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2009 Triumph Street Triple R First Impressions


by Marc Cantin ,

The new incarnation of the grand old English brand is growing nicely, with increasing sales these days despite the current economic malaise. The sport bike line, powered by three cylinder engines leads, the way in terms of sales and profits, with the 675cc engined Street Triple and Street Triple R at the forefront of the charge, along with the original 675 Daytona Sportbike.

In countries where both models are available, the R now matches or even outsells the standard version.

I got to ride a Street Triple R in the Paris area, splitting my time between urban logjams, where lane splitting is tolerated, and the nice secondary roads you find just 50 km outside the great city.

The 675 triple engine, the same in both the plain and R versions of the Street Triple comes from the Daytona 675 model, suitably detuned to produce more torque across a greater rev range, at the expense of a slight drop in power at the top of the rev range, a place where few street riders go given the pure speed of the machine.

Softened cam profiles, smaller intake and exhaust ports and valves, and reprogrammed injection and ignition mapping have turned the 675 engine into a civilized small motor with real TORQUE across a truly usable every-day rev band, something the Japanese 600s dream about but are hard pressed to deliver. This may change with the possible addition of variable cam timing on the 600s, an extra expense and level of complexity that makes the 675’s extra 75cc (and the resulting 12.5% increase in torque and power) look like genius stuff – simple, effective and inexpensive!

The original Street Triple came with down level components (Brakes and suspension) to keep the price down, and it worked as the bike was a sellout from the gitgo. But Triumph knew there was a demand for better brakes and suspensions, and followed up with the R model as soon as they could reasonably come up with the desirable package by using Daytona 675 components. In countries where both models are available, the R now matches or even outsells the standard version, with riders choosing to pay the small premium ($9,699 for the standard vs $10,499 for the R model) in Canada to get the better brakes and fully adjustable suspension, as well as the sexier graphics.

The Street Triple R ergos suit the 90 percentile Western build, a welcome fact in my case as I hover over at 95-ish. Given my imposing build, I found the bike to be easy to ride, certainly at higher speeds where the air helps unload your wrists, which says that I will love it when I get to take it to a track for a fun day, hopefully later this summer.

The British stylists have managed to create a roomy sport bike that maintains a slim look.
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