2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS officially unveiled

Triumph has just pulled the wraps off its lightest, most powerful, and most technologically advanced Speed Triple ever, the new 1200 RS

2021 Speed Triple 1200 RS

THE Triumph Speed Triple is one of the most unmistakable silhouettes in the two-wheeled world, with a bloodline that stretches back 26-years.

For 2021 the iconic naked from Triumph gets its most far-reaching makeover to date, with more power, less weight, and an update in technology and riding assistance. The Speed Triple 1200 RS is here, and it's gunning for the super-naked elite.

Speed Triple 1200 RS specs and features

First things first, there a few points to tick off the list before we get into the nitty-gritty of the bike. This is a £15,100 bike and Triumph is stating it’ll be in dealers by mid-March. It is also going to be the only Speed Triple you can be from here on in – both the lower-spec S and R versions of the bike have now been dropped.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS engine and gearbox

  • Larger in capacity yet lighter and more compact than before
  • 180ps (177.5bhp) and 92lb-ft (5.9lb-ft more than before)
  • 12% reduced internal inertia
  • 650rpm higher redline – now 11,150rpm

As mentioned above, the 2021 bike boasts the most powerful engine ever to grace the model. It’s pushing out just under 30bhp more than the previous generation machine. That’s a significant wallop of power, and there is more at work here than just an increase in capacity. The engine in the 2021 bike is all-new, with a ground-up redesign being required. The engine in the previous bike could trace its roots back to the mid-2000s and the first of the 1050 bikes, technology and know-how have come a long way since then!

Thanks to this the new engine is larger in capacity but smaller in overall size and significantly lighter. It revs faster and harder, thanks to 12% reduced inertia, and produces more torque while still nailing those pesky Euro emissions regulations. And Triumph has managed all this and still made the 2021 powerplant a whopping 7kg lighter than before.

The transmission of the bike has also been optimised for this year, with a ‘stacked’ gearbox aiding the new engine’s compact dimensions. The slipper clutch utilises a new friction material, reducing the number of plates required while also helping to reduce mass and therefore improve inertia. As this will be the only Speed Triple you can buy, the 2021 bike also comes equipped with a quickshifter as standard.

Suspension, brakes, and handling

  • All-new 17% lighter frame
  • 198kg ready to ride (10kg lighter than before)
  • Updated fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension front and rear
  • Brembo Stylema caliper 320mm discs
  • Weight distribution shifted forwards and down

The new machine tips the scales at 198kg ready to ride, meaning it’s a full 10kg lighter than the previous model. The suspension is provided by Öhlins front and rear with 43 mm NIX30 USD forks and a TTX36 twin tube mono-shock at the rear. The front and rear suspension both feature adjustable preload, rebound, and compression damping, along with 120 mm travel.

As with the engine of the bike, Triumph took the opportunity of the 2021 update to completely redesign the frame of the bike. It may look similar to the previous generation, but the new frame is lighter and totally redesigned for this year and weighs 17% less than before. The bike also features improved weight distribution moved further forward and further down, something that should improve the front end feel of the already excellent machine.

As you’d expect from a top-spec super naked, the braking system is provided by Brembo, with Stylema monobloc calipers and 320mm discs at the front and a two-piston caliper at the rear.

Thanks to the now smaller overall size of the engine, the swingarm of the new bike has actually had to be extended to maintain the Speed Triple’s overall wheelbase.

Equipment

  • New 5” TFT dash
  • Four levels of traction control (linked to wheelie front-wheel lift control)
  • Five riding modes – Rain, Road, Sport, Track, and Rider
  • Advanced cornering ABS
  • Rain mode limits power to 100ps and increases electronic intervention
  • Keyless ignition
  • All LED lighting
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Metzeler RACETEC RR tyres

The 2021 re-boot of the big Triumph heralds the introduction of the most technologically advanced Speed Triple to date. The first change the eagle-eyed will notice is the introduction of a new TFT 5” dash. Both the hardware and the software within the dash are all-new and bespoke for this bike. The traction control settings can now be adjusted on the fly, something that previously required you to come to a stop, and like the suspension, the other settings have also been refined for this lighter and more powerful machine.

There are four levels of traction control intervention to choose from (Rain, Road, Sport, and Track), plus the ability to turn traction control off completely. The Track setting has been developed in order to maximise forward progress and minimise perceived intervention when riding hard and will allow some rear slip before intervening. The traction control settings are linked to the riding modes but can also be independently adjusted. Front-wheel lift control is also included on the bike, allowing the rider to select who much or little intervention is required via the traction control setting that is chosen.

Teaming up with the traction control modes are five riding modes covering Rain, Road, Sport, Track, and Rider. Each setting includes pre-defined ABS, traction control, and throttle map settings, while Rider is a user-configurable mode.

The new Speed Triple also features key-less ignition and also Triumph Bluetooth connectivity module, a nice touch and something that would normally set you back a sizeable lump of cash.

