It was a sad day when I finally returned the 2017 Triumph Street Triple RS that I so fondly grew to love. I begged, pleaded and even threw a candy-aisle temper tantrum, kicking and screaming to no avail. No, not really, but handing the keys back over to Triumph was bittersweet, like dropping family off at the airport. All good things must come to an end, I suppose.

The Street Triple RS has been my daily ride for the past three months and it reminded me of my trusty, raced-out Buell XB9S, except it did everything better. Unfortunately, I reluctantly had to sell the Buell to make room in my garage and pay off some looming debts. Ehh, we can’t keep them all, such is life. The Street Triple RS is a great do-it-all motorcycle for anyone looking for a bike to satisfy multiple purposes. From general around town riding and commuting to spirited canyon rips and track days, the ST-RS is one capable bike.

Streetfighters, or naked bikes, have come to be our favorite type of motorcycle at MO for this very reason. And we’ve been spoiled by manufacturers producing 1000cc+ nakeds like the Tuonos and Super Dukes, but I think we can all agree that bikes delivering 140+ horsepower to the rear wheel “approach the area of overkill for streetbikes” as Kevin put it in our 800cc Euro Triples Street Fighter Faceoff, which included the Street Triple RS and MV Agusta Brutale 800.

Euro Triples Street Fighter Faceoff

The Street Triple RS isn’t far behind those literbike numbers despite its three-quarter liter size, pumping out an impressive 119.4 horses. Its power, matched with its feathery 417-pound weight fully gassed up, means it likes to move. The Street Triple RS obviously isn’t the lightest or fastest bike on the road, however things can certainly get blurry in a hurry if you want them to. And why wouldn’t you? The 765cc triple produces one of the best sounding howls at full song I’ve ever heard, even with its stock pipe. The exhaust note alone makes you want to turn the twist grip to its stop.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS

This chunk of intricately British-engineered metal pumps out an impressive 119.4 hp at 12,400 rpm and 56.8 lb-ft at 9,800 rpm according to the MO dyno – plenty of juice to get you anywhere you need to go.

Going fast isn’t any fun if you can’t slow down though, and the ST-RS has the best brakes in the business. The RS features Brembo M50 calipers that provide the quickest and most immediate stopping power currently available short of running into a wall (the S model has Nissins and the R has Brembo M4.32 calipers). The radially mounted M50s, paired with the radially actuated master cylinder, deliver great initial bite with ferocious deceleration as more pressure is applied. The ABS is also one of the best systems I’ve tested – it’s not overeager to engage, and when it does, you barely even feel it working – inspiring confidence as a result.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS Review: First Ride

Rider ergos are nice too. Some riders have complained that the pegs are a little high and cramp your legs up, but I like the higher position because it makes faster, sportier riding more fun. It is a sportbike, after all… The higher position also eliminated the startling feeling of dragging peg mid turn. I only dragged the pegs once or twice, but that was at full tilt, long after my knee and toe sliders were already down. The lightweight RS is super flickable and loves to boogie down the back roads.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS

In addition to the height of the foot pegs, I also really like the raised lip on the end. It allows you to easily find your ideal foot position time after time, even if you have to make slight adjustments mid corner.

The saddle is as comfortable as sportbike seats get, even for longer 100+ mile stints down the freeway. And this might sound silly, but quite possibly my favorite rider ergo feature of the Street Triple RS was its grips. They’re just ever so slightly thinner than any other sportbike’s stock grips, which translated to a feeling of more control when manipulating the… controls. And that’s a good thing, especially when pushing the limits, which the RS so seductively encourages you to do.

Speaking of pushing the limits, the Street Triple RS comes with an electronics package and ride-by-wire throttle that helps the rider do just that. There are five rider modes: Rain, Road, Sport, Track and Rider. I mostly played around with the Sport, Track and Rider settings. I wasn’t really able to notice a big difference between Sport and Track, but both modes allow you to pretty much pin it out of corners without losing traction, which is nice considering 119.4 hp still provides plenty of get-up-and-go. The Rider mode, however, that’s a whole `nother story…

Rider mode essentially allows you to be one with the motorcycle, sans technology, if you dare. Full power and no traction control is the perfect recipe for hooligan type riding. The first time testing this mode I went for a second gear, clutch-up wheelie and rather than lifting the front, I laid a 30-foot strip of rubber down the road. Holy shit. Granted, the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires that come stock from the factory probably weren’t completely warm, but that didn’t stop me from doing it another dozen times or so… Add in a little more finesse, and the front end kisses the ground goodbye predictably thanks to its smooth fueling and incredibly linear power delivery.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS

Chicken strips? What chicken strips…

The RS model, compared to the S and R, is tuned to deliver more top end power, which really starts to build at the 6K rpm mark and keeps on pulling to its 12.5 redline. A unique feature to the RS is its quick-shifter, which is a ton of fun, but not really necessary at anything less than full-throttle upshifts. With the three cylinders at full song however, clicking up through the gears is euphoric and music to my ears. That’s when things get blurry in a hurry, as aforementioned.

Bumps are handled by a 41mm inverted Showa big piston fork in front and an Öhlins STX40 monoshock out back. Both are three-way adjustable and also some of the best in the biz, so no complaints there. However, I can’t build the Street Triple RS up so much without giving it some sort of criticism, right?

One area in which it somewhat falters is when trying to launch it. You just can’t drop the hammer from a dead stop like you can on other bikes. Leaving from a stop requires you to really finesse the clutch, which is fine honestly, but it does take a little bit of getting used to, especially if you have to make some quick moves. I don’t know if this is a result of its bottom end, right-off-idle fueling, or just due to its higher revving, sport-tuned nature. I imagine the more streetable, mid-range emphasized S and R models don’t have this same problem as each model has its own unique engine character thanks to different cams and ECU tuning.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS

My second gripe with the RS is that it doesn’t have any way of strapping anything to the tail. No sort of a hook, bar or bracket – nothing! I know it’s a sportbike, but c’mon Triumph, it’s still a mode of transportation where the user is likely to bring something along other than just themselves at some point. Some sort of an anchor point is definitely needed on the darn thing.

Overall, the Street Triple RS is an incredibly athletic motorcycle that loves to be flung into corners and flogged out of them. It’s a bike that performs better the harder and more aggressively it’s ridden, and in return rewards you both aurally and viscerally. Some say they don’t like the weird bug-like twin headlight look, but I kind of dig it – it’s different, that’s for sure. Also, in my time with the RS, I managed to average a respectable 43 mpg, which isn’t too bad either.

We at MO always ask ourselves which bikes we would consider spending our own money on, and frankly, the RS is one I wouldn’t mind investigating further and potentially throwing down on. At $12,500 it’s not cheap, but it’s got top-shelf components and packs one hell of a punch, even for a “little” guy in the growing sea of horsepower hungry literbikes.

 

  • Born to Ride

    Man, I’m only getting 38 mpg AT BEST on mine, and I’m still breaking in the engine so it’s never seen anything north of 10k rippums. What gives. The difficult to launch thing is entirely clutch related in my mind and is an issue shared with its supposedly torquier sibling(yeah I stalled it on my test ride, fight me). Also in defense of the still somewhat funky headlights, they are the most luminous lamps I have ever sampled. Perfect beam pattern and tons of light. I won’t be replacing them like I thought I would. Oh oh, and since we are bragging Mr. Jaswinski…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dab036a9eb6da33937dcc6d136a1f386a9da9599f8c6ccd3f1e249c6313c0542.jpg

    What’s wrong with yours?

    • spiff

      No boot? No cred!

      • Born to Ride

        *Solitary Tear*

    • DickRuble

      “is entirely clutch related in my mind” — Exactly.. in your mind. Clutch control more likely.

      BTW, have you checked the adjustment of your clutch? The factory setting is not necessarily what you want.

      “yeah I stalled it on my test ride” — Embarrassing

      • Born to Ride

        The clutch is an on-off switch on these bikes. VERY different from the heavy and wide engagement Ducati clutch, backed by loads of off idle torque from the twin. It is easier to launch my multistrada in 3rd gear than the STRS is in first. I hadn’t ridden a sub-liter multicylinder bike in years. I bear no shame.

