It's got clip-on handlebars, a fairing and an aggressive riding position. But Triumph's Speed Triple RR isn't a Race Replica. But that doesn't mean it isn't Really Rowdy in the most fun way.
I have to admit it’s not often I find myself squeezing into my leathers. You see, bikes with clip-on handlebars and a race-ready riding position have started to become a bit of a rarity these days.
To get a production bike that has both and yet isn’t directly tied to either the World Superbike Championship or MotoGP is even rarer. So what was Triumph thinking when they created the Speed Triple 1200 RR?
From the early days of Streetfighter supremacy to the controversial step away from circular headlights, Triumph’s leading speed machine has a dedicated fan base the world over. So passionate is that fanbase that whenever Triumph tweaks the Speed Triple formula there’s usually an uproar. Why mess with street bike perfection after all?
Well, personally, I think Triumph wanted to reward that dedicated base when they created the beautiful Speed Triple RR. It not only acts as the pinnacle of the Speed Triple family, but it also offers riders something that Triumph hasn’t had in its lineup since the demise of the Daytona 675. A triple-cylinder weapon with some real track potential.
The RR has all the triple-cylinder goodness fans love about the Speed Triple, but with a classy cafe racer-inspired fairing and a crouched-down riding position thanks to the handlebars being positioned 135mm lower and 50mm forward. This, along with a few extras combine to make it something extra special. It’s essentially a gentleman’s sport bike – a bit posh, but far from an overly aggressive brute.
Styling-wise you’ve got to admit that the Speed Triple RR looks an awful lot like a certain Italian triple, especially around the single circular headlight (cough, MV Agusta Superveloce, cough), but unlike that bike, you can actually easily get your hands on the stunning Triumph triple, which at the time of writing is priced at just $30,990 - a $3,000 saving.
The styling isn’t a case of form over substance, and it is enhanced by special touches of carbon fibre scattered around the bike. I think I’ve spent almost as much time sitting and staring at this bike as I actually have riding it. It’s simply gorgeous.
But the Speed Triple RR isn’t all show, it is a real performer that feels like it is glued to the road thanks to its semi-active Öhlins electronic suspension. With multiple settings that are easily selected through the TFT dash, you can tailor how the RR feels on the road in moments.
At its heart is Triumph's iconic 3-cylinder engine - now measuring in at 1160cc and producing 177hp/132kW of peak power and 125Nm of peak torque. It’s a brilliant powerplant with Triumph’s characteristic thick mid-range and screaming top end.
That TFT dash is a gem as well. Smaller than the unit found in the new Tiger 1200 range, the RR’s display still packs in all that is needed at a glance. Plus with connectivity enabled you can have it display navigation as well by tethering your phone and using the Triumph app.
While it doesn’t have the Race Replica cache of other litre-plus sports bikes, the Speed Triple RR is by no means worse off for it. In fact, its less aggressive nature and stunning looks make it even more of a winner. It’s a blend of function and form we rarely see, and that translates to a wicked fun machine either on your favourite backroads or at the track.
Is it a racer? No, but really, who cares.
Triumph Speed Triple RR AT A GLANCE
PRICE: $33,490 + on roads
ENGINE: 1200cc DOHC 3-cylinder
POWER: 177hp/132kW @ 10,750rpm / 125Nm @ 9,000rpm
PROS: Stunning to look at, brilliant ride, Öhlins Electronic Suspension
CONS: RR riding position,