MCN Fleet: The Devil's in the Detail of the Triumph Speed Triple RR

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Road testing might be all about delivering hard-nosed facts and opinions, but owning a bike is, of course. more emotive. My Triumph Speed Triple RR is a case in point. I rode it at its launch at Ascari and around the MCN250 and it has its faults – mostly its wooden brake feel and how hard it is on the wrists, but a whole new character has emerged now I’m living with it.

Despite its superbike performance it’s a lovely bike to just ride slowly and that’s what separates it from a race rep. It’s deliciously refined, from its electronic Öhlins to its new engine and has so much grunt you barely need to change gear once you’re in top. It’s always ready to pounce, though – it’s a 178bhp, 1200cc triple, after all. 

It’s very well thought out, too with lots of nice touches, like the shroud above the top yoke to hide the electronic suspension leads – a long way removed from the messy switchgear wiring on the recent limited-edition Daytona 765.

Riding shot of the Triumph Speed Triple RR

There’s lots of tasty carbon fibre, the paint finishes are deep, and the backlit switchgear looks classy in the dead of the night. Keyless ignition, fuel cap and steering lock lets you to leave the fob in your pocket from the moment you leave the house and cruise control takes up the slack when the low clip-ons torture my right wrist soon into any ride.

Triumph have poured lots of love into the dash, too. It’s slow to switch between functions, but everything you’d ever want is there and beautifully laid out, from fuel facts to controlling music through the My Triumph app.

It’s this kind of detailing that provides the warm, fuzzy glow of ownership – as it should for nearly 18 grand. A few things have slipped through the net, though. The side stand sits the bike too upright, and the optional heated grips (£205) are disappointingly weak, even at full pelt. It could do with a taller screen and the rear seat cover is bolted down and not released with a key.

Minor quibbles aside, the RR is nicely restrained, and I like the idea of having a superbike you don’t feel the need to go ballistic on all the time. I’ve gelled with it already, although I’m sure I’ll wish it was more comfortable when I ride it down to the Pyrenees next month. It won’t bother me when I take it on a No Limits trackday at Oulton Park soon, though.

This year will also be first time I’ll be giving an MCN longtermer back earlier than the rest of the fleet. Late summer I’ll be swapping the RR for the new Tiger 1200, to see if that’s just as special when you scratch away at the surface.


Contact: michael.neeves@motorcyclenews.com

It’s been tricky to pigeonhole the Triumph so far, so it’ll be interesting to see what it can do with quality time in the saddle. Is it just a fancy retro, can it do distance, or hold its own in a fast group trackday? I’m looking forward to finding out.

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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.