The New Triumph Street Triple RS Set to Rule the Streets
Triumph has hit the nail on its head with this latest model
Review and pictures by Wahid Ooi Abdullah
- Street Triple RS priced at a competitive RM 66,900.
- The Street Triple range now features a new 765cc engine.
- The Street Triple S produces 111 bhp.
- The range topping Street Triple RS produces 121 bhp.
Everyone enjoys a good comedy, especially one that touches the realities of life. The ability for us to laugh at ourselves is refreshing, calling upon us to examine ourselves and our values as we traverse this life. Indeed, these comedians who describe their personal experiences usually become the best funny men and women.
Two of my favourite comedians are Harith Iskander and Russel Peters. Both are Asians and have been brought up the Asian way, and sure enough, both joked about getting beaten up by their parents.
Russell always used his Father’s the line, “Somebody’s going to get hurt,” as the prelude to being disciplined.
But it’s Harith’s version which most Asian kids, myself included, could relate to. He described how Western parents would encourage their children to do their best. “You failed all your subjects, but did you do your best?” before going on to say, “I don’t mind if you grow up to be a garbage collector but as long as you grow up o be the best garbage collector.”
Contrastingly, Asian parents would harangue their kids, “Science. You scored 98% out of 100 marks. What happened to the other 2 marks? How come you didn’t get a 100 marks, huh?! How come your neighbor, Kenny can get 114 (sic) and you cannot?! Stupid!”
The verdict of testing the Street Triple 675R remains fresh till this day. It had all the hallmarks of a great bike: Sporty, comfortable, fast, civilized, wild, has great handling, and practical, all in one. Triumph had done one heck of a great job of rounding out the bike to appeal across a wide section of riders. It did whatever you wanted it to, no complaints. In short, FUN!
It was due to these characteristics that I dubbed it the best in its class. How could Triumph ever top the Street Triple 675R? Yes, we all knew a displacement upgrade would be a foregone conclusion, but how about that sweet, sweet handling? There have been bikes that went completely the opposite way, oh yes.
Then when Triumph debuted this Street Triple RS, my heart rate speedshifted into sixth gear. I mean, look at it: 121 bhp (rear wheel!), Brembo Monoblocs gripping Brembo discs, and Öhlins rear shock. Oh please, please, I need to ride it.
Well, Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia made my dream come true because here it is, the Street Triple RS.
First off, the new RS’s lines impart a more compact and bio-mechanical look, as panels wrap around the frame like the latter were metal bones, especially the subframe structure. Little details such as “gills” are spread throughout the bike. The “foxeye” headlamps have similarly been revised to look more in-line with the rest of the bike’s design, with a ram air intake taking up the space in between them.
Moving downwards, Brembo Monobloc calipers grip Brembo discs up front, while an Ohlins fully adjustable shock suspends the new swingarm.
It’s already signaling its intentions.
Climbing on the first time, the seat is now taller, putting more weight over the tank and front wheel. It’s not a full race tuck, however, so it’s still comfortable and doesn’t put pressure on your wrists. But the bike was definitely felt more compact.
Switch on the ignition and the large LCD screen comes to life with a beautifully crisp display. On the left handlebar, there is now an engine mode button, plus a 4-axis “joystick” underneath the turnsignal switch for toggling through the menu. A HOME button on the right handlebar accesses the menu.
The LCD can also be set to AUTO CONTRAST, which switches between a white background when under bright light to a black background when riding in low light.
Electronic rider aid provides five modes. SPORT, ROAD, RAIN, TRACK and RIDER. Each of the first four provides distinctively different power and traction control characteristics. TRACK allows for the most rip-roaring riding with the lowest traction control intervention. RIDER mode allows the rider to customize those parameters, for example, ROAD mode with ABS on, TC (traction control) on, so forth.
Clutch in, thumbed the new started switch and the engine comes on with a quick vroom. This is where the fun begins.
Starting in ROAD mode, the engine pulls fast but a little softer from idle to below 5000 RPM, before letting fly. In SPORT, the engine pulls quickly from idle all the way through the entire rev range. In TRACK, well… In TRACK you’ll take off like your hair was on fire.
Anyway, right out of Triumph’s showroom and onto the road, the RS felt so lithe and light. I know it’s a cliché, but while most bikes required conscious steering, the Street Triple RS needed a mere thought. It definitely was much lighter on its feet than the spec sheets suggest.
