TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE 660 S (2020 - on) Review
- Peppy 660cc in-line triple engine
- Can be restricted for A2 licence
- Softer suspension handles UK roads well
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Triumph Street Triple S isn't the poshest bike Hinckley builds. Most folk love a splash of bling and so it’s easy to understand why buyers – and shallow journalists – get in a froth over the range-topping Street Triple RS. Colour dash, umpteen-level electronics, Öhlins this, Brembo that, adjustable the other… Thing is, for most of us the S model is probably better.
On typical poorly maintained British roads the ride of the Street Triple S is more comfortable and less jittery than its overly firm stablemate. Its simplistic chassis recaptures some of the fun and not-taking-it-too-seriously air of the original Street Triple from 2007.
So does the engine: from 2020 the S model has a 660cc inline three, as opposed to the 765cc unit found in the R and RS versions and it serves up lashings of accessible, usable thrust with an edgy, compelling soundtrack. And at £8100 on the road, the S is also £2400 cheaper than its headline-grabbing sibling.
The S has a larger target audience, too. You can buy a full-fat Street Triple S from a dealer, but unlike the 765cc bikes the 660 motor can also be restricted for those on an A2 licence.
You can buy the Street Triple S and ride it on an A2 at 19 years old, have significantly more performance than with small-capacity entry bike such as a Honda CB500F or KTM 390 Duke, then get the triple derestricted once you’re fully qualified.
Yes, it’s the ‘learner’ bike. But don’t buy an R or RS without also trying the road-focused S.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Separate high and low-speed damping adjustment? Ha. The S has the sort of spec that it’s easy to lazily describe as ‘budget’. The forks are unadjustable, the front brakes use two-pot sliding calipers, and the rear shock only has provision for tweaking the preload.
And that’s all fine. Sure, the Nissin brakes don’t have the initial bite of posh radials and it’d be stretching things to describe the damping action of the suspension as luxurious.
However, the friendly nature of the brakes makes them usable in tricky conditions and won’t unnerve less experienced riders, while there’s more than ample stopping power with a good squeeze. Stoppies? No bother. It’s just a bit of a shame the basic ABS jumps in when braking hard over bumps.
Chassis geometry isn’t quite as racy as the sportier versions, but again you don’t notice. Or care – the S is as light, agile and responsive as a Street Triple should be.
Better still, in 90% of road situations its straightforward forks and shock give a more absorbent, comfortable and composed ride than the stiff, fidgety, bone-jarring RS.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Triumph inflated the Street Triple’s engine from 675 to 765cc in 2017. Based on a bored-and-stroked Daytona motor, they cooked up three different flavours to suit a trio of models: a track-ready RS (121bhp and 57 lb.ft), sporty R (116bhp, 57 lb.ft), and everyday S (111bhp, 54 lb.ft). Smashing.
Or almost smashing. As a likely first Triumph they wanted a 47bhp A2-legal version of the revamped model, but A2 bikes can’t be based on machines making more than 94bhp.
So they used a 660cc engine (previously developed to suit Australian licence rules) specifically for an A2 Street Triple S. Having a unique motor for a handful of learner sales was clearly a lot of faff though, so for 2020’s model re-fresh all versions of the S are now 660cc.
In restricted A2 guise it’s surprisingly potent. Though it has less torque (44 lb.ft compared to 54 for last year’s 765cc S) it’s at an accessible 5250rpm. So, while it gets breathless in the top third of the rev range, at realistic road revs the 660 is flexible and lively. A colleague rode it not knowing it was restricted… and didn’t notice.
Get your licence sorted and a dealer can swiftly derestrict the Street Triple S – or if you’ve got a full licence, they can sell it you in full-power form. With 49 lb.ft at 9250rpm and 94bhp at 11,250rpm, output is below last year’s larger S but without a back-to-back ride you’d never know.
