Triumph Trident 660 First Ride Review: Is the entry-level Triumph worth the money?
The Trident 660 is now Triumph’s most affordable motorcycle in the country. Essentially a roadster, this motorcycle is the new entry point in to the Triumph range, undercutting both the Street Twin and the Street Triple by a fair margin. The motorcycle is all-new — a new chassis, a new engine, fresh styling. Triumph’s pricing for its motorcycles in India has always leaned to the competitive side, and the Trident is no different — Rs 6.95 is where the range starts, making it the most affordable triple-engined motorcycle in the country by a fair margin.
That price raises a few questions though. Is the quality going to be up to the mark? The engine makes significantly less power than the Street Triple — is it enough? The components used aren’t particularly sophisticated — will they compromise how the motorcycle feels? We spent close to 200km on the Trident 660 on the wonderfully twisty roads of Uttarakhand and have answers for you!
Let’s start with the motorcycle looks. The Trident is essentially a naked roadster, and has plenty of neo-retro cues to it. The headlamp is the most obvious — a circular unit that has the Triumph logo embedded in the centre, much like on the Bonnie family. There’s a floating TFT instrument cluster that has been neatly mounted. The tank looks rather bulbous in the pictures, but it isn’t so in the flesh. When seated on the bike, it comes across as well sculpted and feels compact between your legs, helped in no small part by the textured knee cut-outs that act as rather effective tank grips. The 660cc engine sits at the heart of the motorcycle, with the radiator right in front of it. This dual tone version we’re riding gets red accents on the fairing around the radiator (it costs Rs 13,000 more in the process). The seat is wide and spacious, while the tail section is minimal. From some angles, the taillamp actually brings to mind the Daytona 675. It all works rather well in the flesh. The styling is far from aggressive — its less cuts and slashes, and more a minimal approach. It has presence — not the same amount of presence that a Street Triple has but it certainly draws looks. And then you start it up…
The engine is a 660cc triple, that has essentially been derived from the 675ccc unit that the Daytona used to come packing, with a shorter stroke. There have been significant changes to engine — with 67 new components used, and on the go, the engine feels significantly different. 80.4bhp and 64Nm may sound low on paper, especially with the new Street Triple R putting out close to 120bhp, but on the move, you don’t really find yourself wanting more. The engine has a solid punch, and moves the 189kg motorcycle along swiftly. Triumph claims that 90 per cent of torque is available everywhere in the rev range and that is something I can believe — crack open the throttle at any rpm, at any speed and it just moves. The engine is actually very versatile. Its tractable — it will potter about in a high gear without complaining. But when you want to wring it out, it will comply. The real meat of the engine is in the mid-range. It doesn’t have the same screaming top end of the Street Triple, but that also makes it far more useable and friendly on the road.
The Trident has two riding modes — Rain and Road. I preferred road mode simply because it had a little more authority in the way it put down its power. Rain mode feels a little restrained, and unless you are genuinely in slippery conditions (which we were not), you will see no use for it. Here, the throttle feels too dull and the already intrusive TC (which is switchable) becomes even more intrusive. What stands out about the Trident’s engine is the crispness of the ride-by-wire throttle, and the way it makes its power in a linear, predictable manner. Vibrations do creep in as the revs rise, a few at the pegs and few at the ’bars, but they aren’t overly intrusive. And it sounds great. Its a familiar triple howl, and revving the motorcycle hard will make you crack in to a smile under your helmet.
The Trident doesn’t boast of top shelf components — the USDs are from Showa, but they have no adjustability whatsoever. There’s a rear monoshock, again from Showa, that has preload adjustability. But I’ll be fully honest with you, they don’t leave you wanting — at least not for the sort of riding I was doing, and for the sort of riding most Trident owners will put their motorcycles through. Up in the hills, the handling isn’t razor-sharp but the motorcycle is nimble and the front end is positive. It will tip in to bends willingly, and then stay super stable as you hit the apex and roll on the throttle. On the road, it is foolish to push a motorcycle this fast to its absolute limit and as long as you aren’t doing that, the Trident copes just fine. The Michelin Road 5 tyres it comes with are great, and aid its cornering ability, no doubt. It isn’t too bad in terms of comfort either. There’s a firmness to the suspension, but small undulations are dealt with competently. That said, the Trident isn’t its happiest being ridden on broken tarmac. Where I see the Trident’s suspension falling short is if you’re planning on taking the motorcycle to the track and really pushing its limits. Here, something like the Street Triple R’s fully adjustable components will cope better.
The brakes are worth talking about as well. It gets twin 310mm discs with twin-pot Nissin calipers up front, and a single piston caliper at the rear. In terms of stopping power, the brakes work perfectly fine but I did wish they had a little more feel at the lever when they engaged. This could be down to the fact that the bike doesn’t sport radially mounted calipers — one of the places where costs have been cut to keep the price competitive.
Comfort and Ergonomics
The riding position on the Trident is rather comfortable, for someone my height (5-foot-10). The riders triangle is upright and the handlebar is wide, while the pegs are swept back slightly. The seat height is a friendly 805mm which allowed me to comfortably place both feet firmly on the ground and this goes a long way in making the motorcycle feel more friendly.
On the move, the Trident actually feels small and that should make filtering through traffic a breeze. The tractable engine should make taking on the city not too much of a bother either. When you do want to get more enthusiastic on the saddle, you will find the seat to be spacious and supportive — long hours on it will not be a problem. The pillion seat might look uncomfortable but shutterbug Rohit joined me for a quick spin and said it works fine.
The Trident boasts of some interesting connectivity features — it will link up to your phone (for navigation, calls and music), GoPro and coms device via Bluetooth to make riding on the go easier. We did try out the navigation feature and it worked well for the most part, but did take us down a wrong route a couple of times. Small bugs, that shouldn’t be too hard to iron out.
The Triumph Trident rivals the likes of the Kawasaki Z650 and the Honda CB650R. And in this context, the Trident is a lot of bike for the money. Its an extremely versatile machine — useable on a daily basis, thrilling on a weekend jaunt through the mountains and will handle touring duties capably. There’s genuinely very little to criticise here. The Trident is a brilliant stepping stone for someone moving up the motorcycling ladder, from say something like a 250 or a 390. It packs a proper punch without compromising on its everyday usability. But coming back to that original question of mine — does it feel like a compromise? Not one bit. The Trident feels like a proper, complete motorcycle. You may spot signs of cost cutting in a few places, but nothing that hampers the riding experience in any way. If you’ve been wanting an exciting middleweight naked that won’t break the bank, your friendly neighbourhood Triumph dealer might just deserve a visit.