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Reviewed: Triumph Street Triple R

headline

The naked middleweight category is one of the most hotly contested in motorcycling, and competition for dominance in this crowded space is fierce. Most of the main manufacturers have at least a couple of bikes in the ring, fighting for their place in the sun. And they’re all good bikes – they have to be to survive – from the old favourites such as the Suzuki SV650 and Yamaha MT-07 to the new kids on the block, the Honda Hornet and the Suzuki GSX-8S. So, where does the new Triumph Steet Triple R fit into the picture? We rode one to find out…

 

on-the-road

 

Triumph has had a strong stake in the middleweight naked bike game since it launched the first Street Triple in 2007. What started as little more than an undressed Daytona 675 has been tweaked and updated along the way, with the most significant change emerging in the shape of the new 765cc engine, which in turn became the platform forTriumph’s Moto2 project. As the sole engine supplier to the race series, Triumph can claim that the Street Triple is the closest you will get to riding a Moto2 machine. Although, to be fair, there are levels of differentiation here: The Street Triple R (£9595) we tested is the road-focused option, while the RS (£11,295) is a more track-friendly model. And then there’s the limited-edition Moto2 model (£13,795) which is even closer to the race bikes in terms of spec. It looks mega, but I’m not a racer. And, as I was testing the bike only on roads, the R seemed like the best option to take out.

 

testing-out-triumph-street-triple-r


The latest Street Triple still retains the ‘bug eyed’ look of its predecessors, with slightly more refined lines to fit with the times. The bike looks compact and accessible, with a roomy rider’s seat, and in contrast, a tiny pillion perch. The exhaust end can is small and stubby, and everything looks like it has been deliberately made as small as possible. The overall aesthetics are really pleasing, although some detail, such as the routing of wires, is not quite as neat as in some other Triumphs. And then there are the reflectors bolted on the front brake calipers, which look like an afterthought at best. But look past them, and the Street Triple R is a handsome bike that looks like it could be enormous fun to ride. So we did…

 

triumph-street-triple-r-seat

 

I was slightly surprised when I first sat on the bike. I had thought it looked a bit small, but in reality, it fit like the proverbial glove. The riding position is one of the most comfortable ones I have experienced on a bike like this. I realise your size plays a major role here, but for my 6’ (1.83m) frame everything seemed to be at optimal height and just the right distance apart. The bars are wide, without having to reach too far for them, the pegs offer both enough ground clearance and a relaxed knee angle, and the 826mm high seat is low enough to get both feet flat on the ground. Try as I might, I can’t find fault in the riding position. Even the usual wind-blasting you get on naked bikes wasn’t as bad as it could be, as the headlight housing has a little aerodynamic lip (too small to call it any kind of screen) that helps take the edge of the buffeting. Mind you, looking at that little pillion seat, I wonder if a passenger might agree? Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to find out during our test period.

 

triumph-street-triple-r-wheel

 

On the move, the comfortable riding position and cleverly designed geometry combined to make the Street Triple agile and stable at the same time. With a 23.7º rake angle, you can change direction sharply without unbalancing the machine, and as you dial in the speed, the suspension does a brilliant job at keeping the ride controlled through fast corners, with the Showa 41mm upside down Separate Function Forks - Big Piston (SFF-BP) at the front and a Showa piggyback reservoir monoshock at the rear. It is all fully adjustable, and the ride feel is on the sportier side of comfort. On bumpy roads you feel the unevenness of the surface clearly, but the suspension doesn’t miss a beat, and the bike stays nice and controlled through most bumpy, potholed roads.

