2012 Triumph Speed Triple R
Here’s something to try: ride a Speed Triple R without wanting to wheelie everywhere. It’s impossible, trust us
New five-spoke forged aluminum wheels replace the standard models cast aluminum hoops. The result is a 3.7 pound savings in unsprung weight.
The Circuito de Jerez pavement is faultless and the track is fast, with a number of 100-mph-plus corners. The Speed Triple R never once hiccuped.
The Speed Triple R’s Brembo monobloc calipers are the same units found on the 675R and provide plenty of easy-to-manage power.
It’s amazing the difference a letter can make. The 2012 Triumph Speed Triple R handles nothing like the standard model.
The carbon fiber bits on the Speed Triple R are among the finest bits we’ve ever seen. They’re strewn throughout the bike too.
Like it or not, Triumph’s new headlights are here to stay. They’re okay in our book.
Triumph is proud of its Speed Triple. For good reason too; one in every eight Triumphs sold during 2011 was a Speed Triple. There’s no sign of those sales numbers dipping for 2012 either, with the 1050cc hooligan bike now coming in an ‘R’ model that Triumph aficionados are sure to lust after.
Triumph's up-spec Daytona 675R and Street Triple R are in good company; the Speed Triple R that will sit alongside them on showroom floors features the same upgrades as its road-carving siblings, including beautiful Öhlins suspenders front and rear, Brembo monobloc binders and carbon fiber pieces throughout. Propelling the naked bike even further into the world of up-spec wonder is a set of five-spoke forged aluminum (rather than cast aluminum) wheels, new graphics and Pirelli’s race-developed Diablo SuperCorsa SP tires.
The Speed Triple R’s engine goes (mostly) untouched, although that’s a non-issue in our minds. The 1050cc engine has always been one of our favorites on the street, with plenty of torque down low, great midrange, and power…well…pretty much everywhere. The somewhat clunky gearbox of years past has thankfully been reworked, with tighter tolerances and a new five-dog design promising improved shift action. Final gearing is said to be the same, although the sixth gear ratio has been reduced by 3.4 percent.
Other changes for 2012 include switchable ABS, which can be turned off using the Speed Triple R’s dashboard controls. Similar to the Ducati Monster 1100 EVO, the Speed Triple’s ABS system reverts back to the ON setting when the key is cycled. To more permanently disable the system, Triumph staff pulled the ABS fuse from the test units during our recent trip to Jerez, Spain, where we were given the opportunity to put the new R model through some extreme testing.
You’re probably scratching your head right now, confused as to why Triumph opted to launch the Speed Triple R – a naked bike – at a fast, world-class MotoGP track like Circuito de Jerez. Don’t worry, we were puzzled too. All confusion went out the door the second we tipped the Triumph into the track's sweeping turn four for the first time. The 2012 Speed Triple handles nothing like the softly sprung, less-equipped standard model.
Composed, tractable and agile are all words that perfectly describe the up-spec triple, the light PVM wheels and Öhlins suspension turning the R into a bike that handles nearly on par with a race-developed sportbike. How can a set of wheels make such a difference you ask? Well those new forged aluminum wheels feature thinner walls (2.5mm compared to 4mm on the cast wheel) and save a told 3.7 pounds of unsprung weight. This results in a 16-percent reduction in inertia up front and a 25-percent reduction out back. The Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP tires that come standard are nothing short of amazing either, and require less steering effort. The rubber provides amazing grip to boot, with higher limits than you’d ever like to push your naked bike.
The Öhlins NIX30mm Road and Track fork that replaces the standard Speed Triple’s 43mm Showa example feels equally as capable as the Daytona 675R’s unit. That’s a testament to Triumph’s dedication towards this project, of which they started all the way back in June 2009. Damping settings are specific to the Speed Triple R, and have been contrived using data collected from both Triumph and Öhlins during multiple days at the track.
Where a Showa shock used to fit out back now mounts an Öhlins TTX36 shock. Like the NIX30mm fork, the twin-tube shock features a stiffer (100N/mm versus 95 N/mm) spring and damping settings intended specifically for the Speed Triple R. The shock also features a new reservoir that allows the unit to fit easily to the Speed Triple. Triumph and Öhlins cut no corners on this project.
Speed Triple R owners who actually refer to their owner’s manual will find inside a recommended settings chart, where Triumph provides suggested suspension settings for Circuit, Sport or Comfort riding. Prior to press turning a wheel, Triumph’s Test Rider Engineer, Felipe Lopez, set the suspenders somewhere between Circuit and Sport. The fact that no members of the press opted to change the settings throughout the day says a thing or two about how well the Öhlins units work.
The Brembo monobloc calipers up front are identical to those used on the Daytona 675R, but clamp onto larger 320mm floating discs (compared to the 675R’s 308mm examples). Surprisingly, the feel from the lever is a lot different. Better even, especially if you are comparing it to the standard model’s feel. The initial bite isn’t overly powerful, and there’s an abundance of power to get the 466-pound bike stopped. Speaking of weight, the 2012 R model is almost five pounds lighter than the standard Speed Triple, which tips the scales at 471 pounds.
Composed, tractable and agile are all words that perfectly describe the up-spec triple
The Speed Triple R is about more than just composed suspension, lightweight wheels and capable brakes. It’s a sleek package that also incorporates flawless carbon fiber bits and a beautifully powder coated subframe. In short, it’s just as easy on the eyes as it is capable on the road. All this performance and beauty comes at a price, of course. Retail for the ABS-equipped Speed Triple R is set at $15,999. And while that may send you running in the opposite direction, consider this: the Triumph’s main competitor, the up-spec Ducati Streetfighter S, retails for $18,995. Performance doesn’t come cheap.
There’s much more to talk about in regards to the new Speed Triple R. We’ll be giving you our full first ride report in the May 2012 issue of Sport Rider Magazine, so keep your eyes peeled.