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The Triumph Street Triple RS is one of the best street bikes every made. The combination of excellent handling characteristics, powerful motor and latest electronics makes it one enticing motorcycle. But it is available only in limited colour options and because it’s a Triumph motorcycle, it suffers from limited service reach.
We love the Triumph Street Triple RS here at BikeWale. We like its agility, the performance it packs in, and the engineering finesse it comes with as standard. But, the fact that the RS is as easy and fun to ride on the road as it is on a track, is what really made us fall for it.
We love the TriumphStreet Triple RS here at BikeWale. We like its agility, the performance it packs in, and the engineering finesse it comes with as standard. But, the fact that the RS is as easy and fun to ride on the road as it is on a track, is what really made us fall for it.
And now there’s a new one. Moreover, according to Triumph, not only is the new RS more usable now, it is also better in every other regard. We are in Spain to ride the new motorcycle - on the road and on track - to test those exact claims.
Now, the motorcycle you see here is more of a facelift than a generation change. So yes, it does get some style related revisions.
The twin headlights for starters are differently contoured; they now have softer edges. The insides of the headlights are new too and there are two prominent LED drls in place as well. Overall, the headlights give the new RS a more modern aura without losing out on the aggressive stance it is know for.
The fly screen on the motorcycle is new as well. It gets new mirrors. The side and tail panels are new. And Triumph has reworked the exhaust design. You also get a redesigned rear seat cowl and a new belly pan.
Then there’s the fancier instrumentation. Like the current RS, this one is a full colour TFT unit too.
Like we mentioned earlier, this RS is more of a facelift than a proper generation change. Not surprisingly then, a lot of hardware on the bike continues unchanged.
There’s absolutely no change to the chassis or cycle parts. So, the bike still runs a perimeter frame. It is still suspended on fully adjustable Showa USDs up front and Ohlins monoshock at the rear. And the brakes are still Brembo units with top spec M50 callipers. But, the new bike does get lighter wheels. And the tyres have been upgraded to Pirelli Diablo Corsa SP V3.
Engine wise, it is still the same unit. There’s no change in the construction or materials and it still makes the same power. But, the power curve has been revised with the mid range power seeing a near 10 per cent boost. Torque has increased too in the mid-range by around a similar percentage.
Triumph has managed to do this by completely reworking the exhaust system including a change in the exhaust cam. It has also changed the intake duct design. And, there’s optimisation of parts like the balancer, the crank and the clutch to reduce the inertia.
What’s also new is that the new engine now meets Euro 5 norms, which means it will be able to meet Bharat Stage 6 norms with ease as well.
In terms of electronics, there’s still no IMU, which means no cornering ABS either. The other fancy electronic bits, however, are very much present. There’s adjustable traction control, adjustable ABS, and adjustable throttle response.
Plus, Triumph says it has refined the riding modes to deliver a more engaging riding experience based on customer feedback. So in Track mode for instance, the motorcycle allows a little more slip of the rear wheel on power, and a little more aggressive use of the brakes before the ABS intervenes.
We went out riding on the road first. And immediately, we were reminded of the comfy seating ergos of the RS. The handlebars are wide, the seat isn’t too hard or high, and even though the footpegs are rearset, they aren’t extremely so.
Then there’s the added mid range grunt of the engine. We spent over an hour riding the RS around twisties, motorways, and through some villages, and that engine handled it all without missing a beat. We would short shift, roll on the gas, and watch it pull cleanly and effortlessly from 4,000rpm all the way to the redline.
I mean with the bike in third gear, we were puttering through villages, and trying to keep the front wheel down over crests on full throttle. That’s the sort of flexibility the engine now offers. And apart from the ride which felt a little choppy over bumps, and the steering which felt wavy at low speeds, there was nothing else to complain about.
But, the RS truly comes alive on a race track. And to say that about a street naked is tremendously high praise. Now the track - Circuito Cartagena - is a challenging one. Lots of blind corners, lots of elevation changes, and lots of tightening radius corners. Naturally, it is easy to make mistakes on such a track. And I did. More than once.
Coming into the first corner at Cartagena after a relatively long straight, one has to hard on the brakes, drop down a few gears, and then turn the bike over a blind crest. To carry good speed through this corner, one has to trust the motorcycle’s ability as much as their own.
But on one particular lap, I got it so wrong I only had the motorcycle’s ability to rely on. I had to brake harder. I had to carry way more trail braking into the corner than I am comfortable with. And then I had to lean the bike over pretty far to avoid running into gravel. And it did it all without too much drama.
Sure, the rear wiggled a bit under braking. And I had to put in more effort to turn it in. And, to my horror I was scrapping the pegs all the way through. But here’s the thing with the RS, if setup right - it does get fully adjustable front and rear suspension after all - it manages to mask your mistakes, your shortcomings, and your poor judgment of speed so well, you can’t help but love it.
Plus, on those rare occasions where I wasn’t getting it wrong, the RS just flowed through corners effortlessly. It would turn into corners almost intuitively. It would settle in and track the line through the corner like a monorail.
And then, when you got on the gas at exits, it would put down the power seamlessly and with proper authority and precision. So much so that you’d find yourself charging towards the next corner with the front wheel just skimming the road even though you weren’t still completely upright.
The only thing I wasn’t completely happy about though, was the quickshifter. It works both while shifting up and down the gearbox. And the shifts themselves, even with the throttle wide open, are not a concern. But it’s the abruptness of the way the engine cuts while making these shifts that feels crude and bothersome.
The new Street Triple RS will be launched in India in January of 2020. And we expect it to be the same as the current model. At least, that’s the approach Triumph is taking in other markets like Europe and Japan with the new RS.
As a motorcycle, there is nothing wrong with the current RS; in fact like we said at the start, we love the motorcycle here at BikeWale. And, the newer version is only better. It’s fantastic around a race track. And now with the added mid range grunt, it’s even more liveable, especially in town and around twisties.
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