TRIPLE R ONE OF THE LAST OF THE TRULY RAW, ALL-OUT-FUN BIKES
Reaching 21 years generally ushers in adulthood, ditching the saggy jeans, buying a suit and settling down to a quieter pace of life — or at least that’s what’s meant to happen. Clearly someone forgot to tell Triumph and the 2015 Speed Triple R.
A lot has changed since the original hooligan, the T300 Speed Triple, hit the streets in 1994.
Styling cues have come and gone but the inline triple cylinder engine has remained, albeit with a larger capacity and a whole lot of grunt added to the mixture. Like a hangover from an almost bygone era, the Speed Triple R isn’t an overly complicated machine with loads of electronic aids to ensure you keep yourself out of trouble.
With only ABS fitted as a precautionary safety net, this Triumph leaves any thoughts of trouble in your hands. Though the current guise of the Speed Triple R is getting a little long in the tooth, with an update due in the next year or so, it is no mellow ride compared with more modern bikes. In fact, you could think of the Triple R as one of the last of the truly raw, all-out-fun bikes left.
Swing a leg over the Triple R’s luscious single seat and you’re welcomed by Triumph’s signature gauge cluster. Though the current model doesn’t have a gear indicator, we will hopefully see one in the next generation Speed, as I tended to find myself wondering which cog I had selected of the six on offer. That said, you still have a load of options crammed into the unit, with a digital speedometer, fuel gauge, trip computer, analogue tachometer, programmable gear change lights and a lap timer.
The wide handlebar is set low, so riding the Triple R puts you closer to the position of a bike with clip-on handlebars than a regular naked bike. It is a nice compromise between style and practicality as you don’t get any of the negatives associated with clip-on bars, but you do get excellent leverage for low-speed situations. You also get a nice low riding position that feels sporty, and you won’t get wrist ache after five minutes of riding.
The wide handlebar is set low while Triumph’s signature gauge cluster welcomes the rider.
The chassis has been in constant evolution since day one and I have no complaints with the current alloy unit. Now an aluminium beam twin-spar unit, which helps keep the Triple R’s weight down to a flickable 214kg fully fuelled, it is a confidence-inspiring unit.
Being the headline “R” model, the Speed Triple R gains a handful of high quality components to add to the riding experience.
Ohlins have been brought in to supply the suspension system, with 43mm fully adjustable upside-down forks and complementary rear shock allowing for the Triple R to be dialled in to perfectly suit the rider.
Brembo radial calipers handle stopping duties with four-piston monobloc calipers clamping down on huge twin 320mm discs up front, while a Nissin two-piston caliper on an equally large 255mm disc works on the rear.
Brembo radial calipers handle stopping duties up front; a Nissin two piston caliper works on the rear.
ABS is standard on the Speed Triple R but it can be turned off by the rider — for instance at a track day — and though it is the only technology keeping the Speed reined in, at times was I thankful for it. This isn’t a bike you swing a leg over lightly.
Riding around some of the beautiful, twisty roads near Maraetai I came around a corner to see a slow-moving car just ahead. With a handful of brake and slamming the rear brake on, the Triple’s ABS cut in, pulsing the brakes for me until I came up behind the four-wheeled-snail at a slow, and more importantly, controlled pace.
Twisting the throttle of the Triple R brings with it a surge of power in nearly any gear, while in the lower gears it has a tendency to pop up the front wheel if you give it too much willy. Having nearly 100kW, and 111Nm on tap will do that.
This bike, without a doubt, brings out your inner hooligan and Triumph’s legendary Hinckley 1050cc triple has a lot to do with it.
It’s reassuring to know that even with the technology readily available to tame the hooligan nature of the Speed Triple R, Triumph has continued to hold back and retained the very nature that made the Speed Triple range so desirable in the first place.
We’ll see what the future holds, but for now you will struggle to find a more raw, yet enjoyable bike on the market.
To describe the Speed Triple R in one sentence is really quite easy. It is a middle-fingered salute to the fun police. Easy as that.
2015 TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE R ABS
1050cc inline 3-cylinder
135PS (99kW) @ 9400 rpm, 111Nm @ 7750
$26,990 + orc
Responsive chassis, great power delivery, brings out your inner hoon
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