Picture the scene if you will. It's 2006, we're in the middle of a recession and another Government still ignores the benefits of motorcycles to the detriment of UK road users everywhere.
Meanwhile, insurance premiums have soared for sportsbikes and Cliff Richard hits number one with a cover of Smack My Bitch Up. Scary. But it could happen and at the morning roll call of motorcycling in this apocalyptic horror, naked middleweights like the new Speed Four could be our saviours. Fun, on road, furious on track, but without the associated and inflated costs.
In all honesty, initially I thought the Speed Four looked like something Ainsley Harriot had made on Ready Steady Cook with tripe. And this was despite my unreserved love for the Speed Triple. But, in the sun-kissed pitlane at Cartagena, that beam frame doesn't seem so out of place and the whole thing looks good.
Cartagena is a twisty little track and just the place to show up a bike's handling and by golly is this bike handy. Believe it. This bike will run rings around the likes of the Hornet, Fazer and the SV650 on the track and could even fry some bigger fish. The reason is the chassis - there's nothing but good old TT600 stuff beneath your cheeks, and for all the TT's foibles one thing it always did well was handle. So all this means you've got a top supersports chassis and fully adjustable suspension. That last comment does it.
Naked middleweights are normally budget with a capital B. This one ain't. That's why you get fully adjustable suspenders, where the competition are built down to a price.
As standard, things were a little too soft on the road for me. More resistance up front helped, while on track the firmer base settings were beefed up further for my extra poundage. Once I'd done this, the bike started to show what it was really capable of. You could really stuff it into the braking zone hard which helps, as Cartagena's alluring curves sucker you into a sticky situation quicker than two bottles of wine and your best mate's missus.
Click to continue the Triumph Speed Four review
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