2023 Triumph Street Triple 765 R and RS first ride review | New kings of the middleweight hill?
Ever since its inception in the early 2000’s, the Triumph Street Triple had instantly become a cult classic. With twin circular headlamps and the iconic Daytona 675 engine, the Street Triple has always been a middleweight naked to reckon with. The 2020 Triumph Street Triple 765 range was already amongst our favourite naked bikes and for 2023, Triumph has taken this tested formula, polished and sharpened it and given birth to the new Street Triple 765 R and RS. There’s no longer an S variant. The changes to the bike include minor design changes, tweaks to the riding geometry, engine updates and a comprehensive electronics package upgrade. To see if all this amounts to a significantly better bike, Triumph took us to sunny Spain to have a go at no less than the fabled Circuito de Jerez, even letting us loose on the R and the RS in the beautiful twisties of Jerez and Seville.
Triumph Street Triple 765 R and RS design
On the design front, the changes aren’t radical. The Triumph’s overall silhouette remains largely unchanged, a good thing, because the bug-eyed headlamps and that aggressive, compact stance have always been a big hit with me. The changes, though minor, do contribute to make a sharper bike. You get a sharper fuel-tank with new recesses, and this allowed me to grip the bike so much better. Add tank grips and you’re golden. This design change does however come with a capacity dip, the new tank holding 15 litres of dino juice instead of 17.4 litres before. There are also sharper body panels.
Yes, sharper was a design focus on Triumph’s Street Triple 2023 blueprint. There’s also a new colour-matched belly panel for the RS that’s optional on the R. In terms of lighting, the same menacing bug-eyed headlamp unit continues, but with a shorter cowl, a bit like on the new Speed Triple 1200 RS. The tail-light is redesigned to go with the new design mantra. Instrumentation is updated to a five-inch colour TFT unit on the RS whereas the R sports the instrument cluster as the Tiger Sport 660 and Trident 660.
In terms of colours, the R has two — silver with grey and yellow graphics or white with grey and flame graphics. The RS gets three to choose from — silver with orange and grey, red with black and silver graphics or yellow with black and silver graphics.
Triumph Street Triple 765 R and RS engine and performance
The Hinckley boffins have really put their heads together for this one. Massive changes to this Moto2 derived engine, make it much more usable in all possible settings. In fact, Triumph’s learnings from the last few Moto2 seasons are exactly what are implemented. Including a machined combustion chamber and head, as well as piston crowns, identical to what the Moto2 bike gets. Even inlet ports have the same race bike design, with the only difference being the Moto2 bikes being hand polished. All the changes have resulted in a higher 13.25:1 compression ratio, up from 12.54:1. Triumph has extracted higher power, the RS bumped up from 121.36bhp to 128.2bhp, while the R now makes 118.4bhp. Torque across the range is up from 79Nm to 80 Nm. To put so much more power down, the engineers have also developed a stronger gearbox. The ratios are revised, with a taller first and remaining gears having higher ratios. That’s a lot of technical jargon, but what does it all mean in the real world?
Put simply, performance is more forgiving, yet more punchy. Right from letting the clutch out to get going, the Street Triple feels peppier. You can stay in first longer, and then there’s oodles of torque to play with across the rev-range in the remaining gears. Midrange is more potent and this also means you can carry a gear higher than otherwise. This came in particularly handy for me as a first timer at Jerez, getting to grips with the flowy nature of the track. On-track we rode only in the RS’s race mode, which meant electronic intervention was at its least and the throttle on its most aggressive map. Only low down in the revs did throttle response seem ever so twitchy. Pick up the pace and everything ties in together well. There’s plenty of drive out of each corner, and even when I goofed up gear selection exiting the corner leading to the straights, I could easily see readings north of 200kmph well before it was time to brake for the next corner.
Out on the road, the R does not feel quite as peppy as the RS, but the difference in acceleration is only marginal. We were out in Jerez and Seville, primarily riding the highways and narrow B-roads. Shortly after exiting the track, we were instantly up to speeds that could have attracted the attention of cars painted red and blue, but we got lucky. Out on open roads, amongst backdrops that reminded me of Windows wallpapers, there was cross wind and here is where I definitely felt the need for a fly screen, to deflect some buffet off of me, at speeds north of 140kmph. In top gear, you can comfortably sit at 150kmph, with the tachometer reading a sedate number and barely any vibrations. In tighter sections, owing to the new found tractability, you could pretty much stick the Street Triple in fourth and ride along without dropping pace.
