At 177 hp, and 436.5 pounds, the new Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS has a very sporty design and is equipped with high-quality components. With the new Speed Triple, Triumph is catching up with the current hyper-naked bike field. But how does it perform in everyday riding and touring?
When you first sit on the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, you immediately notice how light and narrow this totally redesigned bike has become. It almost feels like a Street Triple. And compared to its predecessor, the Speed Triple 1050, it weighs 22 pounds less and looks significantly more compact. The handlebars are 0.5 inches wider, and the footpeg position has moved inwards. The new footpeg positioning lessens the tendency to drag your pegs during corning, a problem that plagued the old model. The design language of the new Speed Triple draws definite parallels with its little sister the Street Triple.
On your way through the city, the new Hypernaked can be ridden comfortably and quietly, but at low speeds, you’ll notice that the on/off throttle transition isn’t so smooth, which can cause harsh transitions between acceleration and deceleration. Once you arrive on country roads, the fun really begins. The engine pulls well from down below and doesn’t stop pushing you forward until you hit the rev limiter at 11,150 rpm. An absolute pleasure in every speed range, She is good-natured and predictable, and faithfully follows the line that you desire. All while being serenaded by the awesome sound of the big three-cylinder engine.
The large triple engine was already a dream to ride in its original 1050 form. Now it has been redeveloped from the ground up and has been given a bump in displacement, more power and more torque: 1,160 cc, 180 PS / 177.5 bhp at 10,750 rpm and 92 lb-ft / 125 Nm at 9,000 rpm. The engine alone weighs 15 pounds less than the previous iteration while simultaneously being more compact. With so much power and a curb weight of only 437 pounds, you may not notice the more subtle design changes the engineers worked into the 1200 Speed Triple. The center of gravity was shifted downwards and further forwards, while the swingarm was lengthened to increase traction and balance.
The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS comes with a comprehensive electronics package. It uses the Continental MIB-EVO ABS modular, with an integrated 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) that enables Cornering ABS, Cornering Traction Control and Wheelie Control. These features can also be individually adapted in the five different riding modes: Road, Sport and Rain Mode (Rain being limited to 100 hp) can be selected while riding, while Track and User Mode can only be selected through the menu while stopped. Only the most important information is shown in the 5-inch display. It looks very tidy and is easy to read despite the unit being placed quite far forwards. The menu with all further information and gadgets, such as phone connectivity and GoPro control, opens at the push of a button by moving the tachometer.
The Keyless Ride system, which comes standard, can be supremely convenient. I personally prefer a conventional key though, as there are no embarrassing moments in which the key is not recognized immediately – which happened to me twice in one day – and your riding buddies ride away without you. Also, the tactile feel of the key clicking into the “On” position always gets my heart beating a little faster.
A Quickshifter (up and down) is also installed as standard, which works great even under partial load. This feature makes spirited riding on the road even more fun. When arriving at the switchbacks, you may again notice the issue with the bike’s reaction load changes at low speeds, regardless of which mapping you have selected. The response behavior is quite harsh at low speeds and there is a jolt when rolling on or off the gas. This issue becomes less prevalent as you move from narrow serpentines to longer faster sweepers.
The high-quality Öhlins chassis has a very tight basic setup. The NIX30 upside-down fork and the TTX36 twin tube monoshock are obviously designed for hard braking and aggressive acceleration maneuvers like those that take place on the racetrack. Both the front and rear can be adjusted in preload, compression and rebound. On sections of the road with bad asphalt, I can clearly feel the bumps due to the stiff setting, but the impacts are not so bad as to shake your whole body. Some time spent playing with damping settings could see this issue fully resolved.
If necessary, the velocity of the Speed Triple can be radically decelerated with the noble brake hardware at the front and rear, from Brembo. When applying the front brake, the rear is also automatically actuated as well by the intelligent linked braking system. This was easily noticed on our test machine as it had a slightly squeaky rear brake When pulling only the front brake lever, you could hear the rear brake squeaking as the linked braking system applied pressure to the rear as well.
The Metzeler Racetec RR tires, that come stock on the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, are known to meet super sporty demands. This tire has a positive effect on handling and certainly sticks like chewing gum on the racetrack and at high temperatures. Even in the cooler morning temperatures, you’ll be surprised at the level of grip achieved at road temps of around 50° F.
If you want to ride longer tours with the new Speedy, you can look forward to the standard cruise control and the very comfortable seat. In general, the seating position is sporty but less radical than other Hyper-Naked bikes. The knee angle is comfortable for myself and at 5’6’’ I can reach the ground with the balls of my feet, so when maneuvering I am happy about the low weight of the vehicle.
The Speed Triple 1200 RS is available in the US from $18,300. In contrast to the Street Triple, there is no slimmed-down and cheaper version. Only the RS with the noble equipment and in two color variants: Sapphire Black with red and silver elements, and Matt Silver Ice with black, silver and yellow details. 35 accessories are available from the factory, including a flyscreen, tire pressure monitor, bags and much more. No other exhaust is available from Triumph.
The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS is easy to handle in everyday life, a strong and sporty fun machine on the country road exit, a sporty, comfortable naked bike on the longer tour and certainly a rocket on the racetrack. A true “all in one” style bike, that you’ll want to take out of your garage every chance you get.