Best bikes for under £5k: 2005-2011 Triumph Speed Triple

By MCN -

General news

 25 June 2013 06:30

What was it like then?
When Triumph released the Speed Triple in 1050cc form in 2005 it really did set the benchmark. It was so good it remained top of the naked bike class for a staggering six years until the model was revamped at the end of 2011.

It won MCN group test after group test, dusting off top-quality European competition like the Ducati Streetfighter, KTM 990 Super Duke and even the MV Agusta Brutale. Kawasaki had its Z1000, which was revised in 2010, but it wasn’t a match for the mighty Speed Triple. 

The twin-headlight design was carried over from its predecessor and was synonymous with Triumph. The twin, almost underseat, exhausts were a nice touch and so was the single-sided swingarm. From 2008 Brembo calipers added extra bling and stopping power and the fuel injection was also tweaked at the same time.

We loved its fun nature and sporty handling. It was fast and grunty with around 113bhp at the back wheel, delivered on a plate of torque from the fuel-injected 1050cc in-line triple.

In fact that triple was its ace card: it made the Speed Triple easy to ride without spoiling the fun for the more experienced rider and all along it sounded lovely. The fully adjustable suspension was on the firm side, and for long-distance touring it wasn’t the best, but for out-of-the-crate fun the Triumph was nearly perfect. 

Despite strong competition the 2005-2011 Speed Triple remained on top throughout its lifetime – a testament to how good the original was back in 2005. If money is tight opt for the original ’05 model, as you can pick up tidy examples for around £3500. However for £5000 you can just afford a 2008 model with the revised fuelling and Brembo stoppers.

What is it like now?
Triumph updated the Speed Triple in late 2011, with new styling, frame, wheels and brakes.

The engine was moved in the frame, but the end result wasn’t drastically different from the 2005 bike, which means in terms of outright power the old model isn’t too far behind the new bike. And many still prefer the twin round headlights of the old bike over the new look.

On the whole Speed Triples have aged well. They have plenty of character and a 2005 model doesn’t seem like an eight-year-old machine – its handling and engine were ahead of the time.

Even compared to modern-day nakeds the old Triple wouldn’t be outclassed in either category. The only drawback of the old model against a modern day naked is the Triumph’s weight, a top-heavy feel and a lack of rider aids.

However some owners actually prefer the heavy, secure feeling of the Speed Triple over its lighter, livelier modern day competition.

Price for a good one: £3500 to £5000
ENGINE: 12v dohc, 1050cc water-cooled inline triple
POWER: 128bhp @ 9250rpm
TORQUE: 78ftlb @ 7550rpm
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT: 189kg
SEAT HEIGHT: 815mm
WHEELBASE: 1429mm
TOP SPEED: 150mph
MPG: 40