British Motoring Icon, Triumph launched the Speed Triple in 1994 and ever since then it has been one of the best sellers for the bike maker Internationally. Even in India, the bike has created a lot of buzz for the brand over the last few years. We rode the Speed Triple through crowded Mumbai streets and here is how it performed.
How does it look?
The Speed Triple a litre-class naked motorcycle which looks pretty much same to its younger sibling- the Speed Twin. The main difference is the placement of the exhausts. The exhausts have been placed parallel to the rear seat in the Triple whereas the Twin gets them in the conventional spot. The pipes wrapped around the engine add to the butch look of the motorcycle and one can easily make out that the bike means business. The overall design might look a bit unconventional at the first go and the bug-eyed headlamps definitely take some time getting used to. But none the less, it is unmistakable for any other motorcycle.
What’s the power output?
Just like the name suggests, the Speed Triple is powered by an in-line 3-cylinder 1050cc engine which produces 133bhp of power at 9000 rpm and 111 Nm of torque at 7750 rpm.
How does it ride?
Well, the Speed Triple has kind of a split personality disorder. If you keep the bike under 3000-3500 rpm, it behaves very sanely and feels like a Yamaha R3 or a KTM RC 390. However, once you open up the throttle even a little, 4000 rpm and above, it becomes a different machine altogether. Putting that feeling down to words is a bit challenging. It’s like a werewolf’s transformation, or like a rocket launch. It feels as if you are riding a missile and it does get scary even in the middle of the rev range. You need balls, big ones, to twist your wrist completely no matter what gear, what rpm! Just a little throttle input and you would be doing triple-digit speeds before you realise. And then the dual exhausts, how can you not possibly get addicted to that sound! With every downshift, it pops, crackles and makes you want to redline it whenever possible. Unfortunately, finding roads to do the same is a bit of a pain.
This was all the fun and entertaining bit, now let’s come down to the practicality, everyday city usage part of it. I started off my journey with the Speed Triple in peak rush hours – 7 PM from Andheri West to Bandra. During my run, the bike overheated twice, the hard clutch action left my left wrist sore and I had to make U-turns exactly like a four-wheeler. Well, you also have to realise the fact that is a litre-class bike after all and is not meant to be ridden in city traffic. Highways and open stretches of roads is where the Speed Triple feels at home. So technically, if you ride the bike at around 10-20kmph, it will get overheated in just 15-20 minutes. The suspension setup is on the firmer side but is isn’t exactly a back breaker. You can still manage to glide over potholes without much to complain. Grip from the Metzeler tyres is phenomenal though we couldn’t really push them to the limits. Riding it to work everyday would be a pain and this is best suited to be taken out on the weekends.
Should I buy one?
The Triumph Speed Triple can be yours at ₹ 13.26 Lakh (on-road Mumbai) and is the cheapest naked litre-class motorcycle currently on sale in our market. The Kawasaki Z1000, Ninja ZX-10 R and the Suzuki GSX S1000 are its direct rivals and offer much more features, performance. Further, it looks a lot like its two-cylinder cousin, the Speed Twin which can disinterest a lot of probable buyers. Internationally, Triumph has recently updated the Speed Triple and it now gets different ride modes,ride-by-wire, traction control and much more. As of now, waiting for the updated model to hit the Indian shores would make a lot of sense.