TRI­UMPH SPEED TRIPLE R

‘It’s the very essence of the orig­i­nal 1994 hooli­gan dis­tilled and digi­tised for the 21st cen­tury’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes - EMMA FRANKLIN PRO­DUC­TION EDI­TOR emma.franklin@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

ver no­ticed how it’s usu­ally a Brit that plays the vil­lain in Hol­ly­wood ac­tion movies? Im­pos­si­bly stylish, re­fined, charm­ing even, yet wouldn’t think twice about pulling your toe­nails off one by one then feed­ing you to the pigs!

The 2016 Tri­umph Speed Triple R is the very em­bod­i­ment of that quin­tes­sen­tial English evil ge­nius; suave and smart but dev­as­tat­ingly das­tardly. Be­neath its squat new stance and glow­er­ing head­lamps is a re­vamped 1050cc en­gine mak­ing more power and torque than be­fore, a full ride-by-wire sys­tem pack­ing five rider modes, multi-level trac­tion con­trol and switch­able ABS. Plus it’s loaded with enough high­class de­tails to make the £11,500 price (£10,200 if you opt for the Showa-shod S model) seem rea­son­able, and of­fers such a level of fin­ish that your neigh­bours will think you’re caught up in a money laun­der­ing ex­er­cise.

The Span­ish Costas have al­ways pro­vided a safe haven for Bri­tish bad boys so it’s lit­tle won­der Tri­umph chose the roads and race tracks around the Costa Do­rada to de­velop and launch their new Speed Triple. Blast­ing along the re­gion’s su­per-smooth roads it feels as through Hinckley have pulled off the crime-of-the-cen­tury. Some­how they’ve made the 2016 Speed Triple feel fa­mil­iar but very dif­fer­ent; it’s the same rip-roar­ing brute, but now it’s wear­ing a Sav­ile Row suit.

Sat seem­ingly much fur­ther for­ward and more over the front end, the Triple flicks through S-bends with a new-found agility, enough to make you think that Tri­umph have sneak­ily sharp­ened the steer­ing ge­om­e­try. Yet un­der heavy ques­tion­ing, Chief En­gi­neer Stu­art Wood main­tained the Speed Triple’s in­no­cence claim­ing that the chas­sis was un­changed, and the dra­matic dif­fer­ence in rid­ing po­si­tion and han­dling was down to noth­ing more than the front of the seat be­ing 20mm nar­rower and the tank be­ing lower (and two litres smaller). The nar­row perch en­cour­ages you to sit fur­ther for­ward, and the flat­ter tank gives the il­lu­sion that the bars are lower which, com­bined with the grip from the front Pirelli Su­per­corsa and

Efirm-but-com­mu­nica­tive feed­back from the Öh­lins NIX30 fork, makes for one fan­tas­tic front end.

Yet for all its flick­a­bil­ity, the Speed Triple re­mains solid as a rock at speed. There’s no hint of a head­shake even as the wind­blast tries to peel your fin­gers from the grips. On roads as smooth as these the track-fo­cused Öh­lins al­low you to paint pre­cise arcs around cor­ners with com­plete con­fi­dence. How­ever, for our less-than-per­fect roads, the more softly set Showa sus­pen­sion fit­ted to the S model may well be a more com­fort­able and prac­ti­cal op­tion.

The in­her­ent sta­bil­ity is also boosted by the re­worked gear­box which works so well that you soon get over the fact that the R doesn’t come with a quick­shifter as stan­dard (one is avail­able as a £300 ex­tra). Tri­umph have honed the gear­box se­lec­tor drum mech­a­nism and slightly length­ened the gear lever travel to make shift­ing smoother and less ef­fort. The re­sult is a gearchange that’s pos­i­tive but slick, and a vast im­prove­ment over the previous model.

More en­gi­neer­ing ge­nius has taken place in­side the en­gine it­self in or­der to make the big-bore mo­tor both more pow­er­ful and ef­fi­cient. Ev­ery­thing from the cylin­der head port­ing, cams and tim­ing sprock­ets, to the pis­ton shape, com­pres­sion ra­tio, fuel-in­jec­tion and ride-by-wire throt­tle has been re­freshed, and the re­sult is a bike that not only pleases tree-hug­ging Eu­ro­crats by be­ing cleaner and greener, but also etches a smirk on rid­ers’ faces.

