Triumph Street Triple R Review
The Triumph Street Triple R replaces the Street Triple S as the entry level model in the Street Triple range. We test the motorcycle for a first ride review.
We all know that the Street Triple RS is a smashing machine that will perform daily duties just as flawlessly as it demolishes racetracks. Top spec components and electronics means it’s loaded to the brim with technology as well. But while it’s an extremely desirable bike to own, its price also puts it out of reach for quite a few. The S variant was the messiah for those who wanted to sample this brilliant piece of British engineering with less features and a much more affordable price tag. But with the new update coming in on the RS the S was discontinued leaving a big void.
Well that void would have been filled a lot earlier if the recent pandemic had not brought the world to a standstill. But the world has decided to move on and that void has finally been filled, with the brand new Street Triple R.
The Street Triple has always been known for its bug-eyed appearance and the new one retains it. Only it’s doesn’t look like any bug now, in fact it looks like a Praying Mantis, an angry Praying Mantis ready to attack, thanks to the new headlights. The rest of the design is similar to the RS. The small bikini faring blends well with the headlights and does help deflecting some windblast. The sculpted tank accommodates most knee sizes well and adds the much needed bulk to an otherwise compact motorcycle. But for me, this design has started to get a little long in the tooth, especially in the wake of much sharper competition from the new Kawasaki Z900, the KTM 790 Duke, and the Yamaha MT09.
But what one can’t deny is the quality of components and parts. It’s just top notch and everything feels like a million bucks. Even the new paint shade looks brilliant, black with some subtle graphics and red accents all around.
Getting to the instrument console, the R uses an LCD display with an analogue tachometer whereas the RS gets a full-colour TFT display. You get an information button to toggle between the tripmeters, distance to empty and fuel efficiency. You also have a mode button to switch between the four different maps available, rain, road, sport, and rider. A couple of more buttons on the dash let you get into the settings so that one can customise the traction control and ABS settings amongst other things. Quality of materials is very good and the R feels like a well-made motorcycle.
Let’s start with the chassis which has been retained. So you still get the perimeter frame and for better stability, the gullwing rear swingarm gets an optimised pivot position for tighter corner exits and better chassis grip.
The 765cc motor gets a raft of changes as well. Refinements to the airbox and the exhaust system along with a seven per cent reduction in rotational inertia for this new generation bumps up power to a superb 118bhp at 12000rpm and a maximum torque of 77Nm at 9400rpm.
If the power figures haven’t caught your attention, there are a bunch of other yummy bits on the R that will. Stopping power is provided by the superb Brembo M4.32 four-piston radial monobloc calipers on the front and a Brembo single piston sliding caliper at the rear. The R is also suspended on the impressive Showa 41mm upside down big piston forks and a Showa piggyback reservoir monoshock at the rear. Importantly, both are fully adjustable for preload, compression damping, and rebound damping. And making sure that you nail that apex are the Pirelli diablo Rosso III tyres which I might add are superb. Also, completing the long list of equipment is the up and down quickshifter, ride-by-wire, ABS and traction control.
Swinging a leg over the R, it’s a familiar feeling. It’s got a bit of sitting in the bike, rather than on, and we like that. At 780 mm, the seat height is also very acceptable for most. But we felt that as compared to the low-ish seat height, the footpegs were a little too high up. This, along with the low flat handle bar means you get a nice aggressive riding position. For being ridden in ‘nail that apex’ mode, the riding position is just perfect, but in commutes and bad traffic conditions which you will find, the high footpegs can be a bit of a bother. Also me being far from a fit rider, about 50-60 km in to the ride and I noticed some cramps creeping in, thanks to the high footpegs. But then again, maybe, it’s just me.
Once you get moving, the 765cc, three-cylinder engine immediately reminds you what a fantastic piece of engineering it is. Humming away lightly at around 4000 rpm, I had to double check the speedo. Fourth gear at around 50kmph, the R feels like it’s a super commuter. There’s no jerkiness whatsoever and throttle response is extremely linear. This one you can take for grocery shopping as well, it’s really that good. But obviously we don’t recommend that.
In fact, that engine is so good that even at 40 kmph in fourth gear when you whack that throttle open, it picks up like it was in second. The torque is so well spread out that there is power everywhere you need it. The hallmark of the engine is also the way it delivers all that power in a smooth linear manner all the way up till 13000 rpm when the shift lights start flickering like crazy. And when I say linear, it does not mean it’s not ferocious. Stuck in sport mode as we wound the throttle open, the R shoots forward like a missile and you have to be prepared for how savage the acceleration really is.
Even with the traction control on, the front wheel gets off the ground as you go through the super-slick gearbox. Thanks to the quickshifter, you get to hold on to the bars well, as the R gets you to some ludicrous speeds in the blink of an eye. And then, of course, there is the three-cylinder symphony that’s just orgasmic. The braking is just as fierce and the Brembo’s just dig into the ground, almost making your eyes pop out. The feel through the lever is great and you get just the right amount of bite for every millimetre of the lever engaged. The modes help too and one can notice the subtle changes. Rain mode is the most noticeable as it cuts the power down to 100bhp.
And with all the horsepower and braking to match, it’s got the dynamics covered too. The way the R turns into a corner is just unbelievable. There’s so much feedback from the brilliant chassis that the bike just eggs you on. And with plenty of grip from the Rosso III’s, there’s no reason to hold back when in a safe environment. The only thing missing is perhaps cornering ABS which is already present in the KTM 790 and would have only added to the R’s safety net.
Coming to the ride quality, the R rides on the stiffer side. While the small undulations are absorbed well, the concrete joints and sharp bumps aren’t. One might have to play with the suspension settings for a more comfortable ride. The seat though is mighty plush and as a result one can spend long hours in the saddle, but the stiff ride might add to the saddle soreness. What we also noticed is that at low speeds, the R is also prone to tramlining a wee bit. While most big bikes do tramline, thanks to our horrible road conditions, the R was a little more noticeable than the others, however on better roads it vanished. Overall, the Street Triple R is a superb combination of practicality and performance.
The R replaces the S as the entry level model in the Street Triple Range and we think Triumph have done a fabulous job with it. At an on-road price in Mumbai of Rs. 10.32 lakh, it’s almost Rs three lakh cheaper than the range topping RS model. Sure, the RS gets a lots of exotic goodies but then those are relevant only if you aim to take it to the race track every now and then. For the street and the occasional trackdays, the R is superbly specced and not to mention well priced as well. As for the competition, the KTM 790 Duke was better specced but isn’t available in a BS6 version. You do have the new Kawasaki Z900 and the Yamaha MT09 which have their own strengths but one just cannot beat the combination of versatility and nimbleness that the Street Triple R offers. Entry level naked sportbikes don’t get much better than this.
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