First Ride: 2008 Triumph Street Triple R

The Street Triple is already Triumph's best selling bike ever, but will this hotted-up version cause more sales to flood in?

0
By Jon Urry on Mon, 10 Nov 2008 - 11:11


Image Description

Image Description

Image Description

Street Triple R Onboard video


2008 Street Triple Specification

Price: £6,099
Engine: 675cc, lc, 12v triple
Power: 107bhp @ 11,700rpm
Torque: 51 lb.ft @ 9,100rpm
Front suspension: 41mm USD fully adj.
Rear suspension: Monoshock, fully adj.
Front brake: 308mm discs, four-piston
Rear brake: 220mm disc, one-piston
Dry weight: 167kg (claimed)
Seat height: 805mm
Fuel capacity: 17.4L
Top speed: 135mph (est)
Colours: Grey, Orange

Since its launch last year Triumph's Street Triple has exceeded all expectations and proved itself a phenomenal success. Anyone who has tried to place an order for this little streetbike will be familiar with the term ‘waiting list.’ As it currently stands if you try and order one in white or black, the most popular colours, it should arrive sometime in January, perfect timing to enjoy those freezing UK roads while the salt eats away at anything metallic.

Want it a bit sooner? Well, if your choice of colour is the rather lurid green option you should get it by October. But from that point on you can expect a hefty dose of ribbing from your mates, not to mention some fairly spectacularly crap weather in the coming months obviously.

Why is there such a backlog? Well, the Street Triple’s success caught Triumph on the hop. Sure, they expected it to sell well, but it’s actually the fastest selling Hinckley Triumph ever. This year they sold 7,500 Street Triples globally, with 1,100 of those staying put in the UK. So, to coin a phrase, Triumph has decided to make hay while the sun shines and launch a hotted-up R version.

Initially the plan was to only make 1,000 Rs and keep it as a limited edition prestige model, but that idea was soon scrapped when they saw riders clamouring to get hold of the basic model. Now just over half as many Rs will be made as standard bikes, and at only a £500 premium.

So what does you extra cash get you? The most obvious difference is the subtle matt paint schemes. Although the bikes we rode were only in the muted grey colour, come January this will be joined by a slightly more up-beat matt orange, which looked fantastic in the brief bit of sun that we had during the launch. Also new is a funky two-tone seat cover and chunky Magura handlebars, which look far more manly than the weedy chromed items on the stock bike. Visually that’s it, and engine-wise the two bikes are identical, but the R’s trump card is its fully-adjustable suspension, taken from the 2008 Daytona 675.

Apparently supersport racers who run Triumphs are finding there’s a healthy market for secondhand stock 675 shocks as Street Triple riders stick them in their bikes. Which is basically what Triumph has done. The body of the shock is identical to the 675’s, as are the forks bar a few millimetres of extension, but the Street Triple-R has slightly different spring rates and altered damping characteristics to suit the lighter bike. To all intents and purposes this is a Street Triple with the bouncy bits from a Daytona bolted in. In fact despite Triumph declining to confirm this, I’m 100% certain you could do just that, although please don’t sue me if you try and create some ditch-seeking naked missile!

While it was pretty miserable and wet for most of the launch (the Isle of Man in September, what did Triumph really expect?) we did manage to get a few runs over the famous Mountain course in the dry. On this less than smooth and quick bit of road the R felt far more solid than the stock bike, its quality suspension coping with the undulations considerably better than the unadjustable units on the base model. Having been charging around on my longterm Street Triple for nearly a year now, and covered over 8,000 miles, I know them fairly well and if you get a bit excitable it can feel wobbly, especially over bumps. As the forks aren’t adjustable you just have to grin and bear it, not so with the R. A bit more damping here and there and the vagueness is removed, giving a much more planted and secure feeling ride.

One of the major factors that attracts me so much to the Triumph is its sweet handling, a trait that the R with its upgraded suspension only improves on. Get a series of bends and you can bung the Street Triple around as what little there is of its weight disappears. For more experience riders this makes it a bike you can go ballistic on, charging into corners and generally playing the fool, while for newer riders it’s very reassuring and nimble. But the new R might not appeal as much as the current bike to the newer rider.

