New Member of the Garage – Triumph Speed Four

After the ten minutes with the Gen 1 SV650S as my track bike I was struggling to  think of something to replace it. I was looking for a naked middle weight bike with a little more power than a SV650 and adjustable suspension (if possible) Difficult question isn’t it? Well I sort of reduced it down to a list of one, the Triumph Speed Four. The speed four is basically a TT600 without the fairing, bug eyes and a re-tuned engine. I kept an eye out for one for several months and even halfheartedly bid on one or two. I sort of gave up on the idea for a while and I noticed one on Gumtree just round the corner from me so I went to see it and ………………. yep I bought it!!!

So I am the proud owner of a 2004 Triumph Speed Four. As I said this bike is essentially a Triumph TT600. The TT600 was acclaimed as a fantastic handling bike with an engine that wasn’t quite as powerful as the contemporary Japanese 600’s with a badly set up fuel injection system. The TT was produced from 2000 to 2003 and then was replaced by the Daytona 600, by the time they started making the Speed Four, 2002 to 2006, they had ironed out most of the fuel injection problems, possibly helped by the returning of the engine for more mid-range. When I rode the bike I was surprised how torquey the engine was, it sort of reminded me of a Bandit 1200, but less all around.

The bike when I picked it up had a few issues that need addressing, which are:

  1. Chain and Sprockets – The chain is very loose and it is on the maximum adjustment…… so that’ll be a new set then, though it can be a chance to change the gearing, standard is 14/42
  2. Handlebars – The bike has a LSL tubular handlebar conversion, but the set they have on are a little cow horn like, I would like to replace them with something a little lower
  3. The left hand air intake is cracked – It looks like the bike has been over on it’s side at some point and the left-hand air intake was cracked, but has been glued back together, but not that well.
  4. Also when it fell over it damaged the crankcase cover, nothing major just  bit of grazing.
  5. The bike still has the standard exhaust which is the heaviest thing in the world, I am surprised that it doesn’t collapse under it’s own weight and form a black hole. I am looking for a replacement, it seems that early ZX6 and Bandit 1200 exhausts fit so that’s where I’m looking as they are going to be generally cheaper.
  6. The tyres are Avon Storm sports touring tyres, these will not cut it on track so they will need changing too.
  7. Mushy Brake Lever. Triumph in their infinite wisdom choose to fit 14mm master cylinders on some of their bikes  which makes the lever travel (seem) huge, which I hate. I really like a firm one (Fnaaarrrr fnaarrr!) so will be fitting a larger bore master cylinder, we have had some success fitting a SV650 master cylinder to a Triumph (Daytona 650)and I have a SV650 master cylinder kicking around the garage so that sounds like a plan.

So here is what I have done with the bike so far:

  1. Chain and sprockets……….. not addressed this yet, still thinking about what gearing to go for or whether to change to 520 pitch chain or leave it 525 pitch.
  2. Handlebars…………. still not moved on this one either
  3. Left hand air intake. R-Bert has been working on this for a while and done a fantastic job, you cannot see it has ever been damaged. However he is having some problem with the paint reacting, but I am sure that he will gett there in the end and it will look as good (if not better than) new.
  4. Grazed Crankcase Cover. Not sure if I will do anything about it, I will probably try tidying the cover first and re-painting it, unless a cheap secondhand one comes up.
  5. Standard Exhaust. I have managed to acquire a nice period stainless steel twin outlet exhaust which fitted in about 5 minutes and looks a lot better and sounds better too……… and it weighs about a 10th of the origianl.
  6. Wrong tyres. I’ve not moved on this yet, but I think I will be looking at Bridgestone BT16 Pro’s they are good tyres at a good price at the moment.
  7. Mushy brake lever. I have fitted the SV650 master cylinder and the lever feel is much, much better.


About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias