Two new Speed Triples spotted

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This is the best sight yet of next year’s reworked Triumph Speed Triple, with both the standard and ‘R’ models spotted undergoing final testing on roads close to the Hinckley factory.

Given the recent popularity of naked sportsbikes it’s easy to forget that Triumph’s Speed Triple was an early pioneer of the genre, and while the Speed Triple might not be able to match the near-200bhp output of some of its rivals, it remains one of the most popular bikes in its class. Its combination of a characterful, torquey 1050cc triple cylinder engine and muscular looks have proved a winning recipe ever since the original version debuted in 1994. For 2016 those key elements aren’t changed, but the styling, engine and technology all get a decent mid-life spruce-up ahead of a completely new model expected to arrive in 2018.

The most instantly obvious change, seen clearly for the first time here, are the reshaped headlights which have lost the controversial fox-eye shape of the current model in favour of a more symmetrical pear shape. As a key design element of the bike, the headlights alone – now also mounted lower to increase their aggression – change the feel of the Triple and give it a sharper, more modern look while still giving a nod to the twin circular lights that defined the T509-generation.

Above them sits a redesigned fly-screen cowl, incorporating a ram-air intake which feeds through a redesigned headstock to the airbox, while the rest of the bike’s bodywork is also tweaked, with a reshaped tail, new radiator cowls and belly pan, and a slightly reshaped fuel tank. The exhaust end cans and their heat shields have also been slightly redesigned, while both bikes are also fitted with bar-end mirrors, adding to the cafe racer aesthetic.

Mechanically, the engine has been given a revamp to bring it into line with the next generation of emissions regulations. The power output is understood to be barely changed at between 135bhp and 140bhp, but new header pipes are clearly visible, leading to a repositioned catalytic converter. The clutch and alternator covers are restyled and now feature the triangular Triumph logo.

The base version gets the same Brembo radial calipers as the current R model, while the new R appears to carry over the current version’s Öhlins suspension – the base model sticking with Showa.

One earlier rumour, sparked by a Triumph customer survey, suggested that the Speed Triple would adopt keyless ignition, but the conventional key is clearly visible in these pictures. However, the new bike is expected to embrace a fly-by-wire throttle technology, which will allow the use of switchable power modes and traction control.

We expect the bike to be officially unveiled before the end of the year as a 2016 model.

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter