The sky is getting brighter as a ball of fire begins to peek out in the horizon, the trees are passing by in a blur, the people haven’t woken up yet leaving the roads wide open and there is this sound of a particular in-line three-cylinder engine that’s keeping company on a machine called the Triumph Street Triple RS. It has a fancy instrument cluster which just changed contrast as it understands that the night is being taken over by sunlight and decides, by itself, on the choice of colours which would make it easy for me to read the information being displayed. Talk about pampering.
Realising that the morning sun will soon become too harsh for fancy pictures, I put the motorcycle into ‘Track’ mode – which is one of a total of five riding modes which have been named in a self-describing manner (Sport, Road, Rain, Rider, Track) – in order to reach the destination I had planned out, a bit quicker. The roads throw a bit of twisties at us. Challenge accepted. This, was the moment when the Street Triple RS really came into its own.
A British motorcycle at heart, the Triumph Street Triple RS is actually the more performance-oriented version of the Triumph Street Triple S – which we have already reviewed and came away impressed with. There are quite a few significant tweaks to the model which are not evident right away. The reason is that the RS model looks very similar to the S model, which in turn looked very similar to the previous generation Street Triple. The difference in the RS as compared to the S, visually, is that the motorcycle gets a silver colour paint option and several ‘RS’ stickering across the motorcycle. Then there’s the TFT instrument cluster which the S misses out on, the sub-frame of the RS is painted in matte aluminium finish, the seat has contrast stitching – which, by the way, looks gorgeous – and the biggest giveaway is the underbelly cover which is body-coloured. Look harder and you will be able to spot finer changes like the wind deflector which is a bit different and meant to aid the rider when fully tucked in, the wheels have a subtle red rim tape and the silencer has been tweaked about too, to give it a ‘sportier look’.Triumph Street Triple RS is the most powerful Street Triple ever made. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
While these changes make the RS look different, what makes it ride differently is perhaps the more interesting part.
First of all, the 765cc engine has been tuned to deliver about 10 PS of power and 4 Nm of torque more than the S version – both of which is delivered slightly higher up in the RPM band. This takes the total power output to an impressive 123 PS at 11,700 RPM and 77 NM at 10,800 RPM. Then, comes the different kit being donned by the Street Triple RS. The motorcycle gets Showa big piston forks (BPF) at the front and Ohlins at the back – both of which are fully adjustable allowing for a rider-specific feedback. The front twin 310mm disc brakes are now coupled with Brembo M50 4-piston radial Monobloc callipers. While usually you only have to make with an adjustable clutch lever, the Street Triple RS also gets Brembo MCS span and ratio adjustable lever. The Tyres are Pirelli Diable Supercorsa SP and there is a quick-shifter too, which is simply one of the most refined units out there. This makes for seamless upshifting without using the clutch lever to help you save on precious time for those quick sprints wherein you would have wasted the same time by operating the clutch lever. Phew.Triumph Street Triple RS comes with a 5-inch TFT instrument cluster. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Triumph could have stopped here as these changes are enough for manufacturers to call their offering ‘a sportier offering of an existing offering’ but they did not. The motorcycle has traction control and ABS, and thankfully, you have the option of turning both of these completely off for no electronic intervention during track days. The seat height now lies higher by 15mm and the rake and trail has been made tighter too, while the wheelbase remains the same. Speaking of same, what calls for a pat on the back for Triumph is that they have managed to keep the weight identical as the Street Triple S, and they didn’t even decrease the fuel tank capacity – which stays at 17.4 litres. Now that’s a serious engineering achievement as this makes the Street Triple RS about 40 kilograms lighter than its competition on an average.
And with a power output and the equipment like that, well, it brings us back to the chase taking place during sunrise.
As soon as the twisties came, the bike wanted to be pushed harder. It mocks, almost. It has better suspension – one of the best, really. The steering is sharper, the rider is placed higher up and the feedback coming from the motorcycle as a whole is almost telepathic. The slick gearbox allows for a slick downshift and while the footpegs could have been grippier, the electronic nannies were trusted upon and with a gulp inside the helmet, I lean the motorcycle into the corner.Triumph Street Triple RS has a sporty stance. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The road’s a bit uneven but that’s alright as the wheel travel, both front and back, is lesser than before and the bike absorbs the bumps well. And once the apex has been clipped, I wring the throttle open and the RS squats down at the back and the sticky tyres pull you out as if you were being launched along with a rocket. The front wheel is not shy of going up in the air and as the end of the RPM band approaches, I can upshift without even thinking about the clutch lever – putting all of my concentration for the straight road up ahead. The first two gear ratios are shorter which means the acceleration is as engaging as it is thrilling.
Well, I did reach the place I wanted to reach and did so well in time. The sun was still only halfway up from the horizon and bringing the bike to a halt, I realise that there is no brake fade whatsoever. Having taken the pictures that I wanted to take and accepting my satisfactorily average photography skills, I had a bit of time left to simply enjoy the sunrise.
Also Watch: Triumph Street Triple S Video Review
The question in question is whether it is worth spending Rs 11,13,000 (ex-showroom) on the Street Triple RS, as opposed to the S which costs almost Rs 1.8 lakhs less. Well, the Triumph Street Triple RS has a lot going for it. It has one of the best power to weight ratios of any street naked motorcycle and a refined in-line three-cylinder engine which has an unholy intake howl, and the equipment it offers, is honestly, something that you won’t always need. But it is still worth going for it.
Let me explain the why this way. You won’t always buy an army combat knife to cut a potato. You just like to have it lying around somewhere knowing that when the time comes, you’ll cut one heck of a potato. Similarly, the Street Triple S gets the job done, But the RS is just the bigger sword in the scabbard and the fact that it is so much more than just a street bike, makes it all the more desirable.
Also Watch: Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Video Review
Right, with that wrapped up, it is time to get back on road – only after I spend 46 minutes to figure out how to put the key in the ignition port and not let the wire going over the port come in my way. Not that I mind, though.