        • DickRuble

          Try a 660cc single, if you think launching a medium size twin is difficult. I maintain that clutch adjustment will solve your problem.

          • Born to Ride

            Uh, try launching a CR125? When you learn to master that shit you will fear no clutch. And I did stop and adjust the clutch lever on the demo bike. It was all the way out. Doesn’t change the fact that this bike has a touchy clutch.

          • DickRuble

            Hmm .. I see it’s a hydraulic clutch.. no idea how those feel..

          • Born to Ride

            It’s a cable? My multistrada is hydraulic.

          • DickRuble

            ok.. the guy writing about it had it wrong. It’s a cable slip assist..

          • 12er

            Do you have issues at elevation on the multi? Whenever I go to the sierras my clutch gets wonky. Had it bled several times, better than it used to be but still an issue

          • Born to Ride

            Not so far, the highest it’s ever been is probably in the 5-6000 foot range. SoCal mountain ranges and such. And in 30k miles I’ve never bled the clutch, I should probably do that. Lol

          • 12er

            yeah its a ’13 with the oil change needed feature (false neutral between 5th and 6th when needing oil change)

          • Born to Ride

            You’re lucky you don’t have the 4th/5th neutral as well.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Wow! All this stuff comes out eventually. None of these issues with any of my bikes, thank God.

          • Born to Ride

            I’ve been very vocal about testastretta gearboxes for a while now. No new information here. Also, don’t KTM’s adv bikes have a massive flaw in the air box design?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Digging up old bones?

          • Born to Ride

            Just saying man, the 1190 that you have has a well documented and catastrophic failure inducing flaw. I hope your dealer preinstalled the pod filters before they sold it to you.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Thank you for your concern about my bikes. The air box problem was fixed the year before I got my bike. Also the dealer installed a much better air filter on my bike. The issue only occurs if you ride a lot in the dust, which most so-called “adventure bikes” don’t do, so they don’t have this problem. My comment was not just about the Ducati gear boxes but also the clutch problem on the Triumph. As I said, I have never had any problems like these on any of my bikes (HD, KTM and Suzuki).

          • Born to Ride

            So how bout those timing chain guides on your Twin Cam? Or did the dealership replace that fundamentally flawed system with a gear drive before the sold it to you too? Also, the clutch on the Triumph isn’t a “problem”, it just requires you to twist the throttle more and slip the clutch longer to take off. After a few launches you just do it naturally.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            That was also fixed the year before I bought my bike. Have put 162,000 miles on it so far with no timing chain problem. Anything else? It is good that you can learn to avoid the clutch “problem” on the Triumph. It would be harder to do if you had four bikes and didn’t remember which one you were on.

          • Born to Ride

            I have 5, and why would I not remember which bike I’m on? Am I blindfolded?

          • DickRuble

            If you had a Harley you would have neurological problems too. It’s a pre-requirement to buy one.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            No, but I cycle through the different bikes during the week for commuting and the handlebar controls on each of them are different so my muscle memory doesn’t remember which controls to use for which function. I have to consciously remember which bike I am riding that day.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Thats actually very good for your brain

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Not according to Mr. DickRuble.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Which bike has 162k?

          • Sayyed Bashir
          • Born to Ride

            No boot no cred.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            How about a speedometer picture from six months and 6,000 miles ago?

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d4744692558dda141c58126cc108b1d77adc1023379272e8e92c5a14a8190bf.jpg

          • Born to Ride

            No. Boot. No. Cred.

          • Sylvain

            To be fair his Harley has at least 6 digits for the odometer unlike the first gen Multistrada….
            However that’s the only thing I would take from that bike.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Must be a record

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I don’t know. I like it. Still ride it almost every day. At least three times a week for commuting and sometimes with friends on the weekend. Went for a beautiful ride in the Sierra Nevada foothills today. Saw the oldest and longest covered bridge in the country at Bridgeport.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9129e06b15b5aeb1607e54ccba9dfc3ed39450ec095ed7439c58586a32b077e3.jpg

          • Gabriel Owens

            Cool man.

