Skip to main content

Review

Review of the 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS

By Mario

Triumph’s LAMS-compliant 660 version of the Street Triple gets a makeover, in line with its 765cc stablemates. We discover the delights of modern ‘learner’ motorcycling.

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…

Close up of the 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS chassis

See what we mean about quality of finish? Nice.

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.

Close up of the 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS mode button on handlebars.

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.

Front view of 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS

Check out the flat bars.

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.

Triumph Street Triple S

Steering, handling and brakes

The new weight distribution, sticky rubber and steering geometry make the Triumph feel resolutely planted. It has stability in spades, but on twisty back roads it demands decisive steering inputs to change direction quickly.

Confidence in what the bike will do is high, though, with reassuring feedback coming from the tyres and suspension. Although the KYB shock and 41mm USD (upside down) forks are unadjustable, apart from preload on the rear shock, they work really well and deliver a well-damped ride.

It’s a similar story with the brakes: the non-radial two-pot Nissins up front, biting twin 320mm discs, get the job done, with great feel. And the ABS worked well in an impromptu test staged by someone turning right in front of me.

Close up of 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS front wheel, disc brake and forks.

Nice view of the USD forks, the Nissin caliper and the 320mm discs.

Overall, despite this being the cheapest Street Triple you can buy – matching the 765 ’S' for equipment – the cycle parts deliver a classy, quality impression.

Practicalities

It’s hard to know what Triumph’s engineers are thinking when it comes to the Street Triple’s mirrors. They are, and always have been, useless. Perhaps, if your name is Bilbo Baggins, you could adjust them to get a glimpse of what’s behind. For riders of a more normal stature their only value is to confirm that your elbows have not fallen off. Curiously enough, for such a smooth machine, they also manage to vibrate.

The dipstick to check engine oil is another mild irritation for anyone used to the convenience of a sight glass. That abrupt traction control could grate on a track day. And the pillion perch is not exactly sumptuous. That’s pretty much the list of Street Triple impracticalities.

Angled valve caps make checking pressures easy. Six-way adjustable clutch and front brake levers let you find the perfect grasp. The dinky bikini fairing does a better job than you’d think of keeping wind and even the odd bit of rain away. And, having owned Street and Speed Triples, I can attest to the strong quality of finish on modern Triumphs.
Advice on checking tyres
Check your levers and cables

Close up of the 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS brake lever.

More upmarket versions get a fancy electronic screen, along with more sophisticated electronics. But this LAMS version has a perfectly good clock set-up, shared with the 765 S and familiar to many recent Triumph riders.

Close up of the 2017 Triumph Street Triple S LAMS clock set-up display.

Verdict

The new model moves Triumph’s Street Triple further along the path of a grown-up, sophisticated middleweight. It even has modes! Okay, only two: Road and Rain. Nonetheless, every tweak adds a dash more purpose, and it’s as evident on this 660 version as on any of its siblings.

The Street Triple remains the ‘Rolls Royce’ choice among LAMS machines, offering a classy and characterful ride – and a turn of speed – that belies its supposedly ‘learner’ status. But of course there is a price to pay: $13,990 plus on-road costs, to be exact. While some might blanche at paying that for a LAMS machine, it’s $1,000 less than the outgoing model. Given what it offers, it’s hard to argue that it’s not value for money.

Pros

Classy chassis, quality finish, rip-snorting torque.

Cons

Those damn mirrors! Too much of a handful for novice riders.

Specifications

Model: Triumph Street Triple S (LAMS)
Cost: $13,990 + on-road costs
Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC inline triple
Capacity: 660cc
Fuel System: EFI
Transmission: 6-speed, chain drive
Seat Height: 810mm
Dry weight: 166kg
Fuel capacity: 17.4l

Demonstration machine courtesy of Triumph Motorcycles NZ.