You gotta hand it to Triumph. The Coventry-born, Hinckley-based company is one of the very, very few legacy brands that survived bankruptcy, dissolution, and resurrection with its intellectual property and its reputation intact. That's more than can be said for many new bikes with old names trying to lay claim, however tenuous, to some long-lost company heritage.
Triumph pulled off this feat with a plan that, on paper, doesn't seem like that much—respect the past and look to the future. In practice, though, this is a pretty bold and revolutionary idea that has allowed Triumph to develop some of the best, most exciting bikes in the business. The proof of that is in Hinckley Triumph's well-respected lineup, a collection of bikes that includes the old (Bonnevilles and Thruxtons), the new (the Speed and Street triples), and the completely bonkers (the Rocket 3, natch).
With the introduction of the all-new Trident 660, Triumph seems to have once again combined heritage and modern bike technology into one potent package. Introduced with much fanfare on October 30, 2020, the triple-powered roadster is Triumph's entry into the competitive middleweight naked segment and a shot across Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha's bows. I had the pleasure of sitting in on the company's press presentation for the new bike and was both surprised and impressed with what I saw. So, without further ado, let's talk about it.
The big news about the Trident—aside from, like, that it exists—is the bike's new powerplant. Developed specifically for the Trident, the new mill is a water-cooled, 660cc, DOHC, inline triple that produces 80 horsepower and 47 lb.-ft. of torque. This new wündermill is mated to a six-speed trans which features a slip and assist clutch and can be fitted with Triumph's quick shifter. Power gets to the rear wheel via a chain final drive.
Being a triple—i.e. the God's own engine configuration—the new 660 combines the low and midrange performance of a twin with the top-end performance of an inline four. That's what Triumph says, at least. According to the spec sheet the company sent out to those of us in the motoring press, though, that looks to be the case. The engine does most of its work in the middle of its powerband, producing 90 percent of its peak torque between 3,600 and 9,750 RPM. To me, that suggests that Triumph wants the Trident to be a forgiving, well-mannered, go anywhere do anything kind of bike.
I wish I could say more about the engine here, but alas. There aren't a lot of press rides happening right now for obvious reasons and it's hard to form an opinion about something as important as a bike's engine based just on numbers and PR corpspeak. Hopefully soon I'll have the chance to throw a leg over a Trident IRL and really wring some info out of it. That said, it's a Triumph Triple, so it's sure to at least be competent and sporting. I have high hopes.
Body, Frame, Brakes, and Suspension
The Trident sports a tubular steel perimeter frame with a fabricated steel, double-sided swingarm. Forward is a fancy pants 41mm Showa upside down separate function fork (spring in one fork, damping in the other) and aft is a preload-adjustable Showa monoshock. Stopping power is provided by our friends at Nissin, and consists of a pair of 310mm floating discs grabbed by two-piston sliding calipers on the front wheel and a 255mm disc and single-piston caliper at the rear. ABS is, as you may expect, standard and the 17-inch cast aluminum wheels come shod in Michelin Road 5 tires.
The frame is wrapped in some pretty good looking bodywork, but not much of it. There's a big tank with de rigueur Brit-style knee cutout, a small front fender, a narrow tail section, a pair of solid color sidecovers, and that's it. There are four colorways available—two basic and two "premium". The basic colors—crystal white with diablo red and jet black decals and sapphire black with diablo red and aluminum silver decals—are more understated but no less handsome than their counterparts. The premium colors are two-tone deals—matte jet black and silver ice with white decals and silver ice and diablo red with black decals—with giant Triumph logos plastered on the side of the tank. For my money, I'd go with the crystal white standard paint, but they're all really good looking.
If the printed stats are to be believed, and why wouldn't they be, the Trident is small. Like, pocket-sized small. Like, Steve Martin "wanna get small?" small. It's about six and a half feet long, is just over 31 inches wide at the bars, has a 55-inch wheelbase, and a seat height of just shy of 32 inches. It also weighs basically nothing as far as bikes go, with a wet weight of around 416 pounds. When I saw that in the presentation I was like, "Is that it?" Hell, the wheels on my XS850 weigh around 400 pounds. Each (LOLYamaheavy, amirite?).
