2017 TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE RS
Third gen is a trackday charm
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.