With £2,000 taken out of the Daytona 675's price tag is Triumph's Street Triple the bargain sportsbike of 2007, or have the boys from Hinckley cut corners on their new middleweight triple?
I've been waiting to ride Triumph's Street Triple for about two years, ever since the Daytona 675 was launched. When I first saw that bike I emailed the guys at Triumph and asked if I could get one of them, strip its fairing off and fit a set of Speed Triple flat bars. A naked middleweight triple with a truly sporty chassis sounded like my perfect bike. Strangely enough they never got back to me, obviously knowing something I didn't at the time.
As it now turns out the Street Triple was always on the cards, even during the development of the 675. In fact the bikes were developed in conjunction with one another. Take a close look at the 675, you'll spot the fairing brackets are neatly tucked away, the engine's water pipes are hidden and the frame doesn't have any ugly fastenings. Despite the fact most of it is hidden behind a fairing the Daytona was designed to look good naked, because 18-months later it would appear in exactly that state.
Amazingly enough the Street Triple is essentially a stripped to the bone Daytona 675. Why is this amazing? Well, despite costing nearly £2,000 less than the Daytona at £5,349 the Street Triple shares nearly all of the sportsbike's major components. The chassis, engine, wheels and dash are straight off the 675, which is amazing value for money. Okay, the suspension isn't adjustable (although the shock does have variable spring pre-load) and the brakes aren't radial but all the same, on paper this is a stunning value for money machine. And it's also a stunning bike to ride fast.
I'll admit that I might be slightly biased towards the Street Triple. As I've already said this is exactly the kind of bike that floats my boat. I love the Speed Triple and have a real soft spot for stripped middleweight machines. If, as the marketing bumf was suggesting, the Street Triple really was a fusion of the Speed Triple and Daytona then it could well be very special. It is.
From the moment you get on the Street Triple to when you eventually get off it again it's almost impossible not to have a huge, stupid, grin permanently etched on your face.
Although it's physically quite small, which is a throwback to the compactness of the Daytona, the Street Triple is anything but cramped. Along with the flat bars Triumph has fitted new footpeg hangers and a totally new sub-frame to the bike which, as well as a new rider-friendly low seat height, comes with a comfortable seat as well. Which is all very well and good, but to be truthful it could have nails attached to the seat for all I care because the riding experience is so damn good.
Tipping the scales at just 167kg the Street Triple is easily the lightest middleweight out there. It's 6kg lighter than the Hornet and 36kg less than the Z750, which is a huge amount. And it shows. On the twisty roads around Lake Garda in Italy, where Triumph chose to launch the bike, the Street Triple was brilliant. The chassis is, as you would expect, perfectly balanced and flicking it from left to right the Street Triple's lack of bulk makes it feel even more manoeuvrable than its sporty brother. I can't think of any bike that would be quicker through the second and third gear corners or any that would be as fast with such a lack of effort or with so much poise.
Despite not having any adjustment the inverted forks are set up perfectly for road riding. In our group there was a variety of riding styles and weights ranging from a very small Japanese female tester to the slightly more porky European rider (me) and no one had any complaints with the suspension at either end of the bike. The ability to get standard suspension settings bang on is a trait of the current crop of Triumph bikes and one that I hope long continues. From smooth roads to the bumpier passes it never failed to impress, as did the engine.
Although it is essentially identical to the Daytona's motor Triumph has altered the camshaft and with it the valve timing. Basically the valves open sooner and for longer compared to the sportsbike's engine, which has the effect of increasing the motor's bottom end torque. Although it doesn't rev quite as high (12,650rpm compared to 14,250rpm) the Street Triple makes more bottom end grunt than the Daytona, which wasn't exactly known for being lacking in that area to start with.
Unlike the inline fours the Street Triple has power from the word go, you don't need to be above any rpm to get drive, it's just there. Although it makes a peak torque of 51lb.ft Triumph claim the bike makes more than 44lb.ft from 3,500rpm right up to 12,300rpm, which I don't doubt. The hairpin bends on the route could be taken in first, second or even third gear, depending on how much you wanted to scream the engine, which shows how flexible it is. But don't be lured into thinking that this is a dull, workhorse of an engine, oh no. The Street Triple has Speed Triple DNA running through its veins, which means there is more than the hint of the hooligan in there!
Continue the 2007 Triumph Speed Triple Review - 2/2
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