SPIED: 2016 Triumph Speed Triple

Fresh tech and a facelift for the Hinckley-based company’s big naked.

In the midst of a new era of crazy-powerful naked bikes like KTM's 1290 Super Duke R, Aprilia's Tuono V4 1100 RR, and BMW's S1000R, it's easy to overlook one of the bikes that kicked the whole scene off: Triumph's Speed Triple.

For 2016 the British firm is revamping the Speed Triple with wholesale engine and styling changes, and while it likely won't bother the latest crop of 200-hp monsters, the new model looks set to be a significant improvement on the outgoing version. At the moment there's still no official word on the bike, but our spy snapper managed to grab shots of the base Speed Triple and the higher-spec "R" version being ridden near the firm's factory, revealing bikes that are already looking production-ready in advance of their official launch later this year.

So what’s new? A quick glance will spot the reshaped headlights, now less angular and more egg shaped, perhaps in tribute to the twin, circular lamps that the bike sported from the mid-’90s until 2010. Above them sits a new instrument cowl, now sporting a central air intake, and behind comes an entirely new set of body panels, including radiator shrouds, a new seat unit, a reshaped fuel tank, and new bellypan. Other neat details include new bar-end-mounted mirrors and revised exhaust cans with reshaped, matte-aluminum heat shields.

Underneath all that there’s the familiar aluminum frame, unchanged since it was redesigned for the 2011 model, and the same suspension as the current machine—which means Showa kit front and rear for the base bike and Öhlins forks and shock on the Speed Triple R. Brembo continues to supply the brakes, too, but the base Speed Triple has gained the higher-spec calipers that have so far been limited to the R.

So, then, the riding experience promises to be much like the old bike. But that’s to ignore the changes that have been made to the age-old 1,050cc three-cylinder engine. In photos, it’s clear that there are new exhaust headers and a new catalytic converter. The clutch and alternator covers are also reshaped, now carrying the triangular Triumph logo rather than just the firm’s name. But insiders say the changes run much deeper than that, extending as far as new electronic throttles that will allow the Speed Triple to take advantage of the sort of traction control and multiple riding modes that the firm has already introduced on the 2015 Tiger 800. It is significant in the case of the Speed Triple because ride-by-wire throttle and multiple maps will mean a potentially more aggressive and powerful engine that can be adjusted on the fly.

In terms of performance, the word is that the redesigned engine is making a fraction more power than the outgoing version, raising power from 133 hp to nearer 140 hp; it won’t worry the likes of the BMW S1000R, but that’s still enough to make for a very fast bike, particularly when coupled to the triple’s burly torque delivery.

Although no launch date has been mentioned, it’s likely to appear at shows later this year alongside a host of other revised models, including a restyled Explorer featuring optional electronic suspension, a Tiger Sport with the same engine tweaks as the Speed Triple, and an all-new Bonneville.