BIG TEST

The new Street Triple has big tyre treads to fill. The most rigourous and de­mand­ing test in mo­tor­cy­cling re­veals whether or not it’s up to the chal­lenge…

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - By Ben Lind­ley Pho­tog­ra­phy Jason Critchell, Ben Lind­ley, Chippy Wood and Paul Lang

A rigorous 5200-miles on Tri­umph’s as­ton­ish­ing Street Triple R.

IT’S EV­ERY­THING YOU’D want it to be,’ says Mike Ar­mitage from Bike’s first ride of the 2007 Tri­umph Street Triple 675. ‘You could shut your eyes and di­rect the ag­ile chas­sis with thought alone. And the mo­tor: smooth, flex­i­ble power from tick­over.’ A very im­pres­sive ma­chine, it seems. But ten years later, that smooth and flex­i­ble 675 en­gine has fi­nally been su­per­seded. And given the spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess of the first ma­chine 2017’s Street Triple cer­tainly has its work cut out. A root and branch re­work is al­ways a risk when the bike in ques­tion is as cel­e­brated as the Street Triple. But Tri­umph took that risk with a new en­gine – the same 765cc triple destined for Moto2 – and sharp and con­trolled han­dling. Tri­umph re-imag­ined the Street Triple into a very dif­fer­ent kind of mo­tor­cy­cle. 150 hours and 5200 miles rid­ing will get to the bot­tom of whether or not Hinck­ley’s work, has worked out…

En­gine and trans­mis­sion

The start­ing point for the new 765 was the en­gine from the out­go­ing Day­tona 675 and not the pre­vi­ous Street Triple. Choos­ing that en­gine meant Tri­umph could Si­amese the lin­ers – cast all three as a sin­gle unit – inside the Day­tona’s light­weight alu­minium block to max­i­mize bore. It’s also stroked, creat­ing 90cc ex­tra for more power and torque across the graph. There’s a def­i­nite in­crease in thrust, the feath­erlight throt­tle pro­pel­ling you for­ward with a more ded­i­cated and se­ri­ous bent than the 675. More fo­cused and keen than Yamaha’s MT-09 and Kawasaki’s Z900, too. This, the ‘R’, sits in the mid­dle of 2017’s three-bike Street Triple range. The ‘S’ keeps the en­try price to a re­spectable £8200, the ‘RS’ has its eye much more on race­track en­thu­si­asts and com­mands a £1900 pre­mium due to up­rated parts. Mean­while the R rings the tills at £9100 on the road. There’s a dif­fer­ent en­gine tune for each model: soft 111bhp peak for the S, 121bhp for the RS, and our R dis­turbs the dyno at 118bhp as tested – that’s 2bhp more than of­fi­cial fig­ures. The var­i­ous tunes are achieved by in­take, ex­haust and camshaft tweak­ing. Take a close look at the torque curve to see the R run­ning straight and clear above both the S and the RS be­tween 6000 and 7750rpm. That means more torque where you need it for road rid­ing. Splen­did. A tall first gear splits opin­ion. ‘It doesn’t have the im­me­di­ate on-road zap you ex­pect from a Street Triple,’ com­plains Mike. ‘The Day­tona’s long first gear and 150mph po­ten­tial make it feel revvy and long-legged, with a big rush at the top of the rev range.’ Editor Wil­son, how­ever, is more for­giv­ing. ‘Shorter gearing would make the bike more ag­gres­sive, but for or­di­nary riders taller gears help it to be rid­den on the road in a con­trolled way. They also help keep fa­tigue away on longer fast rides. Get to the next cor­ner and tip the thing in with­out too much shift­ing.’ The ag­gres­sive en­gine note, how­ever, sends ad­jec­tive gen­er­a­tors into over­drive. ‘It’s a glo­ri­ous tear­ing noise,’ of­fers Hugo. ‘Like rip­ping a cloth every time you ac­cel­er­ate.’ Twist back the throt­tle and the noise be­comes meatier thanks to a re­designed air­box, giv­ing a richer noise than the 675 it re­places. Com­bine racket and thrust with the beau­ti­fully clean gear­box, and ac­cel­er­a­tion be­comes thor­oughly ad­dic­tive. Click­ing into the next ra­tio feels tight and ac­cu­rate, even more so when clutch­less shift­ing. When you’ve per­fected dip­ping the throt­tle, clutch­less up­shifts are smoother than us­ing the quick­shifter on Yamaha’s MT-09.

