The OG naked/ hooligan/streetfighter has received a ground up redesign for the 2021 model year. Triumph tells us it has left no stone unturned with every single component new from tip to top. From the chassis to the new 1160 cc Triple, the latest Speed Triple RS is said to be the, “Fastest accelerating, most powerful, highest torque Speed Triple ever with a hair-raising new sound.”  

1994 Triumph Speed Triple

That would be, of course, comparing the Speed Triple to its lineage which dates back to 1994. The Speed Triple 900 back then borrowed parts from the older Daytona and created a comfortable useful motorcycle with a balance of performance and utility. In 1997, the Speed Triple’s most defining (and polarizing) feature was bestowed upon the naked: those big beautiful bug-eye headlights. The model has continued with updates to the engine and chassis receiving major overhauls throughout the years, including the offshoot of its svelte, nimble family member, the Street Triple. As time has marched on, the Speed Triple has evolved into a high-performance streetbike first, compared to other nakeds/streetfighters/hooligans that are now based off of liter-class sportbikes like the Aprilia Tuono (a staff favorite). 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

That’s enough reminiscing though, let’s look to the present at the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS.

Engine

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

Triumph’s new mill is an 1160 cc Triple which is said to be 15.4 pounds lighter than the previous engine while producing nearly 30 more horsepower. That would be 177.5 hp at 10,750 rpm with torque coming in 6 lb-ft higher: 92 lb-ft at 9,000 rpm. According to Triumph’s dyno charts, the torque curve begins with just under 81 lb-ft available at 3,500, though as it builds, it sits just below the 2018 RS’s curve between 5-6k. At 7,000 rpm the torque curve starts to stretch the gap up to its 9,000 rpm peak. As torque begins to fade at 9,000, horsepower continues to climb steadily shutting off just before its increased 11,150 rpm redline. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

Triumph says it achieved this with much of the same treatment that it has been bestowing on many of its models; reduction in engine mass. That is, of course, in addition to larger, 90 mm pistons with a shorter 60.8 mm stroke, in this case allowing for the higher revving motor. A new finger follower valve train aids in weight reduction. Speaking of breathing, a lot of time was spent perfecting the intake and exhaust. Triumph says its involvement in Moto2 was particularly helpful in this regard. A new single silencer replaces the dual undertail system and sports a new valve to tune engine character based on rpm. Larger, 48 mm throttle bodies are also used.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

A new stacked six-speed gearbox is used allowing for a repackaged engine size along with a new slip and assist clutch with new high-friction materials to reduce the number of clutch plates used. Powertrain inertia is said to be 12% lower resulting in what should be a freer spinning, quicker performing motorcycle. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

The cooling system has also lost weight and been repackaged with an integrated oil cooler.

Triumph claims the new Speed Triple will produce a hard-to-believe 50.2 mpg (this hasn’t been verified with EPA) and meets all Euro 5 requirements. Service intervals are set at 10,000 miles and a 2 year warranty is standard.

Chassis

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

Triumph has managed to shave off 22 pounds from the outgoing model, claiming the ‘21’s wet weight at 437 lbs. Although the new cast aluminum frame looks similar to the outgoing model, we’re told the entire package is more compact and distributes weight lower and further forward while being 17% lighter than the outgoing unit. The seat is said to be narrower as is the 4.1-gallon fuel tank. The footpegs have also been moved inward contributing to the narrow feel while a wider handlebar gives the rider more leverage. We’re also told the seat has more room front to back and sits at 32.7 inches. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

Triumph says the Speed Triple RS will be the only Speed Triple in the lineup so there will be no point waiting for a base model. Triumph says it conducted plentiful customer research which showed the Speed Triple customer wants the RS level of specification, so it sees no point in a lesser trim. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

What would an RS be without top shelf gold suspenders from none other than Öhlins? A 43mm USD Öhlins NIX30 fork is used with full adjustability and 4.7 inches of travel while the TTX36 delivers the same travel and adjustment. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

With Triumph throwing Brembo Stylemas on the base Tiger, we’d be a bit buggered, as they say, to not find them on the Speed Triple. Thankfully, there they are clinching 320 mm rotors and actuated by our favorite Brembo MCS span and ratio adjustable master cylinder. A single twin-piston rear caliper is ready to bring the front wheel back down when you’re ready. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

A lighter rear axle and cush drive cut down on unsprung weight at the rear wheel.

If the sporting intention of this high-spec motorcycle wasn’t already clear, Triumph has fitted its 17-inch cast aluminium wheels with Metzeler Racetec RR rubber, with a “handbook approved” track tire option being the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC2. 

The 56.9-inch wheelbase remains unchanged, while the rake gains a degree from 22.9 to 23.9. 

Technology

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

As you can see above, in addition to plenty of other bits o’ tech, the ‘21 Speed Triple RS gets a big ol’ optically bonded 5-inch TFT display with a focus on speed, gear, and tachometer that allows the rider to access a ton of information which includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Two adjustable themes
  • Lap timer
  • Phone calling and messaging info
  • Music operation
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • GoPro control

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

An up and down quickshifter is fitted which uses a new algorithm and variable position sensor based on Triumph’s Moto2 experience. Triumph say they monitored the various teams use of quickshifter adjustment in the series which then allowed them to further refine what was already a slick system. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

IMU-based traction control and ABS can be adjusted via five ride modes (Rain, Road, Sport, Track, Rider). Traction control is said to be the most refined yet with Track mode offering just the right amount of minute intervention, or what Triumph says is the right amount. Traction control can also be disabled in Rider (configurable) mode. ABS is controlled with a new Continental MIB-EVO modulator which is said to provide better IMU-based refinement. ABS is linked and, thanks to Euro 5 regs, cannot be shut off. Although cornering ABS is not used in Track mode, the front and rear brakes remain linked. Triumph assured us it has refined the system such that it’s test riders came back to them after spinning laps suggesting the system wasn’t working when it, in fact, was working as it should. ABS is independently adjustable between Track and Road. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

Front wheel lift control uses a new algorithm to make its intervention less intrusive and smoother and is linked to the specific ride modes. In addition to TC, ABS, and Front wheel lift, ride modes of course alter throttle mapping as well.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

LED lighting is used throughout, including with self-cancelling turn signals. A full keyless system is now used to start the motorcycle and open the fuel tank. Other features include (brighter) backlit controls as well as the all-important cruise control. A 60% lighter lithium battery is also used. Heated grips and tire pressure monitoring systems are available along with more than 30 other accessory bits. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS

The 2021 Triumph Speed Triple RS will be available Stateside Mid-March with an MSRP of $18,300. Two color options are available: Sapphire Black or Matt Silver Ice. Stay tuned to Motorcycle.com as we hope to one day ride this exciting new Speed Triple for review.