Why is three the magic number?
Triumph gets Joe pondering what makes the perfect engine set-up
I’ve chewed through over 2000 twisty miles on the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS and I’m loving every minute. From its beautiful handling to the refined looks, I just can’t get enough.
Another aspect of the bike that I’m really enjoying is the engine. Up until now, I’d only ever ridden one triple in my several years of road riding, ironically a Speed Triple a few years back. It’s been singles, twins and fourcylinder machines for me and until recently I’ve not had a chance to get my hands on another triple.
It’s a curious configuration but one that really works. Many riders find a triple is the perfect balance between a twin and a four; it’s got the character and low-down torque of a V-twin, meaning it’s effortless punching out of corners and gives you plenty of flexibility with gear selection. But, unlike a V-twin, a triple has a much-reduced tendency to vibrate. In fact, the current Street Triple 765 is stunning in its smoothness, in everything from its low rpm/high gear pulling ability to its perfectly calibrated throttle response and fuelling – it’s one super-smooth machine.
Four-cylinder bikes are smooth too, but some accuse them of being a bit soulless, and all that comes down to the firing order. A conventional inline-four has an even firing order where combustion happens every 180-degree rotation of the crankshaft, which spreads the power pulses out equally for maximum balance and performance. My Triumph may need a balancer shaft to help generate some of its smoothness, but the trade off is that it’s got amazing character – and makes a brilliant sound, too.
But, even though the Triumph triple has really impressed me, it’s not quite my all-time favourite engine configuration. That honour is bestowed upon V4s, which always re-ignite childhood memories of watching Aaron Slight blast around on a Castrol Honda RC45 whenever I ride them.
‘It’s got amazing character – and makes a brilliant sound too’
If the ground was a little closer Joe would have got his knee down
Three cylinders of pure riding genius