First Ride: 2012 Triumph Street Triple R review

Middleweight heavyweight

Poke yourself in both eyes and the Triumph Street Triple could be a Ducati Monster. Especially in red. In fact, shortly after this picture was taken, a bloke in a pub car park said to his girlfriend, ‘look, a Ducati Monster. I want one of those.’

I didn’t get the chance to ask him if he’d poked himself in the eyes.

The Street Triple is a much more complete bike, though, but the steering lock is just as bad as the Italian V-twin’s…

The Striple’s key advantages over ALL its opposition are its chassis balance, overall poise, outright performance, all-gear flexibility, civility, torque and unique noise. Quite a complete list of attributes, then...

Because this is effectively a 675 Daytona with the bodywork removed, Triumph have gone to great lengths to make the highly visible bits more appealing. The top handlebar mount is a good example of this. Nice casting, aye?

Weirdly, it uses the traditional Triumph logo not the revised one as seen on the tank. Logo/brand confusion...

Forget the logos. The heart of the delicious 675cc Street is the motor. It’s a jewel. It’ll pull sixth gear down to 15mph and still pull cleanly, even on a full throttle with the cables stretched. Amazing.

This cut-away shot (I got busy with a hacksaw and bastard file the other afternoon) graphically demonstrates the immaculate packaging job Triumph engineers have done. Note balance shafts driven off the front of the crank gear.

The engine is silky smooth. The bark and howl from the three inlet trumpets is intoxicating and the torque figures truly amazing for this class.

The on-paper performance figures don’t tell the whole story. Yes, it’s a detuned Daytona motor but the extra low-down torque this offers makes it very, very easy to ride quickly on the road

At the pointy end, radially mounted Nissin brakes are a really nice compromise between initial bite and feel/feedback. Power is massive – one finger strong.

Forks (and rear shock) offer a great compromise between control and comfort. I couldn’t provoke it into being even moderately unstable. 

It’s not the noise that these twin pipes make that are the most endearing aspect of the Striple. It’s the proper howl it makes when the throttle butterflies are jammed open.

The induction noise gets better the harder it revs. Addictive. Only passers-by get the benefit of the exhaust note…

Cast alloy swing-arm and machined alloy chain tensioners are beautiful. Matt, rough finish is very tactile and surprisingly easy to clean. The rest of the extrusions and castings of the frame are finished the same way. Classy.

Apologies for the massive chicken strips. It was early in the ride, OK?

It's not hard to see why the Street Triple has needed no updating, no tarting-up, no messing about with. In this capacity class it is still a World leader and, probably boxes its way into the 750 class by way of its elastic tractability and strong mid range torque.

(Still) Massively impressed.

RRP Price: Street Triple £6,899 and Street Triple R £7,599