REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

Replacing a very successful model in a manufacturer’s line-up can be an exercise fraught with worry. The incoming replacement model, at the base of it, simply has to do everything its predecessor did, but better.

Different is not necessarily a good thing, such as when Honda replaced the sports-oriented VF-series with the touring focused VFR1200, and made it ugly as hell. So, what happens when you have a middleweight motorcycle that’s had a good sales record for a decade like the Triumph Street Triple 675?

Having sold over 50,000 units since it was first launched in 2007, the Street Triple 675 offered the middleweight motorcycle market value for money, with ABS and adjustable suspension, items usually found in machines at a third more the price point. With that in mind, we came to find out what could top the Triple 675.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

The answer, for Triumph, is the 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 series. Coming in a set of three, instead of just using the same engine and suspension and adding items to push the individual bikes “up-the-range”, as it were, tailored each engine and suspension to suit the demands of each machine’s intended market.

To showcase the capabilities of its new middleweight, and prove that it was, in every way, better than the outgoing Triple 675, Triumph held the international media ride of the Street Triple 765 in Catalunya, Spain, and invited This comprised of a ride through the countryside of Seva, in Catalan and first crack at the newly redesigned Circuit de Catalunya.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

In Europe and the UK, the performance middleweight market is hotly contested, and every manufacturer includes at least one machine in the line-up. For the buyer, choices include the Ducati Monster, MV Agusta Brutale 800, Yamaha MT-09 and Honda CB650F, alongside the newly launched Kawasaki Z900.

As a middleweight, such a motorcycle is expected to be versatile, and the Street Triple 675 is no exception. Taking the trademark inline-three, Triumph engineers, from the outset, had three specific variants in mind. This then begat the ‘S’, ‘R’ and ‘RS’ models.

Each comes with with a specific set of cams and state of tune, to deliver the type of performance the bike’s demographic wants. In the case of the base ‘S’ model and the top-of-the-range ‘RS’, both share the same set of cams, but very different states of tune.

The differentiation also extends to the suspension, with each bike delivering a specific type of suspension performance to suit different riding styles. Coupled with the all-new 765 cc triple, Triumph’s new middleweight has become a rather more specialised machine, although, at its heart, the Street Triple is still a very capable all-rounder, as we were to find out.

At the bottom of the range is the Street Triple 765 S, which puts out 111.5 hp at 11,250 rpm and 73 Nm of torque at 9,100 rpm, while the 765 R pumps out 116.4 hp at 12,000 rpm and 77 Nm of torque at 9,400 rpm. But the one we were in Catalunya to test was the Street Triple RS, rated at 121.4 hp at 11,700 rpm and 77 Nm of torque at 10,800 rpm.

Touted as the ultimate performance street bike, the 765 RS is, in Triumph’s words, designed to be a weapon on the track and street. Starting with the engine, Triumph engineers turned the 675 cc mill into a true three-quarter litre power plant.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

This is a lot harder than it sounds, as Stuart Wood, who led the Triple 765 development team, pointed out. “We could have easily made the 765 bigger than the 675. Maybe 12 millimetres here, another 15 millimetres there, but we wanted to preserve the dimensions of the 675, and make the new machine a lot better, power wise.”

Dimensionally, the 765 is the same as the 675, but 2 kg lighter in dry weight. The riding position is almost identical to the 675, save for the fact the rider now sits a little closer to the handlebars, to place more weight over the front end.

Approaching the Street Triple 765, you are struck by how similar it looks to the 675. Then you start noticing the differences, the biggest among which is the gull-wing swingarm. Made from cast alloy, the new rear-end is designed to add stiffness.

You might think that with the gull-wing arm, the wheelbase of the 765 would be longer than the 675, but this is not so. Wheelbase length for both the old and new Street Triples is 1,410 mm.

Getting on the Triple 765, the new for 2017 split seat provides a touch more comfort that the 675. On the 765 RS, the bike comes with both a pillion seat and solo tail unit, allowing the bike to be swapped between single rider and pillion duties with the twist of a key.

As previously mentioned, the rider now sits a little closer to the handlebars, and we noticed this immediately. The thing is, after about a half hour in the saddle, riding the highway out of Seva and into the country roads towards Perafita, we no longer noticed the difference.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

Starting up the 765 brings the triple to life, with the familiar unbalanced rumble of a three-cylinder. While the audio from the new Triple is nice, what it really needs is the OEM Arrow slip-on exhaust to bring out the bark from the engine.

Placing our hands on the adjustable billet aluminium adjustable levers – standard on the RS, the brake lever being a Brembo MCS 19:21 unit adjustable for both span and lever ratio – we clicked the gearbox into first and set off. And a second difference made itself known.

The takeoff, with rolling on the throttle, revealed a very smooth fueling curve. No hesitation, no stumble, no necessity to twist the throttle a little quicker to get over a flat spot. This is very different from the 675, which sometimes stumbles and jerks at very small throttle openings.

Clicking the upshift only quickshifter-equipped gearbox through the cogs, the same slick shifting movement we knew from the 675 was the same, but even smoother this time, with no “clunk” to be heard during hard upshifts and downshifts. Full disclosure, the author has a 2015 Triumph Street Triple 675 R in the stable.

As we took to the country roads, at a cruising pace of about 100 km/h, the 765 RS’ suspension was firm, but compliant. Suspended with a Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF) in front, and Ohlins STX40 piggyback reservoir monoshock at the rear – both fully adjustable – the RS is clearly designed to perform on the racetrack.

