2017 Triumph Street Triple RS review, test ride
19th Jan 2018 7:00 am
The range-topping Street Triple offers superbike levels of components at a fantastic price point.
The Triumph Street Triple 765 S is a thoroughly accomplished motorcycle. It’s comfy and loads of fun on the street, but still proves to be a weapon on the track – it was just 4sec slower than a GSX-R1000R at our recently held Autocar Track Day. That’s hugely commendable for a bike that costs less than half of what the Suzuki commands. But the S is only the lowest rung of the Street Triple pyramid of excitement. Above it comes the Street Triple R, complete with more advanced suspension, 5hp of extra power and better electronics, but that bike’s not sold in India. What India does get, though, is the range-topping Street Triple RS.Think of it as a Striple with an additional 5hp over the R, top-shelf suspension, brakes, and tyres as well as additional electronics. And that raises a few questions, with the biggest one being:
Is it worth the extra money?
At Rs 10.55 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the RS costs a whole Rs 1.83 lakh more than the base S variant. That sounds like a lot, but wait until you factor in everything the RS offers. First, you get fully adjustable suspension – Showa’s excellent Big Piston Fork up front and an Ohlins STX40 shock at the back. Then there are the brakes – the range-topping Brembo M50 calipers, as well as the awesome Brembo MCS 19 master cylinder (more on this later) – which are something I haven’t even seen in many litre-class superbikes. You get the super-sticky Pirelli Supercorsa tyres, once again only seen on the fastest and most committed of superbikes. But that’s not all, the RS also gets a highly programmable full-colour display with six different display modes. The switchgear is different too and is among the best I’ve ever used on a motorcycle. Pull in the clutch and you’ll find that it’s lighter than the one on the Street Triple S because the RS gets a slipper clutch. Once you add in the unique satin-matte finishes and the small styling baubles like the rear seat cowl and stylish (but pretty impractical) flyscreen, it stands to reason that Triumph is charging a very fair price for the sum of all these parts.
How does it all come together?
Fabulously. The RS is a peach to ride in city conditions, thanks to the smooth engine and mellow power delivery below 6,000rpm. The suspension feels taut, but is exceptionally well damped and can take on the usual bumps, poorly designed expansion gaps and other general inadequacies our roads have, without much fuss. You can even carry a decent speed over all this, but the rims will constantly be on your mind and you wouldn’t want to hit a nasty pothole too hard. But once the road begins to twist, my word, does this bike impress. It has an incredibly light and easy feel, but thanks to the one-degree-sharper steering rake compared to the S, it turns into corners in the blink of an eye. Even on the stock settings, the suspension did a wonderful job of keeping the rubber in contact with the tarmac on the same stretch of road where the MV Agusta Brutale 800 bucked, snarled and snapped back at the slightest provocation.
The Street Triple RS’ combination of dynamic ability with sheer ease and confidence is a delicious recipe. And bringing all the ingredients to a boil are some of the finest brakes you’ll ever experience; the bite is strong and the power immense enough to lift the rear wheel clean off the ground in Race mode that deactivates the real wheel lift mitigation system. The earlier mentioned MCS 19 master cylinder allows you to select a brake lever pivot distance of 19, 20 or 21mm, allowing more brake force to come in at the cost of some lever feel. The most powerful of these is bit too much for the road, but it offers a true one-finger performance that is great for the track.
Perfect Road and track sports bike?
Quite possibly. On its own, I’d rate this bike 9.5 out of 10, and it only loses that half point because the electronics aren’t quite as intelligent or transparent as the best systems out there. The traction control cuts in a bit abruptly and you can tell that the ABS isn’t allowing as short braking distances as the tyres and brakes can offer. No doubt, the assists are among the best we’ve seen from Triumph yet, but it’s just not up there with the best from, say, Ducati or Aprilia. However, this is a nitpicking at the finest level, and given the exceptional value for money, there’s no choice but to award the RS the full 10 on 10.
But that still doesn’t mean you should buy one. If you never plan to visit a race track, save the extra money and enjoy the pleasantly soft and absorptive suspension on the base Street Triple S instead. But if you want a realistically priced sports bike that handles the real world as well as it handles the racetrack, I really can’t think of anything better.