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Motorcycles are funny things. For most people, it is basic transportation, just to get around. Some bikes, on the other hand, have character, and owners tend to form lasting bonds with the bike, despite any failings or shortcomings it may have.

In the case of the 2016 Triumph Street Triple R, which we reviewed a few months ago, this was one bike which we formed a bond with. It had excellent road manners, it was easy to ride, it was capable of being many things to many riders, regardless of experience level.

With that in mind, Triumph Malaysia offered us a brand-new 2016 Street Triple R for a three-month long-term test. This time, instead of a four-day test ride, we were allowed to do as we wished with the Street Triple, and come back with some real impressions of what it was like to live with on a day-to-day basis.

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Designed as a naked streetbike, the Street Triple R carries Hinckley’s famous inline-triple, which gives the bike a very characteristic rumble. With the engine brand-spanking new, Triumph Malaysia’s technical manager briefed us on the run-in process, with a stern warning not to exceed the limit of 4,000 rpm for the first 600 km and a promise of inflicted pain if we did so.

Riding the Street Triple R – which came in a fetching shade of Graphite Grey – with its easy-spinning inline-triple, instantly reacquainted us with the other unit we rode earlier in the year. All the good things we remembered about it were there, and something we didn’t notice the first time around, of which more anon.

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We took the Street Triple R on a single-day extended ride of 600 km the day after picking it up with 6 km on the clock, purely to rack up the mileage. What this meant was riding the bike at a constant 90 km/h. For nearly 8 hours, including fuel and food stops.

In case you do not have any idea what that feels like, the words “mind-numbingly boring” would be an understatement. Still, it needed to be done, in order to have the engine properly broken-in and running at peak efficiency after.

Since we were travelling at a set speed in top gear, this gave us a chance to practice cornering speed skills, and see what the standard Pirelli Rosso Corso tyres were like. Munching the miles, there was no hint of over-heating the tyre at the speeds we were doing.

Cornering was similarly confidence inspiring, and the Pirelli rubber is a very good match for the Street Triple R. Dropping into corners was easy as, and the feedback from the tyres, especially the front, was particularly good.

As we cruised down the highway, trying to avoid being run-over by speeding express buses, we noticed that the handlebars were a little buzzy. Not enough to numb the hands, but it was there, and it was annoying.

One of the benefits of having a long-term test bike is the readiness of the official distributor to allow us free access to the official Triumph catalogue. We discussed the issue with the technical crew, and requested a pair of handlebar weights. Triumph’s solution went one better and surprised us, which we will explain later.

The thing about running-in a motorcycle engine is that it has to be done properly, in order for the engine to produce the maximum amount of power with the piston and piston rings seating properly in the cylinder bore. This is critical to prevent the engine having a poor compression seal, and burning oil later in life.

What the process calls for is steady-state running for the engine, cruising on the highway at a constant speed being the best example. The old adage of “run it in fast, and it will always be fast, run it in slow and it will always be slow” does not hold water.

Modern manufacturing techniques have been honed, pun intended, to the extent that it is entirely possible to take a brand-new modern car, and drive normally after a short period. This doesn’t usually apply to motorcycles, where the running-in sees the piston rings taking away the “high” spots left behind on the cylinder wall after the machining process.

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As the rough spots are taken away by the piston and rings sliding up and down the cylinder bore, engine speed is gradually increased in increments as the bore gets smoother and smoother. At the end of the process, the bike is brought in to the shop for an oil filter change.

In racing teams, the used lubricant is usually sent off for analysis. The findings indicate to the engine design engineers what parts are wearing inside the engine, and at what rate.

As we reached the 1,000 km point, Triumph’s technical manager told us to bring the bike in for its first service, and he would have a look at the bike overall before deciding what was to be done in terms of accessorising the bike, and customising it specifically to the author’s needs.

The buzzy handlebars were mentioned, and after a short discussion, we were told to come collect the Street Triple R in the afternoon. Upon our return, we were somewhat surprised to find that, with the consent of the head of Triumph Malaysia, the entire contents of the Triumph catalogue were thrown at the bike, resulting in a completely blinged-out Triple R.

Not that we were complaining, of course. It should be noted that all the accessories were installed with an eye to function instead of form. This extensive list included things like engine guards and protectors, and bobbins for the bike stand. Other items were the fly-screen, tank bag and Triumph quick-shifter.

The two biggest changes were the addition of the Arrow slip-on exhaust, and bar-end mirrors. Taking the Street Triple R out after the service – which cost RM450 including fully-synthetic lubricant – showed a marked change in the vibration felt in the handlebars.

The inclusion of the bar end mirror had the effect of dampening down the vibration, making the ride altogether much more pleasant, especially when wearing lighter gloves.

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With the Street Triple R past its first service, and ready to play at 1,291 km on the clock, our plans now include pressing it into use as a daily commuter and run-about, and several rather more – challenging – rides to test its reliability and endurance, as well as to see if the accessories are being put to good use.

In addition to this, the Street Triple R’s suspension, which is fully-adjustable front and rear, is going to be put through some specific experiments to see how changes in suspension settings affect road behaviour. Follow us as we put the 2016 Triumph Street Triple R through the paces over the next few months, and report our findings on the bike’s capabilities over the long-term.