It’s smart enough for ev­ery­thing. Ver­sa­til­ity has a new ad­dress

HURTLING AROUND THE in­cred­i­ble Cir­cuit de Catalunya on board Tri­umph’s new Street Triple 765 S, I knew this was a spe­cial mo­tor­cy­cle. In­cred­i­bly light, pow­er­ful and ag­ile, the only thing miss­ing had been a fair­ing. At over 200kmph the wind­blast threat­ens to blow you off the bike. I stop my misty-eyed ru­mi­na­tions and bring my­self back to the present. It’s a rude shock re­ally for I am nowhere within a thou­sand miles of that beau­ti­ful cir­cuit. In­stead, around me are the hor­ri­bly clogged roads of an in­creas­ingly crowded Pune during rush hour. Yet that in­cred­i­ble light­ness, that power and that agility are all too fa­mil­iar for to­day I am astride the Tri­umph Street Triple 765.

Ad­mit­tedly how­ever, this isn’t the same bike I rode in Spain for that was the top-end RS spec mo­tor­cy­cle with 123bhp on tap. What I have here to­day is the bike that was launched in In­dia re­cently, the 111bhp S ver­sion. But don’t be dis­heart­ened just yet for this is not some di­a­bol­i­cal plan to de­prive us of the full blown ver­sion, but a phased launch strat­egy that should see Tri­umph launch the RS be­fore the year is over. But I di­gress…

Bar­ring the digi-ana­logue in­stru­men­ta­tion (the RS gets a full-colour TFT screen) ev­ery­thing on this bike feels the same. Tip­ping the scales at 166kg and mea­sur­ing in at 735mm wide and 1060mm tall, the rest of the S is iden­ti­cal to the RS, or the mid­dle spec R that I am yet to ride for that mat­ter. From the 24.8-de­gree rake to the 104.3mm trail and the 1410mm wheel­base, there is no dif­fer­ence be­tween the three ver­sions of the mo­tor­cy­cle. After all, the alu­minium twin-spar beam frame is the same. As is the liq­uid-cooled 765cc three-cylin­der en­gine with four valves per cylin­der and dou­ble over­head camshafts. Bore, stroke, com­pres­sion ra­tio… ev­ery­thing is iden­ti­cal. What’s the dif­fer­ence then? For starters, the throt­tle map used on the S is tamer and pro­duces “only” 111.5bhp at 11,250 revs and 73Nm of max torque at 9,100rpm. The RS pro­duces 11.5bhp more at 11,700rpm and 4Nm more twist force at 10,800rpm.

But that’s not the only dif­fer­ence. Sus­pen­sion and brakes are dif­fer­ent too. The S gets Showa kit al­right but these aren’t the Big Pis­ton Forks of the RS. These are 41mm sep­a­rate func­tion forks, or SFF, with 110mm of travel. At the rear there is a monoshock with pig­gy­back reser­voir of­fer­ing 124mm of travel. For an­chor­ing pur­poses the S gets a pair of 310mm ro­tors with Nissin two-pis­ton slid­ing cal­lipers up front in place of the RS’s Brembo M50 monobloc ra­dial cal­lipers and a 220mm ro­tor with Brembo one-pot slid­ing cal­liper at the rear.

Cut­ting through the traf­fic, the bike doesn’t feel its weight at all. It’s more like a reg­u­lar quar­ter-litre or 300cc bike. It is that ef­fort­less to ride around town. Flick left, flick right, fil­ter through traf­fic. There is just no fa­tigue on this bike in our over­crowded rid­ing con­di­tions. This is a great thing be­cause when rid­ing in In­dia, traf­fic is a ma­jor killjoy when it comes to the plea­sure of rid­ing a big bike. And god help you, if you’re stuck in stop-and-go traf­fic astride a litre-class sports­bike. The power de­liv­ery is crisp and man­age­able, so crawl­ing ahead is ac­com­plished with­out much fuss. What is note­wor­thy is how well Tri­umph en­gi­neers have been able to man­age the en­gine’s heat dis­si­pa­tion char­ac­ter­is­tics. Thirty min­utes into the traf­fic, my thighs are yet to be given the cus­tom­ary roast­ing that nearly all big bikes will give you.

