Triumph Speed Triple First Ride Review

September 12, 2016 11:07 AMPratheek Kunder

What is it?

The Speed Triple 1050 is Triumph’s only litre-class naked motorcycle that is sold in India as well as in the rest of the world. It is also one of the few Triumph motorcycles that hasn’t been updated since a long time. The Indian market got this motorcycle at a time when its Japanese competitors got their latest machines to India. The Japs brought in safer and better equipped products.The Speed Triple, unfortunately, got lost in the world of litre-class nakeds. While the bike has been priced really well, it failed to appeal to the Indian buyers. The Speed Triple has almost the same power output like its Japanese counterparts and looks and feels like a big bike. But, it shares the design and styling with the Street Triple and that’s a problem (we’ll talk about this later).

How does it ride?

The Speed Triple’s 1050cc inline-three cylinder produces 133bhp at 9400rpm and 111Nm at 7750rpm. While these figures are less than the Speed Triple’s segment competitors, for not even a single moment I felt the need for more. This British motorcycle is civilised, but only when you’re below 4000rpm, making it a super friendly city motorcycle. Post that, the surge in power left me with a grin that I carried throughout the ride. Twist the throttle and chances are you’ll reach some illegal speeds in the blink of an eye. This is when the front suddenly feels light, the numbers on the speedo starts to increase rapidly and the loud bass from the dual exhaust sounds incredible. Redlining the Speed Triple feels addictive, thanks to the sound and the flashing blue shift lights. This engine feels refined and is mated to a six-speed gearbox that offers precise shifts. But I wish the Speed Triple came with a lighter clutch. It would’ve made a big difference in city commute.

The moment I sat on the Speed Triple I figured this bike was little different from the others. It only looks big in size. Behind those wide handlebars, I felt at home and not like someone struggling to mount a litre-class bike. And that’s what I like the most about the Speed Triple - its ability to make a rider feel comfortable and at ease in the first instance itself. The wide handlebar, slightly rear set footpegs and more than enough knee grabbing area on the fuel tank makes the Speed Triple fairly comfortable. There’s a bit of sporty stance but not enough to compromise on riding comfort. But for long distance, the Speed Triple gets little uncomfortable. The seat height too is a tad on the higher side (825mm). The 6’2’’ me didn’t face any problem but it’ll bother anyone who is short.

The suspension setup on the Speed is on the firmer side but it’s not a back breaker. It absorbs small potholes, bumps with ease but when it comes to big ones, standing up and riding is the best way to save your back. Accessible low-end power and upright position, makes it a very friendly bike to ride in the city. In the corners, it isn’t sharp as its competitors but I did have some fun. It doesn’t feel scary, has the room to push your limits and at the same time feels confident. It doesn’t turn as quick as the Z1000 but is good enough to enjoy the twisties. The Speed Triple is equipped with ABS as standard and they perform brilliantly.

Anything else should I know?

Yes! The styling of the Speed Triple isn’t an exclusive one. The same design language is seen on the smaller Street Triple and that’s why a lot of Indian buyers don’t get attracted towards this litre-class Triumph.  You should also know that the Speed Triple is inadequately equipped. It doesn’t get rider modes nor does it get traction control. Interestingly, there’s an upgraded version on sale internationally but we continue to get an old bike.

The Speed Triple is high on quality, especially the switchgear. The instrument cluster looks terrific and the glowing blue shift lights adds to the entire experience. The Metzeler tyres offer good grip. 

Should I buy one?

The Speed Triple is quite an old motorcycle. In fact, the bike is due for a major upgrade and rumours suggest that there will be a new Speed Triple in 2017. The Speed Triple behaves like a litre-class bike should. It has more than enough power and torque to quench your thirst, it’s very easy to ride in the city and is the most affordable naked-litre class sold in India. But it feels little outdated in terms of technology and design. Buying the Speed Triple will save you quite a bit of money – say close to Rs 1.3 lakh over its Japanese competitors. But if I were you, I would spend little more and get the Suzuki GSX-S1000 home. The extra money is really worth it.

Where does it fit in?

The Triumph Speed Triple retails for Rs 13.26 lakh (on-road Mumbai). There’s the Kawasaki Z1000 at Rs 14.25 lakh (on-road Mumbai) and the Suzuki GSX-S1000 at Rs 14.55 lakh (on-road Mumbai). The Speed Triple is assembled in India, whereas the rest of the two bikes are imported as completely-built-up (CBU) units from Japan. 

Photography by Kapil Angane

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

11,63,040

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