2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS and S | First Look Review

2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS in Matte Jet Black
Triumph has updated its iconic, bug-eyed streetfighter, the Speed Triple, for 2018, giving it more power, more aggressive styling, new instruments and, on the RS, cornering ABS and traction control. Shown is the Speed Triple RS in Matte Jet Black.

Two years ago Triumph’s iconic Speed Triple, the bug-eyed naked bike that helped popularize streetfighters, got a major update. Powered by a 1,050cc in-line triple for the better part of a decade, the Street Triple nonetheless got a long list of engine upgrades that boosted output to 140 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque. The top-spec Speed Triple R featured fully adjustable Öhlins suspension and various carbon fiber and billet aluminum parts, while the base-model Speed Triple S featured fully adjustable Showa suspension and fewer fancy bits.

Read our 2016 Triumph Speed Triple R review

On a short development cycle that reminds us of the sportbike wars of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Triumph has given the Speed Triple another thorough refresh for 2018. The folks in Hinckley are staying on the gas, having also updated its Tiger 800 and Tiger 1200 adventure lineup (12 models in all!) and introduced the Speedmaster and Bobber Black for the current model year.

Read our 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA review

Read our 2018 Triumph Speedmaster review

Read our 2018 Triumph Bobber Black review

2018 Triumph Speed Triple S in Crystal White
2018 Triumph Speed Triple S in Crystal White

Triumph managed to squeeze more performance out of the Speed Triple’s workhorse triple, now with a claimed output of 148 horsepower and 86 lb-ft of torque, and the engine is said to spin up faster, rev harder with a higher redline and sound better thanks to a freer-flowing exhaust. The revised 6-speed gearbox is mated to an assist-and-slipper clutch, and the RS gets an up/down quickshifter.

In the cockpit there’s a 5-inch, full-color TFT instrument panel with different displays for each of the riding modes, and buttons on the switchgear are illuminated with LEDs. The top-of-the-line Speed Triple RS features a premium Arrow exhaust, cruise control, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) that enables cornering ABS and traction control, daytime running lights, keyless ignition, carbon fiber bodywork and a matte aluminum subframe.

2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS TFT display
For 2018, the Triumph Speed Triple RS and S get a new 5-inch, full-color TFT display.

Triumph says the new Speed Triple is the lightest and best-handling version yet, with the RS shedding a claimed 7 pounds of weight. Returning from the previous model is the same twin-spar aluminum frame and cast aluminum single-sided swingarm. The RS is equipped with fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, with an NIX30 upside-down fork and a TTX36 rear shock, while the S model’s fully adjustable suspension is made by Showa. Up front are Brembo M4.34 radial Monobloc 4-piston calipers, and the wheels are shod with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tires. The RS also features an adjustable Brembo brake lever, a matching clutch lever and a new comfort seat.

Read our 2017 Triumph Street Triple RS review

2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS headlight
Embedded in the Speed Triple’s iconic bug-eyed headlights are LED daytime running lights.

New aggressive styling give the Speed Triple RS and S a more nose-down stance, and both have a high level of fit and finish, with the RS featuring special detailing to suit its top-shelf specification. The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S is available in Jet Black or Crystal White, both with a titanium rear subframe, graphite wheel pinstripes, silver seat stitching and graphite decals. The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS is available in Crystal White or Matte Jet Black, both with a matte aluminum rear subframe, red wheel pinstripes, red seat stitching, and more premium RS decals. Pricing and availability are TBD.

Check out more new/updated bikes in our guide to 2018 motorcycles


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