Triumph 2011 Speed Triple long-term test

Knocking on 14,000 miles in seven months, how has the Speed Triple held up?

This particular Speed Triple started life on the 10th February 2011 when it was wet, very wet in fact. After a 600-mile running-in period gracefully completed by press fleet technician Paul Wallace, the Triple was plunged straight into the big bad world of a rain-soaked, treacherous and salt ridden commute to London.

I remember feeling a sorry for the bright red Speed Triple as we burbled our way through the stinking smog of Blackwall tunnel, in what was to be the first of over 120, 90 mile round-trip commutes into the dirty and hectic centre of the capital. I arrived at work that first day and with 641 miles on the clock the bike was covered in salt and dripping wet with steam bellowing off the drying radiator.

Seven months on and the Speed and I have covered 13,500 miles. Last weekend I utilised 12 years worth of Muc-Off cleaning experience and I’m pleased to say that after two scraped knuckles and a grease crammed cut on my index finger the Trumpet looks as good as new. The finish on the paint and the exposed metal parts are still showroom fresh.

It runs as good as new too. It’s probably fair to say that it hasn’t had the easiest of lives yet it continues to be tight as a gnats backside...

The Speed has a stonking engine. There is something truly unique about that 1050cc three cylinder package. The power delivery is smooth with all the punch of a twin but with the refined application of a four cylinder. Aside from power delivery it’s the unique sound that engine emits, there is something very Triumph about the way it sounds. Coupled with a set of straight-through Arrow pipes any form of acceleration is met with a roar and rasp that’ll put NOS boosted drag cars to shame.

When the time comes to hand the keys back to the factory I shall probably enter a week long period of mourning. I’ve had the pleasure of riding a triple engined naked for two consecutive years now and have become accustomed to the individualism that the bike has. It commands looks and admiration from fellow bikers, sounds like nothing else and does everything it’s built to do in a well-rounded package.

You may notice that I’ve not touched upon on the comfort, handelining or braking capabilities of the 2011 Speed Triple. To be brutally honest these can be covered in just a few simple sentences. It’s comfortable to sit on, with a relaxed riding position but the wide bars give it an aggressive stance. It tips in and rails round corners significantly better than its predecessor, and certainly more capable but not as eager as some of its competitors. The brakes stop well and they give solid and firm feedback through the levers. Mine has ABS and the stopping power in the dry with the ABS backed twin front discs and single rear is truly phenomenal.

For me the Triumph Speed Triple is all about passion, the experience and the way it makes you feel. The Italians know a thing or two about passion in motorcycles - so it’s not surprising to hear that there is a huge following for this bike out there.

The standard version costs £8799 or £9399 with ABS. Service intervals are every 6000 miles, the basic service is £113 and a full service (at 12k and 24k miles) costs £347. I can fill the tank for £20 and this gets me about 149 miles. In the real world it’s a useable, manageable long-term bike all backed by a solid and accessible dealer network.

My personal view is that Triumph has everything pretty much sorted with the 2011 Speed Triple. Sure it may not be as pretty as models of old, sure the headlights may look funny (for the record I love them!), but if you actually get on one and ride it, well, you won’t stop smiling that’s for sure.

One final point to note: get the suspension setup for your height and weight, it will make a significant difference. You can read more on that here. I also ran a comparison test between the 2010 vs. 2011 bikes that you can read here.