NEW Triumph Trident Review (2021)

Overview

This is a hugely important bike for Triumph. The Trident jumps into the entry-level naked market as an attractive, punchy middleweight to take on the strong and established competition such as Yamaha’s MT-07, Kawasaki’s Z650 and Honda’s CB650R. This segment counts for an increasing number of sales and is key for manufacturers hoping to attract new riders; getting them on-board with their brand as soon as possible. You can’t underestimate the importance of this new British bike, which should feature highly in the Triumph’s sales chart in 2021 – but have the got it right? We tested the Trident in Tenerife.

 

For and against
  • Engine and sound
  • Ease of use
  • Handling
  • Pricier than the 2021 Yamaha and Kawasaki competition
  • Would like a little more over-rev for experienced riders
  • Can’t remove or install traction control on the move
VIDEO REVIEW: 2021 Triumph Trident
Representing BikeSocial on the Triumph Trident international press riding launch was Adam 'Chad, I-really-am-5ft7' Child who brings us this report from two days on the new middleweight

 

2021 Triumph Trident Price – £7195

This is a highly price sensitive market. A few hundred pounds can make the difference between a sale and a goodbye, especially as customers are likely to be budget-conscious new riders or more experienced riders getting back into bikes.

Yamaha has a new MT-07 just around the corner (its price is still to be confirmed) but with the 2020 model positioned at £6697, I’d estimate an on the road figure below the £7k mark. Kawasaki has also updated their Z650 for 2021 – the new model hasn’t been launched yet, but its price has been confirmed at £6849. Honda, meanwhile, is arguably the Trident’s closest competition with their inline four-cylinder CB650R, again updated for 2021 and currently priced £7199.

Although the Triumph’s £7195 showroom price may be slightly higher than the Japanese competition, the cost of ownership should be lower. The first major service is at 10,000 miles, which represents a significantly wider interval than the mentioned bikes, while workshop hours are also reduced, meaning it takes less time to service and maintain, thus saving owners money.

The Thai-built Trident is a completely new bike for 2020, and even at a standstill oozes quality. At face value, £7195 looks good.

 

Above: Available in four colour schemes

 

Power and torque

The capacity of the triple engine is 660cc, so some may assume it’s an electronically de-tuned Street Triple S, but that’s not so. It is based on the older wet liner 660 unit and is furnished with 65 new components. This obviously means a serious re-design: new crank, clutch and gearbox with different ratios.

Compared to the Street Triple S, first, second, third and fourth gears are shorter, fifth and sixth taller. As you’d expect the cams are redesigned to give more low and midrange torque.

Peak power is 80bhp at 10,250rpm, with peak torque 47lbft at 6250rpm. That’s more power than the Yamaha MT-07 and Kawasaki Z650, and more torque than the Honda CB650R. Crucially, 90% of that torque is produced from 3600rpm to 9750rpm.

The new Trident is available in A2 configuration (via an electronically and restricted throttle). This can be added and removed by any Triumph dealer and isn’t an added extra when purchasing the bike new.

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Interestingly, Triumph don’t list an aftermarket exhaust in their accessories list – apparently, an aftermarket Euro-5 exhaust couldn’t add any tangible performance.

Luckily, the stock system sounds excellent for a standard bike. I’m unsure how Triumph has managed it but, despite being Euro-5 and an ‘entry-level’ bike in a relatively mild state of tune, it sounds great. At low revs there is a nice burble, and then a slight change around 3000rpm that is more charismatic – and unmistakably a Triumph Triple – before it howls into the rev-range’s upper reaches. I would love to try it with the optional quickshifter.

Power is soft and forgiving on the first 10-15% of the throttle, almost like there is a slight lag If it had a throttle cable as opposed to fly-by-wire I’d want to adjust it, but this softness is perfect for new and inexperienced riders. After the initial turn of the throttle, it is more direct but still smoother than Barry White’s chat-up lines. There is a fluid feel to the Trident, and the Rain mode softens the power delivery further.

The Trident’s performance is strong. The triple layout is the best of both worlds, having the torque of a twin with the free-revving excitement of an inline-four. With 90% of peak torque on tap from 3600rpm, it drives positively from low down. You can make quick and easy progress without tapping back too many gears. But, if you should want to have fun, go down a gear or two on the smooth gearbox and the Trident will deliver ­– even to experienced hands. Turn off the traction control and you can have some mono-wheel fun, too, all the while accompanied by that charismatic triple soundtrack.

