Nice large readouts make the...
Nice large readouts make the Triumph gauges of the best in the group, although the multitude of available information proved to be a bit much for some. The new handlebar clamps, end weights and Magura handlebar are all clearly quality components.
As if our test riders didn’t have reason enough to fight over the Triumph, throw in the R model’s fully adjustable Kayaba fork and shock and you have an all-out brawl for seat time. Matched only by the Ducati’s Marzocchi units, the Street Triple R’s front fork provides sporty damping characteristics that are only a tad firm for freeway stints. Add to that a chassis based on the 675 Daytona and you have the hands-down best handling bike of the group, with a “neutral yet light feel,” as Kento claimed in his notes. Of course that’s aided by the bike’s sporty Pirelli Rosso Corsa rubber.
Thanks to twin 308mm floating discs and Nissin four-piston radial calipers, the Triumph is in a field of its own in terms of brakes too, with a strong initial bite and great power all the way through the pull. Throughout the test in fact, the only brakes that provided equal feel were those of the Yamaha.
As with its Speed Triple sibling,...
As with its Speed Triple sibling, the new Street Triple R features Triumph’s new “wolf-eye” twin headlights.
Up front the 2012 Street Triple R runs Triumph’s new wolf-eye headlights. Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em. While we won’t take sides, we will say that the flyscreen from Triumph’s accessory catalog is surely a must. As the only bike in the group without at least some form of wind protection, the Triumph is somewhat tiresome when blasted by head winds. Still, in a group of bikes that tend to vibrate more than the massage chair in your living room, the Street Triple takes comfort to a whole new level. The bike is so smooth, in fact, with such little vibrations at either surface street or freeway speeds that the miles seem to just tick away without notice.
Quite surprisingly, the Street Triple R is only the second most expensive bike of our group, coming in just behind the Yamaha—a bike clearly built with a price point in mind—with an MSRP under the five-figure mark at just $9599.
Triumph Street Triple R
+ Most nimble chassis of the group
+ Near-perfect fuel injection
+ Tons of power throughout rev range
– High foot peg position can have taller riders cramped up
– Could use a flyscreen. Something. Anything.
x Love at first ride
Suggested Suspension Settings
Front: Spring preload—7 turns out from full stiff; Rebound damping—2 clicks out from full stiff; Compression damping—3 clicks out from full stiff; Ride height—8mm fork tube protruding above top triple clamp
Rear: Spring preload—11mm thread showing above locking preload collar; Rebound damping—7 clicks out from full stiff; Compression damping—7 clicks out from full stiff
Triumph Street Triple R
Quarter mile 10.76 sec. @ 124.413 mph (corrected)
Roll-ons 60-80mph/ 3.44 sec. 80-100mph/ 3.75 sec.
Talk about bang for your buck. With an unbelievably low MSRP of just $8490, the 2011 Yamaha FZ8 is by far the bike least likely to do any long lasting damage to your savings account. And with its geometry coming straight from its larger displacement sibling, the FZ1, Yamaha’s new naked was sure to stir things up in this year’s naked test.
Rather than running the same five-valve head as the FZ1, the new 779cc FZ8 runs a redesigned four-valve iteration, with altered valve timing and cam profiles. The result is a surprisingly strong engine that pulls hard from 5000 rpm all the way to up to 12,000 rpm. With its strong midrange, the FZ8 feels like the quickest of the group too, with plenty of top-end to easily get you in trouble with the law. There’s something to be said for how crisp the Yamaha’s throttle response is as well, and how smooth the ride is—have to thank the rubber inserts on the footpegs here. The six-speed transmission is flawless and the spacing between gears is almost perfect—again, only matched by the Triumph.
It doesn’t end there. The Yamaha has exceptional ergonomics, with an almost perfect reach to the handlebar and plenty of room for riders surpassing the six-foot mark. Of the group, it’s got the most comfy seat to boot; sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. Looks are a different story though, and the bike’s wide fuel tank looks more fitted for a B-King than a middleweight naked.
Holding the FZ8 back is its non-adjustable 43mm KYB fork and YHSJ rear shock. That’s not to say that the units aren’t up to par. In fact, for freeway riding and around-town commuting, they work exceptionally well. It’s just that, while turn-in is quick thanks to the bike’s narrow 5.5-inch rear wheel, steering mid-corner feels heavy as the soft suspension packs down and turns the nimble bike into a tank. Plus, the front fork protests heavily over chewed-up sections of road, and the rear is soft enough that our 180-pound test riders made sure to keep their chiropractors on speed dial during the test. Of course, that could be a non-issue for those willing to look elsewhere for fully adjustable suspension. That’s already available, too (one need only refer to this issue’s BFK).
The FZ8’s gauge is without...
The FZ8’s gauge is without question the simplest, yet most easy to read of the group, providing all the pertinent information in a well laid out fashion. The FZ8’s bars have a bend that permits a comfortable riding position, plus the Yamaha’s mirrors provide great visual reference for what’s behind you.
With its sleek design, the...
With its sleek design, the FZ8’s headlight and affixed flyscreen provide great wind protection. Of the nakeds, the Yamaha was the least abusive at freeway speeds.
In terms of rubber, the FZ8 comes with a set of specifically designed Bridgestone BT-021 tires that aren’t the sportiest of the bunch, but provide great wear. In the braking department the FZ8 is no slouch, with the Sumitomo calipers biting on 310mm discs to provide both great feel and power. Thanks to its sleek headlight design and small flyscreen, the Yamaha is perhaps the least abusive of the group to ride at freeway speeds. Plus, the bike features the most easy-to-read dash of the group, with an LCD readout that is perfectly laid out and a tachometer that is easy to read at a glance.
While clearly built with a price point in mind, the FZ8 is still an impressive package, with a strong engine and decent handling characteristics.
+ Great midrange power
+ Most comfy seat of the group
+ Smooth ride with few vibes
– Feels cumbersome compared to the others
– Obnoxious intake howl
– Suspension is too soft for aggressive riding
x Not a bad bang for your buck
Suggested Suspension Settings
Rear: Spring preload: position 5 of 9
Quarter mile 11.23 sec. @ 121.002 mph (corrected)
Roll-ons 60-80mph/ 4.37 sec.80-100mph/ 4.29 sec.