2017 Triumph Street Triple RS

Editor Score: 93.5%
Engine 19.5/20
Suspension/Handling 14.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.75
/10
Brakes 9.5/10
Instruments/Controls5.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.5/10
Desirability 9.5/10
Value 8.75/10
Overall Score93.5/100

The last time Triumph conducted a major revamp of its Street Triple family was 2013. At that press launch Triumph didn’t feel it necessary to include any track time because even the uptown R model remained predominantly a street bike. Four years on and Triumph has reshuffled the Street Triple deck and expanded the portfolio to three models (S, R, RS), each with a specific focus including the new performance leader RS model we just finished testing in Spain. While still largely a street bike, the RS features enough go-fast performance Triumph felt compelled to showcase the bike’s wherewithal around one of the most famous Spanish racetracks, Catalunya.

While the 2013 Street Triple R was a substantial uptick to the original ’09 model, it maintained the same 675cc inline-Triple of the previous year’s bike. Not so at all with the 2017 incarnation. You’re probably aware Triumph bumped displacement of the new version 90cc, from 675cc to 765cc. What we learned from Triumph engineers in Spain, however, is the new mill was developed from the existing Daytona engine, not the previous year’s Street Triple engine.

street triple rs engine

According to Triumph, in addition to increased bore and stroke, 80 new parts were used developing the new Street engine including a new crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods, balance shaft, and nikasil-plated aluminum cylinder liners.

The result is a more powerful three-cylinder with a claimed 16% increase in peak horsepower and a 13% increase in peak torque for the RS compared to last year’s R model. By the numbers, Triumph claims the base model S to output 111 hp at 11,250 rpm and 54 lb.-ft. at 9,100 rpm, the R model to output 116 hp at 12,000 rpm and 57 lb.-ft. at 9,400 rpm, and 121 hp at 11,700 rpm and 57 lb.-ft. at 10,800 rpm for the RS. Note that the R and RS produce the same amount of torque with the R model peaking 1,400 rpm earlier than the RS. This is due to a different camshaft in the R model, and is an example of the individual character Triumph baked in to each bike, with the R emphasizing streetable, mid-range engine performance compared to the higher-revving nature of the RS.

More For Less: $8K Four Vs. $8.2K Triple Vs. $8.7K Twin

Having only spent time aboard the RS, no honest comparison can yet be made between the S, R, and RS models, nor how each is characterized by its design parameters. What is known is that the engine in the RS performed flawlessly during testing on the street as well as on the track. The linear power delivery we liked so much about the previous 675cc engine was made better by the 90cc bump in displacement. The RS delivering a little extra emphasis when twisting the throttle while maintaining a mid-displacement fun zone without treading into the ridiculously fast atmosphere of Tuonos or Super Duke Rs.

street triple rs

The new Street Triple continues the legacy of laudable streetability with an aggressive yet comfortable seating position, with ample legroom and a moderate forward lean. The seat is supportively plush, and handling manners neutral. Within minutes the new Street Triple felt as familiar as any bike I’ve owned for years, allowing for a fun street ride and a fast track session. That the bike is a claimed 4.8 pounds lighter certainly doesn’t hurt as well.

Accompanying the Street Triple’s new engine is a Continental electronics package including ride-by-wire throttle, ride modes (see chart), switchable ABS, switchable Triumph Traction Control, and self-cancelling turn signals. The R and RS both enjoy a slip and assist clutch, while the RS is also endowed with a quick-shifter. None of the models, however, offer cruise control which, on a bike where complaints are few and far between, seems like an oversight.