I did hit the rev limiter on a few occasions, whilst getting a little too carried away. But, to be fair, most of my two days of test riding was at altitude, which sapped power and didn’t do the new Trident justice. The point is that this is ‘entry-level’ bike is far from being boring or worthy. I covered over 200km on day one and didn’t want to give it back come evening, in fact I was already looking forward to day two – and I couldn’t say that about many other bikes in this market.

 

 

2021 Triumph Trident Economy

Triumph quote 60.1mpg or 4.7l per 100km. Riding aggressively on mountain passes, I whittled that down to 5.4l per 100km or 52mpg, which, considering my over-excited throttle hand, was an excellent return. The fuel light came on at 118 miles, which again isn’t bad from a 14l fuel tank. Riding normally, I’d expect around the 60mpg claimed figure, which would give a tank range of 186 miles.

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Quoted wet weight is 189kg, on-par with the twin-cylinder machines in this field, which in theory should be lighter… and considerably lighter than Honda’s 208kg CB650R. The weight isn’t intimidating for small and inexperienced riders, while the 805mm (soft) seat is low and narrows towards the fuel tank. I’m 172cm tall and was flat-footed on both sides. There is a nice balance at low speeds and, once restricted to A2 licence conformity, the Trident shouldn’t be overwhelming for new riders, despite its masculine image.

Showa suspension controls the springs at each end; there’s no adjustment on the front and only pre-load on the rear. Again, Triumph has done a remarkable job: they haven’t thrown budget, softly sprung and underdamped suspension at the Trident. For new riders, the suspension is forgiving, easy to get along with and takes on 90% of road surfaces with ease – it’s even happy bouncing over speed humps like an excitable puppy.

Let the engine scream, up the pace… and even at speed the set-up works well. Ground clearance is plentiful, the Trident doesn’t drag its pegs like some of the competition, and holds a confident, smooth line. The natural riding position allows you to control and throw the bike around with relative ease, quality Michelin Road 5 tyres performing reassuringly in the cold and damp we encountered on the test (despite being in Tenerife).

When you really push on, the forks lack a little control under heavy braking but, overall, when comparing its sporty ability to the competition, the Trident’s handling is hard to fault. Yes, the Showa suspension lacks adjustability but 99% of riders won’t feel the need to twiddle anything, and there is all-important rear spring preload adjustment for when you are adding a pillion or luggage.

 

 

Brakes

Up front, Nissin two-piston calipers, grabbing twin 310 discs, are just about up for the job. They have a progressive feel, the lever is span adjustable, and again are ideal for new riders. ABS as comes as standard, of course, but without an IMU they are not lean-sensitive. The ABS isn’t too intrusive, you can feel the rear working in extreme situations as the slipper clutch controls the rear wheel during aggressive down changes, but not the front.

Experienced riders opting for the Trident, perhaps as a second bike or moving down in capacity will soon learn that while one-finger braking is fine in normal riding yet the more energetic situations demand at least two digits on the lever. The stoppers are on par with the competition, possibly stronger than some, but will seem underwhelming for those moving down from more expensive brake set-ups.

 

2021 Triumph Trident Rider aids and extra equipment/accessories

There are two rider modes, Road and Rain, which is class-leading in this category and easily accessible via the new switchgear and full-colour TFT dash. Each mode changes the power characteristics via the fly-by-wire throttle as well as traction control and ABS. In Rain mode the rider aids are set higher. As mentioned, both TC and ABS are conventional and not lean-sensitive. In theory, the TC is switchable from Road to Rain, which can be altered while riding, but you can’t switch off or turn on the TC on the move. For example, if you switch off the TC, it is off in both Road and Rain modes, therefore if you deactivate the TC and ride into a rain shower you have to pull over and reactivate the TC. It’s a safety measure, really.

When active, the TC is smooth and not too intrusive. In the Road mode it holds the power back when it senses wheelspin, while the re-intervention of the power after a slide is equally smooth – impressive for an entry level bike.

