED headlight at the front and a well-finished, 13-litre, metal fuel tank. Towards the rear, the bike gets a single-piece seat that tapers upwards for the pillion. Completing the look at the rear end is a sleek LED taillight unit that has been really nicely integrated under the edge of the seat. The Speed 400 rides on 17-inch alloy wheels. The exhaust unit is proportionate to the size of the motorcycle and looks really premium. The dash is a digi-analogue display; the speedometer is an analogue unit with a small LCD display attached to it. This unit displays adequate information which is easy to read. In terms of features, the bike gets a USB charging port, dual-channel ABS and traction control, of which the latter is switchable.
As soon as I got astride the Speed 400, all of the elements felt premium and were put together really well. The attention to detail and the finishing of all the parts is top-notch. The riding position is really nice. With my 5.7 foot stature, I was really comfortable astride the Speed 400 and sitting in a commanding position. It is quite a compact motorcycle that gets a flat and wide handlebar which keeps a rider upright. The handlebar sports a set of round bar-end mirrors which have good visibility and look really neat. The seat height stands at 790 mm which is accessible to most riders and the bike has a kerb weight of 176 kg. The footpegs are in a neutral position which enables a rider to have a lot of fun through twisty sections of roads. The front end of the tank has creases on either side, allowing the bike to have a smaller turning radius, which is really nice for quick U-turns when the need arises.
This motorcycle makes use of a double downtube spine frame with a bolt-on rear subframe and sitting within is a 398.15-cc, liquid-cooled motor. This engine churns out 40 hp at 8,000 rpm, a peak torque of 37.5 Nm at 6,500 rpm, and is paired with a six-speed gearbox. The first thing I did appreciate is the torque assist, slipper clutch that you can release and the bike sails ahead smoothly without any input to the throttle all the way up to third gear. This makes the bike feel really effortless to maneuver in stop-go traffic. The throttle response is crisp, the clutch action is really light and the gearshifts are slick. As you get going, the power delivery is linear and the bike has good grunt in the mid-range rpm range. There is a slight surge in power once it crosses the 7,000 rpm mark and the bike redlines just before around the 9,500 rpm mark. I was able to get to an indicated top speed of 168 km/h in sixth gear. On the highway, the bike managed to cruise easily at 120 km/h and the best part is how planted it felt even through the pouring rain. After 120 km/h, the engine starts to feel a little stressed but still pulls quickly. Triumph claim that the bike can do a 0-100 km/h run in just about 7 seconds. This motor is also very tractable and can pull in sixth gear from as low as 45 km/h. With this motor, the Speed 400 lives up to its name. It can cruise and look pretty while doing so, but it is also a bike that can be ridden hard and really enjoyed. With the insane power and torque, the Speed 400 also loves pointing that front wheel towards the sky when you ask of it.
A lot of people seem to think that this is a rebadged Dominar engine. Taking a quick look at the bike, it is worth noting that the chain assembly sits just behind the exhaust unit which is on the opposite side when compared to the Dominar. This is one of the main visible elements we can see from the outside indicating that this is a brand new engine. Also, I can guarantee these worried customers that after one quick ride astride the Speed 400, all those thoughts should be put to rest as this engine has a very different character.
At the front end, you get 43-mm, golden USD forks and an offset monoshock unit at the rear supplied by Endurance. This suspension has been set up in such a way that the Speed 400 glides through undulations, speed breakers, and broken roads in a plush manner. This setup paired with the well-padded seat makes it a really comfortable motorcycle to cruise on for hours on end. Through a set of corners is where this thing really impressed me. It flows into corners and you have the confidence to really push and get lower because of its planted nature. This is also thanks to the new MRF Steel Brace tyres that our unit was equipped with. These are W rated tyres that are quite sticky and compliment the abilities of the Speed 400. Customers will either get these MRF tyres or Apollo tyres depending on the availability of the tyres and which dealership the bikes are purchased from. I did also get a short spin astride a unit fitted with the Apollo tyres and I can confirm that the performance is on par. The tyres held up in the wet too; all that is needed from a rider is smooth inputs to the throttle and they have traction control watching out for them as well. Throughout my ride, the traction control did not kick in and cut power unnecessarily so it is nice to see that it has been tuned according to Indian road conditions.
Braking equipment includes a 300-mm disc at the front and a 230-mm disc brake at the rear. In the city, this setup works really well and what I did appreciate is the callibration of the ABS. It kicks in smoothly and gets the bike to stop really well even in the wet so you have a lot of confidence braking hard.
The Speed Twin 1200 has been one of my favourite motorcycles since I got a chance to swing my leg over one. What I loved about it the most is how it appears to be a pretty motorcycle ready to cruise peacefully on the highway, but get astride it, open the throttle and you realize that it has a menacing engine that is ready for all kinds of hooliganism. It is nice to see that the single-cylinder Speed 400 is a similar story and stays true to the name of the Speed models from Triumph.
The Speed 400 is a great package when you consider the extremely competitive price of Rs 2.33 lakh (ex-showroom) that it is being offered at. It proves to be a superb motorcycle for everyday use in the city and with the claimed 29 km/l mileage, it will appeal to many customers in our market. In my opinion, the Speed 400 is the most gorgeous bike in its segment and also one of the most fun to ride. With the do-it-all character, Triumph surely has a winning product on its hands. We now look forward to riding the Scrambler 400X which will be launched in October and hope to see what other products the Bajaj-Triumph partnership will bring to the Indian market in the future.