A narrower, smaller tank allows the rider to sit further forward and as a result the 2016 Speed Triple feels much sportier steering than before. The chassis, swingarm and geometry remain unchanged, so too does the R’s fully adjustable Ohlins NIX30 front fork and TTX rear shock. The ride is composed and precise but could be a little too stiff for badly surfaced UK roads, with the softer Showa-suspended S model perhaps offering a more comfortable road option. Like the S, the Speed Triple R features gorgeous Brembo M4 monobloc front brake calipers reinforced by switchable ABS which offer plenty of stopping power and a fairly sharp initial bite.
It makes a smidge more power (up from 133bhp to 138bhp) than the previous model, and torque’s been boosted by an average of 5ftlb right across the rev range. But it’s in the low and mid-range where the changes are most noticeable. Assisted by the new ride-by-wire throttle system, the initial twist of the wrist rewards with instant, urgent response meaning that below 3500rpm the new Speed Triple feels much more aggressive than the previous model. Yet despite that snappy pick-up, the new Triple has a beautiful air of sophistication and refinement in its power delivery, allowing you to get swept along on the swell of mid-range courtesy of an engine that’s keen-as-English-mustard to rev. For all its new-found silkiness, Triumph have lost none of the Speed Triple’s raughty character; it’s still bold and mechanical, and the new, freer-flowing and lighter under-seat exhaust system does a magical job at amplifying the almighty triple-cylinder roar.
Easily one of the most detailed and best-finished bikes to come out of Hinckley, the Speed Triple R looks more like a very high-end special than a production bike. Gorgeous paint, beautiful attention to detail, and a whole host of different textures, colours and finishes make the new Speed R a real bike to be proud of. If you like poring over carbon-fibre, Ohlins gold, billet and alcantara, this is the bike for you.
Compared to BMW’s S1000R and Yamaha’s MT-10, the Speed Triple R is considerably more expensive. But neither of those machines can rival the Triumph for quality, finish or looks. And residuals are currently very high with Triumph claiming they’re 13% higher than their competitors.
New ride-by-wire throttle has benefitted the Speed Triple with five rider modes – Rain, Road, Sport, Track and a custom setting - each offering the full 138bhp but via suitable combination of throttle response, traction control intervention and ABS mode. The all-new LCD dash displays speed, revs, current mode, gear position, fuel level, tank range, trips, and offers a lap timing function. It’ll also show tyre pressure (when Triumph’s optional extra sensors are fitted).