Triumph Speed Triple Review
Bike Tested: 2015 Triumph Speed Triple; Road Test No. 609
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 12.42 lakhs
The Speed Triple looks purposeful and has a power packed motor which can make you grin all day long
Good morning, Mr. Hunt. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the recovery of a stolen item designated “Chimera.” In his quest to beat the baddies in Mission Impossible II, Tom Cruise was seen riding the Triumph Speed Triple while the villain is seen following him on the Triumph Daytona. This was around 15 years ago and the motorcycle chase sequence is now etched in the memory of bike enthusiasts. Triumph supplied the bikes for the movie and although both bikes end up in fire, what can we make out from the action scene is that the Speed Triple is fast, sounds amazing, grips the road well and has powerful brakes. But the model in contention was the third generation of the Speed Triple and today the street-fighter is in its fifth generation. How much of a hooligan is this British street-fighter? We ride to find out.
Motor Quest: Triumph first introduced the Speed Triple in 1994 as the spiritual successor to the Speed Twin from 1938. The original model used a carbureted engine but in 1997, the second gen model was launched. In 2000, the third gen model came along while in 2005, the fourth generation of the Speed Triple was launched. The latest fifth generation model was launched in 2011.
Styling – The Triumph Speed Triple packs in all the right muscle and looks absolutely scintillating, more so in this blue shade (this colour is no longer listed on the Triumph India website and the colours on offer are white, red and black). The bike features the now traditional Triumph bug-eyed headlights, this style was first seen on the second generation T509 model (the first gen T309 used a single headlight). The fat forks, big muscular tank, black finished engine, belly pan and exposed bits of the frame lend it a purposeful street-fighter appearance.
The Speed Triple’s muscular body panels attract a lot of attention
The side profile reveals the tip-forward design and one simply can’t miss the uniquely designed wind deflector on the top. The Triumph Speed Triple gets a single-sided swingarm which makes the right side of the motorcycle look pure eye candy as the 10-spoke wheels on the fat rear tyre is completely visible. The bike features twin under-seat exhausts which look purposeful on this street naked. The thing we don’t like is the saree guard which does look out of place on this British motorcycle. That aside, this is one seriously good looking motorcycle with a bit of an evil feel to its appearance (courtesy of the panel above the headlight).
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – That panel above the headlight does look a bit weird when you view the instrument cluster but you do get used to it after riding for sometime. The Speed Triple features an analogue-digital instrument cluster, the design being unmistakably Triumph. The tachometer is big and easy to read and does the customary swipe on start-up. The left screen has all the essential bits (including a lap timer) and is easy to read on the move but a gear position indicator would have been nice. Right above the tachometer are five blue lights which light up as the revs increase to give you a quick indication on how fast the engine is spinning, this is of course the shift light but a very well executed one and be programmed as per your liking. Switchgear quality is excellent and the buttons give a reassuring click when you operate them.
Ergonomics – Being a street-fighter, the riding position is expected to be upright and comfortable but the Speed Triple isn’t your typical naked motorcycle. There is a slight lean ahead so riding for long hours on the saddle does take some time getting used to. Initially, the wrists will take some pressure on them but it’s not awfully dedicated to make long distance riding a big issue, the palm grips are soft. The seat is comfortable but high and thus short riders will find it an issue. A pillion isn’t much welcome either due to the small rear seat and those twin exhausts which will throw off some heat on the pillion’s legs.
Performance – Powering the Triumph Speed Triple is a 1050cc, triple-cylinder engine, yes, this is a litre-class street-fighter. This motor outputs 127 PS of power and an impressive 105 Nm of torque resulting in absolute madness when you twist the throttle. For starters, this motorcycle hits the ton in around 3.2 seconds and given the road, it can hit a top whack of 230 km/hr. The motor is thoroughly refined at all times and settles into a calm idle although there is the hint of the storm brewing under its belly.
There is good low-end pep so riding in the city isn’t an issue from the Speed Triple’s performance perspective but when ridden in stop-go traffic, it heats a lot and transfers most of it to the rider’s legs through the fans. Then there is the clutch which is on the heavier side so city riding isn’t the best place for this British brute. But get out of the city and open the throttle and it takes off with utmost urgency, showing exactly why it has ‘Speed’ in its very name.
