The conundrum that arises with any great product from any field of interest, after a certain period of time is: how do you make it even better? But how do you avoid overdoing it? And how do you make sure you're doing enough? We are quite sure Triumph Motorcycles spent long, arduous hours, crouched over the drawing board, pondering those same questions.
For 2017, Triumph has updated its third-gen Street Triples and it's slated to hit the market soon. We just loved how much of a well-rounded and intuitive motorcycle the older model was. And Triumph has left no stone unturned when it came to prepping the 2017 models. We got to experience the top-spec variant of the series, the 2017 Street Triple RS (the 'RS' stands for Race Sport) in Barcelona.
When you first approach the 2017 Street Triple RS, the first thing you notice is its slightly more purposeful stance. Gone is that bug-eyed, lovable face that we had gotten so used to seeing, and the new model has a slightly more sinister aura around it.
Although the new Street Triple RS shares the same physical dimensions as the previous model, the new styling gives it a tougher look. In the limelight is the all-new 5.0-inch TFT screen that gives you the feeling of sitting in the cockpit of one of the 2017 litre-class superbikes instead of a middle-weight naked. It's customisable and very informative. This TFT instrument cluster will also be seen on the R models of the Street Triple.
The highlight of the RS model is its electronics package. This highly extensive and customisable electronics suite is really going to change what's expected from a middle-weight naked motorcycle. It gets five riding modes (Road, Rain, Sport, Track and a programmable Rider mode) which get different throttle maps and varying levels of traction control. Even the amount of ABS intervention can be tuned as per you liking. So, it will cater to a wide range of riders with varying levels of skill and confidence.
On the chassis front, it retains the main frame of the older model, but gets a new stiffer gullwing swingarm, a new Ohlins rear shock and top-of-the-line Showa Big Piston Forks. While this setup works wonderfully on the well-paved roads here, we have our doubts about the levels of stiffness for Indian roads. That being said, there's a tremendous amount of feedback and agility that this RS offers.
Whether it's carving up the mountain roads around Barcelona, or hitting the track, the levels of intuition are phenomenal. And it also comes shod with Pirelli's Diablo Super Corsa SP tyres that work marvellously on the road and on the track. However, it would work better to get the tyres well-heated before trying anything aggressive, especially on damp or wet roads.
The Street Triple RS also gets ABS-assisted Brembo Monobloc M50 brakes that work wonderfully. And the brake lever also offers great adjustability. Not only can you adjust the how far it sits away from the handlebar, you can also set the amount of bite and lever travel via a small rotating knob at the base of the lever.
But the icing on the cake would have to be the new engine. If you thought the old engine was great, this one is even better. It's derived from the Daytona's 675cc inline-triple but gets a gets a bump of about 90cc and is now 765cc. This obviously results in an increase in power and torque, but nothing unmanageable. Although it puts out 123hp now, this engine is as user-friendly as before and encourages you to really wring that throttle open if the situation permits. The level of crispness and responsiveness delivered via the ride-by-wire throttle in Sport and Track mode is spot on. The gearbox gets a slight shortening of the first two gears, which works for traffic situations and ambling about, as well as out on the race track. This is where the quickshifter comes in handy. Clutch feel is light and precise, and the slipper clutch cuts in to allow for some nice controlled slides during hard downshifting. We would have loved to have the option of an auto-blipper.
Another area Triumph has done a great job again, is with the seating geometry. It's not too aggressive for the street, neither is it too laid-back for the track. All that time at the drawing board has definitely paid off. Although, because it is a naked, the wind blast post 130kph is noticeable. We'd recommend a taller, aftermarket windscreen for better wind deflection at the track as well. Once the RS crosses that 195kph mark, you'll really have to put in an effort to hold on. We saw a speedo-indicated 232kph on the main straight of the Catalunya circuit, at which point everything was simply a blur because of the amount of wind blast.
After spending an entire day riding the 2017 Street Triple RS through the mountains and on the Catalunya MotoGP circuit, we can say that we are mighty impressed with what Triumph has done. The second-gen Street Triple was a lovely motorcycle, but this third-gen RS version is a game changer. The levels of agility, overall friendliness and its electronics package are sure to make this great motorcycle. It will make its way to India via a CKD route, so we can expect rather competitive pricing. However, India will first get the S and R versions, which will be followed by the sportier RS version.