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A New Beginning
With over 30,000 miles on the Street Triple, it was time to find a replacement.
I could easily have had another, it’s certainly unbelievably good but where’s the fun in that?
Having done the Sprint St and the Street Triple, the Speed Triple was the obvious choice.
In fact, I was dead set on a Speed two years ago but one test ride on a Street forced a change of plan.
I will try to put together some kind of comparison of the Three Triples – Street, Sprint ST, Speed
Three – It’s the Magic Number
I still feel a delight in riding a three-cylinder machine. I’m not the only one to have discovered this little secret. I know why most still choose the four cylinder creatures.
They look at the spec sheets and allow top end, quarter mile and bhp to play an uneven part in the selection process.
Perhaps the old fashioned ‘comes with a free oil leak,’ reputation of Triumph still lingers but those days are gone….well almost……
I do remember that the Sprint ST liked a bit of oil between services, not the Street but now I have the same engine again
…note to self: ‘ fortnightly oil check’
I’m not including the track tarts in my dismissal of performance stats; if that’s your buzz, then fractions of a second really do matter and you need to know your R’s from your RR’s and your RRR’s, although they could be a little more creative with the bike names. I would need to change my football season ticket from Premier league to the Osteopaths league though; it’s noticeable how I emit a little grunt with each set of aerobic challenges, like moving for example
I mean no harm to my track loving brothers, in fact I must give it a go before it's too late. The performance figures do not tell you how quickly you get to a 94 mph (beyond that point is a court appearance – been there, done that; once was enough and it worked – never again; I kept my license though) or where the powerband is; they do sometimes give you roll on acceleration figures but these figures are often so blunt that they achieve little more that putting machines into some kind of order.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Top Trumps but by the time you hit the powerband on a meaty four pot japarama, you have either run out of road or are looking at a three figure number on your speedo. I really, really try to avoid three figure numbers now. I need my license and having spent five days going to work on the bus and train recently, I never want that to become any kind of prolonged reality. I am haunted by the painful memory of waiting at a bus stop for the 05.31 bus. Talking about mad speeds: there is good reason for insurance companies making quick bikes unaffordable for the young and beautiful; with youth and beauty comes rash use of the throttle and a refusal to consider mortality.
If anyone gave me GSXR for my 18th, I’m sad to report I would be dead.
The three-cylinder machine is perfect for British roads; acceleration on tap from standstill and bags of oomph in every gear. I think 151mph is fast enough, certainly fast enough to put your liberty into serious doubt. Incidentally, the top whack on the Street was 141 mph and I never felt oppressed by my inability to hit 170. The 1050 lump is a road bike engine and they have put it into a road frame; seems like common sense to me. As a footnote, the street red lined at 13,500 revs.
Fantastic buzz but difficult to find the time and space on our congested UK roads.
Of course, if you want the ultimate only a GSXR type can do that – and the 750 is the toast of the town – I think it looks great too!
A thou Japanese racer is fine for a weekend warrior but I really wouldn’t want to live with one day in day out. I would love one in the garage though.
The Speed Triple was a bike that I knew everything and nothing about.
I had ridden over 40,000 miles with the identical 1050 lump in the Sprint and over 30,000 miles with the riding position of the Street.
I had test ridden a 2009 Speed before buying the Street and felt that it was lumpy and top heavy compared to the light and razor sharp little Street.
I had also spent so much time with the 1050 the engine that I fancied a change.
I felt that I was stepping onto an un-faired Sprint – which basically it is. I actually felt that the 2009 Speed was muscle bound, a victim of its own gym sessions.
I was really keen to experience the new Speed, as it has lost a few pounds and gained a riding position more akin to the Street, according to the marketing boys in Triumph. I’m guessing that the massive success of the Street forced Triumph into making the Speed more ‘Streety.’
I found the Street much more comfy to ride than the Sprint, although the saddle was clearly budget.
The Speed is like any machine, partly blissful and partly a compromise. The only way to avoid this is either to have a garage bulging with bikes or an Inspector Gadget motorbike,
able to morph between, streetfighter, tourer, bumble abouter and racer at will.
Given that neither of those are terribly likely, the Speed will do nicely for the next year or two.
I simply adored the Street but I did feel vulnerable in the wind and less at home on the motorway than on a city Street (see how Triumph were clever to incorporate this into the title).