Although I’ve never found need to complain about the stock bike’s brakes the R’s new radial units (taken directly from the Daytona with a radial master cylinder) are certainly far sharper, but still offer loads of feel. The beauty of the Street Triple is its easy of use, nothing feels like it will bite you, it’s very pleasant to get on with and has a feeling of working with you, faltering your riding. While the brakes on the R might have slightly lost this comforting feel, which isn’t ideal for new riders, I prefer them as they are more powerful and direct. It’s just a slightly more focused feeling bike, and one that I reckon could hold its own on track.

A few months ago I took my Street Triple around Brands Hatch and to be honest it was bit out of its comfort zone. The suspension was over-whelmed and the bike felt lose. Having ridden the R on the roads I’m convinced it would make a belting little track bike, it’s not the fastest out there, but you would certainly have the biggest smile on your mush come the end of the day.

As I mentioned earlier Triumph hasn’t found the need to mess with the 675 triple engine, and good on them I say. I’m sure the temptation was there to stick in the more powerful Daytona lump, but that would completely miss the point of the Street Triple and rip out a large part of its charm. The re-tuning job Triumph has done on the motor gives the Street Triple all its power just where you want it and at speeds that are fun. Yes you can thrash the nuts off it and see 130mph area on the clock, but why? The Street Triple works best buzzing up to sub-100mph speeds, hurtling around corners and generally entertaining the rider. It’s a bike that you feel like you are riding, giving it everything and making it work, rather than it smirking at your lack of motorcycling prowess. And should you be feeling lazy the triple engine has the kind of low-down torque that inline four 600s can only dream of.

At £6,099 the R is only £500 more than the stock bike. Considering this is basically £500 for a suspension upgrade and new brakes that’s not too bad in my book. Stick an order in now (192 people already have) and you should get yours by January 2009, which, coincidently, is when you would also get a stock bike if you asked for one today due to the backlog in orders. Can you save £500 in four months? Of course you can, who needs new pants anyway…

Since its launch in 2007 Triumph’s Street Triple has exceeded all expectations and proved itself a phenomenal success. Anyone who has tried to place an order for this little streetbike will be familiar with the term ‘waiting list.’ As it currently stands if you try and order one in white or black, the most popular colours, it should arrive sometime in January, perfect timing to enjoy those freezing UK roads while the salt eats away at anything metallic. Want it a bit sooner? Well, if your choice of colour is the rather lurid green option you should get it by October. But from that point on you can expect a hefty dose of ribbing from your mates, not to mention some fairly spectacularly crap weather in the coming months obviously.

Why is there such a backlog? Well, the Street Triple’s success caught Triumph on the hop. Sure, they expected it to sell well, but it’s actually the fastest selling Hinckley Triumph ever. This year they sold 7,500 Street Triples globally, with 1,100 of those staying put in the UK. So, to coin a phrase, Triumph has decided to make hay while the sun shines and launch a hotted-up R version.

Initially the plan was to only make 1,000 Rs and keep it as a limited edition prestige model, but that idea was soon scrapped when they saw riders clamouring to get hold of the basic model. Now just over half as many Rs will be made as standard bikes, and at only a £500 premium.

So what does you extra cash get you? The most obvious difference is the subtle matt paint schemes. Although the bikes we rode were only in the muted grey colour, come January this will be joined by a slightly more up-beat matt orange, which looked fantastic in the brief bit of sun that we had during the launch. Also new is a funky two-tone seat cover and chunky Magura handlebars, which look far more manly than the weedy chromed items on the stock bike. Visually that’s it, and engine-wise the two bikes are identical, but the R’s trump card is its fully-adjustable suspension, taken from the 2008 Daytona 675.

Apparently supersport racers who run Triumphs are finding there’s a healthy market for secondhand stock 675 shocks as Street Triple riders stick them in their bikes. Which is basically what Triumph has done. The body of the shock is identical to the 675’s, as are the forks bar a few millimetres of extension, but the Street Triple-R has slightly different spring rates and altered damping characteristics to suit the lighter bike. To all intents and purposes this is a Street Triple with the bouncy bits from a Daytona bolted in. In fact despite Triumph declining to confirm this, I’m 100% certain you could do just that, although please don’t sue me if you try and create some ditch-seeking naked missile!

Continue the Triumph Street Triple R Review

Crash Media Group
Visordown is part of the CMG Full Throttle Network© : welcoming over 3 million consumers each month