Triumph Trident: Why it’s coming and the rivals it has to defeat

The 2021 Triumph Trident showcases a new entry-level route into Triumph triple-engined ownership... but what will it take to beat its naked rivals?

Triumph Trident prototype 3

Triumph Motorcycles raised a stir this week with the confirmation it is going on a downsizing effort with its latest model by reviving the Trident nameplate for a fresh entry-level triple-engined roadster. 

The Trident – revealed in pearly-white prototype form – is supposedly very close to the final model which will be unveiled minus the ‘primer’ in the coming weeks ahead of an early 2021 launch.

It marks the first fresh model for Triumph in some time having been busily updating the Street Triple and Tiger ranges, as well as launching the new Rocket 3 cruiser, and forges a path into a middleweight roadster category that may lack in head-turning excitement but makes up for in profit potential. 

Though this model has been designed and developed in-house, the Trident is the first hint of a new range of smaller displacement Triumphs that will be developed in conjunction with Indian powerhouse Bajaj Auto. While those models have a keen eye on the lucrative Asian market, they will be offered in Europe too, even if Triumph itself is remaining very coy about what models they are exactly.

However, while there is certainly a global range for the Trident to notch up sales, you only have to look at sales charts across Europe – where the likes of Yamaha MT-07 et al. sit pride of place – to recognise the wisdom in stripping back a bit and coming into the Triumph range lower.

Calling the Trident an ‘entry point’, so using its rivals and the £8,100 base Street Triple as a guide, expect prices around the £6,500-£7,250 mark.

Similarly, Triumph is keeping the specifics of the Trident under guard which means while we know it’s a triple, there is no capacity or power indication. However, given its target rivals a revival of the 675cc – tuned for emissions purposes – seems about right.

Indeed, it’s Triumph’s signature three-cylinder engine that will stand the Trident out among its rivals, according to Chief Product Officer Steve Sargent.

“Our ambition is to create a new entry point to the Triumph range, so we’re targeting the Honda CB650R, the Yamaha MT-07, Kawasaki Z650, so in terms of the price point and performance capacity that gives you a reasonable indication [of where we’re aiming].

“I think with all of our triple engines, you have that combination of low-down grunt, that mid-range torque and still the top end, you don’t get that with the four-cylinders. With twins you get the bottom end and mid-range but then they run out of steam at the top end, but with the four-cylinders you don’t get it until you rev it hard. In terms of a bike that feels engaging and fun to ride on the road for me the triple is the best combination.

“The engine is the strong point on this bike, people who have ridden Triumphs in the past will know we have built a really strong reputation for the handling of our motorcycles for how agile they are to ride and this bike I think is no different. It’s been developed by the same team as the Street Triple, so in terms of what the bike feels like to ride they will get that confidence inspiring handling of the bike.”

Rivals the Triumph Trident will be looking to spear

Yamaha MT-07

From £6,697

Last updated in 2018, the Yamaha MT-07 may be the focal point in the firm’s successful so-called ‘hypernaked’ offerings, but as the last in the line to get the new, shaper family face it’s own siblings are making it look a little dated in comparison. That said, it means surely an update isn’t far away, potentially around the time the Trident will be looking to steal some thunder.

With a 72hp from its 270-degree crank twin that surges to the red line keenly at its heart, it’s little surprise this is the motorcycle beat in terms of sales figures.

Kawasaki Z650

From £6,749

The ‘newest’ of the middleweight offerings even if the 2020 update only went as far as a nip and tuck on the surface and some fiddling underneath, the Kawasaki Z650 is nonetheless arguably the machine to beat in the middleweight sector at this time, especially if you ride on an A2 licence.

If you’re going full beans, the 68hp Kawasaki Z650 isn’t as powerful as the MT-07 but they put out almost identical torque. With an old-school buzz and an eagerness to rev, the Kawasaki Z650 has character and is arguably the model Triumph has taken the closest look at with regards to that claim of ‘class-leading’ tech and integration. 

Honda CB650R

From £6,999

Refreshed at the tail end of 2019, the Honda CB650R goes down the ‘Neo Sports Café’ route for this middleweight challenger and like-for-like is perhaps the closest silhouette to the Trident with its circular front headlamp and retro detailing. To our eyes, it’s the most handsome offering in the marketplace.

It’s got more power at 92bhp but it’s not as fizzy as the Yamaha though as with every Honda, it has that excellent customer care network and reliability working in its favour.

Suzuki SV650

From £6,299

The good value option of the group but also the most dated (by far), the Suzuki SV650 wears its attributes in the offer of fun and performance at a reasonable cost. 

With a steel trellis frame and innards that can trace roots back to 1999, the Suzuki SV650 is certainly due an update… but that should make it easier to get a good deal on a new one.