Another change to the model is the introduction of Metzeler Racetec RR hoops replacing the Pirelli Supercorsa SPs of before. They may be a slightly less grippy and snazzy brand than the Pirelli hoops of the previous bike, but they are a more stable tyre with better all-round performance in wet and dry – further highlighting Triumph’s wish to first and foremost make the Speed Triple the best road bike it can.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple vs the rivals

Bike

Price

Power

Torque

Weight

Seat height

Tank size

Triumph Speed Triple

 

£15,100

180ps (177bhp)

 

92lb-ft

 

198kg (wet)

 

830mm

 

15.5l

Yamaha MT-10 SP

 

 

£15,049

 

160ps (157bhp)

 

 

81lb-ft

 

 

210kg (wet)

 

 

825mm

 

 

17l

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

 

 

£19,995

 

 

208bhp

 

 

90.4lb-ft

 

 

199kg (wet)

 

 

845mm

 

 

16l

BMW S 1000 R

 

£12,005

 

165bhp

 

84lb-ft

 

198kg (wet)

 

830mm

 

16.5l

Kawasaki Z H2

 

£15,149

200ps (197bhp)

 

101lb-ft

 

239kg (wet)

 

830mm

 

19l

Aprilia Tuono V4

 

£12,632

 

167bhp

 

82lb-ft

 

184kg (wet)

 

833mm

 

17l

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

 

 

£15,699

 

 

180bhp

 

 

103lb-ft

 

 

198kg (dry)

 

 

835mm

 

 

16l

The days of the Speed Triple lagging behind the rest of the super-naked pack are, as you can see, long gone. In fact, the Triumph now slots into the segment above everything except for the much more expensive Ducati Streetfighter V4 S.

Styling

  • Completely re-designed bodywork and panels
  • New headlight design – as per Street Triple
  • Slimmer stand-over
  • 30mm wider handlebars

As with the smaller sibling in the roadster range, the most visible change to this model is the adoption of all-new styling and that distinctive front end. I was always nonplussed by the previous bike’s looks; it was alright but a bit gawky in the front-end department. This new bike, in my mind at least, is a massive improvement.

It’s more dramatic, modern, and looks much less bulky than before. Look, the old bike was certainly not a fatty, but the new one is much more athletic in its build. The tank is slimmer and the step-over narrower adding to the more purposeful stance. It’s definitely still a Speed Triple, just one that’s spent the entire lockdown in the gym!

Colours

The new bike is available in two colour schemes, Sapphire Black, with red and silver graphics, or Matt Silver Ice, with black, silver, and yellow graphics. The Matt Silver Ice is the bike that I’m stood behind in the interview.

The new bike will be arriving in dealerships in March 2021.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS specs

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

Type

Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder

Capacity

1160 cc

Bore

90.0 mm

Stroke

60.8 mm

Compression

13.2:1

Maximum Power

180 PS / 177.5 bhp (132.4 kW) @ 10,750 rpm

Maximum Torque

125 Nm (92 lbft) @ 9,000 rpm

Fuel System

Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with electronic throttle control

Exhaust

Stainless steel 3 into 1 header system with underslung primary silencer and side mounted secondary silencer

Final Drive

X-ring chain

Clutch

Wet, multi-plate, slip & assist

Gearbox

6 speed

CHASSIS

Frame

Aluminium twin spar frame, bolt-on aluminium rear subframe

Swingarm

Aluminium, single-sided

Front Wheel

Cast aluminium, 17 x 3.50 in

Rear Wheel

Cast aluminium, 17 x 6.00 in

Front Tyre

Metzeler Racetec RR K3 120/70 ZR17

Rear Tyre

Metzeler Racetec RR K3 190/55 ZR17

Front Suspension

Öhlins 43 mm NIX30 upside down forks with adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping, 120 mm travel.

Rear Suspension

Öhlins TTX36 twin tube monoshock with preload, rebound and compression damping, 120 mm rear wheel travel.

Front Brakes

Twin 320mm floating discs. Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers, OC-ABS, radial master cylinder with separate reservoir, span & ratio adjustable.

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc.  Brembo twin piston caliper, OC-ABS. Rear master cylinder with separate reservoir.

Instruments

Full-colour 5" TFT instruments

DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHTS

Length

2090 mm (82.3 in)

Width (Handlebars)

792 mm (31.2 in)

Height Without Mirrors

1089 mm (42.9 in)

Seat Height

830 mm (32.7 in)

Wheelbase

1445 mm (56.9 in)

Rake

23.9 °

Trail

104.7 mm (4.1 in)

Wet weight

198kg (437 lb)

Fuel Tank Capacity

15.5 litres (4.1 US gal)

FUEL CONSUMPTION

Fuel Consumption

50.2 mpg (5.6 l/100km)

CO2 Figures

130 g/km

Standard

EURO 5

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data are measured according to regulation 168/2013/EC. Figures for fuel consumption are derived from specific test conditions and are for comparative purposes only. They may not reflect real driving results.

SERVICE

Service interval

10,000 miles (16,000km) / 12 months

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