Han­dling and ride

Out on tech­ni­cal Welsh B-roads the Street Triple R is ini­tially re­sis­tant at very slow speeds due to its front-end weight bias, but a faster pace soon has it div­ing into cor­ners. Pre­ci­sion turn-in is helped by the han­dle­bar’s neu­tral place­ment which is not as high or as far for­ward as the MT-09’S. The

‘You eye‘‘ you could shut your eye­scould shut your eyes and di­rect the ag­ile chas­sis with thought alone’

perch tilts you ever so slightly for­ward over the front - you feel like you are com­mand­ing from above, rather than rid­ing from within like, say, Kawasaki’s Z900. Pirelli Di­ablo Rosso Corsa tyres may be OE fit­ment, but work well on sur­faces as di­verse as damp Bel­gian B-roads and a bone-dry Rock­ing­ham Mo­tor Speed­way. How­ever, the springs are harsh enough to war­rant pained crit­i­cism from Mike. ‘It’s like a naked sports­bike – firm and fo­cused rather than sup­ple and for­giv­ing.’ An ex­tra half-de­gree rake and 5mm trail over 2013’s R model help keep the Street’s front wheel touch­ing tar­mac. Even at full throt­tle in se­cond gear. This straight-laced obe­di­ence is very un­like the pre­ced­ing Street, and is enough to make Mike look else­where for his adren­a­line fix. ‘I know it’s the R ver­sion, and R means sporty-fast-whizzbang. But I think the fo­cus spoils its abil­ity to func­tion as a road bike.’ Ride harder, turn faster, and the nim­ble fo­cus is com­ple­mented by the firm re­sis­tance of well-damped fork and shock. The sup­port builds con­fi­dence and tempts ex­tra speed. Sus­pen­sion is bal­anced front-to-back, too. There’s none of the sin­gle-ended sag­ging that hap­pens at fast lean on an orig­i­nal MT-09. Less preload than stock suits my weight, while nav­i­gat­ing the twist­ing val­ley roads of Wal­lo­nia called for softer damp­ing, al­though turn­ing the ad­justers is a pain with­out re­mov­ing the han­dle­bar. Two turns and two clicks down at the front, two turns at the rear – tweaks that help soften the R’s ‘fo­cus’ is­sues. Ev­ery­one agrees the R tack­les road test routes in Wales, the back roads of the Nene Val­ley and the Bel­gian Ar­dennes with vet­eran ex­per­tise. ‘It’s the per­fect speed for a road bike,’ muses Hugo. ‘It’s fast enough to go re­ally, re­ally fast. I can’t see the point of a Speed Triple over a Street.’ Bike’s art bloke Paul Lang agrees. ‘It’s al­most too quick for the road. I wouldn’t ever need any­thing faster.’

Elec­tron­ics

The Street Triple boasts four rid­ing modes: sport, road, rain, and rider. How­ever, un­like Yamaha’s MT-09 it needs just one. Fly-by-wire throt­tle re­sponse is so clean and sub­tle that all re­quired ad­just­ment can be made at the twist­grip. On top of that, the Bike of­fice is unan­i­mous that any dif­fer­ence be­tween the four modes is neg­li­gi­ble. Mike again: ‘There’s not a lot of dif­fer­ence be­tween

them in terms of what they do, and even less in what you feel.’ So that’s that… Throt­tle pinned on a sunny Au­gust track­day, trac­tion con­trol level two in­ter­rupts for­ward thrust. Wag­gle the joy­stick, se­lect the lower set­ting, and ac­cel­er­a­tion is now un­in­hib­ited. The warn­ing light only flashes on the most ragged of cor­ner ex­its. ABS skulks in the back­ground, al­low­ing the front Pirelli to slide slightly un­der heavy brak­ing. A sharp foil for Rock­ing­ham’s na­tional cir­cuit. The only thing miss­ing for in­ter­me­di­ate track work is a quick­shifter, al­though clutch­less shift­ing feels pre­cise.

‘It’s al­most too quick for the road. I wouldn’t ever need any­thing faster’

‘Don’t ex­pect the youth­ful strut of the orig­i­nal Street – to­day’s Triple is a classy, do-it-all naked sports­bike’

Trust in the trac­tion con­trol wanes some­what af­ter I man­age to spin the rear in cold and salty con­di­tions. Even on its most in­tru­sive set­ting the TC waits a full se­cond be­fore cut­ting ig­ni­tion. The sys­tem un­doubt­edly takes mea­sure­ments mil­lisec­onds apart, but that doesn’t mat­ter if it then takes too long to act on the data. A se­cond is plenty of time to reach low­side point of no re­turn.