It’s all reassuringly Street Triple, with a deep burbling exhaust note and willing, urgent, elastic drive right through the revs. Wheelying under acceleration and capable of 87mph in second gear, the 660 is anything but lacking.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Triumph’s build quality and level of finish is much better than it was 15 years ago. There are no longer ugly hex-head bolts attaching parts to the frame, inconsistent fastener sizes or scrappy bits of plastic.
Early 765cc Street Triples were recalled for incorrectly sealed switchgear that let water in and caused issues, however it will have been sorted by now and shouldn’t affect the S. There have also been a few 765s with slight oil leaks, but the 660 motor is less stressed and should be utterly dependable.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Street Triple S is group 13 insurance; this is the same as the sportier R model, but two groups lower than the RS. For comparison, a Yamaha MT-07 (£6697) and Kawasaki Z900 (£8899) are both only group 11.
Typical average economy is 45mpg. With the 17.4-litre tank that’s over 170 miles of range.
At £8100 the Street Triple S is reasonably priced; it’s not got as much tech, power, handling or speed as the similarly priced KTM 790 Duke (£8499), however the Triumph is less likely to have reliability niggles and will have stronger residual value.
This isn’t the bike for tech nerds. The S retains the previous-generation display (no TFT or colour here), has simple rider aids and basic switchgear.
As with the chassis, none of this really matters. Though the ‘switchcubes’ don’t have Triumph’s now trademark joystick and don’t glow in the dark, the layout is easy to use.
And the switches control a dash that’s thankfully free of the befuddling display options and hard-to-read numbers that blight the R and RS versions.
There are only two riding modes – Road and Rain – but it’s not a problem given the usability of the engine and the fact there’s usually little difference between modes on any Triumph.
The traction control and ABS can be felt intervening if you’re riding with real vim and vigour, but they don’t get in the way as such; if anything, it’s nice to have a little tap on the shoulder to say ‘that’s quite enough gusto for a public road’.
|Engine type||Liquid cooled, DOHC, 12v, inline three|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||17.4 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm forks, no adjustment|
|Rear suspension||monoshock, preload adjustable|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with two-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||220mm disc with one-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 ZR17|
|Rear tyre size||18055 ZR17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||94 bhp|
|Max torque||49 ft-lb|
|Top speed||140 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||172 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2007: Triumph peel the fairing off the Daytona sports bike, swap its clip-on ’bars and rearset footpegs for sensibly-located parts, and create a sales success. Light, simple, agile, perky, the 675cc Street Triple is fuss-free and all about enjoyment, regardless of experience. Ace racket from its twin underseat pipes, too.
- 2008: Street Triple R launched, with a bit more power, nose-down stance, fully adjustable suspension, radial brakes.
- 2012: facelift time, with new angular ‘Dame Edna’ headlights (like used on the updated Speed Triple) to replace the round ‘Harry Potter’ lamps.
- 2013: Big changes. Weight down by six kilos, new cast subframe, sportier weight distribution, exhaust tucked underneath, and a taller first gear (nicked from the Daytona). Racier, faster, ultimately better handling, though perhaps not as playful or fun as the original. R version gets stronger brakes, even shaper geometry and an up-at-the-tail stance.
- 2015: New RX model introduced. Basically it’s an R with a quickshifter and Daytona seat unit.
- 2017: All change. There’s a new frame, curvy swingarm, electronics and 765cc engine, and three versions: a street-ready S (also available in 660cc A2-licence form); a more powerful and sporty R with TFT dash; and the trackday-winning RS with even more power and fancy suspension and brakes.
- 2020: Styling tweaks and crisper response for the R, and more grunt and a flash new dash for the range-topping RS. The S model gets the styling nudges, but more importantly is now 660cc whether you go for restricted A2 or full power form.
Sporty R model has more powerful 765cc engine, adjustable suspension, TFT dash, more electronics, and costs £9100. The top-of-the-line RS features even greater output, bells-and-whistles electronics, the latest dash, Öhlins rear shock, and costs £10,500.
Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE 660 S (2020 - on)
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