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Friday 11th January 2013


PH2 RIDDEN: 2013 TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE

It wasn't broken, but Triumph fixed it anyway...


I remember the first time I rode the Street Triple, although not exactly where. It was late 2007 in, I think, the south of France. A group of journalists were led in what can only be described as a dangerous riding contest by Triumph's official stunt rider Kevin Carmichael. The ride though tight and twisty French back roads was absolutely insane and the flat out dash was only punctuated by the wheelie contest that followed every time we were forced to drop into first gear. It was absolutely brilliant fun and at the time I remember writing I couldn't think of a current bike that I would rather own. Triumph's new middleweight was cheap and had a great engine and chassis, but more importantly it had the X factor, that special something that made you instantly fall in love with it. I ran a Street Triple for the whole of 2008 and if I'm honest I still miss that bike, if I saw one for a decent price tomorrow I'd snap it up. And it seems I'm not alone, Triumph has sold over 50,000 Street Triples since it was launched, making it the firm's best selling model of recent times. Now, five years after it first charmed me, I'm about to ride the new Street Triple - I really hope Triumph hasn't buggered it up...

Low-slung exhaust among changes
Low-slung exhaust among changes
What's changed?
At first glance the new Street Triple looks like a mere update or tweak but the reality is very different. There are very few components shared between the old and new Street Triple and the 2013 bike is basically a ground-up redesign. The chassis, subframe, wheels, bars, clocks, plastics and exhaust are all new and while the engine is essentially unaltered, it does gain revised ECU settings, tweaked fuel injection bodies and a taller first gear. Triumph, in typical Triumph fashion, has looked at customer feedback and responded. The new exhaust is low slung as so many owners fitted the 'low-boy' Arrow aftermarket system, the steering lock is increased as before it was a little pathetic and the fuel economy is boosted.

Works like a charm
The old Street Triple walks the very fine line between sporty and usable extremely well and you might worry that in making the model sportier for 2013 Triumph may have crossed over this line. It hasn't. At slow speed the 2013 Street Triple feels very similar to the old model and retains all the old bike's pleasant touches. The riding position is comfortable, the bars nice and wide and bike feel light and controllable. The only real irritation is the mirrors, which are really crap unless you want to look at your elbows. Bring back the old round ones - they may look dated but at least they fulfill their purpose in life.

Lighter and more nimble as a result
Lighter and more nimble as a result
Giving it a handful of gas the new Street Triple seems as happy to play the fool as the old bike. While the changes to the motor seem to have taken a slight raw edge off the engine's character, it still manages to deliver all the fun and performance of the old bike, just in a slightly more restrained fashion. It's no bad thing, just different, and the new handling prowess easily makes up for this calmer throttle response.

Better in the bends
Having trimmed 1.4kg from the Street Triple's chassis as well as 0.5kg from the wheels and 3.6kg from the exhaust, it comes as no surprise that the 2013 bike is far sprightlier to turn than the old model. By moving the exhaust from under the seat to a low-slung style, Triumph has altered the bike's weight distribution and improved the Street Triple's already excellent handling. While still retaining that balanced and reassuring feeling of the old model, the new bike is quicker to respond and also less bouncy thanks to slightly firmer suspension settings. Like the old bike you can go crackers if you wish but, unlike bikes like the MVBrutale 800, this isn't a requirement. The Triumph is as happy bimbling around as it is going flat out.

Original was good, new one is even better
Original was good, new one is even better
Gis a go!
The old Street Triple was, and still is for that matter, a brilliant bike. As well as being reassuring and easy-going for a new or less experienced rider, the Triumph is so versatile that the more experienced can take it on track and go bonkers thanks to its Daytona derived chassis. The new Street Triple is all this and even more. Triumph has retained the relaxed attitude of the old bike and injected a new dose of handling that doesn't detract from its user-friendliness. If someone said they were thinking of buying a Street Triple I would have no hesitation in encouraging them to do so, as long as they lent me the keys for a few hours ... ok, days ... alright, weeks...


TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE
Engine:
675cc, 3-cyl
Power: 105hp@11,850rpm
Torque: 50ft lb@9,750rpm
Top speed: 140mph (est)
Weight: 182kg (wet)
MPG: 40(est)
Price: £6,999 (+£350 ABS)
Colours: Black, white, blue





 

Author: Jon Urry