Triumph’s magic little middleweight has come in for a full overhaul for 2024. Let’s go for a ride with the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS.
The middleweight naked bike sector is fast becoming one of if not the most important sectors for today’s motorcycle manufacturers. Nakeds over 1000cc are now getting so fast, they may as well be just badged as naked superbikes, so the lion’s share of development for the everyday rider is going to the sub-1000cc sector — think Yamaha MT-09, KTM 890 Duke R, Suzuki GSX-S800, and Kawasaki’s Z800. These are the bikes almost anyone can ride and get some jollies on regardless of skill level, and the bike that arguably started it all back in 2008, the Triumph Street Triple, is coming back for 2024 with a solid iron-fist-in-velvet-glove approach.
The Triumph Street Triple 765 comes in three flavors for 2024 — the base R model, the RS, and the limited edition (1530 units worldwide) Moto2 that’s all but sold out across the globe. We’ll focus on the RS for this edition of SBI goodness and will hit back at the R in a couple of weeks — there was no riding the Moto2 edition in Spain, sadly, due to its sold out status.
Powered by a heavily revised inline three-cylinder engine, the $12,500 MSRP RS pumps a claimed 128 hp at 12,000 rpm with torque a claimed 59 lb-ft at 9500 rpm, up a seven percent on the last iteration of 2020. The name of the game for Triumph’s engine department is the increase the all-important airflow so the motor can make more horsepower more reliably.
“The absolute core of the engine is the combustion chamber in the cylinder head and the piston crown,” says Triumph’s Head of Engineering, Stuart Wood. “Both of those areas are now fully machined and are now exactly the same as the engine that powers the Moto2 grid in GP racing. That allows us to have very precise control and to take ourselves closer to the limit of compression ratio that we’d like to achieve.
“We’ve gone up to 13.25:1 compression ratio, which is just a fraction less than the Moto2 engine. We’ve machined in bigger valve cut outs in the cylinder head, we’ve got more valve lift, and we’ve gone for a stronger conrod all to take the loads we are now producing. This engine really is a case of our racing department helping the production side.”
Wood’s team coupled the combustion chamber and piston crown changes with 20mm shorter intake trumpets, although the inlet ports themselves have been machined compared to the Moto2’s more exacting hand-polishing.
“In addition to the piston and conrods taking more load, we’ve got wider, stronger, crank primary gears and clutch gear to take the extra power, and we’ve also improved the gearbox with both the R and RS getting the up and down quickshifter,” Wood says. “The gearbox is much stronger and we’ve got new gear ratios in every gear. The first gear ratio is slightly taller, but second to sixth gear is shorter for faster acceleration.”
A new three-into-one exhaust system sends the spent gasses into the atmosphere, with a lighter, single catalytic convertor unit helping to pull the center of gravity down.
The RS chassis runs a 32.9 in. seat height and slightly racier geometry compared to the R with a 23.2 degree rake, down 0.5 degrees compared to the more road-focused R model’s 23.7 degrees. Trail is also down a bit less on the RS, 96.9mm to the R’s 97.8mm.
The RS runs a 41mm Showa BPF (not the Separate Function unit) and the Ohlins STX40 mono shock that we saw first implemented on the 2017 Street Triple 765 RS, with braking now the domain of Brembo Stylema calipers and a span adjustable Brembo MCS master-cylinder and the show runs of Pirelli Supercorsa SP V3 rubber.
Electronics come in the form of a six-axis IMU, five riding modes (Rain, Road, Sport, Track, and a programable Rider mode), two modes of ABS intervention, Cornering Traction Control with a combined Wheelie Control algorithm, a five-inch TFT with four different layouts, a USB charging socket, self-canceling indicators, and an immobilizer, and the ability to run the Triumph turn-by-turn navigation and Bluetooth connection via an accessory module, a lap timer, and Daytime Running Lights.
Right. Now that’s out of the way, what’s the RS like to actually ride? In a word, marvelous. The RS might just be the perfect mix of engine aggression and chassis fluidity — it makes for a snappy, agile street bike, but with enough physical size to make it not feel like a toy (size matters, didn’t you know?). Showa’s BPF does an ample job of keeping the front end in check but the Ohlins rear is the star of the chassis game in that it keeps the chassis so stable, especially under hard acceleration as you max out that glorious three-cylinder masterpiece.
Triumph has done exceptionally well to make a chassis that takes bumps well without transferring too much shock to the rider, while still offering good road holding and sporting ability.
Transfer to the racetrack (we rode at Jerez in Spain, it’s a tough gig, I know), and everything is heightened, but it’s hard not to think the engine is the star. From way down the rev range, around 2000 rpm, the triple has so much torque on tap you can almost afford to be lazy and roll in a higher gear than you’d normally run. But that’s not where the fun is. Just like how the engineers have made a chassis that does touring and sporty riding well, you can ride the motor like a four-cylinder, maxing out the rpm while dancing up the quick shifter equipped gearbox and still get excellent performance while enjoying the low-down torque the triple is known for.
The Triumph Street Triple 765 RS will be one of the bikes of 2024 (not 2023) simply because it’s taken a great formula and turned everything up to 11. It’s an extremely hard machine to fault.
Images: Garth Hartford and Andrew Northcott