Triumph Speed Triple R (2016): First Riding Impressions

Michael Mann prepares to test the Speed Triple

Triumph has updated its Speed Triple S and R models for 2016 with wholesale changes but it’s not to be the KTM 1290 Superduke, BMW S1000R and Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR challenger we perhaps expected.

Both the new Speed Triple S and Speed Triple R get a new motor with 104 changes leading to improved torque and power across the rev-range, and five rider modes including a track mode. They both get selectable ABS, selectable traction-control, fully-adjustable suspension front and rear, and sharper styling to the seat unit which Triumph say was inspired by the Daytona 675.

Bike Social’s Michael Mann was among the journalists invited to the world riding launch of the 'R' model taking place today along the Southern Spanish coast from Barcelona and here are his first impressions of the new Triumph: 

The new Speed Triple R is a beautiful machine to look at, it's narrower profile and seat and carbon parts make it pleasant on the eye. The familiar fuel tank hump remains an iconic part of its looks but it's the 104 engine changes which make it possibly the smoothest triple I've ridden - noticeably and significantly better than the outgoing model. 

Triumph's all new Speed Triple R

We've yet to discover the official bhp and torque figures, Triumph preferring to  let us ride before offering the full spec, but while there doesn't feel to be a huge increase in power, the torque and manner in which the power is delivered is so refined. Smooth yet instant throttle response from the ride-by-wire system deserves complimenting. You also can't fail to love the silky yet throaty roar of the 3-cylinder motor via its twin underwear exhausts - the Speed Triple's signature tune.

The fully adjustable Ohlins suspension, both front and rear, so far has been excellent, caressing the lumps and bumps out of Spanish roads and offering an impeccably stable and very comfortable ride. Even skipping over a change in road surface mid-fast corner isn't noticeable.

Even one of Triumph's test riders, while naturally biased, said the difference between old and new models is like "night and day". 

So far the new Triumph has impressed over its first 60 miles. The only noticeable points which will require further exploration are its front end weight when turning at low speed and fuel economy...the display indicating a full tank range of just 108 miles. 

We'll also be testing the 5 rider modes as well as the bike's track capabilities later.

Speed Triple R with carbon bodywork, Ohlins front and rear plus a bespoke paint scheme

This afternoon, Mann takes the Speed Triple R onto the Calafat circuit and will report back with a full road and track review soon. Keep it here at Bike Social.

Full review and road test with video of both the Speed Triple S and R coming soon.