The Europeans have a thing for naked bikes and scooters. When sales of naked bikes were picking up, Triumph turned to their beautiful Daytona. They stripped it of all its fairings, stuck on two unsightly round headlights, swung a champagne bottle at it and christened it the Street Triple. Over the years, the Street Triple evolved into something quite eye-catching and the round headlights evolved into something more angular and quite aggressive.
The engine also grew into a 765cc unit which, incidentally, is the same unit that the 2019 Moto2 engine is based on. Today the Street Triple is all grown up and there are quite a few models available. Unfortunately only the RS model is available here in South Africa and that is the one I got to spend some time with. It is styled along the same lines as the bigger Speed Triple and even though the smaller capacity Street Triple starts off with a power disadvantage over the bigger sibling, it makes up for that in zest and vigor. The engine got an overall last year with 80 new parts, and that pushed the power up to a respectable 123hp. 77Nm of torque rounds out the performance figures, and the Street is quite a capable performer.
Riding position is exactly as you would expect from a naked bike. The seat is plush and wide and angled up. The foot pegs are high and slightly back. You sit forward on the Street, and that gives you a clear view of the road and the full-colour TFT display. There is no wind protection to speak of, but that is what you would expect for this class of bike.
The TFT display is the same unit as used across the Triumph range and it is infinitely adjustable. Everything from the layout style to what information you would always like to see. I even discovered three more dash styles hidden in the bike setup menu. Everything is intuitively adjusted through a simple joystick on the left handlebar.
The exhaust is a stubby pipe that terminates just behind your right foot. At idle, the bike is barely audible but if you crank open the fly-by-wire throttle the Street emits a delightful combination of exhaust note and air being forced into the intake ports. It became addictive. The RS has beefy Showa shocks at the front and an Öhlins system at the back. Both are adjustable, so people who like to take their bike to the track will have a lot of fun. The RS even has a Track riding program.
Riding it was a lot of fun. The bike feels so flickable and sure footed.
The Street Triple then is a true all-rounder. You can commute with it and on weekends, you can set it up for the track and have a lot of fun. Sure, it does not have the outright power of the Speed Triple, but when you are having this much fun, I doubt you will care.
Words and pictures: Brian Cheyne