If you’ve followed Roadshow’s motorcycle coverage over the past few years, you’ll likely note that I have a deep and abiding love for. Especially , because they offer all the performance you could want in a street bike with relaxed geometry that offers comfort for longer rides. I also have a love for the Triumph triple engine — my first motorcycle was a Triumph Tiger 800 — and when you put together that engine with the fast naked bike formula, you get the Speed Triple. Now, for 2021, Triumph has a new one, and it looks like it’s going to be one of the greats.
There are many changes for the 2021 Speed Triple RS, but the biggest is arguably the completely redesigned 1,160-cc three-cylinder engine, which despite gaining 29 horsepower (for a total of 177 hp), manages to drop over 15 pounds of weight. It also benefits from a flatter torque curve and a higher redline. Torque now sits at 92 pound-feet and peaks at 9,000 rpm.
The Speed Triple RS features a six-speed transmission with a multiplate wet clutch that has been reengineered to use fewer friction plates, which reduces weight and makes for a lighter clutch. It’s also a slip-assist design, so you can afford to be a little less delicate with your left hand while riding hard. The transmission also benefits from a quickshifter, fitted as standard, that allows clutchless upshifts and downshifts.
The chassis is a twin-spar aluminum design and has also been reworked for 2021 and includes a single-sided swingarm. Suspension on the Speed Triple RS is extremely high-quality Ohlins stuff, with NIX30 forks and a TTX36 monoshock in the back. All are fully manually adjustable for preload, rebound and compression.
Braking is handled by Brembo, with twin Stylema calipers and 320-millimeter discs up front and a single Brembo caliper and 220-millimeter disc out back. The bike is outfitted with a sophisticated antilock braking and traction control system managed by an inertial measurement unit that offers lean angle sensitivity.
The ABS is adjustable but not defeatable. The traction control has four modes — Rain, Road, Sport and Track — and can also be turned off entirely. The bike also features wheelie control as well as rear-wheel-lift mitigation. There are five user-selectable ride modes: Rain, Road, Sport, Track and Rider. The Rider mode is fully user-configurable.
The Speed Triple’s instrumentation is new as well for 2021, with a five-inch TFT display that uses optically-bonded glass to reduce glare, making it easier to read. The system also pairs wirelessly with your phone via a Triumph app and can control things like GoPros, navigation or music. A lap timer is standard, as is a keyless-go system that operates the ignition as well as the fuel cap. Another particularly unique feature of the bike that helps reduce weight is the inclusion of a standard lithium-ion battery.
Overall, the 2021 Speed Triple is 22 pounds lighter than the model that it replaces while offering more power and torque. This works out to a power-to-weight ratio increase of 25% over the outgoing model, which would be impressive on its own, but the other improvements in the chassis and electronics mean that the Speed Triple RS 1200 will be a serious contender for the hyper-naked crown.
The 2021 Speed Triple RS 1200 will retail for $18,300 before dealer fees. For comparison, that’s slightly cheaper than the base Ducati Streetfighter V4, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory but more than the Yamaha MT10, Suzuki GSX1000 or the supercharged Kawasaki Z-H2.
Triumph expects the Speed Triple RS to be in dealers starting in late March of 2021.