 

triumph-street-triple-r-detail

 

As you are hurtling down the road, the suspension, ride position, and all the rest of it barely registers as you are so enthralled by the 765cc liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline three-cylinder engine. A three-cylinder engine has always been one of the Street Triple’s aces in the hole and the latest 765cc incarnation is no exception. It’s one sweet motor. You can appreciate its Moto2 link as you roll back the twist grip, and the speedo suddenly shows you numbers that don’t match the ones on the speed limit signs. There seems to be power across the rev range, and it builds on incredibly smoothly and linearly. You get rewarded from taking the revs high towards the 11,500rpm where the maximum 118.4bhp waits for you, as the harder you ride the bike, the more character it shows. That’s not to say that it’s not good at lower speeds and revs, though. This is one of the easiest ‘big bikes’ to ride, but it’s also an easy bike to ride fast, and you don’t have to spend long on it until you start pricing up a trip to a track day in your head.

The Street Triple R is also equipped with excellent brakes. You get 310mm floating discs and Brembo M4.32 four-piston radial monobloc callipers at the front, and they have a strong bite and a good feel. I tested the brakes for hard braking, and was pleased to find that you could make the front tyre squeal on nice dry tarmac before the ABS kicked in. The stopping power feels very reassuring.

 

triumph-street-triple-r-front

 

There’s not a huge amount of tech onboard this one, but it has all the essentials. Both brakes and traction control are lean sensitive, and ride modes offer further opportunity to set the engine map and traction control levels to your liking. There are Rain, Road, Sport and Custom modes, with the Rain one offering a lower power option for slippery roads. The Road and Sport modes are both good for road riding, with the Sport having a slightly crisper throttle feel, but still not too harsh to enjoy on public roads. The bike comes as standard with a quickshifter that works a treat, and makes riding the Street Triple even easier.

The bike is fairly light, but one drawback in keeping the weight down to 189kg wet, is that the Street Triple’s fuel tank only takes 15 litres of fuel. Triumph claims 52.8mpg, but on our test ride we fell short of 50, and the fuel light came on just before we hit 100 miles. It’s not a consideration for many who will use the bike for shorter rides, but you will need to plan more fuel stops if you cover longer distances. On long journeys you might also miss the cruise control and heated grips that are optional extras.

 

triumph-street-triple-r-dash

 

When you look at the competition in the naked middleweight segment, Triumph certainly seems to be doing okay. Where the Hinckley factory’s £7895 Trident 660 is taking on the latest Hornet (£7k) and GSX-8S (£8k), the £9595 Street Triple is pitched more at the likes of the KTM 890 Duke R (11,599), Yamaha MT-09 SP (£11,310) and the Ducati Monster (£11,295). The competition is tough, but even with all the tech and spec in the world, none of the others have the Moto2 bragging rights.

I had an absolute blast on the Street Triple R, and if I had the money in my pocket, I would be making a beeline to the nearest dealer to get my hands on one. It’s not a bike for every occasion, touring and trips are not in its nature, but for close-range combat, there are not many weapons that I would choose over it.

 

Triumph_Street_Triple_765R

 

 

Triumph Street Triple R specification

Price:                             £9595

Engine:                         765cc liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline three-cylinder

Power:                          118.4bhp (88.3kW) @ 11,500rpm

Torque:                         80Nm @ 9,500rpm

Transmission:               Six-speed, chain final drive

Frame:                          Aluminium beam twin spar frame with two-piece high pressure die cast rear subframe

Wheels:                        Cast aluminium alloy five spoke, (F) 17 x 3.5”, (R) 17 x 5.5”

Tyres:                            Continental ContiRoad, (F) 120/70 ZR 17, (R) 180/55 ZR 17

Suspension:                (F) Showa 41mm upside down Separate Function Forks - Big Piston (SFF-BP), adjustable compression and rebound damping, and preload adjustment, 115mm wheel travel, (R) Showa piggyback reservoir monoshock, adjustable compression, rebound and preload adjustment, 133.5mm wheel travel

Brakes:                          (F) Twin 310mm floating discs, Brembo M4.32 four-piston radial monobloc callipers, (R) Single 220mm disc, Brembo single piston calliper. Cornering ABS

Seat height:                    826mm

Wheelbase:                    1402mm

Tank capacity:                15 litres

Weight:                            189kg (kerb)

Contact:                           www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk

 

 

 

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