My test bike was fitted with optional heated grips, and there are 44 additional items to choose from. From the tech side, you have My Triumph Connectivity System, which connects to the new TFT clocks, allowing phone/music, navigation, and GoPro access. There is also an optional USB charger, tyre monitor system and scrolling indicators.  There’s a list of cosmetic accessories including the billet belly pan which is pretty smart, plus luggage and security. Personally I’d be opting for the quick-shifter, which enhances every other Triumph I’ve ridden that’s been fitted with it.

 

Rivals

 

Power

Torque

Weight

Price

Yamaha MT07 2021

72bhp @ 8750rpm

49ftlb @ 6500rpm

184kg

£6697 (2020)

Kawasaki Z650 2021

67bhp @ 8000rpm

47ftlb @ 6700rpm

188kg

£6849

Honda CB650R 2021

94bhp @ 12,000rpm

46ftlb @ 8500rpm

208kg

£7199 (2021)

 

 

Triumph Trident 660 – the UK road test

It’s not a ‘great first big bike’, just ‘a great bike’.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (14)

Sporty, fun, easy to ride – that’ll be a Triumph then

 

Everything you read above came from the Trident’s international press launch. These events often feel (from the saddle, at least) like an unofficial gentleman’s road race between the UK and foreign motorcycle press, usually held on European back roads, chosen primarily for their number of hairpin bends per kilometre.

What you learn is how quickly and easily a bike goes round hairpin bends, how easily it changes brakes and changes direction when you meet a truck coming the other way, how easily it overtakes trucks on your side of the road and, how few miles you can get from a tank of fuel when sharing those back roads with enthusiastic Euro-journalists.

For the stuff that matters when you actually buy a bike and use it like a motorcyclist we have to wait until we get a test bike on UK roads.

The simple version of what you are about to read is that Triumph’s Trident 660 is mostly as good at the rest of motorcycling duties as it is racing Italian and German journalists around Tenerife. The longer version started with me swapping a 2021 Yamaha MT-09 for the Trident and (not surprisingly) discovering that the Triumph’s power delivery felt a little flat in comparison. Given that the Trident makes 33 per cent less power than the Yamaha that’s probably a compliment. What was even more surprising was that the Triumph’s natural cruising speed – that spot where all the subtle vibes and nuances of a bike come together to feel ‘just right’ – was about 10mph quicker than it is on the attention-seeking MT-09.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (10)

Smart choice of gear ratios gives the Trident strong acceleration and easy motorway cruising too

 

I’m guessing that’s because Triumph has engineered their three-cylinder naked bike to be slightly less challenging and more easy-going than the raucous Yamaha, but mostly because they’ve chosen the gear ratios very carefully to make it both fun and surprisingly flexible too.

The Trident has been pitched into that horribly-named ‘first big bike’ sector of motorcycling, where machines get patronisingly damned with faint praise for ‘only’ having 75bhp etc. So, while I love it that the MT-09 is challenging to ride and repays that rider commitment with some real thrills, I also love it that Triumph’s Trident 660 can be a pussycat when you want it to be and also a rev-happy thrasher too.

Let’s not think of it as a ‘first big bike’ and compare it to other bikes of varying enormity. Instead let’s remind ourselves that sometimes we don’t need an extra-large frothy coffee – there are times when a double-espresso is just the job. If a 160bhp super-naked is a Sunday roast with all the trimmings, the Trident is a bacon sarnie (vegetarian options are available) and sometimes, that’s exactly what you fancy.

And besides, no one suggests when you first decide to become a dog owner that you buy a Jack Russell or Staffie because it’s an ideal ‘starter dog’, so let’s all be grown-ups about this can we?

So, the road test… Ah yes. For the first ten miles after swapping the MT-09 for the Trident I thought it was in Rain mode. The throttle response felt numb, performance a bit sluggish and the Triumph felt a little soft. It was like the throttle cable (which, of course, modern bikes no longer actually have) had half an inch of slack in it. By the time I’d done 40 miles all that had changed. The throttle response felt sharp, I was really enjoying Triumph’s choice of gear ratios (the first four are short and close so it spins trough the revs really quickly and the fifth and sixth are a bit more relaxed for motorway cruising) and wondering why there are so many buttons on the switchgear for so few standard functions.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (12)

Loads of information available in several configurations. Bluetooth connectivity is useful too

 

The answer to the last one is that the Trident has much built-in connectivity that people younger than me will enjoy and you need these controls to navigate around those functions

The Trident’s main difference from its Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki competitors is that it has three cylinders instead of their two. This helps it rev that little bit faster and higher, make horsepower more readily, but at the cost of a little low-down oomph. Which is why those smart gear ratio choices are such a good idea – you don’t notice a lack of torque in the lower gears, when the engine delivers its power (what we feel as seat-of-the-pants thrust) so quickly.

