Bike-scooters/ First-drive/ 2023 Triumph Street Triple R & RS | Double Triple Threat | First Ride Review

2023 Triumph Street Triple R & RS | Double Triple Threat | First Ride Review

The Street Triple moniker has been around since 2007 and has been regarded as the best in the segment. Triumph has only gone forth to make it even better.

For

2023 Street Triple RS
- Incredible handling, top-tier equipment, breath taking triple symphony

2023 Street Triple R
- Practicality, Improved Performance, and Comfort, the more accessible price tag

Against

2023 Street Triple RS
- Windblast, slow TFT

2023 Street Triple R
- Comparatively lower ground clearance, also windblast

Riding

2023 Triumph Street Triple RS

Performance & Handling

The all-new Street Triple RS was clearly an overpowered motorcycle for the narrow countryside streets of Spain. The brilliant handling carried over from the track and continued to impress on the street. Ergonomically the RS wasn’t the most comfortable. Its aggressive geometry was designed a bit more to suit the track than it was to suit the street. After a long day of riding, you’d be left with sore wrists and backache, but I can guarantee it’ll blow your socks off. The handling, despite the discomfort, remained fabulous and cut through corners like a hot knife through butter. Push past the pain, and you’ll notice a track-bred motorcycle with more than adequate comfort for the street.

This was the sort of motorcycle you could ride to your favourite track and then give most litre class motorcycles a run once you arrived. The broader handlebars would prove quite a challenge when it comes to lane splitting on our congested streets, but with some precaution, this should be manageable. The turning radius wasn’t the best and would often require you to tip the motorcycle or take three-pointed turns, which isn’t the easiest thing to do with our impatient traffic.

The performance was adequate for our streets, and the RS packed sufficient mid-range grunt to enjoy tight roads. The throttle wasn’t the friendliest, and the engine always preferred to be kept on the boil, making effortless touring tedious. Triumph offers an optional cruise control system for the RS, making that ordeal reasonably simple. Once you get used to the motorcycle and begin riding it the way it demands, you’ll find the RS quite a treat. With the 2018 RS, I’ve seen fuel efficiency figures go as high as 20 km/l, but with the 2023 RS, I only witnessed it go as high as 16 km/l.

Additionally, the tank capacity on the new RS is now down by 2 litres compared to its predecessor. So expect more frequent fuel stops along your journey. The new exhaust system sounds fantastic and is music to the ears. Infact, Triumph no longer offers an accessory Arrow slip-on; the only way to get a new exhaust is if one opts for an after-market full system. Some basic math tells you that a full system makes little sense once you factor in the costs and benefits. The stock exhaust system is not only lightweight but also of high quality, and it really begs the question if one even needs an after-market unit anymore. I guarantee you’d only save about a kilogram, and at that point, spending nearly a lakh or more makes little to no sense to gain a relatively insignificant increase in power.

Infact, out of the box, I’d make little to no changes to the all-new RS apart from maybe a change in tyres done solely to preserve the overqualified Pirelli’s that come as standard. The only changes I can think of are aesthetic and ergonomic, which are also entirely subjective. It is pretty commendable how Triumph has designed a near-perfect motorcycle, and with each passing generation, it only seems to get better at displaying near-perfection.

Suspension & Braking

The suspension and brakes are somewhat overqualified for the streets and, metaphorically, are like bringing a lightsaber to a knife fight. The suspension needs more travel for our broken roads, and only after a bunch of tinkering would you find an excellent balance to suit your weight and needs. Despite being set up for the track, the suspension does a fairly decent job on the street. Granted, it’ll jolt you up as you ride over undulations on the road, and that communicative suspension only worsens when you factor in the imperfections our roads have to offer. The roads we took weren’t the best, but they were still better than most of our B-roads or highways. 

This jarring motion can be upsetting after a point and would only contribute to your overall fatigue from the aggressive riding posture. Unfortunately, India lacks the best suspension tuning expertise, and most mechanics need more intricate knowledge to deliver such a setup. Even Triumph’s service centres follow the manual with pre-tuned setups mentioned for Comfort, Sport & Track. However, none of these setups considers India’s average weight or road conditions and has been set up more for Europeans and their streets.

The brakes, too, performed phenomenally and felt too suitable for most roads. The brakes pack more bite than most would ever need, and it’s never wrong to have additional braking force but remember, this comes at a price. On the track, you’ve got a well-controlled, primarily debris-free environment, but our streets are anything but that. For example, the M50 the 2018 Street Triple RS came with would last about 6k kms and cost you about Rs. 16,000 to replace. I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, the Stylema’s would probably cost a bit more and perhaps need replacing a bit sooner.

This can be quite a pain if you intend to go touring and can be quite the cost for most owners looking to clock four digits on the odometer. Nevertheless, I cannot entirely critique the motorcycle as it was never meant to be a tourer and merely be part of its potential. That being said, the brakes are well worth the money and will deliver stopping force like any other you may have experienced. However, this was merely a word to the wise for anyone intending to get the RS primarily for touring.

2023 Triumph Street Triple R

Performance & Handling

The all-new Street Triple R makes more power and torque marginally than before, but the revised gearing certainly helps it. It feels like the friendlier motorcycle on the street and can easily keep up with the RS. The R is now closer to feeling like the 2018 Street Triple RS in terms of power, and to me, it immediately felt more suited for our roads. The engine felt slightly more at ease but never lethargic and always had as much grunt as I’d want from it. Riding the R on the streets of Spain was a highlight for me as I was thoroughly impressed by just how capable it was despite being down on power compared to the R.

The handling was much better on the street, and thanks to the more relaxed ergonomics, the R to me felt even more capable and controllable on the street. In the right hands, I’m sure the R can outperform the RS on the road due to its near-perfect balance between performance and comfort. Taking tight U-turns was a much easier affair on the R, and the comparatively lowered ground clearance made flat footing much more manageable. I was pretty impressed with how well the R performed on the road and how much potential it showcased for our streets.

Suspension & Braking

The R is equipped with Showa forks and a mono-shock that performs far better than I expected. Comfort is vital, and this suspension did a fantastic job taking on Spain’s undulations and broken roads. Despite being lower in stature, they managed to outperform the setup on RS, and to me, it was the better choice for our streets. The more relaxed rake and softer setup perfectly maintained composure and encouraged me to push the R even further. The Showa on the R to are fully adjustable and relatively composed even in stock. I’m sure one can extract even more from this setup with some tinkering.

The Brembo M4 brakes on the R performed brilliantly and packed more than a sufficient amount of bite to bring it to a sudden halt. Sure, it didn’t pack the immense biting force that the Stylema’s did, but I can guarantee most people on the street would ever miss it since they performed just as well on the road. The electronics on the R, too, performed brilliantly, with ABS and traction control rarely intervening, which only speaks volumes of how capable this motorcycle is without them



TopGear Magazine June 2024