In this week's show, Ray talked us through his insurance win, we have
I've been looking for a new motorcycle to add to my stable. I already have a Tenere 700 adv bike, so something a little more sporty and road-focused is what I'm looking for. In my bid for a new motorcycle, I thought I wanted a Triumph. Specifically a Speed Triple RS. However, while talking to a few mates, it was mentioned to me that the Street Triple RS is a better bike. I couldn't really understand why. Surely the bigger 1160cc engine of the Speed Triple would make a better ride?
The only way to work out what they were talking about was to go ride the two bikes back to back. So, I headed down to TSS Motorcycles, the local Triumph dealer, to find out.
First up was the 2023 triumph Street triple.
Powered by a liquid-cooled inline 3-cylinder 765cc engine, coupled to a 6-speed transmission and putting out 120hp and 80nm torque. Rolling stock is by way of front and rear 17-inch wheels, attached to Showa 41mm USD front forks and an Ohlins STX40 rear shock. The brakes are twin 310mm discs with Brembo Stylema 4 piston radial callipers up front and a 220mm disc with Brembo single Picton calliper down back.
With a seat height of 826mm, it is a bit higher than I expected, but it's a rather comfortable perch and feels pretty narrow when standing over. The 15l fuel tank fits nicely between the knees and it feels light and nimble, which stands to reason as the Street is only 188kg.
So, that's one bike down, one to go.
Next up was my opportunity to ride the 2023 Triumph Speed Triple RS. Powered by a liquid-cooled inline 3-cylinder 1160cc engine, mated to a 6-speed transmission, putting out 180hp and 125nm torque. As with the Street Triple, the Speed Triple rolls on a set of 17-inch wheels, attached to a set of Ohlins 43mm USD forks, and an Ohlins TTX36 shock in the rear. Front braking is taken care of by twin 320mm floating discs with Brembo Stilema mono bloc calipers, and a single 220mm disc with Brembo twin-piston caliper. Seat height is slightly taller than the Street triple at 830mm. Interestingly, the Speed has the same 15.5l fuel tank, but due to the bigger engine weighs 198kg
I am thankful for the opportunity to ride these two bikes back to back. I think this is really the only way to see clearly the differences. I now understand why I was told the Street Triple is the better bike. It's better around town, and on the motorway, both areas where I will ride most. It accelerates smoothly and has more than enough power to have fun. The Speed Triple obviously has more power, but it also has longer legs, which leads to it feeling like it's bristling and angry and ready to race all the time. Around town the Speed Triple spends most of its time in 1st gear, occasionally making it up to 2nd, where the street was mainly 2nd and a little of third. This ultimately means it's a more comfortable ride. Although the triple engine is smooth, the bigger 1160 engine in the speed gives a lot more vibrations than the Street. The 765cc engine is an absolute gem, with power all over the rev range, and everything is just so amazingly smooth. The quick shifter is velvet both up and down regardless of the speed and the power is usable both around town and on the motorway. I took both bikes over the Wainuiopmata hill, a road i know well from my days riding it daily on the MT07. This hill is far from smooth. Much of it is concrete, and the undulations, coupled with the sub-par suspension of the LAMS MT07 managed to chew through a set of Michelin Road 5 tyres in less than 10,000 km. The Street Triple managed the hill beautifully. the suspension soaking up the undulations like nothing I've ever ridden before. Riding the same hill on the Speed Triple, was actually a bit of an anticlimax. I'm used to attacking the hill at the speed limit and feeling my pulse speed up as the adrenalin starts to kick in. On the Speed Triple, there was almost no sense of speed. I was able to do the speed limit without backing off easily. This is a testament to how well set up the bike is. It's a track weapon, it's a focused machine. and for these reasons, I have concluded that the Speed Triple may be the better, faster, more track-focused bike, but the Street Triple is the better bike for me.
Don't misunderstand me, the Speed Triple is powerful, but it's like having a jar of cookies on the top shelf in the kitchen... you just can't reach them. I would just never get to use the power. and if I attempted it, MrPlod would be waiting for me just around the corner, happy to take my license away...
I'm glad I got the opportunity to ride these bikes back to back, and I guess this is the main reason dealers offer test rides right? The Triumph Speed Triple is $30k+ and it would suck to skink that sort of money into a motorcycle, only to not want to ride it that often because of how raw it is. The Street Triple by comparison is a smooth, well-aged whiskey. Comfortable, refined, potent, but still more than happy to put you in the gutter if you disrespect it.
I am currently getting my ducks in a row, and keeping an eye on a few other models to hit the market before i pull the trigger, but the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS is clearly my front-runner at this point.