Stopping for fuel adds two more pieces to the UK-roads jigsaw. Firstly the mpg figures. On those foreign press launches you are on and off the throttle, chasing down a pack of other journos in the Tenerife TT. You’d be naïve to see launch mpg as representative, so I was very surprised when filling up the Trident gave a UK-riding figure of 52mpg – about the same as our former actual-TT racing tester had achieved on the press launch. Over the next couple of tanks, I didn’t see more than 55mpg – even on a long motorway run at sensible speeds. That’s unusual these days. The Trident’s twin-cylinder competitors will all run into the mid-60s mpg at the same speeds and levels of rider-enthusiasm. You might argue that few people buy a bike based on its mpg, but, in a typical 5000-mile year, you’d use 20 gallons less on a Yamaha MT-07 than a Trident 660, saving around £120.

Thankfully, you’d make that up in savings on servicing because the Trident’s 10,000-mile service interval is 4000 miles longer than the competition. By the time your mate’s Yamaha MT-07 had its fourth service at 24,000 miles, your Trident 660 will be less than halfway to its third visit to the dealer. That’s impressive.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (18)

The styling blends classic and modern – it gets a lot of attention from riders and non-riders alike

 

The other thing I learned at the petrol station is that the UK public thinks the Trident is stunning. I haven’t had this much attention on a test bike for a long time. Which surprised me, because it took me a while to get to like the styling. Something about the mix of classic (the tank feels very Bonneville) and modern (upside down forks and very sporty swing-arm), with a dash of Euro-custom bike (the rear fender) is challenging. It’s brave styling and, after living with it for a week or two I do like it. But it wasn’t love at first sight – far from it.

Given the size of that swing arm, the chunkiness of the forks, Michelin tyres and the fact that every Triumph for the last 25 years has handled brilliantly, it will come as no surprise to hear that the Trident 660 corners just as well as you’d hope it would. The suspension has virtually no adjustment (only the ability to alter rear spring preload to allow for your particular weight) and it’s clear this is where Triumph has saved some of the money. Rear preload comes set on the minimum position which makes the ride bouncy (lots of spring movement) and bumpy (it bottoms-out and then tops-out easily). Setting the preload for my weight (about halfway through the available adjustment) makes it less bouncy and a bit less bumpy – now it only bottoms out over the biggest bumps or a rapid series of smaller ones.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (19)

Sturdy upside down forks at the front and a basic single shock at the back. Brakes have plenty of power and good feel too

 

The damping is good though. Not too much dive at the front when you brake hard and enough control at both ends to allow some stupid-and juvenile behaviour considered and focused riding on my local bumpy B-roads, enjoying the performance of the Michelin tyres.

Brakes are stronger than you’d think too. The calipers (which look similar to the ones Honda use on their 500cc twins) are made by the Japanese company Nissin where most of the pricier Triumphs use Italian Brembo units. There’s plenty of power at the lever with equally good feel on wet roads. ABS is fitted, but doesn’t cut in too sharply, even when the rear suspension is struggling on bumpy back roads (when the back end of a bike is bouncing, the rear brake’s ABS often pulses on and off). The front brake lever is span-adjustable too for those with smaller or longer fingers. That’s a neat touch on a (relatively) budget machine. What’s also a neat touch is the smart-looking TFT instrumentation. Some current Triumphs are a bit OTT with the way they show information. The Trident is relatively simple. Scrolling through the options on the left-side switchgear gives the rider a lot of options, but I couldn’t work out how to choose my favourite selection to display at once and, like most modern bikes a simple job like resetting the trip meter is so unintuitive that you’d need to read the owner’s manual and there is no owners manual (or C-spanner to adjust the suspension) under the seat.

