In 1994, Triumph changed the sport motorcycling landscape with the first-ever production Streetfighter, known as the Speed Triple. A roaring three-cylinder engine paired to a sporty chassis that feels at home in the canyons or on the racetrack and delivered with upright ergonomics defined the original hooligan bike. This year, the all-new 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS is looking to settle some scores in the class, with more power, less weight and improved electronics.
Wheelie aficionados will undoubtedly be pleased to hear about the new and larger 1,160cc triple-cylinder engine, boasting a healthy 177 horsepower at 10,750 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 9,000 rpm — up 29 horsepower and six torques. When compared to the outgoing Speed Triple, the latest generation flexes significantly improved midrange and top-end power.
Triumph engineers have gone through the engine with a fine-toothed comb, employing much of what they’ve learned as the MotoGP Moto2 spec-engine supplier. Various internal components have had their mass reduced, and when combined with the new lightweight finger-follower valvetrain, the result is 12% lower inertia, allowing the engine to rev-up even more freely. Those internal changes have also netted a 15.4-pound overall weight reduction and freed-up an additional 650 rpm, raising the redline to 11,150 rpm.
A new stacked 6-speed gearbox is employed and supplemented by a slip-and-assist clutch that is said to improve gear changes and clutch feel. An up/down quickshifter as standard.
Helping the weight-savings cause is a single exhaust silencer, as opposed to the dual underseat cans on the previous model, and we fully anticipate the iconic triple-cylinder sound to be present.
A full-suite of IMU-supported electronics is included, all of which can be explored from the redesigned 5-inch full-color TFT display and backlit switchgear. Five selectable ride modes are available; Rain (98 horsepower), Road, Sport, Track and a customizable Rider mode adjusts the throttle map and cornering ABS, lean-angle-detecting traction control, and wheelie control intervention accordingly. Cruise control is standard.
Diving into the tech further, we are told that ABS has two settings, Road and Track, which are optimized for their respective applications. When in Track mode, the cornering function is disabled. Traction control has four levels, using the same terminology as the ride modes, and can be disabled for additional hooliganism.
Other tech features include a keyless ignition, steering lock and fuel cap. The My Triumph Connectivity System is standard, allowing users to pair their mobile device to their Speed Triple via the My Triumph app and access turn-by-turn navigation, GoPro control, phone control and music.
With a claimed wet weight of 437 pounds, the 2021 Speed Triple is the trimmest yet, and the aluminum twin-spar chassis is 17% lighter than before. All told, that adds up to a 22-pound weight reduction. Triumph engineers focused on mass centralization, moving its weight distribution further forward and lower, which should make the Speed Triple’s handling even sportier. The nimble 56.9-inch wheelbase remains, while the rake is extended 23.9 degrees. Taking care of suspension is none other than top-shelf Öhlins kit, including a fully-adjustable 43mm NIX30 USD fork and TTX36 shock.
Speaking of trim, the riding position is updated. The Speed Triple now features a 13mm wider handlebar, combined with a slimmer 4.1-gallon fuel tank and footrests moved inward to increased ground clearance without compromising legroom. The seat is redesigned to accommodate more aggressive riding and has a height of 32.7 inches.
As is tradition with RS models, the latest Brembo has to offer is employed. As such, a span and ratio adjustable Brembo MCS lever help you modulate the bite of 4-piston monobloc Brembo Stylema calipers on 320mm rotors. A single 220mm disc and 2-piston take care of things in the rear. Interestingly, the new Speed Triple features a linked braking system, and Triumph feels that this system adds improved stability in any situation.
Lightweight 17-inch V-spoke wheels are shod with sticky Metzeler Racetec RR 120/70 front and 190/55 tires.
In the looks department, Hinckley designers have whittled the Speed Triple down and given it an even more pronounced aggressive appearance, borrowing the furrowed eyebrow DRLs from the Street Triple. The Speed Triple’s broad-shouldered, predatory stance remains and is accentuated by a new carbon fiber mudguard and sharper body lines throughout the machine, as well as all-around LED lighting. Two-color choices are offered, Sapphire Black and Matte Silver.
With a price of $18,300 and arriving in dealers in March, the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS seems to fare well against the competition on paper. It’s also the lone wolf in the Speed Triple lineup, a decision Triumph made by analyzing customer feedback. We can’t wait to get some seat-time aboard the new RS to see if the Hinckley lads have kept the hooligan spirit alive and well.
2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Specs:
Base Price: $18,300
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line triple, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 90 x 60mm
Horsepower: 177.5 hp @ 10,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 92 lb-ft @ 9,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically-actuated wet slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 56.9 in.
Rake/Trail: 23.9 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 32.7 in.
Wet Weight: 437 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gals.