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I thought I'd write a comparison of these two great bikes, as I've now owned and spent quite a few miles on each of them.

For reference, my last 4 bikes have been:
  • 14 nineT classic (sold it at 5k miles, but still in the family)
  • 17 Triumph T120
  • 20 Triumph Speed Twin (sold @ 2500 miles)
  • 21 nineT Pure (just had it's first service)

I live in the NE US, so lots of cold weather riding, coupled with some hot, humid summer days. Been riding for nearly 20 years at this point and at this stage of my life, only keep one bike in the garage...so it has to do it all. I'll try to break this review into sections and if anyone is considering either of the Triumph's above or has questions about them, please ask...i enjoyed them both. This review will mostly focus on the ST vs the Pure.

Looks:

Simply put, the Speed Twin is an objectively good looking bike, even if a bit understated. Has great symmetry, the gauges are fabulous, and in silver (my personal choice), even the paint stood out. It looked like what you thought a nimble Triumph should look like. Some have painted the black spoked wheels silver, which I think made it even sleeker.

Conversely, the nineT makes more of a statement. It gets more attention when parked. It still has great lines, but (especially in the pure) benefits more from customizations than the Triumph. That being said, the new teal colorway really caught my eye and has garnered several comments from onlookers in the few short weeks I've owned it. The tach I've ordered should help it out too (at least to my eye). The new LED running light looks fantastic.

Seating/Riding Position:

I'm 5'8, 160lbs, 30" inseam. The Triumph is a smaller bike. It's noticeably narrower and feels significantly smaller when sat on it. Feels more like you're 'on it' than 'in it'. It's bars are noticeably narrower, it's pegs are slightly more rear-set and slightly higher...but it's reach to the bars is slightly shorter, so you do sit more upright than the 9T. I always toyed with the idea of putting slightly wider bars on, but never did. One thing to note...given my inseam...my knees never sat even with the tank when riding...they sat lower, nearer the cylinders, which always bothered me slightly. Couldn't quite get that squeeze the tank feeling i like.

The 9T puts me in a slightly more canted forward position...one that I tend to feel a little more in my lower back when I forget to bend at the hips. Reach to the bars is slightly more, but part of that is due to the bar width. Pegs are lower and slightly more forward. My knees get into the tank where i'd want them...let's me feel a little more connected to the bike. I also get pegs in the shins a bit when standing at a light. It's not egregious, but based on my seating position, my feet drop behind the pegs. On the Triumph, they're in front.

Clutch/Transmission:

The Triumph excels here, objectively. Clutch is lighter, shifting is smoother, upshifting is more positive. Stock levers were subjectively more comfortable for me, with more standard reach adjustment. Downshifting wasn't as satisfying for me as the 9T and engine braking was more prominent. Triumph has just done a nice job with the tranny here.

The 9T feels like farm equipment, in comparison (i kid a bit, but you get the idea). My 21 Pure still suffers from the sometimes vague 1st gear that I remember my Classic having years ago. I wish upshifting was more positive...with just a bit more feedback when getting into gear. But downshifting when rev-matching correctly is still very satisfying...in a way that the Speedy doesn't provide. Clutch feels ok and the weight isnt too heavy...in fact it's lighter than i remember my Classic feeling. Maybe my hand is just tougher, I dunno.

Engine:

In road modes, they're actually very similar. The Speedy might pull a little harder early, but the 9T pulls for longer.
The only other thing to note is the Triumph is more comfortable being lugged around in any gear. In stop and go traffic, the Speedy never complained when the RPM's got low or I got lazy with the clutch. The 9T complains a bit more.
Short of that, I think they're remarkably well matched and honestly down to personal taste.
Sound:

Pick your poison! My Pure and my Classic had the Akra twin cans and I like the way boxers sound. That being said, the stock cans on the Speedy sounded great, with a nice low, throaty rumble and the traditional Triumph intake whistle.
I think at cruising speed, the Speedy was more audible.

Cornering:

Quick or less quick...that's your real denominator. The Triumph turns in significantly quicker than the 9T...and when I first test rode it (coming from my T120) i almost thought it felt nervous. But I got used to it's feel over time and never felt nervous after that. It's quicker edge to edge, feels lighter (and narrower), and more akin to a sport bike. It also feels significantly more top-heavy at slow speeds and the steering lock feels narrower than you'd think.

The 9T is more stable, both at slow speeds and when on edge. I'm sure most of that is wheelbase and center of gravity, but it's more noticeable than I'd have thought.