At that weight, the Trident is lighter than (much, much lighter in the case of Honda's CB650R) or about equal to its Japanese competition. It has, shall we say, a very favorable power to weight ratio. Combine that with upright but low-slung ergos, a capable engine, and respectable suspension, and the Trident seems (again, on paper) to be a seriously sporty handler. Again, final opinions will have to wait until I can get my hands on one.
Electronics and Features
For its segment and intended use, this thing is packed with more gizmos and electronic techno wizardry than a Radio Shack (I know they don't have Radio Shacks anymore, just work with me here). The bike's surprisingly well-appointed infotainment system is centered in a single, handsome instrument binnacle mounted in the center of the handlebars. The top half of the display is a high-contrast white on black LCD that contains your speedometer, tach, gear indicator, fuel gauge, and assorted idiot lights. Below that is a full-color TFT screen that displays more detailed systems info, the odometers and clock, and allows you to scroll through bike settings and various other controls.
Other standard electronics include switchable traction control, ABS (as I mentioned before), throttle-by-wire (ugh), an engine immobilizer built into the key, and two riding modes. The riding modes, Rain and Road, set the ABS, traction control, and throttle/fuel map to deal with riding conditions under their specific purviews. The bike isn't equipped with an IMU, which suggests that the riding modes and traction control might be a little unsophisticated, but I'm not sure you need a bleeding-edge computer running your middleweight roadster so I'm not that worried about that.
One very cool feature is that the Trident can be equipped with Triumph's optional My Triumph Connectivity System. The MTCS, along with its add-on Bluetooth module, turns the TFT into a fully-featured interactive infotainment system that can sync to any BT-equipped device. When so optioned, the MTCS enables turn-by-turn navigation, full phone and music control via the switchgear, and even GoPro control. I gotta admit, all of that stuff is extremely my jam, and if I got myself a Trident I'd definitely pony up for the MTCS option.
Since we live in the future—the dystopian hellscape kind, but the future nonetheless!—the Trident features LED lighting all around. The big, round headlight recalls the Tridents of yore while the slick, flush-mounted tail light and slim turn signals definitely speak to our cyberpunk-lite present.
I admit, I'm pretty impressed with the Trident's suite of features. Now, I'll also admit that I'm used to 40 and 50-year-old Japanese motorcycles and something as simple as an LCD display is some real high-tech, James Bond-level gadetry to me. That said, Triumph packed a ton of features and functionality into a small package. Me gusta.
Parts and Accessories
What would a new bike be without a slew of branded accessories to go with it? The Trident boasts a raft of bolt-ons, 45 in all, that were specifically designed for the bike during its development. The accessories run the gamut from tire pressure monitoring systems and USB sockets to luggage, body panels, protective items, and security systems.
Looking through the list, the accessories that really stick out to me are the aforementioned My Triumph Connectivity System, a very handsome color-matched flyscreen, and the bar end mirrors. The last two add a bit of the old 60s flavor to the Trident, and appeal to my appreciation for old Britbikes.
Unfortunately, at the time of its launch, Triumph doesn't offer any performance accessories for the Trident. Not even a slip-on muffler or some upgraded tuning. Since I'm both a form and function kinda guy, I'm a little bummed out about this one. Oh well, the bike's brand new, and besides, that's what the aftermarket is for.
Look, it's really hard to form an opinion about a bike you've never seen, let alone ridden. That said, I'm pretty impressed with the Trident. On paper, it seems to be a good looking, well built, sporty, and competent motorcycle. I'm going to hold my final judgement for when I can actually thrash one of these around, but until then, I think Triumph has another winner on its hands.
The Triumph Trident 660 should hit showroom floors here in the Colonies sometime in late January, 2021. It will start at a paltry $7,995 and comes with a global two year unlimited mileage warranty. Watch this space for more information, including (hopefully) a really real ride review.