The engine just belts out smooth, smooth power and torque without feeling stressed. So much so I kept going faster than I anticipated.
Traffic had started building up as I rode back toward my office in Kia Peng. That’s something I’ve always cringed about when riding to work, but on the Street Triple RS I was slicing through traffic like a pizza delivery rider who had been offered an RM 50 tip to arrive in under 30 minutes. It was like riding a 200 Duke with 5 times the horsepower and a lot better handling. Add the superb brakes to the mix and you get one superpowered urban hooligan bike! It turned the dread of riding a big bike through a traffic jam into guilty pleasure as you dispatch even the craziest dispatch rider who thinks he could outmaneuver a big bike in traffic.
It’s been a long time since having a huge grin like someone who had won the lottery when I got off. So what if the weather was scorching hot? Pfft. So the traffic is crazy. So what? I just wanted to keep riding!
Then my wife called, “Mum is going to the supermarket to get some baby formula. Do you want to tumpang anything?” I answered straight up, without hesitation, “No, it’s hot today, tell Mum to stay inside, I’ll go get it.” “But the traffic and it’s about to rain!” she retorted. “No problem, lah. Ok, I’m on my way!” I hung up.
And I was on the bike to purchase milk for my baby and deliver it. I’m a responsible parent, you see.
I dropped off the milk, got back on the bike and headed back to the office to continue with work. Yet, I kept looking out the window at the silver Street Triple RS parked underneath my window.
The next day was reserved for taking the bike out for beauty shots. Let’s see, a destination where you’ve to ride through so many twisties it felt like I was in a snakes belly. That’s it! Genting Highlands. It’s the journey that counts doesn’t only apply to Harleys.
I slipped into my racesuit and out I went. Now with the suit on, it’s like every single dispatch rider has banded against me. And what’s their battleground? Traffic and tight corners. Well, the RS sent them packing with eyes as wide as dinner plates.
I decided to take the Ulu Yam route, to see how the Street Triple RS would fare on a road that squeezes together challenging corners in a tight environment.
From the first corner, a sweeping left after ascending a hill, the RS turned into it without hesitation. The suspension on both ends communicated through the imperfections but it never did overwhelm the senses. Instead, you just knew what the tyres were doing and that adds on more confidence.
The following set of corners consisted of right-left-right-left combinations. I was initially hesitant, not knowing how much the bike would be able to turn and not overshoot (it’s not my bike, after all), but with each corner cleared, the more the RS encouraged me.
You know, had the there been an interactive “onboard riding coach,” it would’ve gone, That was good, son, but you can do more. Give it more. So I approached the corners faster and faster, and leaned deeper and deeper.
Through even the slowest corners, the RS just turned in and seemingly chomped into the road immediately. On certain bikes, even with lots of grip, you need certain signals to know if the tyre has actually settled into the road. I’ve ridden many bikes shod with the Pirelli SuperCorsa SP, but on the RS, it was exactly like riding a smaller, lighter bike: Turn in and gas on. It’s the Street Triple RS’s suspension and chassis geometry that make the difference.
And it didn’t care about all those corners at Ulu Yam. Short or long, positive or negative camber, sharp or sweeping, slow or fast, smooth or bumpy, the RS slayed them all. The bike exhibited its love to lean and lean and lean. It just eggs you on to trust it and go ahead and throw it in there.
I continued past the Ulu Yam Bharu town and up the Batang Kali – Genting Highlands road. This stretch starts out easy then throws in the whole bunch of decreasing corners after the bridge.
There’s this one particular left corner that had always been a source of frustration. It starts out with a very gradual radius for a long distance before disappearing to left abruptly. That calls for the rider to follow around the initial part of the corner, then slapping the bike down to complete the turn. I’ve ridden bikes here that either refused to tighten its line by leaning further or I had to trail brake through. No such recalcitrance for the RS. I just went up high while turning and dropped it further as the corner tightened up, left knee just skimmed the road. In fact, the corner hardly registered.
See, you could do it!
I had almost completed the run, when it suddenly got ominously dark and cold. I threw the RS into a sharp double-apex, grabbed big throttle and the rear kicked out a little. Still, I didn’t back off as the RS was still “talking” to me. It’s okay, just keep going.
It was until I came upon the back of a Porsche Cayenne and it sprayed water onto my helmet’s visor that I discovered that the road was actually wet!
The rain came down in earnest when I passed the Genting Skyway station.
