Since it first showed up in 2007, it’s safe to say Triumph’s Street Triple has been universally accepted as the standard by which all others are measured in the increasingly popular middleweight naked class. You’ll be hard pushed to find anyone who has a bad word to say about any of the previous four generations of Street Triple, and this heavily updated fifth generation version is no different.
It's a huge amount of work done to a bike nobody ever suggested needed anything doing to it. Nobody apart from the people at Triumph, that is, who cite lessons learned from their time as the sole engine supplier for Moto2 as the reason they just couldn’t leave the Street Triple alone.
And Triumph haven’t messed about with updating the Street Triples, and as if to put their money where their mouths are, took us to Jerez, the iconic home to the Spanish round of MotoGP, to let us have a gallop on the RS, then a full day riding the R and RS in the local hills.
The RS was simply brilliant on the track and, if I’m honest, was a lot better than I expected. For a bike with “only” 128bhp to be so fun, competent and fast on track is a sign of just how well Triumph have harnessed the power it has available. With the electronics set to Track I didn’t feel any intervention from the traction control, even though I could see the little yellow light flashing on the dashboard to let me know it was working. This is a big step forward for Triumph because the previous model had an abrupt cut and release to the power which you could feel, and which noticeably and frustratingly slowed you down. Not so anymore.
The engine really likes to be revved, which adds to the overall enjoyment and experience of riding the RS flat out. The rev limiter is also new, in so much as it is a lot softer if you should have the misfortune to bump into it, something which is sadly too common an occurrence on the RS thanks to a virtually impossible to read rev counter and lack of a shift light. The dashboard layout(s) on the RS are bizarre. I just don’t understand how it’s possible to present so much information on such a large screen and virtually none of it be visible at a glance. There are loads of different layouts to choose form for the screen, but none of them are as good as the simpler, smaller, plainer dashboard on the lower spec R, which also has a better interface.
On the road the RS’s playful side emerges and, while it’s sharper handling on the road is welcome, the refinement and quality of the ride really stand out. The RS’s biggest problem on the road is the more road focused, and much more modest R model. It feels like it’s got a bit more power lower down in the rev range than the RS, and has slightly smoother throttle pick up. On the road, the RS can rarely take advantage of its higher spec and extra power over the R. The rear shock in the R might not be a posh Öhlins, but the Showa unit is very good quality, plus its forks are the same as the RS’s. Also, the Continental tyres are a factor by being far more suited for the road than the RS’s Pirellis. What’s more, the lower rear end and slightly lazier steering of the R just made it that bit better at coping with bumps and uneven surfaces you get on a road and not on a MotoGP spec race track.
I enjoyed both bikes on the road, and the R makes a very strong case for your money. Dynamically the differences between it and the RS would only really be noticeable on the track, so choosing one over the other would be tricky. The R is £9595, which puts it on the same short list as the Aprilia Tuono 660 and Yamaha MT-09, and at £11,295 the RS is going for the KTM 890 Duke R, Yamaha MT-09SP, Ducati Monster and Kawasaki Z900SE.
Overall, Triumph say they’ve made the Street Triple more agile and more aggressive, and they absolutely have delivered on that promise. This fifth generation incarnation of it is impressive for a lot of reasons, not least because it was already the benchmark, and Triumph really didn’t need to do anything to it anyway.
They might not look radically different to the machines they replace, but there’s a lot of new engineering going on in the latest Street Triples…
Both the R and the RS get the same heavily revised engine with new higher lift cams, new machined pistons, longer valves, new combustion chamber design for a higher compression ratio up to 13.25:1, bigger inlet port design and new stronger conrods to cope with the extra power. There are shorter throttle trumpets and a new exhaust which now only has one catalytic converter, instead of two. The aim is to get the air and fuel in and out of the combustion chamber faster, and burn more of it while it's in there.
That’s where the sharing ends. The bikes each get a different tune via fuel and ignition mapping, as well as the RS revving 500rpm higher. The result is the R delivers 118bhp at 500rpm lower than the previous model, while the RS gets 128bhp. Both have the same peak torque of 80Nm.
They also get a heavily revised gearbox with a taller first gear, and shorter gears from second through to sixth gear. The final drive also gets pepped up with the front sprocket losing a tooth, and the rear sprocket gaining two teeth.
Elsewhere, the geometry of both bikes is sharper and shorter than the 2022 bike. They both have shorter wheelbases, taller ride height and sharper steering, with the RS being even shorter and with a 10mm taller ride height, which means less steering rake than the R.
There isn’t a single line of software code for the electronic rider aids package that has been carried over from the 2022 bike. Ride modes (Rain, Road, Sport, Rider and Track on the RS only) feature their own pre-set parameters for the throttle map, cornering ABS and traction control, plus the brakes are now linked.
There is of course a difference in the specification of many of the components between the R and RS, as you would expect. The RS gets an Öhlins rear shock where the R gets a Showa unit, both are fully adjustable. The RS gets Brembo Stylema brake calipers, Brembo MCS adjustable-span and ratio levers, Pirelli Supercorsa tyres, “Track” mode unlocked and a full colour TFT display, compared to Brembo M4.32 calipers, normal levers, Continental Contiroad tyres and a smaller TFT display on the R. Both bikes share the same wheels and bodywork, as well as the fully adjustable Showa BPF forks.
Triumph Street Triple 765 R (RS)
Price: £9595 (RS £11,295)
Engine: 765cc, liquid-cooled, 3-cylinder
Power: 118bhp @ 11,500rpm (RS 128bhp @12,000rpm)
Torque: 80Nm @ 9,500rpm
Wet Weight: 189kg (RS 188Kg)
Street Triple history
The Street Triple started out as something of a parts bin special when it was first introduced in Triumph’s line-up. To find out how it graduated from a budget bike to the leader of the pack, read our Triumph Street Triple history.
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Words: John McAvoy