Both suspensions get upset equally in bumpy corners, but it was never enough to make me uncomfortable. Then again, if you're heavier than I am, you might notice that more. The Speedy front end feels ever-so-slightly softer than the Pure's fork (both are on cast wheels, for reference).

Intangibles:

  • Shaft vs Chain...yadda, yadda.
  • Build quality on both is stellar. the 21 Pure's gauge still vibrates a little at speed, where the Speedy's metal ones don't. The info in the Triumph gauges is very useful too (fuel indicator, gear position, range, etc).
  • Fueling is better on the BMW. The Speedy is slightly abrupt in 'road', more so in 'sport'. Rain mode has great fueling and I ended up using it more than I thought I would when around town or when riding 2 up, but it does lessen the sporty feel. Conversely, the BMW's new modes do change the feel quite a bit...'rain' significantly lessens the overall response compared to 'road'...'Dynamic' boots it, but not a ton.
  • High speed stability feels better on the BMW, most likely due to wheelbase (again) and steering damper. It's buzzier though. That might be better on a new classic (vs my pure), but the Triumph is slightly less buzzy in the hands and feet (similar in the seat).
  • There's more engine heat than you'd think on the Triumph, especially since it's water-cooled. Nice in the winter months...not in the summer. Not offensive, but there.
  • Stock bar-end mirrors on the Speedy are actually very good.
  • 2-up riding they're about equal...but the Triumph's stock seat is more comfortable for my passenger

Conclusion:

In the end, I sold my 14 Classic as i needed something more 2-up capable. The T120 was wonderful at that. But I missed the sportier nature of the 9T. The Speedy came out and it seemed to fit the bill. It's a great bike, truly. But I missed the raw nature of the 9T. I missed the boxer sound. I missed the surefootedness. I also trust the BMW dealer and they're much closer to me than the nearest Triumph dealer, so support will be better, if needed.

So back to this new Pure. This time with cruise, riding modes, and heated grips. So far, it feels like it's here to stay.

141831
 

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2017 Pure
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Great write-up. Thanks for that.
The jumpy gauges irritated me as well, and I switched out the bracket and now the bounce is gone. BMW offers a cast metal bracket that I used with both clocks.

Better Bracket

 

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Thank you for the write up.

I realize there’s a time gap, but any sense as to how the 21 feels compared to your previous NineT? I assume it would be hard for you to certain without a direct comparison.
 

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I also always wonder about people choosing the right side up forks of the pure (or scrambler or racer or UGS) vs the upside down classics. To my eye, the pure looks better (more classic), but the suspension on the classic must be so much better.
 

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Great review, thank you. I just picked up the 2021 Pure in Teal last week and have really enjoyed it. I also added the Tach. Beautiful looking bike, love the sound and it's just plain fun. I traded my 2019 F750 GS which was a great bike, very comfortable, smooth, loaded with every option...I hope I don't regret it. On my first ride the Pure reminded me that I don't have a Quick Shifter anymore 😂 I'm planning on adding 2" Rox Risers and may have to address the seat.
 

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Terrific comparison post. Thanks very much for taking the time to write it! (y)

I never considered a Speed Twin, but maybe I should have. I really dig my 2020 Pure, so I don't feel like I missed out on anything, but the Speed Twin is a great looking bike. The 2021 in teal is gorgeous in person. I love my Pure in the Option 719 black/white paint scheme, but the teal is super nice. Coupled with the upgraded lighting and a couple options, that bike has had me thinking about trading mine in already. Unlikely to happen, but I'd considered it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the kind words folks...2 great bikes worth the writing time.

To answer a couple questions asked:

Between my older Classic and the new Pure: The first difference is in exhaust volume. They have (had) the same Akra twin can, but the Pure is noticeably quieter. I assume that's Euro 5 at work. I do remember my classic feeling a little more plush, especially up front...but it also had spoked wheels, different tires, and many more miles...so not a super fair comparison. Brakes feel very similar. Clutch might be a hair lighter feeling on the Pure.

Forks: Compared to the Speedy, the fork on the Pure feels very similar, if not slightly stiffer. I do remember my classic being a bit less upset in choppy corners, but then again, different wheels/tires, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm not the rider who's going to really test the limits of the fork when cornering...and I'm pretty light.

Tim: That black/white scheme from last year is stellar...I might have gone with that had I been able to find one. The teal does look better in person than online...really grabbed me when I walked into my dealer. At least I know where to trade if I ever need a quick change!
 
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