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Triumph Speed Twin vs Norton Commando 961: Which Is Better?

 Triumph Speed Twin vs Norton Commando 961: Which Is Better?



        this is the Triumph Speed twin and it’s long been right up there with my favorite retro motorcycles because it’s fast fun and looks absolutely spot on but thing is Norton have brought back their Commando now re-engineered and they say better than ever so which British branded sporty retro is actually the best in 2023 while myself and Tim took them both out for a spin to find out [Music] thank you but before we get started I just want to say a massive thanks to Louis Moto for supporting the channel and sponsoring this video today I’m wearing their dljm8 jacket from their in-house detlef Lewis Retro Brand which perfectly suits this style of bike and I’ve been super impressed with the quality and fit especially considering the price point which I think is excellent but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Lewis Moto store because they stock gear 


accessories tools and parts not only from their own Brands but also the biggest and best names in motorcycling so there should be something for everyone at all different budgets and whilst their stores are largely based in Germany and the rest of Europe they also ship to the UK with fast delivery and free returns so I’d thoroughly recommend you check out the link down in the description to all of their awesome deals I’ll also put a link down there specifically to this jacket as well once again a massive thanks to Luis Moto for their support and with that we’ll get on with these two Bikes let’s get started with one of the most important aspects of retro motorcycle ownership and that’s how the bike looks the speed twin is a great Benchmark with loads of attention to the details and a high level of 


quality in the Finish clearly there are some visual references that tie in nicely with the Bonneville family but this one has a bit of a sporty naked kind of riding style and so to fit in with its Persona they’ve given it a slightly stripped back appearance and a bit of a forward slanting lean that adds a touch of aggression the other thing to note which you might have noticed on this bike is the orange paint job a couple of years ago Triumph came in for a little bit of criticism for not doing anything really Beyond black and muted colors and so recently across their whole lineup to be fair you’ll see lots more pop-in and vibrant color choices but this is really at the extreme end of the spectrum this is Baja orange which I think goes back to I just realized it’s the same color as the street same color as my street triple that you loved right you like that oh I actually have grown to like this color I think so you were right all along over to the Commando it’s got a little bit of a different vibe there hasn’t it I really like the fact that it’s got really polished 


Chrome areas on it which normally I think I would shy away from on my bike one because they’re hardest to maintain but also it’s maybe a little dated looking but on this I think it really works and I wouldn’t have it any other way and then it comes to like the overall shape of it things like the rear section on this between the two I don’t know whether you’d agree I much prefer looking at the tail section on this so the speed twin is a little neater and sleeker as you probably expect from a higher production bike the Norton though has a bit more passion and Flair if not quite as refined on the details like the switch gear but that’s what you probably expect from something that’s handmade more expensive and made in lower volumes so I think I know where your vote’s going on this category Commando yeah easily it’s just a little bit more arresting right people stop and asking questions about so I think I’m gonna have to go speed twin although I will say I agree it probably means a little bit of customization to make it feel like special the other somewhat superficial aspect of retro ownership is that you do 


want something that sounds nice and I think this category is not really up for debate no it’s it’s that absolute walk away win for the Norton surely [Applause] the source of the sound is pretty similar in these two bikes with the big parallel twins but the Norton has much more depth and richness and it must be down to the free of flowing exhaust system with the huge bass inducing exit at the silencer and while the speed Wing can be improved massively with a set of aftermarket exhausts still straight from the factory the Commando Sounds by Far and Away the best and so it has to take the two points on the engine front it does feel like the Triumph is a bit of an advantage I mean there are two big advantages number one it’s the 1200 so you’ve got like 250cc more capacity but also it’s liquid cooled as well in it so whereas you’ve got the more old-school air-cooled engine on the Norton this one is a bit more modern it will rev up a little bit more it’ll make that bit more power and you feel it don’t you on the road you definitely do yeah I mean in this one’s favor it’s a really hard thing to quantify and I think it gets overused as a word but character full it is a characterful engine and you have to 


