Lago di Garda, Italy was the perfect location to launch Triumph's Street Triple. The bike, a milder dose of the 1050cc Speed Triple, seemed like a no brainer-675cc engine, very little bodywork and headlights from its big brother. To top it off, pricing would be a touch over $8,000. What's not to like? Unfortunately, to meet its modest price point the suspension and brakes would have to be unadjustable budget parts at both ends. At the intro in Italy these items weren't much of an issue as the roads proved to be glass smooth and virtually ripple free. It wasn't until we got a test unit Stateside where we noticed the limits of the crude suspension on our less than stellar roads. Around the office, the three staffers all shared similar sentiments, "If only it had better suspension..."
Looks like the boys in Hinckley got the memo-introducing the Triumph Street Triple R. In what has shown to be Triumph's style of late, the groundwork for the R model was on the drawing board not too long after the regular model's introduction in Italy. Now more than ever the R model truly is a naked 675, suspension and all. The same 41mm inverted fork sits out front while the rear shock features a piggyback resevoir, giving both ends full adjustability of the spring preload, compression and rebound. There is a slight change as the spring rates for the R are a touch softer than the Daytona's, yet a bit more firm than the standard Street Triple's, resulting in a seat height that's five millimeters taller than the standard model. That's not the only change as the new model also gets the Daytona's radial-mount Nissin four-piston calipers. They bite on the standard 308mm rotors found on all three bikes. A radial-pump master-cylinder is another new bit taken from the Daytona.
This fully accessorized R...
This fully accessorized R has the low-slung Arrow exhaust, bellypan and flyscreen. Standard models are void of the pan and screen, while twin high-mount silencers are tucked under the seat.
Location Is Everything
Much like Lago di Garda was the ideal location for the standard Street Triple launch, what better place to unveil the R model than the Isle of Man? Best known for the legendary TT races that have been held here since the turn of the last century, nowhere on Earth is the pursuit for motorcycling nirvana so accepted and so loved as here. The locals know it, the local economy adores it and-get this-the authorities welcomed our arrival! In fact, the Secretary of Tourism for the island personally greeted the American journalists at the airport and took us to our hotels. But aside from all that, the Isle of Man is the complete antithesis of Lago di Garda. It's bumpy. Very bumpy. Around here, it wouldn't take long to decide whether the Street Triple R was a winner or a pretender.
Apart from the suspension and brake components, the Street Triple R hasn't changed much from the standard model. Forward persuasion is by way of the Daytona's 675cc, DOHC triple with four valves per cylinder churning out a claimed 108 horsepower and 51 ft-lb. of torque. What's more, the torque curve on this engine is flat as a pancake, making for great pulling power no matter where the tach needle is resting. The new bike also retains the same Magura handlebar and gauge cluster as the standard model. Basically, the only thing that sets the R apart from the regular version is the black-anodized inverted fork from the Daytona, the radially mounted brakes up front and the two color schemes that are exclusive to this bike: Matte Graphite and Matte Blazing Orange.
The same fully adjustable...
The same fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork from the Daytona 675 has now crossed over to the Street Triple R with slightly softer spring rates than its fully faired cousin. The radially-mounted four-piston calipers have joined the party as well. Steel braided lines come standard.
Taking It All In
What we came to the Isle to find out is whether those changes would set the bike apart from its twin while in the saddle. Our ride would consist of a couple laps of the TT circuit, as well as sections from the lesser known Southern 100 course to boot. The night prior, Manx resident and multiple TT race winner Richard "Milky" Quayle led a guided tour of the circuit, inspiring all in attendance with his stories and also reminding us all of the real dangers involved with this race-his spectacular near-death crash (which he shrugs off) is a hit on youtube.