In its middleweight naked sports range, Triumph has had resounding success with the Street Triple 675, since its launch in 2007. Riders found a lot to like about the 675, with its light weight and nimble handling.

Last year, the boys from Hinckley followed the 675 up with the Street Triple 765 and raised the performance stakes a notch with the RS version, designed with an eye to track use. Triumph did not forget the “normal” rider though, producing the 765 in R and S versions.

But, curious minds want to know, what is different? Are there enough differences between the S and RS as to justify the almost RM18,000 price difference between the base and top models, at RM49,900 and RM66,900 respectively?

Moreover, is the performance gap between the new all-singing, all-dancing 765 RS that much better than the previous-generation 675 R, which was, in itself, no slouch in the handling stakes, both of which made the Top Five bikes list two years running.

Here’s the thing, and it is full disclosure time, the author has the Street Triple 765 RS in the stable, and the 675 R was a recent resident. So, when Triumph Malaysia gave us the Street Triple 765 S for review, the riding writers from took the chance to put all three side-by-side, to find out what was what.

With three triples on our hands, we are quite aware that both the 765 RS and S are designed to do quite different things, despite having the same overall dimensions and engine configuration. Add the 675 R into the mix, a bike designed to be a good all-rounder, and the equation became rather more interesting.

Starting with the 765 RS, which the author first rode during the media ride in Catalunya, Spain, in February of last year, it was found to be the very balanced, very poised, and handled like it was on rails. This was mainly due to the suspension components on the RS – Showa 41 mm diameter big piston forks (BPF) and Ohlins STX40 rear absorber, both fully-adjustable.

Having lived with the 765 RS on a full-time basis, as putting it into service as a car substitute, it has behaved well, doing the school run without complaint, and shuttling back and forth for work and events. But, would you daily drive the equivalent of a performance sports car?

No doubt, some people do, and all the better for them, but performance vehicles demand performance rubber, and the commensurate maintenance costs, and changing tyres every 4,000 km and brake pads every 10,000 gets old pretty fast. So, what is the alternative?

For the rider who does not need the high-end suspension and brake components of the 765 RS, the alternate choice is the 765 S. Designed from the get-go as an all-round commuter machine, the S version of Triumph’s 765-series bikes is rather softer and less hard-edged compared to the RS.

Getting on the 765 S, the seat height is lower than the 765 RS, by some 15 mm, putting the rider of the S at 810 mm, compared to the RS’ 835 mm. This of course means most riders will get their feet down comfortably, something that can be essential in slow-moving traffic and on slippery parking lot surfaces.

This compares against the 805 mm of the 675 R, which places the rider that little bit closer to the ground. Now, in the grand scheme of things, 5 mm is not a lot, but for some riders, this is important.

Once in the saddle, the riding position between the 765 and 675 are almost the same, but not quite. As we remarked during the media ride of the 765 RS, the reach to the handlebars is just a touch longer, enough to be noticeable but not enough to cause issues.

This extends to the stepped seat on the 675 R, compared to the two-piece affair on the 765 RS and S. The rider seat on the RS is certainly cut for race track duties, narrow in front and wide in the rear, with enough place to get the butt far back and chin on the tank.

As for the S version, the seat is a black vinyl affair, much the same as the 675 R, and considering the budget conscious consideration for this bike, we can understand why the higher quality pleather set cover from the 765 RS isn’t used. The RS also gets a pillion seat cover, which can be installed and removed with the turn of a key, exposing a small cubby under the seat.

Big enough to carry a proper puncture repair kit and some other bits and pieces, the same cover can be used on the 765 S, and indeed, is available as a option from the Triumph catalogue should you feel so inclined. As for the 675 R, the single long seat does make it a little bulky, compared to the 765’s rather slim body.

In any case, we had no issues with seat comfort on either the 765 or 675. Indeed, the 675 was subjected to an epic 1,400 km journey in 20 hours, a ride we did in pursuit of an Iron Butt certification and the long-distance comfort was just fine.

Heading in to the power department, the RS, of course, with its 121 hp at 11,700 rpm and 77 Nm of torque at 10,800 rpm, heads up the leader board, with the S coming in at 111 hp and 73 Nm torque. The 675 R had 107 hp and 69 Nm. As can be seen, aside from the top end power of the RS, the trio of triples are fairly close in the torque stakes.

