Triumph started the new year strong with the introduction of the all-new 2021 Speed Triple 1200 RS. After 27 years on the market, the Triple is now leaner and more powerful than it's ever been.
According to Hinckley, the new Speed Triple isn’t an evolution—it's a revolution. What that actually means is that, though it introduced the model's latest generation only three years ago, Triumph sent the bike back to the drawing board and came up with the highest-performing version of it yet. It turns out that Triumph put a lot more work into this than the spy shots let on. Let's have a closer look at the new British streetfighter.
The Looks and Build
It receives a similar headlight cluster as the new Street Triple, with the angry wasp-looking opticals and LED lighting all around. The exhaust pipe is now set lower which, combined with the upswept tail design, clears out the space under the subframe and creates more negative space, giving the bike a trimmed-down appearance. The new design is misleading—though we can recognize that the bike received a little facelift, the visual changes a deceptively minimalistic compared to everything that happened on the inside.
From an architectural standpoint, Triumph thoroughly revised the bike's ergonomics and took several weight-saving measures to further optimize its power-to-weight ratio. All these efforts paid off as the resulting new, lightweight, cast aluminum twin spare frame is 17-percent lighter than its predecessor and features a lower, more forward gravity center.
The frame isn't the brand's only weight reduction initiative. The new engine is now more compact and is 15 pounds lighter than the outgoing triple. Triumph replaced the classic lead-acid battery with a Lithium-ion component that's 60-percent lighter. It also managed to trim down a few additional pounds by fitting the bike with a slew of lighter parts including the rear axle, cush drive, slip and assist clutch, and cooling system. These measures allowed the Speed Triple RS to shed over 20 pounds for a total wet weight of 437 pounds.
On top of the new frame, Triumph opted for a narrower fuel tank and saddler and a larger handlebar to improve the rider’s experience in the saddle. The slimmer saddle now sits at 32.6 inches from the ground—a speck higher than the outgoing model. Its curved-up profile allows for easy transitions between casual and tucked riding positions. The designers also shifted the foot pegs inward to increase the bike’s ground clearance without losing precious legroom.
Supporting the new frame is a full array of hardware that includes a 43mm NIX30 inverted fork with adjustable preload, rebound, and compression damping, and 4.72 inches of travel at the front and a TTX36 twin-tube monoshock also with adjustable preload, rebound, and compression damping, and 4.72 inches of travel.
The Triple is fitted with a pair of 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels shod in Metzeler Racetec RR tires and armed with Brembo components to keep the engine’s newfound zeal in check. The setup includes two 320mm discs with Stylema monobloc calipers at the front and a 220mm disc paired with a twin-piston caliper at the back.
As we suspected, the Speed Triple is powered by an entirely new engine—a 1,160cc inline-triple that produces a staggering 178 horsepower and 92.3 lb-ft of torque. That represents a 30-hp and 6-lb-ft increase over the 1,050cc triple. The redline was also bumped up, now set at 11,150 rpm. Considering the bike is now lighter and more powerful, this is effectively Triumph’s most radical Speed Triple to date.
The engine works hand in hand with a revised new six-speed transmission with optimized ratio progression that "delivers the smoothest and slickest Speed Triple gear changes ever", according to Triumph. The box is equipped with a quickshifter for easy clutch-less gear changes both ways.
To make the engine sing, Triumph fitted the Speed with a free-breathing intake and exhaust system. While we have yet to experience it in person, we can honestly say that the sound featured in the video was enough to give us goosebumps.
Inside the cockpit, the new Triple receives a new 5-inch, optically bonded TFT display which reduces reflections and features a brand-new user interface. Triumph claims that the new speedometer and rpm counter-focused layout also makes it easy for riders to adjust their settings on the go.
Thanks to the ride-by-wire throttle, the new Speed features five preset riding modes (Rain, Road, Sport, Track, and Rider) that adapt the throttle, ABS, and traction control settings to the rider's needs. The Track mode comes with a time attack functionality while the Rain modes limits the bike's output to 98 horsepower.
The new onboard system also allows the bike to be compatible with the MyTriumph Connectivity app which enables the rider to monitor calls, stream music, control their GoPro camera settings, and display navigation instructions.
Other tech features offered on the new Speed Triple include cornering ABS with MIB-EVO modulator that refines the system’s input and features a track mode for reduced intrusions, cruise control, a far less-invasive anti-wheelie control, keyless ignition and fuel cap, self-cancelling indicators, and backlit controls.
If the base equipment doesn’t check all your boxes, Triumph also offers a selection of optional features and a menu of 35 accessories to customize your Speed. Options include heated grips, luggage, tire pressure monitoring system, and other creature comforts.
All these shiny new features come at a price and the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS receives a significant price hike for 2021, now starting at $18,300—a $1,800 premium over the outgoing generation. Triumph also confirmed that the RS becomes the only trim-level available, dropping the base S model in the process. In the U.S., the new Speed Triple RS is expected in the showrooms in late March, 2021.