Nearly an hour after hav­ing left home, the Triple and I fi­nally man­age to reach the open high­way. With the high­way stretch­ing out ahead of us, I open up the throt­tle. Gin­gerly at first, for the road is damp from an early morn­ing shower, and then harder as things be­gin to be­come drier. The sen­sa­tion is as ex­hil­a­rat­ing as I re­mem­ber. The wolfish howl from that sweet triple mo­tor on song, the whoosh of the wind around my hel­met as I dodge through the far thin­ner high­way traf­fic is ad­dic­tive. Flick­ing through the six-speed transmission, get­ting up to 160-170kmph is easy and I know 200 is just around the cor­ner. But to­wards the top the power short­fall of the S be­gins to show and it won’t do the kind of speeds that I had ex­pe­ri­enced at Catalunya.

Nonethe­less, the bike doesn’t feel un­der­pow­ered on our roads. Far from it in fact. Be­sides, this isn’t Spain. Here the dan­ger of dogs, drunk­ards and dev­il­ishly ig­no­rant driv­ers is al­ways a threat. So I ease off a bit and stick to a safer 150-ish on the speedo. It’s a com­fort­able cruis­ing speed where the Street’s en­gine isn’t be­ing wrung for all it’s worth and the wind­blast isn’t shak­ing your head like a wash­ing ma­chine in dryer mode. A few more kilo­me­tres up ahead I start the climb up a small ghat sec­tion. It is nar­row and has some tight turns that would chal­lenge many a big­ger and heav­ier mo­tor­cy­cle. The Tri­umph con­tin­ues un­fazed, div­ing from one turn to the next


un­til we reach the top. It’s a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, not un­like what I had ex­pe­ri­enced on the moun­tains around Barcelona. Back in Spain I had thought that the sus­pen­sion setup on the bike would be much too stiff for our patchy roads but on the S the setup seems softer. It’s more pli­ant and far gen­tler on my back­side than I had ex­pected.

In fact, it’s al­most a mo­tor­cy­cle that I al­most can’t fault; yet in one crit­i­cal area, the Street Triple does fall short. The brakes. I re­call the brakes on the RS be­ing su­per sharp with plenty of pro­gres­sion. I can’t say I ex­pe­ri­enced the same on the S. Sure, the Nissin two-pot cal­lipers do the job of slow­ing down but they sim­ply don’t have the au­thor­ity that the Brembo M50s ex­er­cise over the spin­ning ro­tors. The brakes on the S feel spongy in com­par­i­son and the sharp bite that you want at high speeds is miss­ing too. It won’t be a deal breaker, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the speeds you’ll be stick­ing to in In­dia but I just wish the bike had fourpis­ton cal­lipers up front with bet­ter bite.

I could keep writ­ing but then a con­clu­sion is war­ranted at this point. So here’s the thing. The Street Triple S can be yours for `8,71,500, ex-show­room. For that kind of money you get a fab­u­lous chas­sis, a beau­ti­ful en­gine that is go­ing to be the plat­form for Moto2 en­gines start­ing 2019, a sub­lime rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and en­try into a brand that not only has a size­able fol­low­ing in the coun­try but also tremen­dous her­itage. The only thing you’ll be miss­ing is mon­u­men­tal stop­ping power. You’ll have to make do with ad­e­quate. I don’t think it’s a bad deal but it’s your call now. ⌧

Left: The after­mar­ket Ar­row end can sounds de­light­ful. Above: Light, ag­ile and pow­er­ful, the S will lift off ev­ery time you want it to. Far left: The twin-spar alu­minium frame is beau­ti­fully bal­anced

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