OK — first I should probably admit something. When Kenn Stamp (2WF.com Editor) shot me an e-mail asking if I was ready to do a two week bike test I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I mean I have tested everything from 3-wheeled scooters to 180 HP cruisers. Even Kenn’s claims of exaggerated jealousy for the motorcycle I was about to get my hands on had no effect on me; I mean Kenn would get excited to ride a 2 wheeled motorized shopping cart! (Well who wouldn’t? – Kenn)
The truth is that even when word came out that I would be riding the Triumph Street Triple R, I was still a little unsure what to expect. I had spent some time on the Triumph Daytona 675 on the racetrack, but that was a few years back and my feelings were mixed on that steed. The Daytona 675 had a motor with nearly perfect qualities but the suspension definitely left something to be desired. Since much of the Street Triple R was lifted straight from the Daytona 675, I was expecting to see some similarities between the two.
Street Triple R
The Triumph Street Triple R sports some attitude with its blazing orange paint, Italian racing exhaust and engine exposed for all to see.
It’s a looker no doubt and received some admiring glances, but looks alone will not have people turning their heads as you roll down the boulevard. The Arrow exhaust coupled with the Triumph triple-cylinder motor has the Street Triple R sounding like an absolute thoroughbred racing machine. Crank up the revs past 6,000 RPM and the Triumph emits a sound that I can only compare to Italian exotics such as Ferrari.
It seems a little odd to be comparing a bike to an exotic car, but the motor sounds like no other I have ridden before and the instant I cracked open the throttle, the only thing that came to my mind is “this thing sounds like a Ferrari!” Of course the trade-off to this vociferous motor is that at cruising speeds, the Arrow exhaust is quite loud for a street bike. If you are not one to wear ear plugs while commuting, this bike, fitted with this exhaust, might have you changing your mind.
A sweet sounding motorcycle is all well and good, but the beauty of the Triumph is that the noise you are hearing is actually transferring into some seriously fun power at the rear wheel.
All this joy and happiness is courtesy of a 675 cc Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder producing a claimed 108 horsepower and 51 ft-lb. of torque.
The torque curve on the Triumph is truly a thing of beauty and the Street Triple R can be launched as docile or as aggressive as your right wrist commands. The Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection performed flawlessly and throttle response was excellent, adding to the complete package of the Triumph’s power plant.
Triumph knocked it out of the park when they created this motor; it is exactly what an urban street fighter should be; extreme torque down low and the power is 100% useable on the street. I felt like I was riding a 450 dirt bike around town, coming out of slow corners, giving the bike a quick blip of the throttle and floating the front wheel in the air.
Having ridden motorcycles for more than 25 years, you would think a small thing like dancing the front end around wouldn’t be such a big deal anymore. But the Triumph Street Triple R does it in such a distinct manner and with such a beautiful pitch that even the most jaded motorcyclist is sure to have an absolute riot. The boring morning commute all of a sudden has a completely different flavor and every stop light is now just one more opportunity to thrust away while tapping into the seamless power delivery and soaking in the sweet melody.
Keeping all of this fun in line is the Street Triple R’s lightweight frame, which has been lifted directly from the Daytona 675.
The Aluminum beam twin-spar helps keep the Triple R’s weight down to a wet weight of 416 pounds. The Triumph Street Triple R feels compact, light and oh so nimble. Not like a nervous racehorse but composed with a super-responsive feel.
Suspension duties are handled by 41 mm Kayaba fully adjustable upside down forks (preload, compression and rebound adjustments are available) and a Kayaba monoshock with adjustable preload out back. The suspension on the Street Triple R is definitely up to the task but will never be a standout. There is no doubt the Triumph sports some quality suspension, but there were some moments when things felt a bit harsh in the front and soft in the rear; but these are minor grumblings I assure you.
The Triumph never felt unbalanced and overall it gave a quality ride. Some more time spent tweaking on the knobs would surely have left me even more satisfied. The spring rates and valves have been re-calibrated from the Daytona 675 in a bit of a compromise to keep the sporty nature while still being plush enough for the street.
When speaking of excitement on a motorcycle we normally think of how the motor brings the bike alive or how the handling has us singing through the canyons; but how about the brakes? Could the brakes really lead to a more exciting riding experience?
In the case of the Triumph Street Triple R I found hard stabs at the binder just as satisfying as long pulls at the throttle. The power and feedback at the lever are so good and the composure of the Triumph while backing it in was mind-boggling. Never before have I been so happy to see a red light. I found myself treating every stop light like I was going for an inside pass as one of the “last of the late brakers”, banging the downshifts high in the rev range and just letting the rear wheel float out there as the Triumph settled perfectly to every stop.
The Street Triple R features 4-piston Nissin calipers on a pair of 308 mm rotors with a radial-mounted master cylinder and steel braided lines in the front and a Nissin single-piston caliper with a 220 mm rotor out back. Daytona 675, I think the Triumph Street Triple R once again owes you a big thank you.
The Street Triple R’s transmission shifted quite smoothly with only some slight notchiness when passing through neutral. The gear ratios were perfectly suited for street riding. The cable clutch pull is light and actuation is smooth, no need for the ever-popular arm pump surgery many racers have made trendy.
While some new motorcycles tend to feel slightly alien at first and take some time to feel comfortable, other motorcycles seem to fit like a glove from the first time you sit on them.
For my 5’10”, 160-pound frame, the case with the Triumph Street Triple R is definitely the latter. Good bar and foot peg position allowed for a comfortable, yet sporty ride. The seat encourages all-day rides without looking like a touring saddle and had me extremely comfortable in both commuting and canyon-carving circumstances.
While enjoying the Triumph’s good ergonomics I was also pleased to find the mirrors quite useable and giving well placed views of the action behind me.
The Triumph’s instrument panel features an analogue tach, digital speedo and clock, lap timer and gear indicator. Overall it’s a good looking unit and I like the added touch of the gear change warning lights that start to light up in progression as you pass 10,000 RPM.
Triumph has a winner on their hands with this motorcycle. It’s simply one of the most fun motorcycles I have ridden on the street. It’s reasonably priced, sweet handling and has a motor that begs to be ridden like a hooligan.
I don’t care how mild or responsible of a rider you think you are, climb aboard the Street Triple R and you will step over to the dark side, and some laws will be broken.