TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE S
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
GETTING UP TO 170KMPH IS EASY. I KNOW 200 IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
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