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Triumph Street Triple: The street cat

With Triumph Street Triple's nimble handling and power-to-weight ratio to play around with, what more could one ask for at the race track

LED bug-eye headlamps and bikini fairing add to the Street’s considerable visual appeal. Pics/Triumph
LED bug-eye headlamps and bikini fairing add to the Street’s considerable visual appeal. Pics/Triumph

We were waiting at the pits of the iconic Circuit de Catalunya as the Triumph crew warmed up the Pirelli SuperCorsa tyres and prepped the 2017 Street Triple RS for the racetrack. It's the same track where legendary MotoGP riders like Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez will be scraping their knee sliders later this year. The idea was still sinking in, as the tyre warmers were stripped off the bike and we roll it off the paddock stand astride the bike.

The 2017 Street Triple extracts  better performance from the same  675-cc engine
The 2017 Street Triple extracts better performance from the same 675-cc engine

There were a million things playing on our minds. Had Triumph mixed up the bikes? Maybe, they should have handed over the track-focused Daytona instead of a naked street bike. All the thoughts vamoose as soon as we leave the pit-lane and hit the very first sharp right-hand corners. The 2017 Street Triple RS leaned in so naturally as if that's what it was designed to do.

As we went around the track the bike started to feel lighter than it actually is. The credit for this goes to the excellent weight distribution and inspiring grip from the front of the bike.

The new Street Triple not only goes quicker but sounds better
The new Street Triple not only goes quicker but sounds better

Shifting the weight to the other side for the next turn and then back, we realised that we were carrying more pace than usual on an unfamiliar bike. And, before we could soak this, we were twisting the throttle on the never-ending straight stretch of the circuit. There's no arguing that the 2017 Street Triple RS, in terms of performance and agility, makes the older model look like a relic.

The new Street Triple line-up comes with a new engine, which is based on the Daytona 675, with increased capacity to 765 cc. The bore and stroke are bigger and the engine has no less than 80 new parts, including a new crank, piston, con-rods and balancer shaft. With these changes, it produces 123 PS and 77 Nm, and makes 16 per cent more peak power at the same revs and 13 per cent increase in torque over the outgoing Street Triple.

The rear cowl can be replaced with a seat for pillion
The rear cowl can be replaced with a seat for pillion

In spite of the larger capacity engine, the new Street is about two kg lighter than the outgoing model. There are five riding modes to pick from: Rain, Road, Sport, Track and Rider. Which means one can tweak the throttle response, ABS and traction control settings, although the power output remains unchanged. It's the sharpest in Track mode, while the electronic intervention increases as you go down the modes all the way to Rain. The Rider mode allows one to adjust the settings as per one's liking.

The Street Triple’s colour instrument cluster is packed with info
The Street Triple’s colour instrument cluster is packed with info

The shorter first and second gear ratios are perfect for city and quick overtaking manoeuvres. The new ride-by-wire throttle felt so intuitive and there's no struggle even when it reaches redline. And then there's the exhaust note. Past the 6,000-rpm mark there's a hike in performance and the Street Triple RS roars like a beast. This becomes more evident in 'Track' riding mode, where the Triumph keeps getting meaner.

It's really fast to breach the 8,000 rpm and enter the sweet spot in its powerband, giving you the feel of a sports bike.

A vital change in the 2017 version of the Street Triple is agility that it gets from the new chassis and swingarm, which claims to have increased torsional stiffness, which along with its improvised pivot makes it a lot more stable during hard acceleration and helps in achieving tighter corner exits.

Another reason for the improved dynamics is the new suspension setup. The USD Showa 41-mm front suspension has been developed specifically for the RS. The Showa piggyback reservoir monoshock is completely adjustable. And, to back this up, there's the extremely sticky and top-of-the-line Pirelli tyres, fit to be used on roads or on a racetrack.

The Street Triple definitely looks appealing with a pair of new LED bug-eye headlights, accompanied by a cool bikini fairing, very similar to the one on the larger Triumph Speed Triple. The curvaceous tank and sportier rear design of the 2017 Street Triple seems to be carried over from the Triumph Daytona. The rider geometry seems more relaxed and road-friendly. The front seat is large and comfortable, while the one at the back comes covered with an extremely well-finished cowl.

Plenty of useful features include auto cancelling LED indicators, LED day-time running lights and a five-inch coloured TFT instrument cluster. At a glance you get the usual speedo and tacho, gear position indicator, time, fuel-gauge, and ambient temperature. Using the five-way joystick one can navigate through the dials to get fuel economy figures, trip meter, distance to empty, and onboard lap timer. The overall finish and quality of cycle parts has also gone up a notch, staying in tune with Triumph's premium motorcycle market positioning.

Three variants of the 2017 Street Triple will arrive in June to India. The base 'S', the intermediate 'R' version and the top-spec 'RS'. So, expect the 2017 range to cost between R9.9 lakh and R11 lakh (estimated), which isn't a bad bargain for the exotic design, explosive performance, nimble handling and amazing power-to-weight ratio.

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