If you’re after a sporty and capable middleweight on a budget, then Triumph’s new Trident is probably on your radar. But, with so much tough competition, can it truly deliver class-beating performance at an entry level price?
Over the last few years, the naked, middleweight market has been one of the most hotly contested categories in the world of two wheels, and for good reason.
Not only is there a huge amount of choice in terms of models, but these bikes really do offer an incredibly fun and confidence inspiring riding experience, whether you’re commuting to work or going for a Sunday afternoon razz – or even wanting something that does both, without breaking the bank.
We’re talking about the likes of Suzuki’s SV650, Kawasaki’s Z650, Yamaha’s MT-07, Honda’s CBR650R… and now, there’s a new entry from Hinckley’s very own Triumph: The Trident.
So, does it sound any good? The answer to that has to be a resounding yes. Triumph have really gone to work with the Trident, as although the three-cylinder engine may seem similar to what was used in their outgoing Street Triple S, there’s a not insignificant 67 new parts, covering everything from a new bore and stoke, to new crankshaft and pistons.
In terms of performance, when all of these new goodies are added up the Trident pumps out 80bhp and 64Nm of torque, which isn’t bad at all – especially when 90% of the torque is available from 3,600rpm to 9,750rpm.
They’ve then carefully placed that engine inside a steel, tubeless chassis and given it a real premium touch in terms of components: as standard you get Showa suspension, Nissin brakes, Michelin rubber and a TFT dash, which allows you to choose between two different rider modes (Road and Rain), while you can even mess around with the traction control settings if you wish.
Now that’s a lot of bang for the buck, especially as the Trident is on the market at £7,195, making it priced competitively in its segment. For comparison, the SV650 sits at the lowest end of the scale at £6,499, while the CB650R is the priciest at £7,199, with the Z650 and MT-07 in between, at £6,649 and £6,902 respectively. But does it cut the mustard against these middleweight stalwarts?
A finished article
The look, feel and finish on the Trident certainly suggests it does, especially considering it comes it at just a snip over £7k. Little things, like having high-end Showa logos adorning the black front forks, and neat touches like the etched Triumph logos on the fuel cap just make it feel that little bit more exclusive than its price tag suggests.
It’s been well thought out too, and that feeling stretches to jumping on for the very first time. Everything just fits so well; from the positioning of the footpegs, to the angle of the handlebars and how the controls are laid out, the Trident instantly feels like home – especially with the little things, like an adjustable brake lever which is a really nice touch.
A vital feature for a bike in this sector is the height, and thankfully even though I’m only 5’7, thanks to the relatively low seat of 805mm, I could easily get both feet on the floor.
Things get even better with a click of the ignition, as that raspy triple motor bursts into life with an absolutely gorgeous note from the underbelly exhaust.
If you love how silky the bigger triple cylinder engines from Triumph sound, then you really won’t be disappointed with this 660cc motor – it sounds every bit a proper machine.
But the best part is, it feels it too; not only is the ride-by-wire throttle incredibly smooth at the lower echelon of the rev range, but that engine really comes alive when it clears the magical 3,600rpm mark. It picks up so effortlessly and pulls with ease, and carries on well north of 10,000rpm – although if I did have one gripe with the engine, it’s that it actually feels almost too smooth for its own good, which loses the sort of aggression that I’d personally go for in a naked machine.
Saying that though, I’m pretty picky and it’s by no means a bad thing for a lot of riders. Many will be buying the Trident as their first big bike, or perhaps as a returning rider, and this smoothness is certainly not intimidating.
Even for more experienced riders, the Trident delivers its excitement with an incredibly potent combination of a strong chassis, and capable, well set-up suspension. It never felt too stiff, handling potholes, speed bumps and grim stretches of tarmac with ease, but even so, the Trident’s Showa suspension offers up an incredible amount of support, even when you get a bit of a move on.
It’s sublimely stable through faster, sweeping corners and those Michelins are more than happy to handle the abuse, which makes a truly great recipe for inspiring confidence - whether you’re tiptoeing in and out of traffic or tipping into a corner on your favourite B-road.
The sub-£8k naked sector hasn’t really been known for housing bikes with a high-end handling ability, yet the Trident really does go the extra mile in terms of its setup, and when you add in some impressive brakes, with an ABS system that isn’t overly intrusive, it just really completes the package in terms of rideability.
As far as the little things go, the Trident’s user interface and TFT dash is incredibly effective at showing what you need and is very easy to use. Personally, I felt the ‘Road’ mode was soft enough to cover all conditions, but if you prefer an even more gentle throttle connection selecting ‘Rain’ will do that.
The buttons and switchgears work a treat, and the settings are easy to change. For an extra £200 you can even add Bluetooth connectivity to connect up with your smart phone, which is a brilliant feature.
Overall, it’s hard not to be impressed with Triumph’s new Trident. It’s got a sleek design that not only looks trick from afar, but is matched by a quality finish up close. The engine, although not mind-blowingly electrifying in terms of its pure power delivery makes up for it by being incredibly smooth, with a brilliant throttle response that’s silkier than Egyptian cotton.
Triumph have then stuck this into an incredibly potent handling platform, comprising of quality components such as the suspension and the brakes, that are really complimented by the capable chassis.
For good measure, they’ve even thrown in a bit of luxury as well, courtesy of not just the little details like etched logos, but the quality TFT dash that houses the different rider modes and settings. It can’t have been an easy brief to follow, creating a well-designed, highly spec’d machine to a (relatively) low budget at their first attempt, yet Triumph really have hit the nail on the head.
Triumph had to bring their A-game to even compete with the competition. Not only have they done that, but they’ve stuck themselves at the very forefront of the class. Nice work, Triumph.
Words: Carl Stevens
Images: Triumph Motorcycles