The super-smooth fuelling is let down by savage traction control. There’s an option to turn it off, but the intervention in Road mode (the other option is Rain) is intrusive; even just pulling lustily away from traffic lights can have the motor dropping dead momentarily – long enough for you to think there’s something actually wrong.
The seat height on the S is lower than on the RS, thanks to shorter travel suspension. Apart from fitting more people more of the time (it doesn’t change the roomy, comfy, nicely sporty riding position), it also means the S sits closer to the road and feels like it’s being sucked into the tarmac – and there’s nothing low-spec about the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres either; they grip like slicks compared to the dubious rubber attached to some of its rivals.
The beating heart of the all three Street Triples is the 765cc motor. It’s a delicious creation, smooth as whipped cream, taking all the bottom end whump and midrange surge of the original 104bhp 675 Street Trip, and layering on even more of both. And while the 111bhp S definitely lacks the top end rush of the 126bhp RS, for general road riding it actually makes the S the better choice. Because the RS has a bad-tempered side; the motor plays nicely up to 7000rpm, then does a Jekyll and Hyde thing, loses its rag completely and becomes a potential handful. It’s not a playful engine, it’s deadly serious.
Ride quality is clearly a step below the RS’ Öhlins and a constant low frequency drumming over bumps accompanies a 40mph ride in town. But the edges are rounded off and it doesn’t feel cheap – despite costing considerably less than the RS.
As it is, the S will out-nimble Kawasaki’s bigger, more powerful, more expensive Z900, has more character than Suzuki’s cheaper GSX-S750, and is better finished than Yamaha’s loopy MT-09. It also costs significantly less than the RS model, is more accessible and is generally the better choice for general road riding.
Of the trio of Street Triple models, the S model comes with more basic suspension, non-radial calipers, boring LCD clocks, and only a couple of engine/TC modes. The base-spec, Street Triple, in many ways though, is a more successful package than the RS.