Whack the throttle and the Speed Triple gains fast pace in a flash
The sweet spot is the mid and top-end through the rev range and madness beckons past 4000 RPM, till you hit the redline at 10,500 RPM (the tacho is marked till 12,000 RPM). Building speed is never an issue for this Triumph Triple as it hits the double ton with absolute ease. First gear is good enough for 106 km/hr and by the time you grab second, you are already doing some serious numbers. Our test bike didn’t have the smoothest of shifts with occasional false neutrals and going from first to second did take some effort.
The Triumph Speed Triple uses a 3-cylinder engine and that means it sounds amazing. It uses a 3 into 1 into 2 exhaust system and the sound from the motorcycle can give you an eargasm. It’s loud when you get past the mid-range and absolutely ballistic near the redline, making you hit the rev limiter time and again. But it’s not just when you accelerate that the motor rewards you with the aural excitement, it also does so when you back off the throttle with the cracks and pops exciting your senses. This motorcycle returns a mileage between 15-20 km/l which is decent enough for a super-naked machine.
Riding Dynamics – The Triumph Speed Triple is underpinned by a Twin-Spar aluminium beam frame and employs a single-sided aluminium swingarm. The front sports upside down forks while the rear gets a monoshock, both of Showa make. This is indeed top drawer hardware on the Speed Triple but the bike tips the scales at a rather heavy 214 kgs. In spite of that, this Triumph bike feels agile and is eager to tip into corners, grip levels being terrific courtesy of the wide Metzeler rubber. Yes the handlebar is a bit heavy, it’s not as light and agile as a Street Triple but that’s natural considering the big difference in engine displacement between the two Street bikes. Taking u-turns in the city requires a lot of effort and time too.
The bike has rich feedback with grip levels which are simply terrific
Riding the Triumph Speed Triple near its limit needs a big empty stretch of road as the motorcycle’s taller height solicits your commitment. The suspension is stiffly sprung but is compliant enough and does a good job of absorbing bad roads and potholes without much fuss. This supernaked stays firmly planted to the road at high speeds although there is quite a lot of windblast to deal with, something unavoidable on a street-fighter motorcycle. Brembo brakes at the front and Nissin at the rear along with big discs ensure surefooted stopping, the ABS is switchable if you like it that way.
Verdict – The Triumph Speed Triple is a very desirable bike and has a unique character to it. It’s not the fastest or most agile bike in its class but it sure is a whole lot of fun. Packing in a lot of punch with the melody from the three-cylinder mill, the Speed Triple really excels when it comes to giving an engaging riding experience with its good dynamics and sharp brakes. Being brought in via the CKD route, this super-naked bike is well priced too and is the only one its class which is being locally assembled, making it a sweet deal.
Among a slew of superbikes which have been launched in India in the recent past, the Triumph Speed Triple stands out by being a litre-class street-fighter which is priced attractively and has the performance to keep your excitement levels on top.
* Attractive design, every angle of the bike has something to feast your eyes upon
* Power packed motor which is thoroughly refined and sounds amazing too
* Balanced dynamics with excellent grip from the tyres
* Locally assembled in India, thereby being the cheapest in its class
What’s Not So Cool
* Heavy clutch and heat in stop-go traffic makes it not very city friendly
* Blue colour seen on our test bike is no longer available
Alternatives: Kawasaki Z1000, Suzuki GSX-S1000 Honda CB1000R, Yamaha FZ1
Triumph Speed Triple Specifications
* Engine: 1050cc, 12-valves, liquid-cooled, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
* Power: 126.7 PS @ 9301 RPM
* Torque: 104.82 Nm at 7797 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 3.2 seconds
* Top Speed: 230 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 15-20 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Aluminium beam twin-spar
* Suspension: 43 mm Showa upside down forks (Front), Showa monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 120/70/17 (Front), 190/55/17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 320 mm twin floating Brembo discs with 4-pistons (Front), 255 mm single Nissin disc with 2-pistons (Rear), ABS
Triumph Speed Triple Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2100 mm x 795 mm x 1110 mm
* Wheelbase: 1435 mm
* Ground Clearance: 150 mm (est.)
* Seat Height: 825 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.5-litres
* Kerb weight: 214 kgs
Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta