TRI­UMPH’S TRI­UMPHS

‘Find a job you love,’ goes the say­ing, ‘and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ The good peo­ple of Tri­umph no doubt agree. No sur­prise then that they love the bikes they make, and they each have their favourite…

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - In­ter­views Ben Lind­ley, Hugo Wil­son and John West­lake Pho­tog­ra­phy Grant Evans Steve Sar­gent

What the good peo­ple of Tri­umph ride home on af­ter work.

Iwas in­volved in the devel­op­ment of the RS right from the start. The process be­gan three years be­fore launch in 2014, when we had to de­cide how we were go­ing to move the Street Triple for­ward. Ob­vi­ously one of the big­gest dis­cus­sions was around the en­gine and whether to stick with the 675. That en­gine had been in the Day­tona for a long time and been suc­cess­ful in rac­ing so there was a big dis­cus­sion about whether we should keep it, or go for some­thing big­ger. And if we went big­ger, what was the max­i­mum we could get out of it? A lot of peo­ple have said that 765 is just a play on num­bers, but the re­al­ity was that when we looked at the ar­chi­tec­ture of the en­gine and worked out the max­i­mum ca­pac­ity, 765 turned out to be the num­ber. It was a happy co­in­ci­dence. When we first launched the orig­i­nal Street Triple in 2007 it was the first sporty han­dling naked mid­dleweight – it was the first with a light alu­minium frame. We dom­i­nated the mar­ket for a few years but suc­cess breeds com­pe­ti­tion and other man­u­fac­tur­ers have come into that space with large ca­pac­ity en­gines – bikes such as the MT-09. So we had to de­cide what was go­ing to put us back as the leader in the mar­ket. The feel­ing was that if we wanted to get that top spot we were go­ing to have to go up on per­for­mance. Even­tu­ally we went for some­thing quite bold, aim­ing for 123PS (121bhp). A lot of the guys raised their eye­brows at that – it’s a lot from 765cc. How did we end up with that 123 fig­ure? We found that to get any more you’d need more ex­pen­sive com­po­nents and have to make dras­tic changes to the en­gine. I rode the first pro­to­type with the new en­gine about 18 months be­fore pro­duc­tion – I just went out round the lo­cal roads. We al­ways ride the pro­to­types back-to-back with the ex­ist­ing model and some com­peti­tor ma­chines and my im­me­di­ate thoughts were, ‘wow what a dif­fer­ence’. There was gen­uine ex­cite­ment among the team be­cause we knew we could re­cap­ture that num­ber one po­si­tion. I’ve run an RS for a year now and I ab­so­lutely love it. It’s so light and nim­ble. I love the old 675 ver­sion, but the new en­gine takes things to a new level – the midrange punch and the flex­i­bil­ity it gives you makes it so much fun to ride. Well, mostly. A guy did a U-turn right in front of me in Le­ices­ter five weeks ago and I’ve now got a big plate in my wrist with seven screws so I’m not rid­ing at the mo­ment…

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