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There are a few names in the motorcycling world that can make the heart of a motorcyclist skip a beat. Triumph Daytona is one of the names. It was followed by the Triumph Street Triple. And now, we have our hands on the 2020 Triumph Street Triple RS. Is it still the formidable machine that it always was? Time to find out.
Let’s start with the things that made the Daytona special because after all, it was the first one that got it right and is the spiritual predecessor of the Street Triple. Daytona, powered by Triumph’s famous 675cc triple, had its hands full with the competition from Japan. But the Daytona was touted to have a brilliant engine and more than that, a fantastic chassis which when combined with the compact and lithe dimensions and lesser weight, often gave it the upper hand against the competition.
In the motorcycling world, it is usually the case that something like the Daytona, which nailed the engine and chassis, becomes a platform. A platform for something more. More accessibility. More approachability. More fun. In simple terms, Street Triple. Motorcyclists the world over were smitten and in love with the Street Triple, a streetfighter with track cred to match Daytona but it was more street focussed than the track-missile Daytona. It was a proper racket.
After the 2006 introduction of Daytona, the Street Triple burst onto the scene in 2007. It was a very refined package but in the end, it was also a streetfighter that was not afraid of getting the gloves off in a jiffy and fight! The end of production for the Daytona 675 was quite a scare in terms of what the future held for the Street Triple but the arrival of the Street Triple 765 came with relief. This one was a rioter too but 90 cubic centimetres more intense!
Just like the Daytona took the inline-4s from Japan by surprise, their 765cc triple also took the old 600cc inline-4 in Moto2 by surprise. Moto2 now features the 765cc triple which led to further enhancements and refinements in the Street Triple package.
Outside the world of Moto2, Triumph had two variants of the Street Triple- the R and the RS. The R, more street-friendly and the RS, more track focussed. As it turned out, the RS was a tad too focussed. The 2020 Triumph Street Triple RS has seemingly remedied that along with some more changes all around.
Starting with the looks, the bug eyes have always been the signature of the Street Triple. On the 2020 Street Triple RS, the bug seems to be a little pissed off. The LED DRLs or the brows are furrowed. It reminds one of anime characters, especially the goofy leads who undergo a transformation.
The head of the 2020 Street Triple RS still looks like it is jutting out of the motorcycle but over the years, it has grown on us. Overall, the whole motorcycle seems sharper and more focussed regardless of the angle that you look at it. The new infotainment and switchgear are more comprehensive and a welcome change. The saree guard though, is not so your 13 and 14 size spanners should go to work as soon as you get yours.
Note how we say how the 2020 Street Triple RS looks more focussed. That somewhat counteracts the claims of the new RS being a tad less uptight than its predecessor. So what’s really going on. Well, you can rest easy as the more focussed part applies only to the visuals. Let’s expand a little on that.
The 2020 Street Triple RS continues to be powered by the 765cc 3-cylinder engine good for 121 bhp of power and 79 Nm of torque. The peak power arrives at 11,750 rpm and the peak torque at 9,350 rpm. It still seems peaky but there has been a massive improvement in the low and mid-range grunt.
The too-peaky nature of the previous-gen RS made it a weapon on the racetrack where disintegrating those knee sliders is all that matters. But on the streets, it was a little cumbersome to get up to Speed. The 2020 Street Triple RS has remedied that almost fully.
It is no single or V-twin mind you in the sense that it does not unload a ton of torque right away. But it has more than before and its advantage lies in reaching those peaks quicker where it is still a blast. It is easier to stroll and zip around the city and teleport as soon as you are on an empty stretch. And the changes are not too subtle to miss either. They’re significant.
A significant change is a big deal in the case of the 2020 Street Triple RS. The previous-gen had nothing wrong per se and one always has their reservations in changing a winning combination too much. After all, magic rarely happens twice but apparently, Hinckley has made a habit out of it.
Another aspect of the stellar engine performance of the 2020 Street Triple RS is the fueling and the quickshifter- both up and down. While the former makes sure the response is crisp, the latter is what makes this bike a real hoot. Clutchless upshifts, clutchless downshifts, a soft-action slipper clutch and all that you need for some real badassery.
The gear shifts are slick and while the motorcycle itself does not need too much fiddling with the gears because of the tractability, you’ll still do that. Simply because it is too much fun. We are all aware that the 2020 Street Triple RS sounds ungodly and the angry rasp that you get on the downshifts is one of the things that motorcyclists live for.
Now while the engine is a gem and the acceleration is brisk, the one thing that betters the engine, and that is a big effing deal, are the dynamics of the motorcycle. A dry weight of 166 kg makes for a stellar power to weight ratio but it works its magic even more in the handling department.
The chassis is tried and tested and better-ed. The suspension on the RS is top-notch with 41mm Showa Big piston forks (adjustable compression damping, rebound damping and preload adjustment) and Ohlins STX40 fully-adjustable rear shock. If you can find a good winding stretch of the road as we did, you’ll come to know what a fantastic motorcycle it is.
The 2020 Street Triple RS is intuitive and very natural. It is a good’ol point-and-shoot motorcycle where it traces the intended line with surgical precision. Perhaps that is why so many people do not think twice before taking the RS to the track. Now that does take a smidge away from the ride quality. It still deals with bad roads fairly well but big potholes and bumps are transmitted to the rider.
Brakes are top-notch. Twin 310mm floating discs gripped by the fantastic Brembo M50s and 220mm single rear disc with a Brembo single-piston calliper. The performance, as mentioned before, is brilliant and everything from the bite to the feedback is spectacular. ABS is switchable on the rear end if your rowdy side takes some inspiration from the Street Triple… and it will!
The ergonomics are also a good balance between sporty and comfortable. The footpegs are set slightly towards the rear and are situated at just the right height. The tank recesses are very ergonomic and it is a breeze to grab the motorcycle with the tank which you’ll need to once you really get going.
The handlebar is wide enough for lots of leverage and the reach is just right. The windblast is awesome too but then, that is expected with a streetfighter. On the flip side, the seat is comfy and padded well enough which when coupled with the nearly vibe-free ride throughout the rev range makes for a strong case of long hauls.
The 825mm seat height is a tad high but the 2020 Street Triple RS is also a very narrow motorcycle which makes it a little easier to have your feet firmly on the ground. The bar-end mirrors are also very functional but, needless to say, a little caution needs to be exercised when filtering through traffic.
In terms of instrumentation and switchgear, the 2020 Street Triple RS gets a beautiful full-colour, 5″ TFT screen. It also gets 4 styles with high low contrast options. It is intuitive, easy to read and works well in conjunction with the switchgear which needless to say feels ergonomic and premium.
The 2020 Street Triple RS ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a very, very capable streetfighter that can double as a very potent tool for occasional track days. But what impresses one the most is the consistency Triumph has been able to maintain.
Generation on generation, the Street Triple has gotten better and the years of refinement alone is enough for the price tag. So while the INR 8.84 lakh (Ex-showroom) R seems like a better option, if you want the most of the Street Triple name, the extra kit (and the extra kick) of the RS is a lot for the INR 11.33 lakh (Ex-Showroom) price tag.
More details and full specs here.