Triumph Street Triple RS Review (2020)

BikeSocial
By Michael Mann
MannOnABike BikeSocial's Web Editor. Been riding bikes since 1984 and writing about them since 2013. Commuted in Central London for 10 years, fast and smooth road rider, does a reasonable job in a track day quick group. 6 ft and 14 st.

 

Inevitable changes were required for the latest generation of Triumph’s Street Triple range in order to comply with the Euro 5 emissions regulations that are coming our way at the end of this calendar year.

Can you believe we're already three years down the road since the awesome 765cc three-cylinder mid-capacity naked arrived with its hoopla of so-called game changing proficiency? And what a sublime sensory sensation it turned out to be with a smart combination of power, comfort, agility, sound and gadgets.

Triumph has since taken the opportunity with the 2020 variation to tweak the styling and tech as well as the engine. Cleaner emissions without losing power has got motorcycle engineers the world-over earning their crust and while Triumph has initially unveiled just the updated RS model from their 2017 range of three (S, R and RS), the men from Hinckley have not discounted any more to follow.

However, the press riding launch took place in Southern Spain with a chance to ride the revised three-cylinder howler on both road and track, and we were firmly focused on the new RS.

 

2020 Street Triple RS Price

Here’s a bit of good news, the Hinckley folk haven’t added a bean to the existing price tag of the 2017 model, meaning that the 2020 version complete with new goodies will cost £10,300 when it hits UK dealerships in November. Bear in mind that is only a £400 increase since the 2017 model was introduced. The only addition on the test bikes were heated grips just in case of a little early morning chill on the press ride and even though these are after-market, they still look integrated within the handlebar layout.

Just two colour schemes are on offer; Matt Jet Black (with aluminium silver and yellow decals) or Silver Ice (with aluminium silver and Diablo red decals).

 

VIDEO REVIEW: Triumph Street Triple RS (2020)
Ridden on both road and track, we review the new 2020 765cc Street Triple RS from Triumph with insight on the upgrades from Chief Engineer, Stuart Wood.

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Working nine to five doesn’t cut it when it comes to complying with European legislation in the form of emissions regulations, and the Triumph team haven’t been resting on their laurels since the outline of Euro 5 was presented. A nip and a tuck was not going to cut the mustard so an overhaul in the engine with a new exhaust cam and intake duct plus reengineering on the crank shaft, clutch and balancer have all created a beautifully refined motor with more oomph in the mid-range. It’s one of those engines with its own character that if you got on blindfolded it’d be recognisable. Of course, the aural pleasure from the yowly howl of the triple from its low underslung exhaust is both recognisable and joyful in equal measure.

The outgoing ‘R’ model was the bike of choice for many from the three-part range. Its alternative engine characteristics to the RS concentrated on mid-range torque and throttle response as opposed to focusing on the power and track-related performance of the top-spec model. So, for 2020, Triumph retuned the engine to achieve the top end power but also to give it the mid-range torque too, combining the strengths of the outgoing R and RS models. The start point for which was a free-er flowing exhaust system to get to the Euro 5 emission standards, not that the outgoing model was particularly ‘dirty’. All engines will require catalysts and Triumph has engineered the exhaust to include a second catalyst (as opposed to increasing the density of core on the original) for more flow and allowing them to go further with the tune of the mid-range.

The compact and narrow engine has been developed by the same team who have created the same 765cc triple as used by the entire Moto2 World Championship grid, as well as the new Daytona 765, meaning that over the last couple of years the team has been able to look at how the motor responds to different levels of tune. So, you can thank the likes of Alex Marquez and Sam Lowes for the quality of performance from the new Street Triple RS. Seriously, the data provided at each race meeting and test session is analysed by Triumph engineers and the results affect the road-going version of the same base engine.

The 765cc motor loves a rev or two but you don’t need to rip the throttle back to get from A to B, it covers the ground rapidly. It spins up through the revs quickly, sometimes too quickly and the embarrassment of the rev limiter can be found but I blame the lack of a traditional rev counter on any of the four options of display for that. The new digital version doesn’t give you a sense of where the red line is. It’s the only bit missing from an otherwise excellent TFT screen that puts it miles ahead of any rival, and on a par with the very best in motorcycling, that of the BMW S1000RR.

The bike may be the lightest in its class but it’s the engine that is its signature making the Triumph user friendly and easy to ride at low speed with a divine throttle connection and fuelling. While there’s plenty of pull to get juices flowing and adrenaline pumping from 4000rpm onwards. It’s more than capable of big speeds too; on track at Cartagena and the digital dash read 210kph (c.130mph) at the end of the long start/finish straight and that was only in 5th gear. There was more to come.