Ride
Modes
Throttle
Map
ABS Traction
Control
Available On
S R RS
Rain Rain Road Rain X X X
Road Road Road Road X X X
Sport Sport Road Sport X X
Track Sport Track Track X
Rider Rain
Road
Sport
Road
Track
Off
Rain
Road
Sport
Track
Off
X X

Tied to each ride mode are default settings for throttle mapping (Rain, Road, Sport), ABS (Road, Track, Off), and TTC (Rain, Road, Sport, Track, Off). There is some limited adjustability within the default selections of each ride mode, but only the R and RS models come with full customization in the Rider mode, which is also the mode allowing ABS and TTC to be turned off. Toggling through and selecting ride modes is accomplished on the fly via a five-way joystick on the left handlebar (Track mode requires the bike to be stopped). On the R and RS models, bike information is delivered through a full-color TFT display.

triumph street triple rs digital display

There exist six different styles of display from which to choose. Pictured is the standard high-contrast road setting (with animated GPI within the tach). Choosing style 02 shrinks the speedo and enlarges the tach. Other styles are somewhat Star Treky. You can also select the contrast you prefer or set it to auto contrast when the display will change according to ambient light.

The five-inch display is one of the best we’ve seen yet, with an assortment of styles to choose from to suit personal preferences or riding conditions. Its functionality is intuitive and easy to navigate, while information is legible and smartly configured. The S model receives an updated version of the LCD instrument cluster and analog tach seen on the previous model.

The Four-Thirds Shootout: Tre Cool

Further differences among the models are found in the braking and suspension departments, with the RS boasting four-piston Brembo M50 front brake calipers, a fully adjustable Öhlins STX40 monoshock and fully adjustable 41mm inverted Showa big piston fork. The R model comes equipped four-piston Brembo M432 front brake calipers, fully adjustable Showa monoshock, and 41mm inverted separate-function Showa big piston fork, while the S model has two-piston Nissin front brake calipers, 41mm inverted non-adjustable Showa separate function fork and Showa RSU shock with preload adjustment.

Outfitted with Brembo M50s, braking performance goes unquestioned. The fully adjustable Showa fork and Öhlins STX40 monoshock felt great on both the street and track. Street speeds were a little slow-going due to wet, foggy weather, but track speeds were full tilt, and both ends of the Triumph handled everything Catalunya threw at it. Note the 90-degree air valve.

Outfitted with Brembo M50s, braking performance goes unquestioned. The fully adjustable Showa fork and Öhlins STX40 monoshock felt great on both the street and track. Street speeds were a little slow-going due to wet, foggy weather, but track speeds were full tilt, and both ends of the Triumph handled everything Catalunya threw at it. Note the 90-degree air valve.

When it comes to braking performance on the RS, what needs to be said? Brembo M50s are still the best in the business regardless to which bike they’re affixed. Powerful without being abrupt, easily modulated at either street or track speeds; until something better comes along the M50s will continue to dominate.

The street portion of our ride began with inclement weather, keeping aggression level low, but with stock setting in place for both front and rear suspension units the Showa fork and Öhlins shock delivered a compliant ride. For the track, Triumph engineers stiffened front and rear settings to deal with the higher speeds, leaving me wanting for nothing, and feeling comfortable through every bend of the 16-turn Catalunya circuit.

The 2017 Street Triple RS topped out at 149 mph down Catalunya’s front straight. Never once did the fairingless naked wobble or give any hint of instability at the track. Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires (stock on the RS) certainly helped. Footpegs were occasionally grinding away, but not enough to hinder the bike as a damn fun trackday toy.

The 2017 Street Triple RS topped out at 149 mph down Catalunya’s front straight. Never once did the fairingless naked wobble or give any hint of instability at the track. Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires (stock on the RS) certainly helped. Footpegs were occasionally grinding away, but not enough to hinder the bike as a damn fun trackday toy.

Other niceties abound on the Street Triple RS, such as a new gullwing swingarm, revised exhaust system, lower chain guard, bar-end mirrors, a color-matched belly pan and seat cowl. The front brake lever is adjustable not only laterally to the handlebar, but also longitudinally.

Of course you’re going to pay a little extra for the all the fringe benefits the RS carries. The price for the RS begins at $12,500 (a $1,300 increase over the outgoing 2016 RX model), whereas the R model starts at $11,200 (a $900 increase over the 2016 R model), and the S model at $9,900 (a $500 increase over the 2016 S model).

