Launch: Street Triple R

Words: Costa Mouzouris. Photos: Triumph

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The Triumph Street Triple 675, introduced in 2007, immediately struck a chord with riders. The triple-cylinder naked bike looks great and rides even better. It became Triumph’s most popular bike, more affordable than the larger, 1,050 cc Speed Triple and better balanced to boot.

It has big V-twin-like midrange torque but with power pulses as smooth as a four, and it pulls hard enough to satisfy even seasoned sport-bike riders. And what’s more, it emits that alluring triple-cylinder growl – an altogether captivating combination.

Although Triumph has sold more than 50,000 Street Triples in the five years since its introduction — making it the best-selling bike coming out of the Hinckley factory during that time — the company felt the need to rejuvenate the Street Triple, and for 2013 it receives more than just a facelift.

WHAT’S NEW

Triumph also has the standard version of the Street Triple, but Costa only rode the R model (shown here with optional accessories fitted).

Slightly sharper lines define the new Street Triple, and there’s now some plastic covering the radiator, giving the bike a more finished look. Immediately noticeable is the exhaust pipe, which has migrated from under the seat (where no proper exhaust should exit) to beneath the bike, exiting on the right-hand side.

What, no undertail exhaust? The canister has been moved lower, and to the right. The new system is lighter by 3.6 kg.

The relocated muffler brought with it a few other improvements, including lighter weight (the exhaust alone contributes 3.6 kg towards the new bike’s 6 kg total weight loss) and a new, more compact tailpiece. With the exhaust gone from under the seat, there’s now room under there for a full-size D-lock, and there’s even a channel moulded into the under-seat compartment to hold it in place.

The new Street Triple isn’t just about new looks; it has received upgrades throughout the chassis too. A new frame is now comprised of eight pieces instead of the former bike’s 11, and it has been reshaped about the steering neck to provide more steering lock. Steering geometry has been altered slightly with a slightly steeper rake angle and a touch more trail for quicker turning.

Five-spoke wheels are lighter, as are the rear caliper and disc combination, as well as the rear subframe. Most of the weight that has been removed from the bike by all of these new components has been removed from the rear of the machine (and in the exhaust system’s case, from up high), which has reshuffled the weight distribution, putting more weight over the front tire. The Street Triple now claims a wet weight of 184.5 Kg.

Handling is neutral, without any unpleasant surprises.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot new happening in the engine (output is identical at 105 hp and 50 lb-ft of torque), though there are a couple of minor changes, such as a taller first gear, which narrows the gap between first and second and makes the bike a bit more rider-friendly in town.

Gearing has been changed to make the bike more friendly for riding in town.

The mechanical ratio between the throttle and the throttle bodies has also been altered, primarily to improve fuel efficiency — now 30 percent better around town and 12 percent at 90 km/h — with a negligible difference in throttle response at low speeds.

To top off engine changes, literally, the airbox has been redesigned to provide a more pronounced intake howl. And finally, both the standard and R models have been prewired to accept Triumph’s optional “Intellishift” quick shifter.

THE RIDE

Triumph invited me to attend a nice pre-winter launch in Almeria, Spain to ride the new R version, which is to say the bike was equipped with fully adjustable suspension and radial-mount, four-piston front brake calipers. Although not available for riding, the standard Street Triple uses a non-adjustable fork, a shock adjustable only for preload, and twin-piston front calipers.

There are also some visual differences distinguishing the R from the standard bike, including red side covers over the radiator, a red subframe and red pinstripes on the wheels. Of special note is that the bike pictured has some added accessories, including crash bars, a flyscreen and belly pan, a couple of anodized covers and tiny LED turn signals.

The red subframe, radiator covers, and wheel striping indicate this is an R model. Arrow pipe, cowl, flyscreen and engine bars are optional accessories.

The Street Triple has one unmistakeable quality: no matter what your riding background, chances are that you’ll like it as soon as you let the clutch out the first time. And this redeeming quality has transferred to the latest model. Seating is relaxed and upright, and the footpegs fall somewhere between an adventure-touring bike and full-on supersport.

The exhaust has a nice growl, and the intake howl is also more noticeable, thanks to a re-designed airbox.

Upon start up, the bike immediately vies for you affection with its tempting exhaust growl, which is accentuated when you open the throttle wide by the renewed intake snarl.

First gear is, indeed, taller than before, though the torquey engine easily handles the extra load. First gear is now good for about 50 km/h before a shift to second is needed. This makes the bike easier to handle at low speeds, though you do have to work the clutch a bit more when at a crawl.

The engine pulls hard regardless of engine revs, and if you’re too lazy to shift it can be lugged smoothly in top gear at speeds as low as 50 km/h. The flexible powerband allows you to either leave the bike in one gear, like I did (fourth) in the tighter sections of the roads north of Almeria, or click up and down a couple of gears if you have a busy left foot. Either way the Street Triple accelerates with enthusiasm.