Worthy of note too is the upgrade to the ‘Gear Assist’ system, or ‘quickshifter’ to you and I. It’s now fitted as standard, operating both up and down the ‘box and it’s a fancy system – smooth as you like with no change in pitch of the bike when up or down shifting and not one missed gear throughout the 70km road ride or three track sessions.

 

 

Power and torque

With those engine amends, over 4000rpm is where there’s more power and more torque; while peak power of 121bhp at 11,750rpm is up by an unnoticeable fraction, it’s the 9% extra boom in the mid-range, c.8000rpm that’s where the changes can be enjoyed. Meanwhile, an extra 2Nm of torque, up from 77 to 79, is reached 1650rpm lower than before at 9350rpm and that of course helps with the thrust out of a corner with an accompanying big handful of throttle.

 

2020 Street Triple RS Economy

Claimed figures of an economy in excess of 54mpg will be accurate, because manufacturers can’t just make it up, though on the enthusiastic road ride section of the press launch, my figures were closer to 45mpg which, considering the type of on/off throttle and thorough testing that was going on, still isn’t complainable. The 54mpg figure is down on the 2017 model by 6mpg and in all likelihood can be blamed on the Euro 5 and the subsequent engine/exhaust amends.

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Beautifully sprung Showa forks and Ohlins shock with just the right amount of damping (for my 6ft, 14st frame) means sashaying around the Southern Spanish curvy mountain roads is both swift and rewarding. The Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres are an excellent OE choice, as they were on the 2017 bike, and compliment the sporty nature of the RS. And they needed to be with double TT winner Gary Johnson at the head of our group on the road section of the press launch. Progress was certainly being made and the bike more than stood up to the pace. That said, British roads in winter – or frankly anytime there’s a downpour – will require a little more wet weather performance than the Supercorsa’s.

The Street Triple is at home on both road and track thanks to its unchanged chassis and top end components all assisting in the supple handling and quick steering. Keeping a predictable line around the constant radius second and third gear corners on track, and having faith in the rubber and suspension conveys masses of conviction while the Showa BPF forks and Ohlins STX40 shock combo soaks up most of the Cartagena bumps with impressive assurance.

An 825mm seat height is just right for me, allowing for a comfortable reach to the high and wide handlebars, whereas the footpeg position has the ideal compromised location allowing for leg comfort while not scratching the tarmac at a decent amount of lean angle. 

Weight hasn’t changed either – 166kg when dry (Triumph doesn’t tend to offer wet weight) is the same now as it was on the outgoing RS despite the catalyst addition. That has been off-set by reducing weight within the engine.

 

 

2020 Street Triple RS Brakes

Euro 5 means mandatory abs which is of course considered a safety feature and only those giving it some serious beans on track may notice a little interference. Road ABS and Track ABS have alternative parameters but even the Track ABS must be road legal according to the rules.

The Street Triple RS comes equipped with the same twin 310mm floating discs with Brembo M50-4 piston radial Monobloc callipers on the front and a 220mm single disc on the rear as the 2017 model, and they performed perfectly offering a firm initial bite with smooth lever application, assisted by a uniform amount of engine braking all the way.

 

Styling

Triumph took the opportunity while upgrading the engine and electronic components to also update the styling. An all-LED twin headlight set-up comes with DRL lights, as is the signature look of a naked Triumph of which some are fans of the distinctive appearance, others see a frown or a set of bug-eyes. The back end has completely changed, the side panels around the radiator too (which remind me of a set of 1980’s shoulder pads) and they do a cracking job of weather protection in combination with the sculpted fuel tank with space to tuck your knees in.

Some social media commentators have been quick to knock the ‘plain jane’ styling and the same colour scheme as before but Triumph has tellingly put plenty of effort into the flowing lines from side panels to the fuel tank shape and back to the even more sporty looking tail unit. The shape and size of the machine and its seat unit especially allow for a comfortable riding position and easy access to the mass of handlebar-mounted buttons which are all very well if you’re familiar with Triumph’s of the last three years but will take a little getting used to for the newcomer to the marque’s most recent motorbikes.

 

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Of the five Riding Modes, ‘Rain’ is the only one that restricts power, taking it down to 98.6bhp. The others – Road, Sport, Track and the bespoke ‘Rider’ mode can be adjusted to suit the chap or chapess in the saddle. Each mode adjusts throttle response, ABS and TC settings.

