Our favourite naked middleweight gets a bouquet of updates in the 2020 iteration, making it more potent than ever. But is it still the benchmark in its class?
The Triumph Street Triple RS has been our favourite naked middleweight since its launch a couple of years back. It even won the coveted trophy at the 2017 Times Auto Awards in association with evo India and Fast Bikes India in the Sport Naked of the Year category. And now, Triumph has streamlined it with new parts, making it Euro 5 compliant. But that’s not all; the RS also gets a meaner and sleeker look resonating with the Daytona 765 along with subtle changes to the engine to make it more potent than ever. You see, Triumph has taken the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach with the Triple RS. But now that we have tasted Austrian flavours with the KTM 790 Duke, would our palette be satisfied with the Brit triple?
The 765cc, liquid-cooled triple has been reworked with inputs from the Moto2 engine team, which means, despite meeting the norms, the power figure and weight hasn’t changed at all. Thanks to the new exhaust cam and intake duct, It still makes 121bhp but the torque is up by 2Nm at 79Nm with a 9 per cent boost in the mid-range. The throttle is more responsive and all of the five modes have been tweaked as well for precise throttle inputs. The exhaust has been changed with better in-flow and out-flow and the pipe even looks exquisite thanks to the carbonfibre tip. It now gets a bi-directional quickshifter with auto blipper too.
In terms of design updates, the RS now gets a striking headlamp cluster, rummaging the ‘eye brow’ design from the Tiger range. The tank remains the same but other body panels have been smoothened out for a well-rounded, muscular look. The Titanium Silver frame has been derived from the Speed Triple and finished exquisitely. There’s also a seat cowl which adds to the sleek design.
Among other updates, there’s the second-gen TFT cluster that comes with four themes and several colour options to choose from. There’s also the integrated GoPro control system along with navigation and call alerts via Bluetooth.
As aforementioned, the dry weight remains the same at 166kg, making it the lightest bike in its class, which obviously equates to the best power-to-weight ratio. And to test its potential, we not only rode the RS on the streets of Murcia, Spain but also at the brilliant Cartagena race track.
On the streets, the triple motor feels even more eager thanks to the linear power and torque delivery. The tractability has improved vastly and the short first and second ratios make it easy to ride at low speeds. The third gear can go down all the way to 15kmph and then take you to speeds over 100kmph effortlessly, making the RS extremely comfortable to ride on roads. However, the riding position is aggressive (not so much as the Daytona) and the ground clearance is low as well. We couldn’t test it on Spanish roads which don’t have speed bumps as seen in India. But the real fun begins on track where the Triple RS really shines and shows its true potential.
The engine loves to be revved and revved hard! The triple motor comes alive especially after 6,000rpm and the quickshifter allows you to switch cogs effortlessly. Although, the bikes we rode were prototypes and some journos faced issues with the blipper. The RS is meant to be a livable derivative of the Daytona and that shows. Its USP is the handling, though. With fully-adjustable Showa Big Piston Forks at the front and premium Ohlins monoshock at the rear, the RS is a hoot in the corners. It’s so surefooted and precise that you’ll be able to attain mental speeds through corners. What aids the riding even further are those brilliant Brembo M50s. Triumph has provided MCS ratio and span adjustable levers to allow you to adjust the sharpness making it extremely potent on track. The brakes provide ample stopping power and add to the confidence. Last but not the least, a special mention to the third-generation Pirelli Supercorsa SPs. The soft compound Pirellis are the best road-legal tyres I have tested ever and are super sticky. Mind you, Street Triple RS is the only middleweight naked which wears those boots, thus adding to its premium-ness.
The Street Triple RS is expected to be launched in India in January 2020. Triumph is selling the new RS for the same price in several countries, including the UK and we expect Triumph to follow the same strategy in India. Priced at Rs 11.13 lakh (ex-showroom India), the Street Triple RS is the best-equipped motorcycle in its class with premium suspension and tyres. The engine too is the most powerful but the KTM 790 Duke trumps it when it comes to the torque at 87Nm. Triumph India is currently offering massive benefits on the existing inventory of RS ranging from Rs 1.39 lakh to Rs 1.99 lakh (depending on the dealership) which makes it a brilliant buy. It may not be appropriate to incorporate the 790 Duke here but the KTM has impressed us so much that we are ought to ask ourselves the real question; should you be spending the extra 2.5 lakh rupees on the Triple RS or go for the 790 Duke? You must also consider that the 790 Duke offers a lot more in terms of electronics including IMU-based TC and ABS along with switchable ABS at the rear.
After riding both the naked in a span of one week, we think the 790 Duke makes for a great everyday motorcycle thanks to its comfortable riding position and SUV-like ground clearance. The 2020 Street Triple RS is still the best naked motorcycle to own if you’re a track junkie; no second thoughts about that, but if you want an everyday machine that can also hold its own on the racetrack, we feel that the 790 Duke would suffice. We cannot wait to ride them back to back and give you the verdict! The game has clearly moved on after all.