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"Fast Bikes", April 1, 2013

Triumph Street Triple R

May want to look where you’re going there, sunshine...

PIC BY: DOM ROMNEY

So, you’ve heard Rootsy’s verdict on Kawasaki’s Z800. Well, whatever, Trevor! I already know that bike inside and out, what makes it tick and, yes, it’s a good bike. But it ain’t no Triumph Street Triple R. No way...

Especially now the build quality is much improved. The only real flaw in the original’s makeup, was that it was often let down on this front. The new bike is a different story entirely. I’m not totally sold on the looks, but the quality now rivals the Kawasaki and, I think, surpasses it in certain places. I will hold my hand up to hating the ‘Fireblade’ exhaust can, though.

Despite looking different though, everything feels pretty similar once onboard, with the dash and bars all reminiscent of the previous machine, as is the riding position. That means it’s a perfect place to be, and even if it feels a little bulimic and skinny, at least it’s better than feeling like you’re preparing to take it up the wrong ’un, like on the big Z800!

Now, before we even rode the bike we slung it on the dyno. Imagine our disappointment to see just 92bhp appear when the last bike was brushing 100. However, dyno-god James said not to worry as these engines take a little longer to loosen up and that he expected it about the same power after a couple of thousand miles.

You know what? It doesn’t feel like it’s suffering, thanks in part to the fact it carries 40kg less than the Kawasaki. And also thanks to the fact of how the engine makes its power. It’s beautiful and wholesome, yet exciting enough to get the blood pumping. Despite being down on power and torque, in top-gear roll-ons the Triumph ruins the Kawasaki, just jumps away and never looks back. With top speeds so similar, the Zed will never catch up. Sucker!

One thing that has changed is the throttle response. It’s a lot sharper and accurate, which I realised while wheelying past the fat green bogey.

The Street still stunts like a legend, but you need to readjust to the pin-point fuelling. It’s no problem though, and the sharper throttle makes riding this little fella hard even more of a joy, admittedly when the weather is clement.

Because this is the R version, the suzzies are stiffer and in crappy weather; it needs a little more cuddling. Thankfully, the engine is more than plush enough to cope.

There’s also a nice nervousness to the steering following the rake and trail adjustments, and when the weather cheers up, this sharper steering will see it push further away from the pretenders to its crown. As if handling wasn’t already beyond wonderful before, now it’ll do some real damage when the hammer is down. Now it feels purposeful, as though the sports heritage is more than just shining through. Combine that with the incredible engine, and you’ve a package that will make the Zed look daft all day long.

TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE R £7,699

ENGINE

There are no major changes to the inline-triple motor, although there is a taller first gear, and a few other tweaks. New throttle bodies feed the lump, orchestrated by new fuel-injection settings and mapping, slated to smooth out the delivery at lower revs and also bump up fuel economy by a third. It features a new intake system, while the exhaust has been completely revamped to aid mass-centralisation, saving a whopping 4kg.

CHASSIS

The biggest changes have come in the chassis for 2013. Weight-distribution is now frontward biased by 2 per cent, while a total of 6kg has been lopped off overall weight. The frame is an all new affair, as is the tasty-looking swingarm which features an adjustable pivot. The geometry has had an overhaul – trail has been increased from 92.4mm to 95mm, which rake loses half a millimetre at 23.4mm.

Highlights

Brand new shoes

6kg diet

Still daft as a brush...

... and oh so usable

183kg

91bhp

TRACK 9

Scare supersports silly!

FAST ROAD 9

As good as anything

HOOLIGAN 10

The Daddy, end of...

NEW RIDER 7

Docile when required

DESIRABILITY 8

Look still subjective

Verdict 10/10

Brilliant update, retaining and improving everything wonderful about the Street Triple range.

+ HANDLING, NOISE, ENGINE, MAD SKILLS

- GOOD QUESTION...

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