2012 Triumph Speed Triple R
1050cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled 5th generation triple
▲ The revised bug-eyed headlights on the 2012 Triumph Speed Triple R are the most distinct feature of this motorcycle. But the heart and soul of this bike is the crackin' 1050cc engine. This lump, we're sure, will be remembered in later years as a classic. But you don't have to wait that long. Go and try one today. The Speed Triple is a modern masterpiece. And it's British, damn it.
▲ 2012 Speed Triple R. As Triumph pushes the familiar shapes around in an effort to stay close to the "centre ground", this bike's profile is in danger of becoming over-designed. In our eyes, it's still a very pretty package. But there's a line there somewhere. Single-sided swinging arm aids maintenance and cleaning, and it looks just right.
▲ 2014 Triumph Speed Triple R. Under the skin, it's fundamentally the same bike as its predecessor, but with some noteworthy changes. Anti-lock brakes were an option on the 2013 model (capable of "100 calculations per second"). But by 2014, ABS was standard. Radial monobloc calipers were also introduced for extra anchoring (actually just 5 percent more stopping power). To keep the rubber glued to the tarmac, Triumph turned again to Ohlins Suspension (NIX30 front fork, and TTX36 rear shock absorber/damper). Crystal White or Phantom Black are the new colours. The red sub-frame looks a little cheap and kitchy. At least, we think so. The flyscreen, belly pan and seat cowl and standard on this model.
▲ 2014 Triumph Speed Triple R. That fly screen and belly pan was standard for 2014. A replacement fly screen will cost you £133.33 plus VAT. Meanwhile, a complete Arrow exhaust system for this bike retails at £1100 (inc VAT). Twin Arrow silencers will set you back £1050 (inc VAT). Painful.
▲ 2014 Triumph Speed Triple R Dark. Same basic bike, but now with a more brooding (read; warmed over) livery coupled with a very limited production run. Narrow seat and wide tank equals splayed legs. You'll get your knees down on this whether you want to or not. Mirrors are good.
▲ 2015 Triumph Speed Triple R. No changes this year. Nevertheless, the bike is still a cracking piece of hardware with more accessories than Inspector Gadget. Hard line Triumph boys, however, are looking for something radical from Triumph. But times are tough, and Hinckley has its eye (and money) on very different models that will be on the market within the next twelve months.
Bore and stroke: 79mm x 71.4mm
Compression ratio: 12:1
Fuel system: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust system: 3-into-2-into-1
Maximum torque: 82 ft-lbs @ 7,750 rpm
Front fork: Ohlins NIX30 43mm inverted cartridge units
Rear suspension: Ohlins TTX36 twin tube shocks/dampers
Front brake: 2 x 320mm Brembo Monobloc calipers
Rear brake: 1 x 255mm Brembo Monobloc caliper
Front wheel: Forged aluminium alloy PVM multi-spoke 17 x 3.5in
Seat height: 32.5in (825mm)
Recommended price: £11,299 ( £11,899 with ABS)
Warranty: 24 months
£19.99 plus P&P
Sump's verdict? We wouldn't throw a standard Speed Triple out of the garage for this one. Why? Because the stock Triple is enough, and we simply don't push bikes to their limit, which makes the "R" model a little superfluous.
But if you're racing with the pack (which you ought not to be; not on the road, anyway), the "R" will put a keener edge on your bike and give you an extra scare or two. Most riders, we suspect, won't really notice (or at least won't really care) about the difference.
So overall, the "R" model is still a fantastic motorcycle built in a long tradition of quality iconic Speed Triple engineering, but the upgrade over the standard 1050 is more "ah" than "ahh!".
Copyright Sump Publishing 2012