The motor pulls hard, no matter how where you’ve got the revs.

Clutch effort is light and the six-speed transmission’s action is solid and precise. One of the machines I rode was equipped with the optional quick shifter to allow you to make clutch-less upshifts without closing the throttle. Engineers have programmed the ECU to alter the time the quick-shifter cuts ignition spark so it can be used at varying throttle openings and not just when wide open.

Costa found the rear suspension a bit soft, but solved that with a quick rebound adjustment.

It worked quite well at all speeds and was quite convenient. Even though there’s no need to roll off the throttle when using the quick shifter, on/off throttle response seems smoother than on the previous bike, though only a back-to-back comparison will confirm this.

The Street Triple R handles neutrally and with accuracy, forgives overly ambitious corner entry by responding well to mid-turn braking, trail brakes effectively without running wide into turns, and exhibits excellent stability at speed and through sweepers despite its wide-ish upright handlebar. In other words, it’s hard to fault its handling.

Initially, my bike was a bit soft in the rear, wallowing just a touch through some of the faster corners, so at lunchtime I cranked three clicks of rebound damping into the shock and immediately felt a difference on the fast, winding road we took to return to our hotel, the bike railing along through the fast, sweeping turns. Unfortunately I can’t comment on the standard model’s handling, as there weren’t any available for testing.

The quick-shift option is convenient, and works well at all speeds. Costa reckoned throttle response was smoother than on the previous model, but didn’t get a chance to compare them at the launch.

The bikes we rode were non-ABS models, but all Street Triples coming to North America will be ABS-equipped. There shouldn’t be much difference in brake feel or power between ABS and non-ABS models, which on the R was supersport-precise with strong initial bite and light, yet easily modulated lever effort. Curiously, the Street Triples use Nissin front calipers and a Brembo rear caliper, though this is probably because of the newly sourced, smaller and lighter rear caliper.

CONCLUSION

Although not available at the launch, ABS will be standard on all Street Triples brought into Canada.

The bike’s closest rival is the BMW F800R; with the ABS option it’s priced closer to the Street Triple R and weighs about the same, though the Triumph has the edge on horsepower, pumping out about 20 more ponies despite its smaller engine displacement.

The Street Triple is a more muscular and raw, hooligan-like machine, whereas the F800R has a slightly more civilian demeanour, despite what stunt rider Chris Pfeiffer has been seen doing on the machine.

A ride on the standard Street Triple would have revealed if the R is worth the extra $1,200 ($9,999 vs. $11,199), though I wouldn’t hesitate to dish out the extra cash for the R with its adjustable suspension, especially if you consider the price an aftermarket shock alone these days.

I liked the Street Triple when it was first released and consider it one of my top-five favourite motorcycles. The numerous changes haven’t completely transformed the Street Triple, though they have made a great bike even better.


Gallery

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SPECIFICATIONS

Bike  2013 Triumph Street Triple
MSRP  $9,999 ($11,999 for R model)
Displacement  675 cc
Engine type  Liquid cooled, DOHC inline triple
Power (crank)*  105 hp at 11,850 rpm
Torque*  50.2 lb-ft at 9,750 rpm
Tank Capacity  17.4 litres
Carburetion  EFI
Final drive  Chain
Tires, front  Pirelli Diablo Corsa, 120/70ZR17
Tires, rear  Pirelli Diablo Corsa, 180/55ZR17
Brakes, front  Two 310 mm discs with twin-piston calipers; radial-mount four-piston calipers
Brakes, rear  Single 220 mm disc with single-piston caliper
Seat height  800 mm (31.5 in); 820 mm (32.3 in)
Wheelbase  1,410 mm (55.5 in)
Wet weight*  184.5 lb (407 lb)
Colours  Black, white, blue (black, white, matte graphite for R model)
Warranty  Two years, unlimited mileage
* claimed

4 thoughts on “Launch: Street Triple R”

  1. Great bike. Have spent days in the company of one in the Smoky Mountains, and my Tuono finds itself challenged both with power and handling against it. Mind you… it’s the manlier choice. ;)

  2. Great bike. Have spent days in the company of one in the Smoky Mountains, and my Tuono finds itself challenged both with power and handling against it. Mind you… it’s the manlier choice. ;)

  3. Still very happy with my 2009 STripleR, has about 40,000 km on it now.
    Had it in California in September on the many, many great twisty roads
    there. It ran purrfectly at 34 F (early morning at 8,000′) and at 109 F
    (Death Valley afternoon!)

  4. Still very happy with my 2009 STripleR, has about 40,000 km on it now.
    Had it in California in September on the many, many great twisty roads
    there. It ran purrfectly at 34 F (early morning at 8,000′) and at 109 F
    (Death Valley afternoon!)

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