Triumph Street Triple R
2007’s parts bin success story grows into focused, no-nonsense ten-year-old
‘For a sunny thrash it’s impossible not to be excited by the Street’
RIDING HARD ON the B4391 east of Ffestiniog, the Street Triple R shines. Do you know that feeling when you dive deep towards a bend, turn in, and experiencing the feel of the road, tyres and suspension pressing simultaneously through seat, footpegs, and handlebar? The R gives all this and more. Tightening a line at this point can be a real test of suspension, geometry and weight distribution, but the Street copes with aplomb. At naughty speed it’s the only bike of the three that doesn’t wallow, complain, or suffer a feedback shortfall. When you’re pushing on, wolfing down the next serving of Welsh Bs, the Triumph is hands-down the best bike here. ‘Yes, it really handles,’ agrees deputy editor Mike Armitage. He rode the racier range-topping RS version earlier in the year, but this is our first taste of the more road-biased R version. ‘At speed the chassis steers, tracks and carries itself nigh-on faultlessly. It’s better at isolating bumps than the firmer RS, with a slightly plusher ride. The suspension’s quality and it never misbehaves,’ says Mike. This sports-like handling is despite less extreme geometry. The Street is still racy, but its 23.9° rake is more relaxed than on last year’s model, and there’s additional trail for greater stability. Triumph have moved the swingarm pivot point as well, to reduce squat during acceleration. Seat height has risen by 25mm, and the updated perch seems to pitch the rider up and forwards over the forks, placing more weight over the front of a bike that already has the weight distribution you expect of a trackday-ready sportsbike. The geometry tweaks are needed to keep things controlled with the new 765cc motor. It’s based on the last 675 Daytona unit, but taken as big as it’ll go – bore and stroke are the maximum possible, the liner’s cast as one part to allow the biggest pistons. The result is a claimed 116bhp and 57 lb.ft, though this bike makes 118bhp and 59 lb.ft on our dyno – over 20bhp and 13 grunts more than the original Street in 2007. It’s a brilliant piece of engineering. Wound to the stop it’s howl-out-loud fantastic, Mike gushes out words like, ‘fabulous’, ‘surging’, and ‘long-legged’. Couldn’t agree more. The R sits in the middle of the three bike Street range. There’s an S with five fewer horses and seven fewer pound-feet, and the range-topper RS adds 5bhp with similar peak torque. The R uses different cams to the RS for extra midrange at the expense of a little top-end. It should be the strongest and best-responding Street in normal use, and the smooth delivery and mighty pull from 6000 to 8500rpm is fabulous. Yet there’s still an invigorating top-end whoosh. Yamaha’s rival triple revs more freely but the 765 feels strongest when allowed to get into its stride. And allowing the Street to get into its stride is essential. The R might be less focused than the RS, but it’s by far the sportiest here – and that’s an issue when you’re not trying to ride like a TT hero. ‘It’s lost a little of the fun that made the original great,’ says Mike. ‘It’s more road-friendly than the RS, but still too sporty.’ Being designed for unflustered speed means the R isn’t playful. Where the MT-09’S sharp gearing and puppy-eager engine see it leap out of low-speed corners and tease the front up off hillocks, the Street isn’t set-up for that kind of fun. It’s not about doing wheelies; it’s about pressing on. ‘It’s a good Triumph triple,’ muses Bike designer Paul Lang, a big fan of earlier models. ‘Great power and torque, ace sound, smooth fuelling. But next to the others it lacks a little... something.’ I get what he means: the Street hasn’t the Kawasaki’s continuous whooshing four-cylinder drive and lacks the Yam’s enthusiasm at sensible speed. The others also have suspension that works better (as in cancelling-out bumps) up to 70mph – the Yam’s softer set-up and more upright riding position deliver a way more comfortable ride at legal speeds. Finish is high quality with great details, from swingarm pivot to neat seat stitching. Plenty of widgets too, with traction control and riding modes, plus a colour dash with joystick control and many display options. And it’s perhaps the Street’s most contentious feature. ‘Too many options,’ complains Mike. ‘You spend yonks dicking about changing stuff for no reason every time you start up.’ But he’s analogue. I’d rather have this modern display with its foibles than the fading millennial cool of the Z900’s display. Issues over electronic preferences fade the moment you start the R, and heading back out for a sunny evening thrash it’s impossible not to be excited on the Triumph. Tomorrow holds a three-hour ride home, though. It’ll be a reminder that the Street’s real strength is when you’re riding in high-performance mode.
read screen with a gazillion display options
(Above) Not double winkers, but a joystick to control multifunction screen (Below) Easy to
Still a looker but we’re not entirely convinced by the red subframe