But there’s a greater refinement immediately apparent in the Street Triple’s engine on the bike I rode, especially in the gearshift and engine mapping compared to last example I rode two years ago. The gearchange especially feels a significant step forward compared to beforesmoother, slicker, and more precise. Also, the engine mapping and especially the fuel calibration on the closed-loop Keihin EFI is absolutely flawless on the new Street Triple. Clean, responsive and controllable, it’s arguably the finest fuelling I’ve yet encountered on any volume production streetbikecall it a draw between this Triumph, and the new Aprilia V4 R Tuono.
“All our bikes are subject to continuous improvement, so any existing Triumph model you ride this year will be subtly different from last year’s,” says Simon Warburton. “We identified a problem a couple of years ago whereby the gearbox detent springs we got from our supplier were varying too much in their stiffness, resulting in some gearboxes feeling too stiff and notchy. The detent spring is extremely influential on the feel at the lever. We solved this by changing to a different supplier with better control over its manufacturing process, so Triumph gearboxes are now more consistently like the way they were designed to be. We’ve made no other changes to the gearbox selection mechanism.” OK, tick that boxso how about the engine mapping: has that been altered? “During the development of the updated 675 Daytona, we developed a new EFI strategy which monitors the rate of opening of the throttle,” replied Warburton. “A different ignition map is then applied depending on how fast you’re actually opening it, rather than on what the throttle position actually is. It’s like having separate Sport and Leisure riding maps that are applied automatically, depending on how aggressive you’re being with the throttle. The end result is a calibration that’s much smoother when riding slowly in town and in car parks, but still lively and responsive on the open road. We’ve brought this strategy across to all our other bikes, and it’s likely that the last Street Triple R you rode had the old calibration.”
As part of this process of making the best still better, the Street Triple is now fitted with the latest Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa rubber on the test bike, with a noticeable improvement in grip and handling.
At the same time, the rear wheel has been changed to the new lighter one developed for the updated 675 Daytona, with a significant reduction in weight and rotational inertia to help acceleration, as well as changes of direction. Completing the list of improvements are the thinner section exhaust headers and a magnesium cam cover, which save a little weight, as well as new cylinder liners that reduce the engine noise, at the cost of slightly added weight. I also thought the Nissin radial-mount front brakes were even more stellar in response and effectiveness than before—they’re still not grabby, but you can stand the bike on its nose very easily and quickly if you want to. They have great response, but are still very controllable, and with the R-bike scaling the same claimed 368 pounds dry as the Street Triple base model (making the Triumph still by some way the lightest bike in the middleweight streetfighter category), there’s not so much stop.
Maximum speed is around 140 mph if you care to hold on tight enough, though there’s little protection without the optional deflector, which is a must-have accessory for any serious speedster. The way the Street Triple R stops ultra-hard and with total stability will make this a good bike for track days; on a twisty circuit I guarantee riders of the Street Triple R will embarrass many other more powerful but less torquey, less agile, sportbikes. Using lots of engine braking didn’t get the rear wheel hopping, in spite of the fact there’s no slipper clutch fitted; hard to believe when using lots of engine braking into a tight second-gear turn without any instability or trace of rear wheel chatter. ”We’re pleased that we’ve managed to deliver the comparable benefits of a slipper clutch through careful engine mapping, without the extra weight and expense of such a feature—and, no, that doesn’t mean a MotoGP-style variable idle speed,” says Warburton. But for those who still think it desirable, there’s a slipper clutch available as an aftermarket Triumph item. Triumph also offers an optional pair of Arrow slip-ons as part of its extensive list of aftermarket goodies for the Street Triple family, one Euro 3-compliant, and the other a 3-into-1 race exhaust just for track-day use. That options list includes the same broad range of bolt-on goodies as before, including a plastic deflector screen, passenger grab-rail, gel seat, magnetic tank bag, bellypan, instrument cowl, assorted clothing, etc.
We already knew the Street Triple was a great bike, but the R version is even better. Maneuverable and agile, it’s an ideal tool for the urban jungle, with great leverage from that one-piece handlebar for carving corners in city streets, yet out in the country it’s ready to outperform anything else in the middleweight naked bike marketplace, with the performance from that glorious-sounding engine to back it up. Rather surprisingly, it seems to fit riders of all statures and both sexes, although the sidestand is sometimes awkward to find. Still, the fresh restyling complete with wolf-eye headlamps sees it retain the posture of the original bike with a new look. Triumph has indeed made the best better still, and yet again, it raises the bar for the rest of the class. And that’s not the Union Jack on my helmet waving, either. Wait until you ride one.
|2011 Triumph Street Triple R|
|Type ||Liquid-cooled, DOHC transverse inline three-cylinder, 4 valves/cyl.|
|Bore x stroke ||74.0 x 52.3mm|
|Compression ratio ||12.65:1|
|Induction ||Keihin multi-point sequential fuel injection, 44mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl.|
|Front tire ||120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso|
|Rear tire ||180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso|
|Rake/trail ||23.9 deg./3.6 in. (92mm)|
|Wheelbase ||55.5 in. (1410mm)|
|Seat height ||31.7 in. (805mm)|
|Fuel capacity ||4.6 gal. (17L)|
|Claimed dry weight ||416 lb. (189kg)|