2013 Triumph Street Triple R review

Triumph's most popular bike gets a big update. There's a lot riding on this one.

Posted: 5 November 2012
by Ben Cope
2013 Street Triple R ... on holiday, in Spain
Graphite is back but I'd paint the red bits orange
Street Triple R at home, at play
Does it remind you of an S1000RR?
Needs must. Call me Ned Ludd but I preferred the underseat pipes; they added character
Spot the weight saving ... a nip here, a tuck there.
That's the non-R Street Triple
I always was the black sheep of the family

IN THE music industry they talk about 'the difficult' second album. It's the make or break moment for artists who've spent years perfecting their sound, only to be told they've got 6 months to do it all again; except this time they've got to re-invent themselves and set a new trend, attract thousands more fans but keep their loyal ones too.

With the Street Triple, Triumph have had their difficult second album. The first Street Triple was an instant hit, an overnight classic. It was Triumph's best-selling bike over the past 5 years. How could it not have been? Using the same motor from the year-old Daytona 675 - a bike that refused to play by the cast-iron rules of the supersports category and in doing so, stole fans, awards and sales across the world - the Street Triple wasn't just a Daytona with the fairing ripped off. It was more than the sum of (the lack of) its parts.

The difficult second album came when Triumph revamped the Street Triple for 2011, introducing 'those' headlights and a few other changes that no-one noticed because they were too busy moaning about the headlights.

So, onto the latest version, the 2013 Street Triple. It still has 'those' headlights but don't get fixed on that or you'll miss everything that's new and, let's be honest: more important.

We tested the Street Triple R, which differs from the standard Street Triple by way of better suspension (the stock bike has non-adjustable front suspension and preload adjustment on the rear), stronger brakes (radially mounted four piston calipers as opposed to floating twin-pistons) and finally a few cosmetic changes; the Street Triple R gets a rear hugger as standard, a red rear subframe, pinstripes on the wheels and a red rear spring. Everything else is the same.

Triumph told us their mission was to sharpen the styling, improve the handling, reduce the weight and increase the fun factor.

The engine remains largely the same, with a taller first gear and new throttle bodies designed to give improved fuel economy. Triumph claim the new bike will return just over 50mpg in town, compared to just under 40mpg on the outgoing model. At 50mph, they claim 68.8mpg, up from 61.4mpg. Improvements that are not to be sniffed at.

The taller first gear now means the Street Triple shares exactly the same gearbox as the Daytona 675. Does a taller first gear really make it better or does it just standardise the gearbox across the Street Triple and Daytona 675, lowering the cost of manufacturing? The cynic in me can't turn a blind eye to that one.

It tops out in 1st at 76mph, compared to 66mph on the outgoing model, which I tested the week before. Despite only a small difference in outright speed, the new taller 1st gear definitely takes a bit of that get up and go that I loved about the older bike; it helped the 675cc motor punch above its weight off the line with the welcome side-effect of the front wheel heading skyward as and when.

Talking of weight, the most significant change to the 2013 Street Triple is the 6kg weight loss. Now I know 6kg is less than the average biker scoffs for breakfast before their Sunday blast, but it's not about how much its lost but where its lost it from; all the weight saving comes from the rear of the bike.

3.6kg from the exhaust, 1kg from the revised rear wheel and caliper, 0.6kg from the swinging arm and 0.8kg from the rear end assembly. The benefits are three-fold: a 7% reduction in unsprung mass, less overall weight (dow to 183kg) and, most importantly, a change in the weight bias. The old Street Triple was rear-end heavy: 51% rear and 49% front. The 2013 Street Triple is 48% rear and 52% front.

Less is more, except when you want more wheelies. I know wheelies aren't a deal-clincher but they're crucial to the way the original bike felt. Fire the original bike off the line and that rear-biased weight, coupled with the short first gear meant the bike felt lively, the front was eager to go light, infact you'd do well to keep it on the deck. It felt like an excited puppy, tugging on its lead. When it came to wheelies, the weight and position of the exhausts helped you get the Street Triple up but also lowered the balance point, meaning everyone couldn't just wheelie a Street Triple, they were pretty good at it too. The lower weight and mass centralisation of the exhaust has changed that.

While the Street Triple has lost a touch of that lofty magic, it is, undoubtedly, easier to hustle on twisty roads. Not a bad trade-off to have, I suppose.

Sat on the bike, it's not like you can feel that change in weight distribution, the riding position has barely changed and although the Street Triple R has a 15mm taller seat height than the previous version, it's lost none of its comfort or natural throw to the bars.

Only when you get moving, at speed, does the revised weight distribution start to reveal its hand. The Street Triple R feels more stable in corners; the front goes in and stays there. There's definitely less weave and no wobble. You can manhandle it and change line if you want; it won't gets its knickers in a twist but you don't have to grab it by the scruff of the neck like you did on the original version.

Click here for Triumph Street Triple R review page 2/2

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Discuss this story

Great review. Unfortunately, I can't get past the album cover. Will the looks grow on me too ? Like a hemorroid ? ;-)

Sorry Triumph, I really want to buy British, but I'm saving for a Brutale 800.

Posted: 06/11/2012 at 00:41

Great review!

Posted: 06/11/2012 at 07:14

Very nice review. Has revived my interest for this bike.

Posted: 06/11/2012 at 15:29

Funny thing about "those headlights"... if I remember correctly... Triumph was getting hosed in the press for sticking with the old bug eyes for so long on both the Speed & Street Triples... "Looks old", "dated", etc.. They changed to the "insect eyes"... and everyone howled about the loss of the "iconic look" of the bug eyes... go figure...

