Even before its release, Triumph’s new Street Triple had big shoes to fill, with pressure to deliver improvements over the outgoing generation. The 675 was known among other qualities, for an engine smooth as glass, with a very linear power curve, making it a very manageable and predictable machine. Triumph has managed to maintain those qualities, while driving further improvement, all in a package for a street focused naked.
The angular bug eyed headlamps have made way for a curvier set, with softer edges for easy-on-the-eyes look and trick looking LED Daytime Running Lights for visibility, fitting with the times. While that headstock somehow reminds me of a praying mantis, fact is I think mantises are cool, so I’ll take these any day too. I’m told Triumph spent a good deal of time developing the TFT cockpit display shared by the R and RS models, I love how easy it is to read and operate yet carries a look of sporty sophistication about it.
Spoiled for choice with multiple readout styles to choose from, Triumph went on to offer 5 different engine maps in the RS for Street, Sport, Track, Rain and Rider, with fully customizable settings for traction and throttle response, augmented with engaging graphics. Readout styles are easy to read and contrast automatically with the time of day, thanks to a photoelectric sensor. Navigation through these is done by joystick and 2 thumb operated buttons but remains easy to work, making the operation child’s play.
Sleek looks carry on down the rest of the machine, while fit and finish are top notch with nothing allowed to flap or flex with the wind. The test model came with Triumph’s own accessory frame sliders, crafted in the deepest forges of the British empire, coated in wrinkle black and embossed with the Triumph brand to protect the buzzing triple. For a bike this compact, Triumph claims unspecified weight loss, making me wonder exactly how much weight the previous generation was carrying, since the Street Triples before have always jostled for the title of the lightest in the middleweight naked segment.
The triple cylinder engine, bumped up to 765cc pumps just a touch over 121 bhp and 77Nm of torque at peak, boasting a pretty linear power curve, making for exhilarating rides carving out curves outside of the city where demands for acceleration/deceleration come fast and furious. Lightweight internals, pistons included probably contribute to the triple’s ability to move across the rpm range with such ease. I was amazed at how fast the motor goes both ways, up and down the rpm range but especially up, translating the dramatic display on the gauge to acceleration at the wheel, while running silky smooth the entire time. I caught myself mesmerized by the gauge many times, watching the too good to be true readouts and the exciting graphic display across the screen. Getting up to 90km/hr and beyond might as well have been by pure thought.
The exhaust note buzzes with more excitement than a hornet’s nest, with a respectable volume to announce its presence. Not one of these will pass you by without catching your attention.
Triumph surprised us with just how frugal their twins can be. We can now add their triple to this claim too. While cruising down the highway at 90-ish km/hr, or about 50-60mph, real time consumption dropped as low as 4.6L/100Km. What a hit for an engine that loves being revved up like a kid on sugar and caffeine. At fourth gear on “Road” mapping, the front end still makes attempts to lift off the tarmac. Triumph’s fly by wire throttle is spot on through the entire rotation without a hiccup.
A well loved feature of the Street Triples are their handling abilities. Light and nimble, this has carried on to the latest generation. Given what I’ve heard from owners of previous generations, it’s gotten better. The engine sits at the lowest point of the frame and points forward, running between 17″ wheels. The Street Triple is light and flicks like a leaf in the wind, almost by the power of will, committing to turns with nigh but the slightest touch. Clutch pull is light with Triumph’s torque assist and slipper clutch, while a quickshifter keeps the fun levels from plateauing with easy up shifts. The gearbox can however be a little particular with downshifts and require some coordination with the throttle hand. You won’t be penalized for opting to use the clutch lever for that action.
Braking duty is handled up front by dual Brembo Monoblocs and a single piston Brembo unit out back. Brake hard enough and your eyeballs might feel compelled to kiss the helmet visor. Triumph also included a nifty MCS lever with the front radial brake pump, allowing adjustments for both reach and braking ratio.
Damping and shock absorption duty for the front falls on a set of Showa big piston forks, transferring feel from the road while generously absorbing most of the bumps we encountered. An Ohlins monoshock takes care of the rear, both are adjustable to suite preference. Like a certain company’s product boasts, “Real Feel”, the front end always felt sharp and precise, never vague. I knew what it was doing all the time. I’d like to add that the OEM choice of shoes, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas are stickier than lizard feet and always surefooted. Time in the saddle was also comfy and plush although the pillion seat felt a little thin and not very pillion focused.
In the city, the Street Triple RS felt at home as a go to commuter with its easy handling and control characteristics but gobbled down the curves and straights we threw it at once we left the city. Acceleration and braking were nothing short of top notch, with the 765 triple rolling about the rpm range easily, eager to deliver whatever we wanted on demand. I’d eat my hat if there was ever any track focused naked that could be this functional and well suited for the urban environment yet be this engaging and fun just as easily. – TGA
The Triumph Street Triple RS retails at $33,500 with COE and Road Tax at Triumph Singapore (Mah Pte Ltd).
Professional photos as always taken by Barry Seah – The Motorgrapher. As the Motorgrapher, Barry creates original and creative professional portraits for his clients and their beloved machines, while injecting inspirational touches making them one off centrepieces. His work can be viewed on http://motorgrapher.com/ and http://www.barryseah.com/.