I always thought that the Triumph Street Triple was a perfect motorcycle. That slightly expensive price tag aside, as a product it was one that appealed as much to the head as it did to the heart. Light, agile and powerful it went as fast as you would want it to on our roads and its handling was sublime. It delivered the Thrill if Riding to the T. I didn’t think there’d be a better Street Triple, but Triumph has indeed made it happen as I found out on the mountain roads around Barcelona and then on the Circuit de Catalunya. But before I get dragged into the experience of riding the bike, here’s what Triumph has done to the bike.
All new engine
That number, 765, is obviously a dead give away that the engine on the new bike is new but just how new is it? To start with, the engine is a derivative of the Daytona’s 675cc inline triple and not based on the unit in the outgoing Street Triple. Triumph has increased both the bore and the stroke along with a host of other changes inside to create more power throughout the rev range, with power peaking at 123PS at 11,700 revs. But what is amazing is that even at 3,000 rpm the torque that engine of the RS produces is more than the peak torque produced by the old bike! In case you’re wondering what the peak torque is, it is 77Nm, which is produced at 10,800 revs. Among the other updates, there’s ride by wire technology at work here for more precise response to throttle inputs. Not to mention the slip and assist clutch that allows for aggressive downshifting without wheel hop when on track. And with a new exhaust unit, the Triple 765 sounds richer than ever.
The bike gets a new gull wing swingarm that has more torsional rigidity but has a degree of lateral flex engineered into it. Triumph says that this allows the bike to be more stable under harsh acceleration. The front forks on the top spec RS are 41mm Showa Big Piston forks with spring preload, damping and compression adjustment in both tubes while at the air there is a top notch Ohlins monoshock with a piggyback reservoir that is fully adjustable too.
On the road
Agility and performance but with a high degree of practicality and everyday usability is what had made the Street Triple 675 stand out. The new bike is no different. It’s light on its feet and easy to manoeuvre, which means filtering through traffic is a breeze really. Scything through the traffic on the Spanish highways felt effortless and with all that extra torque at your disposal you can just twist your right wrist to increase your rate of progress phenomenally. Off the highway and into the mountains the bike feels as lithe and intuitive as Triumph had claimed it would be. It doesn’t step out of your chosen line, increasing confidence levels with every passing turn.
Power delivery from that all new engine is crisp and delivered in a smooth arc, which makes things easier and less intimidating too as you wind on the throttle getting out of bends. From an Indian perspective perhaps the ride quality on the RS might be a little firmer than you would want but Triumph reassured us that with the degree of adjustability available for suspension set up, things wouldn’t be an issue, and we certainly hope so for the bike does feel sublime.
On the track
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is 4.655km long, is fast flowing with multiple elevations, a couple of tight hairpins and, a brand new chicane that not even the MotoGP riders have tested yet. In other words, there are plenty of challenges for a motorcycle. The Street Triple 765’s performance on the track is another indication of just how much work has gone into the development of the new bike.
Despite the extra power, the motorcycle is a full two kilos lighter than the earlier model and is better spec-ed too. The bike feels absolutely natural and inspires a tremendous amount of rider confidence. You can go lower and faster than you would imagine. The RS’s top spec suspension set up and that sweet chassis do a phenomenal job of keeping the bike composed under all circumstances.
On the long main straight of the circuit the engine howls addictively as it hurtles you towards the first turn, a right handed followed almost immediately by a tight left hander before transforming into a long and sweeping right hander. I managed to look down once at the full colour five-inch TFT screen that serves as the instrument panel on the RS and saw 228kmph just before I got to my braking marker but the bike can go faster still.
Speaking of brakes the Brembo M50s on the RS do a fantastic job of shedding speed. Triumph has now set these up not only to allow span adjustment at the lever but also to allow the rider to adjust the feel and progression of the brakes from the lever. I had left it in stock set up and I can tell you there will be no need for the average rider to mess with it. It really is that good.
An interesting aside is necessary here about the bike’s riding position. Normally, a bike that has perfect-for-track riding position is uncomfortable over long distances on road. Not this bike. The riding posture felt as comfy on the road as it did around the circuit. Perhaps the one thing I felt missing, for track purposes only, was a taller screen. The fly screen, though good enough for road riding proved absolutely incapable of providing any protection at all from the wind blast on the straight. And I felt that many of us could have gone even faster if it wasn’t for that tiny bit. But that apart, where capability is concerned this Triumph is right up there with the best of the nakeds from around the world.
Triumph India says that the Street Triple 765 is going to be in India by the middle of the year so expect a June-July timing. Unfortunately, the one that we will get first will be the base S variant, which Triumph says is very capable in its own right. The R and the range topping RS will follow by the end of the year. Whether they make for a compelling purchase proposition will of course be dictated by how well, or not, Triumph India price this product but as a product it has the weapons to be a Monster slayer like Triumph says it is. We can’t wait to find out.