If I only rode in London or in any city, I would say that the Street is a better weapon but the vibration through the bars on the motorway, the high revs – 85000rpm when cruising
and the seemingly endless changing of gear because of the close ratio gearbox, all stand as disadvantages to the little diamond.
I do think that the Street feels faster. …although it isn’t
it’s a second slower over a quarter mile but to ride the two back to back, you really wouldn’t know.
Spec sheets only tell you so much and let’s face it, they are both more than fast enough to please most.
The only time I ever go near forums is when I have found myself looking for a new bike. Do these guys ever ride? Or are they just virtual fantasists?
Indeed can you be a virtual fantasist or is that a paradox? Move on….
Let’s get down to looks. Triumph forums are awash with enthusiasts declaring their polarised views of the new headlights. Oh, if you’re really bored go onto one of the two Forums with a question like: ‘ I’ve been told that the Street is a much better bike than the Speed, I guess you guys are experts so why exactly would I buy one?’
2 millions posts later and the ratchet jaws still couldn’t let it go!
They are both great and the Sprint – Get Over It.
I’m guessing it means that the new 2011 Speed is probably better, if the only negative are the bug eyes.
Dame Edna Everage is a good description of the new bug eyes and I have gone from disliking…. to neutral and possibly edging towards liking them more than the old round ones.
The gearbox is reasonably smooth but in my experience, that will get better over time. I’m happy to have more info on the clocks, the street was a bit Spartan in that department.
To quote a forum poster:
‘The Street is built to a budget, the Speed to a specification.’
I think that there is some truth in that but the mirrors, lack of fly screen and cheap brake fluid reservoirs lead you to think that the bike was manufactured with the accessories catalogue in mind. I do miss the gear indicator from the Street; maybe it’s my inadequacy but:
I will insist on trying to find seventh gear and quite often one attempt does not convince me.
I don’t miss it enough to want to do anything about it but it was handy. I’m also going to have a go at trying to do something more useful with the rev / gear change light. I basically ignored it on the Street and when I finally got round to trying to tweak it, I had no success. Turns out the wiring loom was cooked but it was all fixed under warranty; cue memories of 05.31 bus, me and the station cleaners.
Is it worth two grand more than the Street ?
The Street is so good that this is a really tough one!
The engines are different but both outstanding in their own ways, so you cannot really quantify that.
The extra power and torque are noticeable, allied to the longer gearing.
It sounds better and it is more comfortable overall.
For two up work, usually bigger is better but I took a 6’2’’ friend on the Street and he really found it
comfortable and easy to get along with.
The street is more flickable and better handling; in town the street is a better bike.
Elsewhere the Speed probably wins out.
It could be my imagination but I do seem to feel less weary after my daily 120 mile commute on the Speed.
I should mention that the Speed has a low centre of gravity and does not feel too heavy in town,
especially given that I am only just long enough to ride it. I find the fuelling marginally better on the Speed.
The Street could occasionally be a little snatchy and catch you out but not worse than anything else I have ridden.
I’m still 300 miles short of running in the Speed, so any comments on performance would be worthless at this stage. It’s a bigger bike and it takes more stopping. The brakes are excellent and I lock up the rear brake as regularly as on every other bike I have ridden, well…apart from the BMW R65, they were really poor. So that’s poor riding, rather than anything else, some twelve year old habits from bicycles tend to stick. At least I don’t lock up the front.
Fuel economy is somewhere between the Street and the Sprint but the larger fuel tank is something I really missed on the smaller bike. I used to have to stop for fuel every day, that was a real bind and added time to my journey, even though the credit card into petrol pump system is something I have really grown to love. I reckon you’re good for about 150 miles plus out of a tank and I do love the way the clock will count down how many miles you have left before pushing. The Street has no such luxury and I did run out of petrol for the first time ever on that machine. Clearly it was my own stupid fault but on the plus side, it was really easy to push.
Am I happy I changed to a Speed? Yes and No but for my journey,
the Speed is a more complete machine.
I can tell that already. It is a better mile muncher and overall is more comfy, if only because it’s working so much within itself rather than being thrashed. I’ve got a feeling that I might be happy to raise the bars ever so slightly but we’ll see. Once I have stuck a couple of thousand miles on her, I’ll get some more words down but the best thing about this story, is that:
If you’re stuck between the three,
you’re going to end up with one hell of a bike.