I know bikes must keep "moving forward", design and tech wise... but I really prefer the KISS (keep it simple stupid) less is more look of the original... bug eyes and all... especially if it had the minimalist Arrow 3 into 1 stubby low exhaust... Looks and sounds SOOOO good... and just one really great bike to ride... Elegantly simple... crackerjack engine... great ergos... just about the perfect bike for cracking down a twisty road...

Posted: 06/11/2012 at 15:43

There's quirky and there's sodding ugly.
One of the few bikes you could crash and end up with something looking a lot nicer.
I know a bloke who bought a 675 Daytona new,motor replaced under warranty after it seized,wiring loom fell apart then just to add insult to injury it failed it's first m.o.t. because Triumph had fitted the wrong headlight and he'd been riding around dazzling other road users for 3 years without realising.Another guy tried to tour Europe on his newly run in street Triple last year,got as far as France before it showered him in hot coolant and died.Have Triumph lost teh plot are are those guys just unlucky?

Posted: 07/11/2012 at 00:27

I do like the old street with a 3 into one arrow, the new exhaust looks a transfomer style so not for me, not enough change for me to spend my money I'll stick with the "old" one for now.

"Wheelies, really? How old are you" 57 and I love them

Posted: 07/11/2012 at 14:30

How old is backasswards, 73 and a Daily Mail reader? Wheelies are big and wheelies are clever.

If you ride other than on sunny Sunday mornings two months of the year, they give you something to do when it's pissing down (albeit you need to avoid wheelspin) or the road temperature is hovering around freezing. Like it has been the last 3 days, for example.

Old Street was awesome at wheelies for a middleweight. Not in getting them up without clutching it (though it could manage that), but it felt weightless like you could whack it up in 1st, cog it into second as the nose came up and then hold it there effortlessly. Much easier than my Tuono to keep up and the bonus is it steers easily while you have it up there.

Posted: 08/11/2012 at 12:47

"It still has 'those' headlights" - Yes, it does and it still looks dreadful for it. It looks like a crashed Daytona 675 and that is probably because the front of it is a Daytona but without the fairing. I know this is subjective and I really want to love the bike but I cannot get passed the lights that Triumph put on their naked bikes. Other manufacturers do not seem to have the same problem, the Brutale and Monster both look excellent, even the GSR750, Z750 and Z800 don’t look like they were cobbled together from bits left over following a crash.

I would probably be down at the Triumph dealer tomorrow with a wad of cash if their Speed or Street triples didn’t persist with the silly looking headlights.

Posted: 08/11/2012 at 13:58

15mm may not sound much but is a worrying trend by Triumph.

Triumph needs to realise that more of its bikes are too high for those of us shorter riders - and if your female, only a Bonneville is likely to be suitable.

Forget the lower seat; you can't swing your leg over the back of the bike.

Posted: 09/11/2012 at 12:49

I'm sure it is a great bike but does look more Japanesque than I like :(

Meanwhile you should see this crazy road rage case.... somewhat ironically Defense Counsel and I both ride Triumphs. Bonnie for him Sprint RS for me.


Guilty of Second Degree Assault, sad story. Rider lived, crushed leg.

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 11:12

The best thing about the original was the fact it was a great bike which was priced to sell.... and guess what?!! I even considered buying a brand new bike for the 1st time.....

We all love a bargain, and sadly this is too expensive to be genuinely considered that, especially given the grim financial forecast.

Posted: 11/11/2012 at 08:35

Time Smith 2 of course it's just your opinion on the looks of the lights and I'm about to prove it by saying as a Street Triple R owner with the new headlights I think the Tuono is an ugly piece of unreliable crap and the Suzukis and Kwaks you list are both dull aesthetically and lifeless rides as well. Both my STR and Tiger800XC have never failed to impress me with handling, looks, reliability and fun.

Posted: 30/12/2012 at 22:46

moko, sori dude but your well off the mark, and your mates are really unlucky. i bought one of the 1st series 57plate striple picked it up oct, yes I had a few teething problems, but Triumph were on it immediately sorted under warranty. 74thousands miles later in all weathers my amazing street triple doesn't miss a beat. Don't slag them , till u tried and tested them, undoubtedly one of if not the best little bike on the market, and more fun than u could possibly imagine.....

Posted: 22/01/2013 at 21:47

It just looks daft with the side exhaust.... There's enough space under the seat for the side-by-side Arrows, so can you sort that please Triumph, as looks are everything....

Posted: 03/04/2013 at 22:40

The old street triple looks so much nicer, thats why I bought a second hand 2011 one.
I only have one gripe with my 2011 one, and I notice the new model is still the same. Triumph still insist on tucking the side stand away under the foot pegs, and they still haven't welded a small lug on it, to help you get it out first time as you dismount, without having to fart about, especially if you have wet boots on, and they keep slipping off the only small bit of accessible stand.
Other than that, it's a cracking bike. Fuel economy is absolutely shite though. My 1200 Bandit is better at fuel. You would think with all the modern fuel controls and systems, they would get it so much better.
It makes up for it with Torque, and an excellent set of close gear ratios which keep you on power band all the way up past the speed limit and beyond!
And it has an induction roar to die for. I would rather listen to it, than hear Justin Bieber screaming with a knife in his chest.

Posted: 10/03/2016 at 17:18

Oh yeah, and this model has a shite looking exhaust system.... get the Arrows back on....and the round headlights.

Posted: 10/03/2016 at 17:19

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