Third gen is a trackday charm

Cycle World - - Ignition - By Don Canet

Tucked tight hug­ging the 2017 Tri­umph Street Triple RS matte sil­ver fuel tank, throt­tle pinned the en­tire length of Cir­cuito Catalunya’s long pit straight, I click a seam­less gear change into fifth fol­lowed shortly with an­other on­cue snick into top gear—aided by a quick­shifter and the high-res­o­lu­tion TFT dash dis­play’s blue bar graph tachome­ter that clev­erly changes color over the fi­nal 1,000 rpm of the rev range, first turn­ing orange, then red, and ul­ti­mately flash­ing as the en­gine ap­proaches its 12,500-rpm limit. The wind­blast over the stubby fly screen is re­mark­ably fluid, and the rock-steady chas­sis is un­like any naked sport­bike I’ve rid­den to date.

The dig­i­tal speedome­ter reads 150 mph for a mere in­stant prior to sit­ting up and ap­ply­ing a firm twofin­ger squeeze on the brake lever. Drop­ping down three gears for turn one the chas­sis main­tains stead­fast com­po­sure un­der hard brak­ing with a slight pe­ri­odic kick­back felt through the lever as the ABS ef­fec­tively keeps the rear wheel from lift­ing off the ground.

An as­sertive side-to-side flick from full right lean to deck­ing the left peg through the fol­low­ing apex of­fers an im­pres­sive tes­ta­ment to the sport­ing qual­i­ties of Tri­umph’s lat­est Street Triple plat­form. Carving a tight line through the fast fourth-gear sweeper that fol­lows doesn’t faze the bike a bit with nary a wag or wig­gle through its wide ta­per-style han­dle­bar. I also ex­pe­ri­ence lit­tle drama feed­ing in throt­tle for ag­gres­sive drive out of the track’s quar­tet of sec­ond-gear ex­its. The Street Triple’s ride-by-wire­based trac­tion and wheelie con­trol have quickly gained my full trust.

All this track-bred agility and con­fi­dence-bol­ster­ing sta­bil­ity comes with­out need for a steer­ing damper or an ap­point­ment with the chi­ro­prac­tor fol­low­ing a fever­ish day in the sad­dle.

As the top tier of Tri­umph’s all-new third-gen­er­a­tion Street Triple lineup, the RS is blessed with more peak en­gine per­for­mance and high­er­spec sus­pen­sion, brakes, and tires than its S and R sib­lings. While all three mod­els share the new 765cc, liq­uid-cooled, in­line three-cylin­der en­gine (es­sen­tially the Day­tona 675R pow­er­train en­dowed with a larger bore and stroke), model-spe­cific

cam pro­file and tim­ing specs lend each ver­sion its own unique state of tune. The RS’S claimed 123 hp (121 hp in the US ver­sion) is said to rep­re­sent a 16-per­cent gain over its im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor, and while it of­fers 5 more peak ponies than the new R model, the lat­ter en­joys a slight torque ad­van­tage through­out low-to-midrange revs. Adding to the boost in out­put is a 4.4-pound weight re­duc­tion fur­ther­ing Tri­umph’s “light­est in class” claim.

Our day aboard the Street Triple RS be­gan with a morn­ing road ride on moun­tain roads and high­ways north of Barcelona, Spain, of­fer­ing a taste of the Street Triple’s street prow­ess prior to rid­ing the cir­cuit. The bot­tom two gears now have shorter ra­tios than the pre­vi­ous Street Triple, of­fer­ing eas­ier pull away from stops and greater ac­cel­er­a­tion. The R and RS both have a slip­per/as­sist clutch, pro­vid­ing light ef­fort with good en­gage­ment feel. The coun­ter­bal­anced en­gine proved smooth op­er­a­tion with a silky qual­ity across much of the rev range.

Selectable ride modes, each with fac­tory-tai­lored throt­tle re­sponse, TC, and ABS sen­si­tiv­ity set­tings are an im­por­tant part of the new pack­age. The S model of­fers Rain and Road modes, while the R adds Sport and a “Rider” mode that al­lows cus­tom se­lec­tion of the pa­ram­e­ters found within the var­i­ous pre­set modes. The RS has all this plus an ad­di­tional Track mode that shares the same throt­tle re­sponse as Sport but al­lows more rear slip un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion and a higher ABS thresh­old. It’s worth not­ing that all modes pro­vide full peak power out­put and switch­ing in/out of Track or Rider mode can only be done while the bike is at a stand­still. TC and wheelie con­trol are not in­de­pen­dent of the other but can be turned off.

I sam­pled each mode dur­ing our three-hour open track ses­sion. While Rain mode saw the TC light flash­ing fre­quently ex­it­ing nearly ev­ery cor­ner and soft­ened throt­tle re­sponse a fair de­gree, I found it of­fers an in­tu­itive con­nec­tion

be­tween throt­tle and rear tire with a much less in­tru­sive and de­layed na­ture of­ten found with “rain” mode strate­gies. Road is bet­ter yet and of­fers a great choice to al­le­vi­ate head-butting with a pas­sen­ger on back. Ini­ti­at­ing TC in­ter­ven­tion in ei­ther Sport or Track mode re­quired a de­ter­mined hand­ful of throt­tle at lean thanks to this triple’s lin­ear de­liv­ery and tractable na­ture. The big­gest dif­fer­ence I ex­pe­ri­enced be­tween th­ese two modes while hot lap­ping the cir­cuit came un­der hard brak­ing. What I had ini­tially thought was a form of brake fade in fact was Sport mode’s ABS anti-rear-lift fea­ture at play. It cy­cles so smoothly that once ini­ti­ated, squeez­ing ever harder on the lever main­tained the same rate of de­cel­er­a­tion with­out a grab/re­lease ef­fect. Track mode truly was the cat’s meow and places more con­trol in the rider’s right paw.

On the high­way headed back to our ho­tel I tog­gled the dash pre­sen­ta­tion to a pre­ferred style of the six avail­able lay­outs and switched on its ac­ces­sory heated grips. Hav­ing just spent the past few hours rip­ping around a cir­cuit in fast com­pany rid­ing with the likes of for­mer World Superbike cham­pion Carl Fog­a­rty, 2016 Isle of Man Su­pers­port win­ner Gary John­son, and Tri­umph’s de­vel­op­ment duo of David and Felipe Lopez, it struck me that I had just ex­pe­ri­enced the ul­ti­mate trackday aboard one of the best bikes I could imag­ine rid­ing to, on, and from a track. And more to the point, my old bones felt fresh and ready for more.

Tri­umph’s third-gen­er­a­tion Street Triple truly is a trackday de­light and a great ev­ery­day ride to boot.

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