They say: “The envy of the middleweight sector.”
We say: “…and a bunch of other sectors.”
Motorcycles sometimes outgrow their original concepts. Such is the case with Triumph’s seminal hooligan bike, the Speed Triple, which over two decades grew from a stout, 885cc middleweight to a full-size, 1050cc streetfighter.
The gap in Triumph’s lineup was filled in 2007, when the chaps in Hinckley scaled the already-proven streetfighter idea down to fit the successful 675cc supersport powerplant. We loved the Street Triple as much as the rest of the world, which embraced it to the tune of more than 50,000 units in its first 5 years on the market.
Like its Daytona 675 sibling, the 2013 Street Triple gets a chassis refresh and an undersl
This year saw the Street’s first major redesign since its inception, as Editor at Large Aaron Frank discovered riding the R-spec version (Feb. MC). Most notable is the under-slung exhaust centralizing mass and (perhaps most importantly) matching the look of the Street’s supersport sibling, the Daytona 675. The redesign also includes an all-new frame and swingarm, which are lighter and together create half a degree less rake and 2.6mm more trail, intended to make the Street more nimble and more stable. A new subframe also saves weight, making the Street a claimed 16 pounds lighter.
One piece of the Daytona 675 that did not make the jump is the new short-stroke engine. The Street Triple still uses the previous-generation powerplant. No worries, though, because it’s a gem. A muscular 44.6 lb.-ft. of torque back up the engine’s exhilarating top-end rush of 94.4 horses. Slightly abrupt throttle takeup is avoidable with a gentle wrist, but that’s hard when twisting the grip is so much fun.
The main gripes are the seat and brakes, the former too hard and the latter too soft. The brakes perform well, but seem to suffer from extra piping for the ABS that leaves the lever feeling a little spongy during hard braking. The saddle seems to match the intention and aesthetic of the Street Triple to a tee, simple and uncompromising, except that the Street isn’t as harsh as it looks.
As thrilling as it is to ride, the Street’s ergos are mature enough to use all day. In defense of the firm perch, the crowning achievement of the bike is how absolutely small it feels.
So, then, it’s tidy, potent, stylish, and huge fun to ride. But you shouldn’t buy one. The tragedy of the standard Street Triple is that the up-spec “R” version is just $600 more. And for that you get the same willing engine in a delightfully nimble chassis, but with radial calipers up front, adjustable versions of the fork and shock, and spicy red styling accents. Still for less than $10,000.
||KYB 41mm inverted fork
||KYB shock with adjustable spring preload
||Dual Nissin two-piston calipers, 310mm discs with ABS
||Brembo one-piston caliper, 220mm disc with ABS
||120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
||180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
||24.1°/ 3.9 in.
|Claimed curb weight
|Verdict 4 out of 5 stars
|Thrills, charisma, style, versatility, and huge fun. The only thing better is the R model. Or maybe an FZ8.