I switched to RAIN mode. It surprised me. On almost all other bikes in RAIN mode, there’s a delay when you first open the throttle, but not so on the RS. The power delivery was even smoother this time, but it came on just the same as in the other modes. I welcomed this because I didn’t have to readjust to a completely different throttle response, and if the rear tyre did let go from loss of traction, I still have throttle control.
I rushed to the Gohtong Petron station for shelter and fuel, while the storm raged. I couldn’t stop gazing at the RS, and attempted to will the rain to stop so I could go on riding. The sheets of water continued unabated by 6.00 pm, and it was getting dark fast, so I decided to descend, rain or no rain. That rain was so relentless it started to soak my leather within minutes.
There were already deep puddles of water everywhere. Surely this is a concern for a rider with SuperCorsas! I found that fear to be unfounded. It’s almost uncanny, unnatural even for a bike with semi-slicks to do so well over standing water and could still keep up a relatively good pace.
Down onto Karak Highway, I just kept riding, feeling the traction. Again, the RS’s onboard coach was right there: Trust me. Then all of sudden it was like I’ve rode through the curtain of a rain cloud.
But the highway was still damp. I decided to push a little bit more to see what it could do and was promptly rewarded with the bike sweeping gracefully through the corners at 130 – 140 km/h.
I was back at Genting again the next day, nevermind the soggy helmet, leathers, gloves and boots; this time coming up via Karak. Almost nothing about Karak registered in mind, because it was just so effortless.
Time flies by when you’re having fun. You’re doing great!
A soon as we hit the first left following the up ramp it was Let’s go!
There’s this set of S-curves just before Gohtong. I was lazy to hang off, so I just sat straight up in the seat and flicked the RS through the corners. It didn’t mind, switching from one direction to another without even a hint of instability or wobble.
I was already there at Petron before I knew it.
Coming back down via Karak again, it was into TRACK mode since it was dry. The bike just flew. In full aggression mode the engine had now transformed from fast to super fast, while the Triumph Intellishift speedshifter connected the gears with breakneck speed (yet smooth), and the slipper clutch allowed hard charging into the corners.
But what I loved most was the throttle. It’s like your hand’s turning the throttle bodies directly. Now, throw in that super communicative chassis and you have a bike that’s connected to you to form a living machine together. Ever wondered how a cyborg would feel like? Ride the Triumph Street Triple RS.
Shortcomings? I picked up some handlebar buzz at above 8000 RPM, but that’s already going more than 180 km/h in SPORT mode so it’s not something to worry about on a daily basis. Secondly and the most painful was having to send it back!
So the verdict is this. The Street Triple RS is the most fun naked sportbike out there by a wide margin. Although it has 121 bhp and weighs just 166 kg dry, it doesn’t intimidate you when you’re less than perfect through corners, it doesn’t attempt to spank you for your mistakes, instead it encourages you to do better, like a Western parent (it IS British, by the way). It’s a two-way relationship with the bike.
That’s why the Triumph Street Triple RS is the King of Fun.
Please follow Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia’s Facebook page for the latest news. As when this review was published, Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia was having a special Raya Promotion (click here), you may book a test ride and the new Triumph Street Triple RS.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 12-valves, inline three-cylinder|
|Compression ratio||12.65 : 1|
|Bore X Stroke||77.9 mm X 53.4 mm|
|Fuel system||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection, with SAI and electronic throttle control|
|Maximum power||121.2 bhp (90.5 kW) @ 11700 RPM|
|Maximum torque||77 Nm @ 10800 RPM|
|Clutch||Oil-lubricated (wet) clutch, slip-assisted|
|Front suspension||Showa 41mm USD Big Piston Fork (BPF), adjustable for preload, compression damping and rebound damping|
|Front wheel travel||115 mm|
|Rear suspension||Ohlins STX40 fully adjustable piggyback reservoir RSU|
|Rear wheel travel||131 mm|
|Front brakes||Dual floating 310 mm Brembo discs, radially-mounted four-piston Brembo M50 calipers|
|Rear brake||Single 220 mm disc, Brembo single-piston sliding caliper|
|FRAME & DIMENSIONS|
|Frame||Aluminium beam twin-spar. 2-piece high pressure die-cast rear frame|
|Swingarm||Two-sided, cast aluminium alloy|
|Seat height||825 mm|
|Dry weight||166 kg|
|Fuel capacity||17.4 litres|