Thus, the somewhat comfortable time we had in the saddle, indicated that the Triumph engineers got the balance between performance and comfort almost right, save for a slight choppiness when handling small ruts in the road. This tendency to feel firm, especially at highway speeds, is also inherent in the Triple 675.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

Once we had the chance to pull open the throttle though, the increase in torque throughout the rev range – with a 13% increase in maximum torque – made itself known. Even in fifth gear, the engine would easily pull the RS forward, albeit with a little protest.

Running the Street Triple 765 RS through the narrow country roads, following the leader, it felt planted and sure, with feedback from the standard fitment Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas being completely adequate, despite the morning cold. Special note, the 765 RS we were riding was fitted with heated grips, an optional accessory from the Triumph catalogue, and very welcome.

Heading further up the hills, the roads began getting tighter, with corners doubling back on themselves. This was when the RS came into its element, responding accurately to rider control, and holding the line in a corner, with nothing to distract the rider from the suspension.

The view from the standard fitment bar-end mirrors was good, and better than the catalogue items fitted to the author’s 675 R. The entire bike, as a whole, just worked to provide the fun factor in the ride. Even a mid-corner course correction to avoid some horse manure was done without drama or fuss at something above cruising speed.

It is worth noting that the drivers, and riders, on Spanish roads are terribly disciplined, and on the highway, road manners were exemplary. As we hit sections of multi-lane highway, the 765 RS was stable, and composed, showing no signs of being disturbed by the backwash of the huge lorries we were passing.

During the highway sections, we took the time to play with some of the functions in the 765 RS’ multi-function TFT-LCD display. As the top-of-the-line model, the RS comes with two user selectable themes, which gives six options on how the rider wants the virtual instruments displayed.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

Selecting one of the five ride modes was also done on the fly. The instrument cluster was impressive, for a middleweight sports bike, and also included a lap timer. While such things are not new, finding it on a bike at this price point is impressive.

Arriving at the Circuit de Catalunya, the gaggle of 765 RS’ were immediately washed and tire warmers put on. After the safety briefing, we were let out on the track, in the company of two-time Isle of Man TT winner Gary “Gaz” Johnson.

Heading out on the very recently redesigned circuit – a new chicane was installed coming into the final turn to slow things down after the death of Moto2 rider Luis Salom – the Triple 765 immediately felt in its environment. The seat allowed for quick transitions to the left and right, and despite the closeness of the bars, there was enough space to move aft and get the chin on the tank.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

Tilted over at full pelt the 765 RS felt nothing but composed. No head shake, no wriggling, no squirming. The new swingarm had a part to play since with the 675, we could feel the swingarm flexing just that tiny little bit when the throttle was whacked open.

Nothing of the sort here, the chassis providing all the necessary stiffness to keep the bike on track and steady. It is worth noting that during both the road and track sessions, steering effort was light, and precise. No twitchiness here, or that “power steering” feeling that comes with wide handlebars on naked bikes.

Riding through the three track sessions provided, we took the opportunity to put the Brembo M50 MonoBloc radial brake callipers to the test – the R model gets Brembo M4.32 clamps while the S has Nissin pots – and, as expected of Brembo’s best, the brakes performed well with no hint of fade.

Throughout all this, again, we never noticed any discomfort in the seating position, or the seat itself. Keeping the same hand-seat-foot ratio as the 675, the 765 RS allows the rider to concentrate purely on piloting the bike, with no distractions.

The word we would use to describe the 2017 Street Triple 765 RS, if we could use only one word instead of an entire review, would be ‘balanced’. It is easy to see that a lot of thought went into the design and build of the 765 RS, despite its outward resemblance to the 675.

This was done on purpose, as can be seen in the automotive world. Unless your design is something spectacular, it pays to preserve the bike’s original fan base. For the 765 RS, the design philosophy was to make it the same, but better.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

And it shows. The new engine with more torque and power is easily controlled with the very precise ride-by-wire. The new LED DRLs and redesigned headlights still give the Street Triple that “hooligan unfinished project bike” look, but do a better job of lighting up the roads.

Even the little bump pad on the seat cowl with the embossed Triumph logo shows that every single detail has been given some thought. There was really only one fault we could find with the Street Triple, and that was the horn was anaemic. Not that it matters. Hard core road riders would soon fit a set of Steibels, while track day heroes would soon throw it in the bin.

It would be recommended that frame sliders be installed at the point of purchase, as the radiator is a little exposed, as is the coolant reservoir on the left side. But, as a entire package, the 765 RS works very well.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

We did not get any pricing for the Street Triple 765 RS, as pricing will be decided by Malaysian distributor Fast Bikes. However, from the pricing currently offered in Europe, we would hazard a guess at the 765 RS coming in above the RM70,000 point.

So, who needs the 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS? This is not a difficult question to answer, as the Street Triple is designed, from the outset, to provide performance on both the street and track, making it very versatile. Again, the word we would use it balanced.

As a daily rider, with the addition of a tank bag and a back pack, the 765 RS would do very well for fast commutes to work and general riding duties. Taken out to the race track, or canyon strafing, it has enough performance and handing to put full-on sports bikes with fairings to shame.

REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

For riders who don’t want something as hard-edged as the RS with its premium suspension, the R model would do just as well for light touring and long distance trips, while the S would be great for urban riding and the occasional jaunt out of town without paying the premium for high end components.

There is no word yet on exactly which models from Triumph’s new Street Triple range will be brought in to Malaysia, but we know for a fact the RS model is definitely on the shipping list. This is scheduled for around April, and bookings are being taken now.

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