really appreciate that it Vibes a lot more doesn’t it it definitely Vibes a lot more yeah we’ve spoken about the fact that it’s a treat for the sensors you get sights sounds smells feelings it’s a very complete package this one but there is no question if you want a fast bike then that’s the pick the other thing you’ve got here on the speed twin is that you’ve got three riding modes so Rain Road and Sport to be honest it doesn’t really need the sport mode so much because even in Road mode it is this very direct throttle response it’s got the ride by throttle and basically you feel like you twist it and it gives you the exact same amount of shove straight out the back wheel it’s so talky that it’s uh pretty unbelievable really it’s a much faster bike than it looks and so I think we’re gonna have to give this one to the speed twin aren’t we yeah for power performance definitely now on the questioner handling though it’s not quite so straightforward I mean this is a great handling bike and it does feel more compact I suppose you know you’re 

Triumph Speed Twin vs Norton Commando 961: Which Is Better?


up and over the front a bit aren’t you like uh it feels more like a Speed Triple or something like that like a modern Roadster than it does uh the rest of the Bonneville family like the t-100 or the t120 you know it really does go nicely around bends for a retro and it breaks well and suspension’s okay but it just feels like the Commando is a little step up yeah I definitely prefer the feel of this one I feel much more connected with it it just kind of gets out of your way and lets you flow through the corners I get what you’re saying because this bike’s on its nose I don’t know if that means it just needs a bit of a shove to turn in and also I do feel like trying you know the one area they’ve checked out a little bit is on the shocks you don’t have that Sumptuous ride quality that you do on the Norton and I think that’s a product of this bike being built to a price whereas the Commando feels a little bit more like it’s been built sort of money new object lovely adjustable early in suspension front and rear on the Commando you really do feel that step up in ride quality and of course the adjustability is going to mean you can get it exactly 


down to your weight your riding style and all that kind of good stuff and I do get what you’re saying it feels like effortless despite the fact that it’s a little bit heavier so I think points for this one what do you think mate oh it’s definitely going to be to the more poised Norton for me so two nil to the Norton each bike clearly has its own strengths but the big piece of context we’re missing is the price and it’s quite a substantial difference the speed swing comes in at 11 795 pounds for the most basic black paint job and while you will pay a little bit more for the orange you see here for example it doesn’t even come close to the Commando which starts at 16 999. so look purely from a perspective of getting a sporty retro for the lowest price you can save five grand with the Triumph but I don’t think that’s what the Norton is really about yeah I mean we went around the factories today in fact and saw where the money goes once you’ve had that it’s definitely much easier to justify the price difference between these two yeah we saw through the glass of bloke kind of lovingly hand polishing some of the parts that were going on some of the other bikes and you kind of see that level of detail 


and you see that in the Finish as well yeah but still with all that said I think you have to give this one to the Triumph and so that’s another two points that makes it five a piece in total and so the big question question remains which bike would we actually buy if it were our own money even considering have an extra five grand in my pocket if I went that route I would still personally go for the Norton Commando and I think the majority goes down to the fact that it is in my opinion a little bit more special I think I’ll probably go here because it’s so addictive the way it’s got that immediate throttle response almost like KTM sort of Super Duke Vibe you just turn the throttle and it just thrusts forward and so for me I think I find that hard to turn down spend the rest of it on getting a nice exhaust custom paint job but as always we’d love to know your pick down in the comments below so do let us know and in fact if you want to see what’s possible with a custom speed twin I think over the years I’ve made three separate videos about different custom jobs so I’ll make a little playlist and put it on the screen over by Tim I wouldn’t cover you up it’ll be sort of um in the sort of crutch or read yeah click on my Crunch and if you’re new here and you want to see more videos like this please do hit subscribe many thanks for watching today and we’ll see you in the next one bye

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