Despite organizational difficulties, stemming from the current global pandemic situation, Triumph managed to carry out an international press launch on the beautiful Canary island Tenerife for their new middleweight naked bike, the Triumph Trident 660. A motorcycle that has the potential to become a real conquest for the British brand by bringing new riders into the fold.
Standing in front of the bike, my first impression is that the Trident is a good-looking motorcycle. The design team in Hinckley, England has achieved a timeless design, one that delivers classic aesthetics without being as comprehensively retro as some of their other models in their lineup, like the Bonneville. This classic design is a real contrast to the sharp, futuristic style of some of the Japanese competitors in the naked middleweight scene, such as Yamaha’s MT-07 or Kawasaki’s Z650. The Trident’s silhouette is rather minimalistic and exudes a certain elegance. The license plate is mounted to the swingarm which gives the rear profile a clean look. The Trident will be available in four different colors. All in all, the new roadster looks neither imposing nor intimidating, and its perceived quality is excellent.
The saddle on the Triumph Trident 660 rises to 31.7 inches from the ground, which may sound tall to less vertically gifted riders. However, the slim seat profile allows me, at 5′ 6″, to have both feet firmly on the ground. Expecting a smaller bike, even the taller riders in our group were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable this bike was. This 660cc machine might look compact but it caters well to both small and tall people – a good compromise and also a confidence booster for shorter or more inexperienced riders. The riding position is more relaxed than Triumph’s sporty Street Triple model, with bars that are nicely wide and comfortably close to you. You’ll find yourself in an upright position, not leaned too far back and passive but not too hunched forward and sporty.
Right from the start, the Trident feels amazingly easy to handle. At a wet weight of 416.7 pounds, it immediately gives the impression of lightness and ease of maneuvering. The engine too is excellent and really shines through many miles on both the freeway and twisty mountain roads. While the Trident’s motor has clearly evolved from the triple-cylinder power plant originally found in the Daytona 675, this new 660cc version can be called a brand-new motor with 67 new components. The liquid-cooled, 660cc, 12-valve, DOHC, inline-triple has a peak power output of 81hp at 10,250 rpm and peak torque of 47 lb-ft at 6,250 rpm.
Triumph promises the best of both worlds with this new middleweight triple, as it delivers the low rev punch and pulling power of a twin, and revving ability of an inline-four. This balancing act succeeds in giving the rider 90% of the available torque from 3,600 to 9,750 rpm. The Trident may not have quite the same amount of low-end grunt as the MT-07, but the torque doesn’t stop pulling until the adjustable shift light reminds you to change gears. This small block is lively and lots of fun.
One of the truly enjoyable things about a bike like the Trident is that you don’t have to ride it at license, or life, threatening speeds in order to have fun with it. You can merely roll on the gas, float playfully from one corner to the next, and enjoy the torquey motor with its short gearing in 1st through 4th gear. It doesn’t feel intimidating nor overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely ride this 660 fast. The bike tracks precisely where you want it to go, staying stable and planted in long fast turns. One could almost say that this machine acts more maturely than you’d expect from a middleweight naked bike.
On the small winding roads, the Triumph Trident 660 can be ridden with ease, even when the asphalt is wet or less than impeccable. The electronic, ride-by-wire, connection linking the throttle grip to the throttle valves is as smooth as it is precise in whichever mode is engaged. And here the British have chosen to offer only two throttle maps “Road” and “Rain” which affect traction control and throttle response. Coming standard with a slipper clutch and traction control, the latter of which can be switched off, the Trident offers the rider, especially an inexperienced rider, a feeling of security. Unfortunately, the press bikes our friends from Leicestershire brought for us are not equipped with the up and down quickshifter option. However, if it is the same system used on their Street Triples, it will be precise and a ton of fun.
Dropping down from the Teide and towards the coast once again, I have the chance to really put the Nissin brakes on the Triumph Trident 660 through their paces. On the Trident, you’ll find twin 310mm discs up front and a single 255mm disc in the rear, all of which work securely and provide plenty of stopping power without being too aggressive. As someone with smaller hands, I found myself appreciating the adjustable brake lever.
The 41mm upside-down forks by Showa have 4.72 inches of travel and add to the premium look of the bike. While neither the front or rear suspension are adjustable, the rear shock absorber, with lever deflection, does at least have adjustable preload and a sufficient 5.23 inches of travel. For heavier riders or when riding with a passenger, you may find the Trident’s suspension to be slightly too soft.
The passenger seat is not large, and the pillion footpegs position my feet fairly close to the rider’s heels when I sit on the back of this bike. So passengers will find themselves in quite a snug position. If you do plan to ride two-up often, you can get passenger bars as an accessory. And the 452-pound max load rating should allow you to carry some extra gear along with a companion. All in all, the suspension on this middleweight naked bike is a good compromise for diverse riders and loading situations and offers a good combo of performance and comfort.
The color TFT display is very easy to read, even in the direct Canarian sunlight. You can control connected devices such as your phone, navigation system, or even GoPro via the “My Triumph Connectivity System” application, available as an optional extra, with intuitive buttons found on the left side of the handlebars.
Triumph has observed current industry standards and will bring the Trident to the US priced at an affordable $7,995. This positions the Trident right in between its competitors Kawasaki Z650 ABS $7,749, MT-07 $7,699, and Honda CB650R ABS $9,199.
Despite the class-standard price, the Trident has a definite high-quality feel and riding behavior. It seems that for Triumph, low cost does not equal low end.