          • Alaskan18724

            That’s a fine looking machine. My 2006 FXD35 has been pretty much as reliable as a nail, and I still love looking at her.
            http://i4.ccxcdn.com/i4/17efcde9/714ef948/753618942n.jpg

          • Alaskan18724
          • Alaskan18724
          • Alaskan18724

            That’s a beautiful Softail. My 2006 AMF-Lookalike has been pretty much as reliable as a nail, and she still makes me look back over my shoulder as I walk away!

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Thank you.

          • Kevin Duke

            In my experience with the clutch on the RS, the best technique for a smooth launch is to first engage the bite point before applying the throttle. Same as the BMW K1600s.

          • Born to Ride

            Yup, just like launching a 2 stroke.

          • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

            good point on the TwinCam, gear drive is the fix-i’ll have to ask my neighbor what he did…

          • Gabriel Owens

            Along with, steering bearing issues, improperly laced front wheels, and factory panniers that lock themselves shut permanently. But other than that….

          • DickRuble

            Oh boy, I remember the days you were so proud of your KTM… I can still dig out your comments from back then.. Fair to say the honey moon didn’t last?

          • Gabriel Owens

            Im actually extremely tempted by the new 1290 S. That a lot of neat shit for 17999.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I love my 1190 R. I recently put a Rekluse auto clutch on it so now its even better. Can never stall it in dirt, even at very low speeds. Great for hill climbs.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Yeah, theyre awesome. Buddy of mine had a wr450 with one on it.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Couldn’t get a negative comment out of him. Instead he is looking for another honeymoon.

    • Brent Jaswinski

      Hell yeah, there ya go! My picture was taken as I was dropping it back off to Triumph after plenty of street riding. The balled up rubber on mine was long gone. As far as the fuel mileage goes, I don’t know. There is a healthy portion of highway miles in that average.

      • Born to Ride

        Yeah I cheated, my tires just have the ripples and feathering right now after riding it around town.

      • Christine

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    • JMDGT

      What color? I meant to congratulate you on the new purchase. I hope you like yours as well as I like mine. Good luck.

      • Born to Ride

        I got the matte silver. By far my favorite color of all the iterations. The bike is phenomenal. Best sport bike I’ve owned my a country mile. I’m still dialing in the suspension though. I had the shock just about perfect today, but then I added some preload to the front because I was bottoming in one spot on the downhill and that threw it back out of sorts. I should just pay someone to help me do the springs before I start fiddling with clickers. Also I saw what you said about loving the Supercorsas, but I’m not sure I’d buy them again. I’m getting wheelspin out of the rear before they fully hear up, and I’m practically on the wear bars after just crossing 1000 miles today. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de12aed39f7079295b1c0404f849be3a888acaa366528ec0e5f861c29f5b090d.jpg

        • JMDGT

          Mine is black. I don’t see the Diablos as a long distance tire. I’m guessing I’ll get 2 to 3k out of them.I’ve used Dunlop on some other bikes. They make a pretty good sticky tire also. They get better mileage supposedly. I may try some different tires at some point but the Supercorsas are confidence inspiring. In my opinion of course. Once they are warmed up they are truly great. The clutch pull took a little getting used to but Duke is spot on about getting to the grab point before launch. I have the lever on 1. The speed shifter is heaven. The brakes are the best I’ve ever used. I haven’t changed the suspension up much. I’ve got a book if I feel the need. I also haven’t bothered to track mileage. The product guys at Triumph knew what they were doing when the put together the componetry for this bike. We live in the best of times. I can’t wait to get a Harley. Yeah. Right. Ride safe.

          • Born to Ride

            Certainly wasn’t expecting longevity, but it looks like they are gonna be completely wasted at around 1500 miles. I was surprised to learn how much spin the TC will allow on this bike. My self preservation instincts modulate the throttle long before it cuts power. Today I also broke my MPG record. 33mpg is officially the worst I’ve logged to date. Lol

          • JMDGT

            I expected more mileage but there you go. I always ride in sport mode. My throttle control is stellar if I do say so myself. I guess I should see what kind of mpg I get. The BMWs get 45 or so.

