2012 Triumph Speed Triple

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Triumph Speed Triple

2012 Triumph Speed Triple

January 6, 2012 Posted in 2012 Bike Tests | Comments: 0

More power is always better right? If you have a motorcycle that is a complete hooligan special and absolute riot on the street and add more displacement and horsepower, you should have a motorcycle that provides even more thrills than it’s smaller sibling. If only motorcycle engineering were this simple.

I have been lucky enough over the last few years to ride a huge selection of various motorcycles but one has always stood out in my head as special as a nearly perfect ride on the street. That bike is the Triumph Street Triple R, the 675 cc three-cylinder. Perfect power, great styling and a sweet sound that will plant a smile on your face with each pull of the throttle.

So when I found out I would be riding the big daddy of Triumph’s naked stable, the Triumph Speed Triple 1050, I had some pretty high expectations to say the least.

Appearances first, the Speed Triple received a nice update for 2011. I am happy to see the restyled headlights and the small side cowlings giving the Triumph a more modern look. The Crystal White paint looks clean and the design retains its aggressive and muscular appearance. The Triumph retains it’s undertail exhaust and single-sided swingarm which are always a nice touch.

This was a truly popular bike and I had more requests from co-workers and friends to ride the bike than normal. One person even took a new approach I had never seen before. When returning to the parking lot at work to go for lunch I noticed someone had left a note on the bike for me. The stranger wrote how he owned an older Triumph and really liked the looks of this new Speed Triple and was wondering if he could ride mine!

Pretty forward I thought. Unfortunately I had to deny his request, but hey, he can read all about it here!

The first thing you visualize when sitting on the Triumph is the LCD multi-functional instrument gauge cluster. The analogue tachometer and digital speedometer are tidy and very readable and the fuel gauge came in handy on more than one occasion. The tank seemed smaller than the stated 4.6 US gals. possibly because a bike this fun is just too easy to get throttle happy with.

Either way it seemed I was making many a stop at the gas station.

The Triumph has a very comfortable seating position. The seat has ample padding and is quite soft. The reach to the bars seemed just right with no awkward bends.

Peg position was high enough so you are not dragging them through the corners but low enough to keep my knees from aching. It’s quite an upright riding position which owners will surely find reasonable. Overall the Triumph was a pleasure to commute on, something I was not fully expecting. I expected an urban streetfighter to be a  little more on the extreme side to ride and was happy to find this was not the case.

The one thing commuters may find a little less appealing however is the high amount of wind in the face. You are really left out in the open on the Speed Triple with no fairings or windshield to deflect the blast.

One of my favorite things about riding the Speed Triple was simply firing it up. It sounds that good! Triples are inherently good sounding motors and the Triumph is no different.

The classic sound of the Triple screams performance in a way that is pleasing, not obnoxious.

Of course a sweet sounding motorcycle is nothing if it doesn’t perform and the Triumph has the bite to back up its impressive bark. The fuel injected, liquid cooled 1050cc three cylinder produces 133 BHP at 9400 RPM and 82 ft. lbs. of torque at 7750 RPM. A revised airbox and some new engine mapping adding about 5 peak ponies over the previous motor. This is a motorcycle with an extremely punchy mill.

It doesn’t offer much over rev but wheelies with ease at low speeds and is a riot on the street. You really couldn’t ask for a more exciting motor for blasting the city streets and the torque curve is constant and amazing. You may be the most mature and calm rider but trust me, ride this motorcycle and you will have your moments of riding like an idiot.

In a good way of course.

The Triumph makes quick work of tight roads and canyons as well. Turn-in is extremely quick on the Speed Triple; almost to the point of being slightly unnerving. It took me some time to get used to the way the bike wants to fall into the corner with even the slightest input. The chassis features an all-new aluminum twin spar frame and a re-styled single sided swingarm.

Weight distribution has been moved forward and the front wheel is now 3 pounds lighter resulting in a motorcycle that takes very little effort to flick. The rear wheel is now a six-inch unit fitting a 190/55 tire giving you a little more contact patch out back over the previous model.

Suspension is provided by Showa both front and rear which gives the Triumph a very compliant and forgiving ride. The fork is a 43mm inverted unit and adjustable for rebound and compression while the shock is adjustable for preload, rebound and compression. Stability was good from the new chassis with the altered steering geometry.

Rake is 22.8 degrees and trail is 90.9mm with the wheelbase at 56.5 inches.

The Triumph’s 6 speed gearbox did not feel especially smooth however. I encountered many false neutrals and there seemed to be an excessive amount of grinding going from first to second gear – something I didn’t experience in the Street Triple R. (I experienced the same transmission woes with every 1050cc Triumph that I’ve tested as well – Kenn)

The Triumph has some impressive equipment in the braking department. The front features Twin 320mm floating discs and Brembo 4-piston radial calipers. The back has a single 255mm disc and a Nissin single 2-piston sliding caliper.

An ABS model is available however I was riding the standard non-ABS model. Braking performance was excellent and there was tons of braking power onboard. Feel at the lever was also excellent.

The brakes did squeal quite loudly however, announcing your arrival in not so flattering fashion.

So did the Triumph Speed Triple steal the crown from its 675cc brother as the overall most fun bike to ride? In my opinion, no. I still prefer the Street Triple’s smaller package which provides all the same thrills with less cc’s.

The new Speed Triple is an absolute riot of a motorcycle however and you would have a very hard time finding another bike that provides this much fun while also being a superb everyday ride.

I am a true fan of the naked streetbike market and the new Triumph just solidifies my love for these motorcycles. The competition is intense in the naked bike market and at $11,999 the Triumph comes in priced between its Japanese rivals and the Ducati. With revamped styling and impressive performance the new Triumph Speed Triple must be considered at the very top of that field.

2011 Triumph Speed Triple

Engine: Inline Triple

Displacement: 1050cc

Bore x Stroke: 79 x 71.4mm


Valvetrain: DOHC, 12 valves

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