Con­trols and com­fort

Nav­i­gat­ing the menu be­fud­dles some of the more sage Bike staffers and un­sur­pris­ingly leads to much dis­agree­ment. ‘It takes a while for us­ing the joy­stick dash con­trol to be­come se­cond na­ture,’ ad­mits Mike. ‘The dash is very of-the-mo­ment and has a be­wil­der­ing amount of information, not to men­tion loads of dis­play op­tions.’ As the to­ken youth-of-to­day on the Bike team, I can hap­pily tap and click around with­out los­ing my oily rag – make of that what you will. A chang­ing screen lay­out doesn’t have to grate. True, the op­tion is there. But like the set­tings on a smart­phone, it can be ig­nored with­out is­sue. Ini­ti­ate a deep dive into the menu sys­tem with a stab at the home but­ton on the left switchgear. It’s here that set­tings for each of the four rid­ing modes can be mod­i­fied. The cho­sen rid­ing mode is re­mem­bered when the bike is switched off, un­less it has been mod­i­fied to switch off TC or ABS. A frus­trat­ing lit­tle warn­ing pops up every time you se­lect the of­fend­ing set­tings. No doubt thanks to an over-zeal­ous le­gal de­part­ment. nd LED run­ning lights form slim wings that run through the cen­tre of each head­light. They’re only suit­able for day­time run­ning and are woe­fully dim at night. Flick a switch with your left thumb to swap them for the main beam head­light, then tap the pass trig­ger for full beam. It’s a lit­tle su­per­flu­ous, and run­ning lights never seem to be pressed into ac­tion as nights grow longer. The seat’s firm, and as we said be­fore it an­gles down slightly to­wards the tank. Long jour­neys are cer­tainly pos­si­ble, but the pil­lion sit­u­a­tion is more se­vere – to be frank it wouldn’t look out of place bolted to the back of a su­per­sports bike.

Prac­ti­cal­ity

Avoid rain. Avoid cold. Why? Be­cause there’s a dis­tinct lack of weather pro­tec­tion. And don’t ex­pect bungee points un­der the sub­frame or un­der the seat. Kr­iega packs can be lashed to the sub­frame, but wob­ble back and forth with­out any proper mount­ing points. On the plus side the seat has clips for two hel­mets – handy for se­cu­rity on ur­ban er­rands. Alas, that’s where prac­ti­cal­ity stalls. The Street is the most fo­cused mid­dleweight naked, and its lack of util­ity re­flects this. Fuel level is well pre­sented. A bar to the left of the dis­play screen rises and falls be­tween full and empty. Or at least it should. Ours packed up at 1800 miles and hasn’t worked since. It’s al­lowed us to run the Street Triple dry on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions – al­ways in the name of sci­ence, mind. Never on the side of the M25. Ex­pect 180 mo­tor­way miles or 145 fast B-road miles from a full 17.4-litre tank. Num­bers crunched, that means a con­ser­va­tive 47mpg or an ex­u­ber­ant 37.9mpg. Thirsty, then.

Fin­ish

Five days of Bel­gian rain­storms and mo­tor­way mist failed to dent the Street’s shiny im­age, with the slight ex­cep­tion of a rust­ing col­lec­tor box. Cur­va­ceous tank and sub­frame cowl­ing lines lend the blind­ing per­for­mance a sense of class that el­e­vates the bike’s im­age above its sub­stan­tial list price.

Ver­dict

A storm­ing naked sports­bike, as adept at rush hour com­mut­ing as an evening raid on the lo­cal race­track. It’s both fast and obe­di­ent, with chas­sis ge­om­e­try that en­cour­ages in­tense for­ward thrust rather than op­por­tunis­tic wheel­ies. That’s not to say it doesn’t bal­ance well on one wheel, but you now have to ask it to mis­be­have. Pricey, sure, but sim­i­lar in cost to an Öh­lin­se­quipped 2018 Yamaha MT-09 SP. And with a bet­ter fin­ish. Don’t ex­pect the youth­ful strut of the orig­i­nal Street – to­day’s Triple is a classy, do-it-all naked sports­bike.

Street Triple is a leg­end in its own life­time, and the new ‘R’ cer­tainly keeps its end up

The leafy Bel­gian Ar­den­ne­sex­poses Triple’s lack of bad-weather pre­pared­ness

No need for hlins. Stock Showa set-up al­lows track tom­fool­ery

Press Home on the right switchgear for in-depth op­tions

Note de­li­cious sculpted swingarm LED day run­ning lights in ac­tion Fast road rid­ing is what the R does best

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