          • DickRuble

            How long are your trips? If your trips are 5-10 miles on average, I would say 33mpg is par for the course.

          • Born to Ride

            120 miles yesterday. 90 of those miles were consecutive hill climbs and 30 were getting there and to the nearby gas station.

    • DickRuble

      For the money you spent you could have gotten this, and be left with a few hundred. And you would’ve gotten a fairing bonus, and a few extra ponies (about 10). This is the comparable bike to the Street RS, not the GSX-S750.

      http://www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au/sites/default/files/styles/hero_gallery_full_medium/public/images/GSX_R750L7_YSF_D_0_1508390727.jpg

      • Born to Ride

        You are 100% correct Dick. They are the same price, have the same power to weight ratio, and sporting focus. However, for my 12.5 plus tax, I preferred the superior suspension, brakes, ergonomics, instrumentation, electronics, and style of the Triumph. Did I mention that full coverage insurance is also 30% of the yearly premium on a GSXR? Also, resale value of a 5 year old Street Triple is stronger.

        • DickRuble

          Superior? That remains to be seen..

          • Born to Ride

            It is a fact that the brakes, suspension, and ergos are superior. The electronics and instrumentation are just more advanced, which depending on your opinion regarding technological improvement, is also superior. And style? Well that is entirely personal preference. I think the best looking Gixxer was 2008-2009, and those bikes are considered the worst when it comes to workmanship and build quality by GSXR enthusiasts/owners. I strongly considered the 750 before I bought the STRS.

          • DickRuble

            Well.. now you have time to reconsider your choice.. The 2018 GSXR looks pretty nice. A bike is more than the sum of its parts. I would like to see a review of the two, side by side.

          • Born to Ride

            I would have as well. I have to imagine the surprise ending would be that the GSXR is a better track bike, while the STRS is a better street bike.

          • Born to Ride

            Saw you edited your post. The ergos are not identical. Less legroom on the GSXR, and a nice handlebar kit from LSL or the like is about 500$… so its not like its chump change to replace it. Helibars are the more cost effective solution, but often result in clearance issues with the fairing at full lock. For the price of the insurance difference between the 2 bikes for one year, I can buy all the wind protection I want. Any other brilliant suggestions?

          • DickRuble

            The liability insurance is the same for both, and, being the skilled operator you are, that’s all you need.

          • Dale

            Cool..this is also what I keep wondering about…getting a sport bike like the GSXR and just replacing the clip ons and removing the fairings?

          • DickRuble

            People do it all the time.

    • AM

      Oh, the rear? My grandma can scrape the rear and so can anybody. Front anybody? Not everybody that can scrape the rear can scrape the front.

  • spiff

    Crazy that 119 hp and they are considered moderately powered. If I lived in an area with tighter roads this, the 790 Duke, and the 800 Brutale would be the top of my list. It would probably be this or the Duke in the end.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Husqvarna 701 supermoto?

      • spiff

        Had a supermoto, and loved it. It just isn’t practical as an only bike.

        • Gabriel Owens

          It is if you live in Robbinsville, NC

          • spiff

            I’m in the desert where good roads are all a decent ride away, and few and far between.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      at 12,400 rpm

      • Born to Ride

        It’s a sport bike. Of course peak power is up top.

  • gjw1992

    Tank bag and rucksack/backpack – what’s the problem? But seriously – a similar long termer of the ST R would be good, just to check if it’s a ‘better’ street bike.

    • Born to Ride

      Not from my 30 minute test ride lol. The suspension is just as rock hard, the mirrors are worthless in comparison the bar ends on the RS. The quick shifter is a super nice feature for all kinds of riding. And just riding around town, I couldn’t perceive a noticeable difference in midrange.

    • Brent Jaswinski

      I will usually transport things in a backpack, sure, but somethings just don’t always fit in a backpack. That’s when you have to get a little creative on the RS.