At full honk on the track the quick-shifter snicked through the gears like butter, but on the street at anything less than full-throttle upshifts, we’d rather use the clutch to smooth gear selections. Besides, the slip-assist clutch makes lever pull so light there’s nothing to complain about there either.

At full honk on the track the quick-shifter snicked through the gears like butter, but on the street at anything less than full-throttle upshifts, we’d rather use the clutch to smooth gear selections. Besides, the slip-assist clutch makes lever pull so light there’s nothing to complain about there either.

We already had a love affair with the outgoing Street Triple model – enough to award the Street Triple R our 2009 Bike of the Year trophy – and this newest version has improved in nearly every way possible: engine, suspension, brakes, weight and electronics.

At $12,500, the RS certainly costs more than a Yamaha FZ-09, upgraded for 2017 and being ridden and tested by our Evans Brasfield this week. If you’re cross-shopping, it would be better to compare the $9k Yammie to the base model Street Triple with just a $900 difference in MSRPs. A more appropriate match-up for the Street Triple RS would be MV Agusta’s Brutale 800 that lists for $13,498.

Give us a little time and we’ll gladly compare them for you.  Mid-displacement three-cylinder shootout, stay tuned.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS
+ Highs

  • Fast but not furious
  • Equally at home on street or track
  • An already light bike made a little lighter
– Sighs

  • What, no cruise control!?!
  • Only two color options
  • R model’s red subframe looks more high-spec than RS’s silver subframe
2017 Triumph Street Triple r low ride height version

Triumph will be offering a special Low Ride Height of the R model Street Triple. Carrying the same MSRP as the standard R model, the LRH version boasts suspension dedicated to lowering the bike 30mm (95mm of front wheel travel and 98mm of rear wheel travel vs 115mm of front wheel travel and 134mm of rear wheel travel on the standard R model. Triumph also says the LRH has “revised seat foam construction” to help reduce seat height from 32.5 inches of the R model to 30.7 for the LRH model.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS Specifications
MSRP $12,500
Horsepower 121 hp @ 11,700
Torque 57 lb.-ft. @ 10,800 rpm
Engine Capacity 765cc
Engine Type Inline-Triple
Bore x Stroke 78 x 53.4mm
Compression 12.65:1
Fuel System EFI
Transmission 6-Speed
Clutch Wet, multi-plate, slip and assist clutch
Final Drive Chain
Frame Aluminium beam twin spar
Front Suspension Showa 41mm upside down big piston forks (BPF), 115mm front wheel travel. Adjustable compression damping, rebound damping and preload.
Rear Suspension Öhlins STX40 piggyback reservoir monoshock, 131mm rear wheel travel. Adjustable spring preload (lock-rings), compression damping and rebound damping.
Front Brakes Twin 310mm floating discs, Brembo M50 4-piston radial monoblock calipers
Rear Brakes Single 220mm fixed disc, Brembo single piston sliding caliper
Front Tire 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire 180/55 ZR17
Seat Height 32.5 in.
Wheelbase 55.5 in.
Rake/Trail 23.9º/3.9 in.
Dry Weight (claimed) 366 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 4.6 gal.
Electronics Ride modes, R-b-W, ABS, TTC, quick-shifter
Colors Matt Silver Ice or Phantom Black (Metallic)

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Triumph Communities

  • Born to Ride

    Wow, the MSRP is at least a grand lower than I thought it would be. Do I really need a Tuono? Hrmmm…

    • spiff

      I have asked the same question. I’d say look at your riding area. I live in an area with wide open roads. If I lived with nicer roads I would go with the smaller, probably better handling, cc bike.

      • Born to Ride

        I’ve got all the roads, but my favorite playground is of the tight twisty variety. Every time I go to buy a new bike I say “next time I’ll buy that STR.” And then next time comes and another Italian girl comes into my life.

        • spiff

          Logic be damned, the heart wants what the heart wants.

          What about a Brutale RR? Definitely Italian, definitely sexy.

          • AM

            But not reliable. Poor dealer network too.

          • Born to Ride

            Yes, allegedly, and depends where you live.