Triumph Street Triple R and RS chassis and handling
The Street Triple RS chassis offers minor changes that amount to a lot.
At 23.2 degrees the RS has sharper rake, making the already agile bike that much sharper handling. And before you ask, this agility doesn’t make the new Triumph feel skittish or under confident. Then there’s the braking update, with Brembo’s flagship Stylema callipers on this bike. The next change is a raised rear end. There’s a spacer between the rear shock and its mount, which makes the rider’s triangle more committed, canting you forward a bit. Then there’s wider handlebars, common to both the R and the RS. Suspension setup remains the same with Showa Big Piston Forks for the front and an Ohlins STX40 monoshock at the rear, both fully adjustable.
On-track, these changes translate to a sharper, yet more stable bike. The first turn you take immediately showcases just how quick this bike is to turn in. Sharper rake is helped massively by the wider ’bars which offer you that much more leverage, to tip the bike in that much sooner. What this essentially allows, is to stay on the gas longer, brake later and turn-in later, still making the apex turn after turn. This entire act of staying on the gas longer and doing everything else later is also aided by the Brembo Stylemas, which are nothing short of magical in how they help shed serious speeds. Over all three track sessions, I never needed to grab a handful of brake, because the MCS 19 lever needs just a gentle squeeze, to provide all the braking you’ll ever need. The Pirelli Supercorsa SP V3s the RS comes with, offer more grip than you can use, unless you’re a pro racer. We were initially riding on a damp track, but the chassis ensured I felt confident through and through. The taller rear ensures there’s more weight on the front, ensuring better stability, even while at over 200kmph on the straights. The suspension works great on track. Out on the road, the RS’s more premium suspension setup feels a bit more sophisticated in handling road undulations.
The standard R gets Brembo M4.32 callipers, Showa Separate Function forks upfront and a Showa monoshock rear. Instead of the Pirellis, the R gets Continental ContiRoad rubber. The R also doesn’t get the sharper rake and taller rear. Does this mean the R is a dull handler then? Nope. Through the Jerez twisties, the bike was extremely agile, stable and grippy, The M4.32s offer ample bite and the riding position is comfortable enough too. It’s only when you ride the R and RS back to back, that the RS’s more track focussed nature is apparent. The ContiRoad tyres offered confidence on Spain’s relatively bad roads.
Triumph Street Triple R and RS electronics and accessories
The electronics have received a significant update, with a proper six-axis IMU enabling features including cornering ABS and traction control, standard on both bikes. Another common feature is a bi-directional quickshifter, which works flawlessly to offer quick, tactile and precise up and down shifts. The cornering traction control works wonders and does so in a non intrusive manner. I remember coming out of a corner too hot twice and the only indication TC had come on was a light on the instrument cluster and the fact that all my skin is still intact. The instrument clusters are also updated. The five-inch colour TFT on the RS gets new layouts and the rider customisable mode gets more fine tuning. The cluster, like most Triumphs, is not as responsive as I’d like, but is certainly smoother than on the Speed Triple 1200 and the Tiger 1200. The part TFT and part digital console of the R works just like the Trident 660 and operating the menus on both bikes is intuitive and stress free.
As always, these Triumphs also come with as many as 50 accessories. These include luggage solutions, connectivity modules, body work and even cruise control (only on the RS). Sadly, unlike previous models, there won’t be any Arrow (or other brand) exhausts available from Triumph, because of a single catalytic converter used in this bike’s exhaust system.
Triumph Street Triple R and RS verdict
The Triumph Street Triple range was always immensely capable and loveable. Triumph already had the street fighter brief down to a ‘T’, ensuring a grin was plastered on the rider's face every outing. This 2023 generation takes the knob that was responsible for invoking those feelings and dials it up to 11. The changes on the face of it may appear minor, but they amount to a lot. So even though it may not be an all-new bike it certainly feels like one, despite using some cycle parts from the last model. The RS was already sharp and that’s now sharper still. The R feels a lot more polished, with updated engine internals and electronics. I always felt the 2020 models there wasn’t much to differentiate the R and the RS before, and I certainly don’t feel like that now. Both have distinct identity, and both are great street bikes, the RS adding so much track riding dimension to the picture. Prices are not out yet, but if Triumph manages to keep the price hike minimal, they certainly have two top sellers on their hands, that are certain to disrupt the middleweight naked segment.