Testing the All-New Speed Triple on American Soil
For some time now, I have had to listen to colleagues go on and on about just how great the Triumph Speed Triple is. They continually mention that if they were spending their own money, that’s the bike they would buy. All their talk had me itching to throw a leg over one, so I was more than excited when the guys at Triumph informed me that there would be a few on hand at the 675R press launch to test out. And I must say the bike didn’t disappoint.
As Alan Cathcart revealed in his first ride coverage of the all-new Speed Triple (“Redefined Attitude”, Jan. ‘11), the 2011 model underwent some major chassis and engine updates. Not only is the new model six pounds lighter, but weight bias has been changed, as have the ergonomics.
For 2011, Triumph engineers attempted to make the Speed Triple feel more like the Street Triple. As such, seat height was reduced by five millimeters, the bars were pulled closer to the rider and the footrests were moved forward. The resulting riding position is extremly comfortable, and thanks to the redesigned seat, long rides on the Speed Triple are more than hospitable.
Weight loss was the primary reason for updating the Speed Triple’s swingarm, which is now roughly two pounds lighter and 3.7 inches longer. It was also the reason why Triumph redesigned the rear wheel, which is now roughly three pounds lighter than the previous model’s wheel, but wider and made to fit a 190/55 rear tire as opposed to a 180/55. In order to get more weight over the front of the motorcycle, engineers not only moved the rider further forward and mounted the battery in front of the fuel tank, but they also moved the engine three millimeters forward and tilted it some seven degrees. The result is a 50.9 percent front-end weight bias that is significantly different than the 48.6 percent bias on previous models.
Engine updates for the Speed Triple are minimal, but changes were implemented to improve the already pleasant flat torque curve of the 1050cc powerplant. Perhaps the biggest change is to the crankcase vent holes, which have been enlarged for reduced pumping losses. A further boost has been provided by the all-new airbox, which has an increased filter area for improved airflow. And thanks to Triumph’s latest EFI software, the new Speed Triple has reportedly received a healthy six-percent bump in fuel efficiency over last year.
On the street, the Speed Triple’s 1050cc three-cylinder engine provides ample amounts of grunt and requires few gearshifts. When you do grab a gear however, you will notice that the shifts are seamless. This is because Triumph has tightened the tolerances within the gearbox and improved the surface finish. And squirting past cars is done almost effortlessly as there is power at almost any point in the rpm range.
On the racetrack, the Speed Triple continued to surprise me. Yes, the rather soft suspension does allow the bike to move around underneath you, but the grin that you get from dragging your feet and the curb feelers on the tarmac is irreplaceable. The best thing is that you don’t have to push the Speed Triple. Instead, you can sit upright, take the weight off your arms and use the bike’s torque to get you in and out of the corner.
I have to say, I am glad I finally got to throw a leg over this all-new Triumph. Not only is the bike an absolute hoot on the track, but it is extremely comfortable on long rides and commutes through town. I have to jump on the bandwagon here and say that if I was spending my own cold hard cash, I would likely spend it on the Speed Triple.
|Triumph Speed Triple
|MSRP: $11,799 /$12,599 with ABS
||Liquid-cooled inline three-cylinder DOHC four-stroke, 4 valves/cyl.
|Bore x stroke
||79.0 x 71.4mm
||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection, 46mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl.
||22.8 degrees/3.6in. (91mm)
||56.5 in. (1435mm)
||32.5 in. (825mm)
||4.6 gal. (17.5L)
|Claimed wet weight
||471lb (214 kg)