Long-distance comfort is surprisingly good for an unfaired bike. I did a 350-mile day on mostly motorways and didn’t have any problems with neck, shoulder, back or bum ache.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (6)

Small, light, easy to manage and good value – form an orderly queue… Oh, you already did

 

By the time our test bike went back I had conflicting views. I love the way it rides, prefer the feel of a three-cylinder bike to a twin and – suspension aside - never felt like I was on anything other than a well-developed upmarket motorcycle with a personality and sense of mischief. It filters through traffic well, attracts a crowd and surprised me with its long-distance comfort. And it has a simple, round headlight, which seems like a very petty thing, but I struggle with bikes that look like sci-fi insects because I’m old and occasionally grumpy.

But, even the round headlight and three-cylinder wail didn’t make me fall for it in the same way I fell for Yamaha’s MT-07, despite the Triumph being ‘better’ in every measurable way apart from fuel consumption.

That’s a good thing, by the way because if we all liked the same things life would be very boring. If you like the look of the Trident, have a need for more than two cylinders, enjoy the idea of owning a bike made by a British company and need a cool TFT dash with superb connectivity, then this is the bike for you. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

The other thing to consider is that Trident 660s have been selling like hot cakes, meaning re-sale values will be strong, which in turn means Triumph dealers can offer great deals on PCP finance.

That happened with Yamaha’s MT-07 too meaning a new one was often better value than a pricey used example. It’ll be interesting to see what Triumph do next with the Trident. We already know there’s a half-faired version being tested; it wouldn’t be too surprising to see an ‘R’ version with improved suspension and brakes as well. All of that is easy to do when the basic platform is right, and this first-model Trident is this good.

 

2021 Triumph Trident 660 UK test (23)

Fuel consumption at 51mpg is disappointing compared to its rivals, but still good enough for 150 miles (just) between fill-ups 

 

2021 Triumph Trident Verdict

Triumph has entered a highly competitive market so the Trident needed to hit the mark – and it does. I like the looks and image, which are slightly more mature than the competition, and not as aggressive. There are some nice touches in the build quality, attention to detail and finish like the cutaway fuel tank and neat TFT clocks along with their Bluetooth connectivity.

The engine is soft low down, then delivers enough performance to raise your heart rate on the road even for experienced hands, and it is backed up by a lovely triple soundtrack that gives it soul and character. The handling is excellent, its low weight unintimidating while the brakes are just about up for the job. Well thought out electronic rider aids give it an extra tick above the competition too.

Even after two days of riding, the Trident was still rewarding and making me smile; it really is hard to fault when you compare to the competition and consider its low price.  Triumph is onto a winner here, and I can’t wait to see how it compares to the competition. But with a new Z650, CB650R and MT-07 for 2021, this category is more competitive than ever. And that’s not even including older offerings from KTM, Ducati and a host of Chinese manufacturers.

 

Triumph Trident 660 2021 Review Price Spec_37

 

2021 Triumph Trident Spec

New price

£7195

Capacity

660cc

Bore x Stroke

74 x 51.1mm

Engine layout

Inline three-cylinder four stroke

Engine details

Water-cooled 12v

Power

60kw/80bhp 81PS @10,250rpm

Torque

64Nm/47lbft 6250rpm

Top speed

135MPH (EST)

Transmission

6 speed

Average fuel consumption

60mpg/52tested

Tank size

14 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

186 miles

Rider aids

Traction control, ABS and two rider modes

Frame

Steel tubular perimeter

Front suspension

Showa 41mm inverted

Front suspension adjustment

None

Rear suspension

Showa single rear shock

Rear suspension adjustment

Pre-load

Front brake

2 x 310mm discs, Nissin two piston caliper

Rear brake

255mm single disc, single-piston calliper

Front tyre

120/70 ZR17 on test Michelin Road 5

Rear tyre

180/55 ZR17 on test Michelin Road 5

Rake/Trail

24°/107mm

Wheelbase

1401mm

Seat height

805mm

Dry weight

189kg

Warranty

Unlimited miles / 2 years

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet included

Website

www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk

 

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

 

Triumph Trident 660 2021 Review Price Spec_43

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible. 

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.

 

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