      • Gabriel Owens

        Wolfman adventure roll top medium size bag is a wonderful thing.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        Backpacks ruin the lines of my Savile Row suits. When I tour the South of France, all I carry is my American Express titanium card. No bags required, dear boy.

        • Born to Ride

          Couldn’t afford the fees on the Black card eh?

        • Old MOron

          I’m surprised your tailor is not on Queen Street.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Wrong part of Trawna for a decent tailor old chap. They allow Chevrolets and Jaguars to park there.

          • Old MOron

            How long have you been away from your Queen?
            I was referring Edinburgh.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Your comment makes no sense.

          • Old MOron

            Naturally, all of the toffee nosed English go to Savile Row.
            But I figured YOUR man must be on Queen Street in Edinburgh.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Why would I be in Edinborugh? Wrong town, old chap. Also, Queen is a major thoroughfare in Trawna.

          • Old MOron

            Darnit, it’s no fun taking the piss when I have to explain things.
            Alright, alright: Rockhead 1, Old MOron 0.

          • Rocky Stonepebble
          • Old MOron

            Doh! You had bigged up the ‘Gers before.
            My bad for suggesting you should go to Edinburgh rather than London.

  • JMDGT

    It took me a few outings to get the clutch feel down. Didn’t need to adjust it. I need more roads like the ones on the Ortega. Not a lot of good stuff here in Comancheria. I use a handlebar bag to carry the small stuff. This bike is perfect.

  • sandifop

    Anchor points: I’m not absolutely positive (since I have a 2016) but Kriega is a great answer for the Street Triple.

    Your point on the launch is… on point. I’ve had a few blushing moments while advancing up hill from stop signs. One gets used to it, though.

  • Alaskan18724

    Interesting. It’s as if the world was flat, and the Speed Triple reached the edge and shot into the abyss. The Street Triple still gets a world of press and publicity, but you never hear about her big sister anymore. I like them both. I’d like them both better with the original bilaterally symmetrical bug-eyes….

    • Born to Ride

      If I could only have one bike, the good ol speedie with aftermarket luggage would be a frontrunner. The 2013 R model with the forged wheels most likely.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        If I could only have one bike, I’d have the lasagne.

        “You’ve never lived, until you’ve had Liz on ya.”
        Richard Burton.

    • StripleStrom

      I hate to say it, but for most people the Street is a better choice than the Speed. I own a Speed (09). Wish I would have bought the Street.

      • Alaskan18724

        I’ve never ridden a Street. I tend to have two or three bikes at a time, buy what I really like, and keep it for a while. My eldest trades like it’s the end of time, and had a Speed Triple in the garage for awhile. It scared him. I’m old and have better wrist discipline, and found it to be an entirely engaging machine. I’d buy one and keep it forever. Then again, I still associate cubic inches with torque….

        • StripleStrom

          I’ve never been scared by the Speedy’s power; in fact, I consider it just about ideal. What I dislike is the handling. At a 7/10 pace it is a quick and smooth ride, but pushing the pace starts to show the inadequacy of the chassis. I’ve tried dialing in the suspension and just can’t seem to find what I’m looking for. Maybe the newer models with Ohlins are better in that regard.

          • Born to Ride

            Supposedly the new frame in 2012 was a huge step forward. Hopefully they tweaked it enough for this new RS model to make it less lethargic in the twisties.

      • Kevin Duke

        The Street is more appealing to me personally. It’s more playful and eager. The Speed is better at 7/10ths and for bigger riders.

  • Sentinel

    Triumph needs to get the RT version on the market already!

    • Born to Ride

      I was holding out for it man, I really was. But I think in the end it was Vaporware. Triumph said they would have 3 Street Triple models. Before anyone knew they were going to do a sport focused version, it was assumed that the RS was going to be a faired version for sport touring. I haven’t heard or read anything at all about a Sprint 765 or Street RT since before they unveiled the bikes. This bike with a nice quarter fairing, softer suspension, a nice wide saddle for 2, and flush mount hard luggage(ala TV800) would be a KILLER sport tourer.