Loz BlainJanuary 12th, 2017
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2017 Triumph Street Triple: the king of the middleweights just got a lot more compelling, to an even wider range of riders(Credit: Triumph)
Dear me. Triumph's Street Triple 675 was already about the best middleweight naked bike you could buy. Now it's up to 765cc, while somehow dropping two kilograms. With four different models available – and a low ride height option – the Striple just got a lot better, for an even wider range of riders.
As far as many folks were concerned, Triumph's Street Triple was already the king of the middleweight naked class, even if the definition of "middleweight" has been sneaking upwards lately to include bikes like Yamaha's MT-09 (FZ-09) and Ducati's Streetfighter 848. When a 900cc bike is referred to as a middleweight, you know you're living in times of plenty.
Still, the Street Trip punched above its weight on the basis of its sporty engine character, light weight and confidence-inspiring handling, making it an ideal everyday fun machine for a very broad range of riders. An all-rounder that would put a smile on your dial on the daily commute, embarrass the odd sleepy superbike on a twisty road, tour all day and even acquit itself respectably on a racetrack. This plucky 675cc triple blackened a few higher capacity eyes in middlewight nakedbike shootouts the world over and has been one of Triumph's biggest selling bikes since its launch in 2007.
And for its 10th birthday, it seems it just got a lot better – possibly partially thanks to MotoGP.
While it's not official yet, word on the street is that Triumph is preparing to take over Honda's position as the sole provider of spec engines for the Moto2 class starting from the 2019 MotoGP season. 600cc inline fours are not sexy any more, so Honda's not going to make a Euro 4-compatible CBR600RR, and Triumph is going to step in with a new 765cc triple.
The new Triumph Street Triple 765 range gives us our first look at that motor. Derived from the same 675cc Daytona engine as the old bikes, the new one has some 80 updated parts in search of more low-end and mid-range power in a similarly compact package. Bore is increased from 74 to 77.99 mm and stroke from 52.3 to 53.38 mm; the engine gets bigger in both directions, but gets a little strokier in character for more low-end punch, which will be accentuated by a lower gear ratio in first and second. Can you hear that? It's the sound of ten thousand dribbling hooligans waiting to wheelie this thing, and I may be one of them.
Power figures get a touch confusing since there are no less than four models of Street Triple coming, from a size-restricted 660cc version for countries with graduated licensing schemes (no power figure yet available), through the standard S model, making 113 horses, a feistier R model making 118 and the King Dingaling RS model making 123 – up a huge 16 percent from last year's bike.
The RS model weighs in at just 166 kg (366 lb) dry, 2 kg (4.4 lb) lighter than the 2016 model, and that actually gives the Street Triple RS a fairly significant power-to-weight advantage over the 192-kg (423-lb), 140-horsepower 1050 Speed Triple we tested last year. Certainly, it'll lose out a bit on low-end grunt, but this thing is gonna fly – and doubtless those missing pounds are going to make this bike a ton of fun to throw around in the corners.
As a Euro 4-compatible, future-focused platform, the new engine is fully ride-by-wire, which brings in the usual complement of rider safety gear. Each Street Triple features selectable riding modes, ABS and traction control.
The S bike gets road and rain modes, the R gets a further sport map and a rider programmable mode, and the RS adds a track mode. That seems a bit too much like differentiation for differentiation's sake to us, to lock certain modes out of the lower priced bikes when the hardware is so similar, but we'll wait to learn more.
The R and RS models also get a very sexy new full-colour TFT dash, which changes depending on which mode you're in – putting a greater focus on the tacho in track mode, for example, or the speedo in road mode. That's nice. A five-way thumbswitch on the left bar lets you navigate through some pretty funky-looking menus, and the whole thing adjusts its brightness automatically to be visible in all conditions and not burn your retinas out when you go into a tunnel. With the RS bike, you can also choose between three different display styles for each mode, which is a bit beyond the call, but a nice design touch.
As usual, the more you pay, the better suspension and brakes you'll get. The S is adjustable only for rear preload and presumably sits on quite a basic Showa setup. The R gets adjustable Showa forks and shock, as well as a Brembo M4.32 monobloc front brake setup. The RS gets Brembo M50 monoblocs with a ratio-adjustable brake lever, plus Showa's top-of-the-line Big Piston forks, a fully adjustable Ohlins shock, and a quickshifter.
To tell them apart from a distance, look at the subframe. If it's black, it's an S. Red, it's an R. Silver? That's an RS. Orange? You're drunk, that's a KTM.
Diversifying the line even further is a low ride height (LRH) version available for the R model, which has its own suspension and seat custom-built to accommodate shorties. That's a terrific move; I know half a dozen female Street Triple 675 riders who have had to install dogbones, get their seats shaved down and sidestands shortened. I wouldn't be surprised if the LRH model becomes the biggest thing in lady biking since leathers with pink highlights... And with that comment I'm officially in fear of my life.
Bottom line: if you've ever asked which middleweight naked bike you should get, either at a bike meet or on some online forum, you would have had "Street Triple 675" shouted at you so hard it's probably ringing in your ears. Now it's ballsier, as well as lighter, as well as more high-tech and built for an even wider range of riders. If the as-yet-unannounced price is kept under control, you're probably going to get this bike shouted at you even more than the last one.
And with good reason. It's a big thumbs-up on the spec sheet from us. Can't wait to ride one! Check out the promo video below.