But, as we were to find out, all three behave quite differently on the road. With the new 765 triple engine only having about 20% of parts in common with the 675 mill, Triumph has managed to produce two similar but different engines.

Base difference is in the power delivery, with the RS being a lot more urgent above 8,000 rpm, while the S delivers its grunt a little lower down. In terms of feel, the 765 S is like a 675 R on steroids, still a bit of a raw, bruiser of a bike.

The 765 RS, on the other hand, is a surgically precise tool. Taking corners on the RS is an exercise in choosing the line and trusting the tyres. The 765 S is more forgiving in the cornering stakes, and will tolerate a little ham-fistedness on the throttle.

Pushed to the edge, the S doesn’t like it much, not like the 675 R and 765 RS. The steering effort is a little heavier than the RS, and it does not have the instant response and ability to chuck it into a corner.

The S would do it, but there is a slight lag in response and it does not feel as eager as the other two triples. Saying that, for a bike meant for daily use and commuting duties, razor sharp steering response is not necessarily a good thing.

Staying relaxed on the handlebars while allowing the suspension to soak up the bumps and ruts on the road is what a daily rider like the S should be doing, and that is what it does. The bars are a little buzzy though, and while the vibration is not unbearable, engine vibration on hard acceleration will be felt in the hands.

Braking on the 765 S is a little, shall we say, on the soft side. Coming from the Brembo M50 units on the 765 RS, there is a certain lack of bite and feel on the S’ Nissin brakes.

Compared against the Nissin units, the 675 R’s exhibits much better braking feel. Again, for the 765 S’ price point, we can’t complain too loudly, considering the intent of the bike for the budget end of the three-quarter litre naked sports bike market.

A fair amount of technology is included in the 765 RS in terms of riding aids, including four ride modes – Rain, Road, Sport and a custom Rider mode – and switchable ABS and traction control. The S version only comes with Rain and Road modes, and like the RS, switchable ABS and traction control. The 675 R only comes with ABS.

Coming down to the fuel consumption, we neglected to do any sort of monitoring for the RS over the year, simply because it has been setup as a track weapon, and fuel usage is the last thing on the author’s mind. However, with the S, we did manage to record an average of 5.4 litres per 100 km, which we found acceptable, as the S was being ridden hard.

Compared to the 675 R, which recorded some 5.6 l/100 km based on the bike computer, this is indeed respectable, as the 765 spots the 675 some 90 cc in capacity, and a few more horsepower to boot. All in, in terms of engine response and power delivery, it came down to the 765 RS for precision and power, the 765 S for steady-state highway cruising, and the 675 R was, at the base of it, just a little rough.

As they say, technology marches on, and this can be seen in the cockpit of the 765 RS, with its five-inch multi-function colour TFT LCD screen. All singing and all dancing, everything on the panel is controlled by two buttons and a five-way joystick.

On the 765 S, it is obvious the bike is built to a budget, as it carries the same analogue/digital panel as the 675 R. If you need to have the latest and the greatest, look to the RS, otherwise the clock and LCD panel on the S is perfectly adequate for general riding duties.

So, who needs the 2018 Triumph 765 S? Many local riders consider Triumph to be a premium brand, when in truth it slots in rather neatly just above the Japanese makes, and below the two big boys from the continent, BMW Motorrad and Ducati. In terms of value for money, the 765 S does tick all the right boxes.

It should be noted at this juncture that Triumph Malaysia is not bringing in the 765 R, except as a “Low Seat” model. This is because the price difference between the R and RS simply does not justify the jump in performance level, as stated by Datuk Malique, chief executive officer of Triumph Malaysia. “For a few thousand dollars more, the rider gets this amazing leap in performance and components, so we cannot bring the 765 R in simply because we won’t manage to sell any,” he said.

Local competition for the RM49,900 765 S includes the four-cylinder Kawasaki Z900 ABS, at RM49,158, and more closely, the recently updated 2018 Yamaha MT-09 ABS triple at RM47,388. There is, of course the cachet that you’re riding something a little outside the mainstream, and is not Japanese, German or Italian.

If you’re in the market for a daily rider above the middleweight class, and regularly do long runs on the highway, the Triumph Street Triple 765 S would be worth taking a look at. As for the author, you can have his 765 RS when you pry it from his cold, dead hands.

GALLERY: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS

GALLERY: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 S

GALLERY: 2015 Triumph Street Triple 675 R