The 2016 Triple makes a smidge more power (up from 133bhp to 138bhp), and torque’s been boosted by an av­er­age of 5ftlb across the rev range. But it’s in the low and mid-range where the changes are most no­tice­able. As­sisted by the high-tech ride-by-wire throt­tle, the ini­tial twist of the wrist re­wards with in­stant, ur­gent re­sponse, mean­ing that be­low 3500rpm the new Speed Triple feels much more ag­gres­sive than the previous model. Yet de­spite that snappy

‘The Speed Triple is the same riproar­ing brute, but now it’s wear­ing a Sav­ile Row suit’

pick-up, the new Triple has a beau­ti­ful air of so­phis­ti­ca­tion and re­fine­ment in its power de­liv­ery, al­low­ing you to get swept along on the swell of mid-range cour­tesy of an en­gine that’s keen-asEnglish-mus­tard to rev.

For all its new-found silk­i­ness, the Speed Triple’s lost none of its rorty char­ac­ter; it’s still bold and me­chan­i­cal, and the new, freer-flow­ing and lighter un­der-seat ex­haust sys­tem does a mag­i­cal job at am­pli­fy­ing the triple­cylin­der roar. It’s the very essence of the orig­i­nal 1994 hooli­gan dis­tilled and digi­tised for the 21st cen­tury.

Ul­tra-mod­ern ride-by-wire tech­nol­ogy has also paved the way for the new Speed Triple’s five switch­able rider modes – Rain, Road, Sport, Track and Rider – which all give the full 138bhp but al­ter the bike’s throt­tle re­sponse and lev­els of elec­tronic in­ter­ven­tion. Tog­gled on the move via a ded­i­cated but­ton on the left switchgear, the sys­tem also al­lows rid­ers to cre­ate their own cus­tom mode, and turn off trac­tion con­trol and ABS en­tirely.

The Speed Triple’s power char­ac­ter­is­tics mean it’s al­ways given rid­ers a con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing con­nec­tion be­tween right wrist and rear tyre, but the ad­di­tion of trac­tion con­trol for 2016 is an added boon. Even pow­er­ing through the tight, tech­ni­cal twists of Calafat cir­cuit’s high­side-in­duc­ing cor­ners, the re­freshed 1050 pulses power through the 190-sec­tion rear with­out a slip or spin. Track mode lets you dish out lib­eral fistfuls of shove with only the smallest amount of trac­tion con­trol cov­er­ing your rear, and nei­ther this mode nor Sport will stop the Speed Triple do­ing what it does best: wheely­ing. The switch­able ABS sys­tem is another wel­come ad­di­tion. Tri­umph claim the Brembo M4 monobloc calipers (com­mon to both the Speed Triple R and S) have been mod­i­fied to tone down the ini­tial bite, but the brakes are still pretty sharp for road rid­ing.

The slip-as­sist clutch does a de­cent job of keep­ing the rear sta­ble dur­ing high-speed on-track cor­ner en­tries, but the real bonus comes from the ef­fect it has on the clutch lever. The old model had a heavy clutch which was a pain in the prover­bials when fil­ter­ing around town, but the 2016 bike’s clutch is feather-light and a joy to use.

User-friend­li­ness is a theme that runs through the 2016 Speed Triple; it’s a bike that’s at home burp­ing be­tween bends on fast-flow­ing moun­tain roads, hus­tling on a track­day, or com­mut­ing through town. The only real lim­it­ing fac­tor in its use as an ev­ery­day ma­chine is just how stun­ning it is. Gone are the Dame Edna head­lamps and in their place are a pair of scowl­ing lights, mounted lower than be­fore, fea­tur­ing a strip of day­time LEDS that can be turned on or of via a switch on the bars. There are also cool bar-mounted mir­rors (that ac­tu­ally work), dinky LED indi­ca­tors and a ra­di­a­tor that’s smaller and more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing than be­fore. With­out doubt, the 2016 Tri­umph Speed Triple R is the most de­tailed and high qual­ity bike to ever come out of Hinckley.

The 1994 Speed Triple was the orig­i­nal fac­tory street­fighter and in­spired a gen­er­a­tion of copy­cats. But the 2016 model is here to re­claim its patch, and we think it’s crim­i­nally good. Q Meet seven gen­er­a­tions of bril­liant Speed Triples, page 43

BRIT SPE­CIAL Cel­e­brat­ing the

best Bri­tish bikes and

rid­ers of 2016

Slim­mer tank and new seat have rev­o­lu­tionised the Speed Triple’s rid­ing po­si­tion

Look­ing good Restyled head­lamps and fly­screen give the 2016 Triples a def­i­nite moody scowl, and in true street­fighter style the lat­est model also fea­tures fac­tory-fit­ted bar end mir­rors (which ac­tu­ally work) and tasty touches such as LED indi­ca­tors and ma

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Flow­ing free The Speed Triple re­tains its twin un­der-seat ex­haust cans, but for 2016 the whole sys­tem has been com­pletely re­designed and is not only 600g lighter than be­fore, but also 70% more free-flow­ing and bet­ter sound­ing too while still be­ing Euro4

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