Saturday, February 28, 2009

2009 Triumph Street Triple R

I rode a Speed Triple some time back and was very impressed, but lamented how much power it had. Power is a good thing, but the Speed Triple would get me arrested if it was my daily rider. Who could resist that much temptation every day?

With that in mind I’ve been wanting to get my hands on the 675cc Street Triple. This year Triumph added an adjustable suspension and called it the Street Triple R. The short review: one day I will own this bike.

The long review: Before riding I checked out the sitting position and features. In motorcycle boots I was easily able to stand up with my feet flat on the ground (I'm 5'10" in stocking feet). The sitting position is upright and comfortable. There's a lock releasing the seat, providing access to a very small storage area and no helmet locks. After a brief search I even asked one of the factory reps about a helmet lock, and it was his only complaint. Apparently they've been sending feedback up the chain for years, asking for helmet locks to no avail.

Another nice feature was the gear indicator, something I've come to appreciate on the GSX-R. Any of us who've searched for 7th gear or lost count somewhere in the middle could find this handy. Stainless brake lines come standard, and during the safety brief the leader warned us that we could stop these bikes with two fingers (didn't the MSF course tell us not to do that?).

The route was a nice mix of turns and straight aways, and the leader led a spirited ride. The Street Triple was quick and nimble, fun in the corners and accelerating nicely through the gears without that feeling of unused potential. Ok, maybe some unused potential (it was a demo ride on public streets, after all) but not the "can we please get on the interstate so I can get above 2nd gear???" vibe I'd been dealing with. Just a quick glance down showed 70 in 3rd gear, not redlined. (Just for comparison the Gixxer 750 hit 92 and climbing in 2nd.) The dual disc front brakes stopped the bike quickly but at slow speeds trying the rear brake on it's own I barely slowed. Rather weak, weaker than alot, but the rear kept the bike stable and avoided an endo. The rear brake is not non-functional, and really it feels like nitpicking to find a small flaw on an otherwise incredible machine.

So in summary, this is an exciting naked motorcycle that's a beauty to look at and to ride. There's little storage but Triumph makes tank and tail bag accessories. A great little bike which will one day be in our garage.


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