Traction control can be switched off which I found increases the mid-range poke even more on track. There’s no restriction or intervention although a little more caution with the right wrist is advised. The modes have their own switchgear button and can be changed on the fly, although not into Track mode unless stationary – and then if Track mode is selected and the ignition is switched off, it’ll reset back to Sport or Road. 

Never seen before on a bike scrolling LED indicators are among the 60+ official accessories as is a fly screen visor, machined mirrors and a host of luggage options. Plus, a Bluetooth module allowing for phone, music, sat nav or GoPro operation.

 

Rivals

There’s plenty of feisty middleweight naked competitors sniffing around the Triumph cage with variations in performance, comfort, style, equipment and price but here’s our pick for the three main players; a twin, another triple and a four-cylinder: 

 

Triumph Street Triple RS

Ducati 821 Monster

Yamaha MT-09 SP

Kawasaki Z900 Performance

Engine

765cc, in-line 3-cylinder

821cc, L-twin cylinder

847cc, 3-cylinder

948cc, in-line four cylinder

Power

121.36 bhp (90.5kW) @ 11,750rpm

107 bhp (80kW) @ 9250rpm

113.5 bhp (84.6kW) @ 10,000 rpm

123.6 bhp (92.2kW) @ 9500 rpm

Torque

58.3 lb-ft (79 Nm) @ 9,350rpm

64.4 lb-ft (86Nm) @ 7750rpm

64.4 lb-ft (87.5Nm) @ 8,500 rpm

72.7 lb-ft (98.6 Nm) @ 7700 rpm

Weight

166kg (dry)

180.5kg (dry)

193kg (wet)

210kg (wet)

Seat height

825mm

785 - 810mm

820mm

795mm

Fuel tank

17.4 litres

16.5 litres

14 litres

17 litres

PRICE

£10,300

£9995

£9399

£9299

 

It’s easy to compare price and performance and draw conclusions but do consider the specification, electronics and top brand components, and if you can test them back-to-back that’ll offer the most obvious way of comparing how they ride and how they suit you.

 

 

2020 Street Triple RS verdict

A glorious masterpiece from Triumph. Not only has it faced up to the Euro 5 emission regulations like a boxing competitors at a weigh-in, the firm has delivered a knock-out blow by making an already excellent middleweight roadster even better. The boosted mid-range, slick gearbox, classy electronics and dashboard mixed with some top spec components have resulted in a comprehensive and versatile machine.

Yes, I would prefer some neater cabling and perhaps a more traditional rev counter but those elements shouldn’t deter any rider from enjoying the highly effective and stand-out chassis and engine.

 

Three Four things I loved about the 2020 Street Triple RS …

  • Magnificent engine versatility and sound
  • Crisp gearbox and quickshift combo
  • High spec components inc. Pirelli, Brembo, Ohlins
  • Quick steering and adaptable chassis

     

Three things that I didn’t…

  • Only two fairly uninspiring colours
  • Array of leads, cables and wires across the handlebars and dash
  • They’d sell by the bucket load if the price started with a 9

 

2020 Street Triple RS spec

New price

From £10,300

Capacity

765cc

Bore x Stroke

77.99 x 53.4mm

Engine layout

In-line 3-cylinder

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC

Power

121.36 bhp (90.5kW) @ 11,750rpm

Torque

58.3 lb-ft (79 Nm) @ 9,350rpm

Transmission

6-speed with Triumph Shift Assist,

X ring chain

Average fuel consumption (claimed)

54.3mpg (5.2 l/100km)

 

Tank size

17.4 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

208 miles

Rider aids

5 rider modes (Track, Sport, Road,

Rain and User)

Frame

Front - Aluminium beam twin spar.

Rear - 2 piece high pressure die cast

Front suspension

Showa 41 mm upside down bigpiston forks (BPF)

Front suspension adjustment

Compression damping, rebound damping and preload

Rear suspension

Ohlin STX40 fully adjustable piggyback reservoir

Front brake

Twin 310 mm floating discs, Brembo M50-4 piston radial Monobloc callipers

Rear brake

Single 220 mm disc, Brembo single piston calliper, switchable ABS

Front tyre

120/70 ZR17, Pirelli Supercorsa SP v3

Rear tyre

180/55 ZR17, Pirelli Supercorsa SP v3

Rake/Trail

23.9°/100mm

Dimensions

775mm x 1085mm (WxH)

Wheelbase

1405mm

Seat height

825mm

Dry weight

166kg

Warranty

Two years

Website

http://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/

 

Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance

 

2020 Triumph Street Triple RS review Price Spec
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