          • Born to Ride

            As far as MV goes, I rode the base model brutale 800 and the TV800. The turismo was a wonderfully balanced machine, but I thought the brutale was manic and unwieldy. Knife edge handling and violent powerband induces headshake and involuntary bowel evacuation. Supposedly the RR model has more aggressive steering and 20 more claimed horsepower. JB said the updated Brutale was easier to ride but the RR is still based on the older bike if I’m not mistaken. Yeah, definitely a sexy Italian girl, but I don’t know if she’s worth dying for. Haha

          • Michael

            But she is SO HOT

    • DAVID

      I’m thinking the same thing for around 2k more the tuono is one hell of a machine but poor dealer network and very poor gas mileage, my ZX14 gets better gas mileage. They are saying 50 gas mileage for this thing, if it’s really 105-110 hp rear wheel and 410 wet weight maybe trade my big boy in.

      • Born to Ride

        I would expect that when ridden in the manner it was intended, you’ll see something like 40-45mpg. This would be my sport bike if I were to purchase one, so fuel mileage would be of secondary concern. However, Fuel range,
        is always important, and the Tuono only carries an additional half gallon and gets 30-35 depending on rider. Honestly though, the Tuono has a realistic max range of 150 miles and most people claim the light comes on around 120, and that’s decent enough for sport riding.

  • allworld

    I look forward to a MV vs. Triumph shoot out.

    • spiff

      And next year add the KTM. I hope MV can get their financials figured out. This is going to be a great class of bike. It is mimicking the open class nakeds. Some manufacturers going for the lower cost entry, while others are going for the more exotic angle. Looks like Triumph is going for all of it.

  • azicat

    Well done Tom for taking the bullet for JB and making that arduous trek to Spain for the review.

  • JMDGT

    It just keeps getting better. Great, another bike I need. Is there no end to the motorcycle madness? No there isn’t. Life is good.

  • John B.

    Great review Tom and super high praise for the Speed Triple. I can’t wait to see what happens when you get this bike in a shootout with the competition. What a great time to be a motorcyclist.

  • SRMark

    This is the first Street Triple I’ve liked in terms of looks. Goofy bug-eyes are now nicely subdued. Cables and plumbing are nicely routed. Engine is a styling element even though it’s black. I’d sure love to see one in British Racing Green with some modest white pin stripes. But this is a great performing and good looking bike now.

  • TC

    Looks like Triumph forgot to take the shipping protector off the muffler. Almost as ugly as the flat black car muffler that Buell hung under my Ulysses. No doubt they will be offering a much more attractive ‘off road use only’ exhaust.

  • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

    Great looking bike and an optional version for us “shorties”!

  • Mike McLeod

    Terrific write-up, thanks. I had a 2010 STR (and beforethat a Speed3, and Sprint ST, and after a Bonneville) and loved her (them all) to bits.

    I’m on a Tiger 800 atm and stupidly enough, the ugly green girl does it for me like no other except for the occasional front end vaguery at speed which enduces arsepuckery galore.

    But it may be time to go back to a Street Triple (RS) when this lovely gets to ‘Straya. This thing is luverlee. Won’t ever buy an Italian again. They all look amazing, but I don’t like it when they decide they want to stay at home when I want to ride…

    PS: What does GPI mean (in reference to teh dash and tacho)?

  • spiff

    Does anyone think/hope Triumph is working on a 1200 triple? This bike seems to have been thoroughly gone through. How about this level of attention be given to it’s bigger brother.

  • Old MOron

    “Give us a little time and we’ll gladly compare them for you. Mid-displacement three-cylinder shootout, stay tuned.”

    Thanks, Tom. Looking forward to it. Uh, about how long will we MOrons have to wait?

    • Depends on bike availability. But if it’s any indication, MV did just get us a Turismo Veloce.

  • kenneth_moore

    That dash display is slick as snot. I wish my FJ, or my “I wish I had one” Ducati Supersport had that. The grey LCDs work, but they looks like a handheld video game from the ’90’s. Is Triumph’s display TFT or something else?

  • Gabriel Owens

    I really think this is my favorite motorcycle right now.