Having reviewed the previous 660cc version of Triumph’s Street Triple, we were expecting the new one to be much the same. But the new 'bike benefits not only from the chassis mods that were brought in when this year’s Streetie grew from 675 to 765cc, it’s had a retune too. The end result is a very different proposition.
Now we’re torquing
The LAMS (learner approved motorcycle scheme) regulations set limits of 660cc and 150kW/tonne power-to-weight ratio.
As a purpose-built machine, Triumph’s 660 version of the Street Triple was always specified right on the edge of those limits. But this new machine exhibits an urge that seems crazily at odds with one’s expectations of a ‘learner’ motorcycle.
Read our item about the LAMS regulations
The reason is torque, and lots of it. The engineers at Hinkley have obviously been fiddling with fueling, mapping and other parameters to eke even more torque from the three-cylinder motor.
As a machine aimed squarely at the Australian and New Zealand markets, trawling both versions of the Triumph website reveals suspiciously little about the actual figures. The Aussie one has an obvious mistake, quoting the same torque figure as the 765cc Street Triple S and advising power as ‘Coming soon’, while both power and torque are ‘Coming soon’ on the NZ website. At least I think the torque figure is a mistake. From the way the 660 goes, it might not be…
LAMS not Learner
Whether it’s the torque, an unannounced change in gearing (on the 765 versions, first and second have been lowered), a 2kg weight drop, or all three, the new ‘bike has devastating acceleration.
Even at small throttle openings (it’s ride-by-wire), and with just 3,000rpm on the clock, the smallest-capacity Street Triple lunges forward. So much so that, in ‘Road’ rather than ‘Rain’ mode, it can frequently set off the rather abrupt traction control in first and second gears.
Which makes it hard to recommend the 660 as suitable machine for a true ‘learner’. Instead, it’s perfect if you’re a competent rider – experienced off road, say –and want something to get you through the licensing system that won’t bore you to tears.
Boredom is certainly not on any Street Triple’s agenda. Even with the smallest engine it’s a machine capable of keeping any rider entertained.
Racier than ever
The 765cc Street Triples – in S, R and RS forms – come with a new ‘gullwing’ swingarm and a slight increase in rake, changes that carry through to the LAMS version. The tweaks move the Street Triple even further down the route taken by the previous model versus the original.
That first Street Triple was a flickable hooligan of a thing, prone to pawing the air with its front wheel. The second generation ditched the heavy twin under-seat silencers, moved mass forward, and made everything more grown up and sportsbike-like.
The new machine adds further stability while feeling even more like a sportsbike with flat bars. Even the seating position is a bit that way. The seat is still usefully low but knees bend through quite an angle once your feet are on the pegs. Meaning ground clearance is just fine.
Your body is canted slightly forward (not a full racing crouch) reaching to the bars, and there’s a strong sense of connection with the front end and its prodigious grip supplied by the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa rubber.
This is all mostly a good thing, but it does give the Street Triple a somewhat serious and purposeful quality: quite different to the puppy-like enthusiasm of the original.