When we tested the all-new Triumph Speed Triple RS on the road some time ago, we were left a little underwhelmed by the whole affair. For a motorcycle that made its name as a comfy bruiser in the past, its latest version was a little too aggressive, hot-tempered, and stone-cold stiff for the road. It seems that the new Speed RS not only fails to live up to its tradition but also seems to have lost direction.
What’s the reason behind all this, you ask? Well, the answer is simple. The Speed Triple RS no longer wants to be a friendly and sublime street naked. It’s now chasing the super naked glory, and for that to happen, everything must be dialled all the way up to 11 – and, quite frankly, this is exactly what has happened with the new model.
Propelling the new Speed RS is a bigger 1,160cc triple engine, which develops 177.5bhp and 125Nm of torque – a gain of 30bhp and 8Nm over the previous version. At 198kgs, it is 10kgs lighter than its predecessor, and it now also gets top-drawer components such as Öhlins fully-adjustable suspension, Brembo Stylema callipers, and a Brembo MCS brake lever. It also looks much sharper than before – it would be appropriate to say that its focus on the word ‘speed’ is more evident now.
On the road, the Speed RS may seem like overkill, but on the racetrack, it’s sublime. It turns on a sixpence, stops as if you’re being pulled into a black hole, and moves forward like a heat-seeking missile. And the best part is that it does all that with nonchalance. Simran was in awe of the Speed Triple and couldn’t stop singing its praises, ‘The Speed RS handles brilliantly, especially during quick direction changes. Its mid-corner stability is incredible, and I also loved the electronics. The quick-shifter is a great addition and helps you go even quicker.’
And quick it indeed was, for it clocked the second-fastest lap time of the day and lost the top honour only by 0.300s! The Speed Triple 1200 RS left us gobsmacked with its performance at the track for sure. It’s fast. It’s ferocious. And it’s friendly.
Is there anything that’s not good? A couple of things, actually. The power delivery is peaky, and the gearing is tall, which affects its performance both on the track and road. The TFT display lags a bit, and last but not least, it doesn’t look all that special. Sure, it’s a great-looking motorcycle, but it doesn’t quite have the X-factor of some of its Italian rivals. Our biggest problem with it, though, is that it doesn’t seem to have the ability to shake off its racetrack hangover on the road. A bit of a shame, really, because in theory, it is foremost a street motorcycle than a track-day tool.
- Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS (Lap Time – 01:02.9)
|COMFORT & PRACTICALITY||10||6|
|RIDE & HANDLING||10||8.5|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||20||7|