What’s a middleweight? You’re looking at the poster child, right here. The Triumph Street Triple R exemplifies the well-rounded qualities that a middleweight should possess. Lightness. A narrow, easy-to-handle chassis. Tractable, linear power. Predictable, light controls. Essentially, a low-key invitation to saddle up.
The cool thing about the little Trip is that it also happens to be one of the single most fun motorcycles ever built. Sure, its 675cc might be a mild stretch in terms of recent middleweight displacement norms, but its three cylinders let it race in most supersport classes against 600cc Fours and 848cc Twins, and, as engines go, it’s narrow and light and runs beautifully.
The first Street Triple in 2008 came along a couple of years after I bought my first vintage Triumph, a 1958 Trophy TR6. What struck me on my initial ride of the stripped-down Daytona 675 was the very powerful spiritual connection to the pre-unit 650 I’d been riding so much. The 675 had that same light, handy feel, broad power and good performance (within year-of-manufacture context), with a riding position that made me feel in total command of all those qualities. The bikes were separated by half a century but felt connected—like the Street Triple is what the Trophy or Bonneville actually would have evolved into if Triumph had stayed in business without that rude interruption during the Eighties.
Since that ’08 model, the Street Triple has been a staff favorite (a Best Standard winner, too), and the R model’s upgraded suspension only adds to the fun. Suspension tune is pretty sporty but compliant enough to keep you happy grinding out your daily commute. But you’ll look forward to your weekend romps and road trips.
Road trips? Yes, I’ve left work in Southern California on a Street Triple in the late afternoon and made it to San Franciscoin time for a late dinner and cocktails. This bike will never coddle you, but you can get on it and ride. A nice bonus is the fuel range. It’s not too hard to get better than 40 mpg, though it’s really easy to drop well below that because it’s just so fun to let the motor scream. If you show a little throttle restraint, the 4.6-gallon steel fuel tank (magnetic tankbag friendly) allows an easy 150-mile range before Reserve.
Minor complaints include relatively short overall gearing and a pretty close-ratio gearbox. Calling it a “complaint” might be a bit much; it’s more a matter of taste. But if I were buying one of these, I’d go up a tooth or two on the countershaft to see how I liked it. Which is what I ended up doing on my ’58 Trophy, by the way. Then I’d just ride the crap out of it every day.
Yes, the Street Triple R does many things well. But the one thing it does most exceptionally is put a smile on your face. Just as any great middleweight should.
• Does it all
• Unnaturally stimulating agility
• May be the perfect streetbike engine
• Short gearing
• Old-school Triumph owners miss ticklers (ask your dad)
• Owners tire of answering questions from “interested” police officers
|Dry weight:||395 lb.|
|Seat height:||32.5 in.|
|Fuel mileage:||41 mpg|
|0-60 mph:||3.0 sec.|
|1/4-mile:||11.28 sec. @ 118.57 mph|
|Top speed:||137 mph|
|Horsepower:||93.8 hp @ 11,900 rpm|
|Torque:||45.3 ft.-lb. @ 8250 rpm|