Many things can inspire you in life. A great speech, a powerful book or an intense movie. A sportsperson, a business leader or a social change agent. A holiday, an adventurous trek or visiting a sacred place. Spending a few hours with your kid, a heart to heart chat with your best buddy or a relaxed conversation with the love of your life.
What is inspiration? Well it may be different things to different people. To me inspiration is a tsunami of positive energy and inner happiness. It’s the feeling that everything is good in the world around you. It’s the desire to do better in everything you do. It’s the ability to commit to something you believe in. It’s the belief that if you do your bit, others will come around to force multiply your efforts. It’s the sense that everything will work itself out. It’s the faith that good and big things will happen. Most importantly it’s your inner voice telling you to go for it.
And a motorcycle inspired me! Yes, a machine made by humans inspired me.
It was the first Sunday after Diwali. I woke up bright and early at 430am to get out on the road on a crisp autumn morning. My body struggled to wake up. I had little sleep those past few days thanks to the festive spirit. I’m contemplating whether to ride or not. I’ve made a plan to ride with Bangy. I’ve got the just launched Triumph Street Triple RS standing outside. I’ve been anxiously waiting to take her for a proper ride. So it’s heart vs mind. Mind says go back to sleep, heart says get your ass up and ride. You know how that battle ends.
I’m geared up and outside my house. Its a beautiful autumn morning. The weather is crisp and cool. Thanks to most folks not going on a cracker assault, the air quality is relatively good. I get on the bike and turn on the key. Am greeted by Triumph with this glorious full color TFT dash. Its like a mini iPad has been stuck up there. I start her and am greeted by the typical sound of the triple. The bike is cold and there is hardly any sound. I wait for the temperature to pick up and get going. I fuel up and am pacing myself gently as I ride to the DND toll to meet Bangy. Its a new bike, I’m in the break in period and I must take it easy. I tell myself that repeatedly over and over again. I hit the Barapulla overbridge after Lodi road. It’s a long twisting overbridge with very smooth tarmac. I’m like let’s push a little. Surely a few thousand revs above the recommended break-in limit will do no harm. I get down to 2nd gear, 40 kmph and 3k rpm. I twist open the throttle and the musical symphony begins. In a few eyeblinks, I’m at significant triple digit speeds. I’ve hit 6th gear through butter smooth upshifts using the quick shifter. The engine is revving at around 6.5K. The twisty section of Barapulla starts and she begins to dance. What happens over the next 30 odd seconds is pure bliss. I hit the end of Barapulla and am bursting with joy inside. If the last 30 seconds are any indication of her potential, we are in for a brilliant ride today.
I catch up with Bangy and we start to ride together towards Jewar on the Greater Noida expressway. There are a couple of nice and twisty on-ramps…one where the DND toll road joins the Greater Noida expressway and the other where that meets the Agra expressway. These are both almost 270 degree circles and quite technical. The speed and ease with which I took these was stunning. I’ve done these loops a few 100 times and this was the fastest and smoothest of them – and this on a bike that is still being run in.
We are nowwere on the Agra expressway. It’s a wonderful 3 lane expressway with great tarmac. The weather is awesome. The winter sun is a gorgeous glowing orange. I signal to Bangy if he wants to have a go on the RS and surprisingly he says yes. He loves his TEX (Tiger Explorer) and hardly ever rides anything else. He rides it for a good 40-50 km till Jewar and he’s grinning as well when we stop. After riding that behemoth TEX for 40k km, he almost can’t believe a motorcycle can feel this light and nimble. And imagine the contrast for him; from a near 300 KG gorilla to a 185 KG panther, both with roughly the same power. His expression was priceless and said it all.
We grab a quick cup of coffee and head back home. Again I’ve done this stretch over a 100 times, but little did I know what the next hour on that ever familiar route had in store for me. The stretch is about 100 km of smooth tarmac expressway and another 50 km of Delhi city roads. Being a Sunday, traffic on the highway is moderate but picks up once you hit the city. The tarmac is super smooth before you hit the city post which the pothole parade starts till you hit NH8 going towards Gurgaon. So in a way this 150 km is a good testing ground for a roadster.
The Street Triple RS is simply outstanding. I’ve only ridden her for about 250 km so this is not a comprehensive review but more a first impression. And boy what a first impression it was.
What is outstanding ?
1. Handling – two simple words will sum this up, nimbleness and agility. She cuts through traffic like a hot knife would through butter in an extremely confidence inspiring manner. Side to side transitions amidst heavy traffic are a breeze. You just don’t feel any weight on this machine. It’s literally like riding the KTM Duke 390.
2. That engine – the new 765 triple is perhaps the best Triumph has made. Its very smooth. Has no vibrations (tested till 8K revs). Has a punchy mid range in the 4-6k range which is a very sweet spot for city riding. I’ve not pushed it beyond 6k but took her to 8k on a couple of occasions and I can tell you, there is a maniacal top end waiting to be unleashed. And she revs to 12K. All in this is a very very very sweet motor.
3. Brakes – absolutely amazing. The feel, feedback and stopping power is just stunning. That’s what you get when you put the best braking system on a bike. But what’s more amazing is how well the Triumph engineers have tuned this set up. Exceptional!
4. The noise – is as intoxicating as ever. I’ve got the Arrow slip on installed and the combination of the induction howl from the Triumph triple and the raspy exhaust note from the Arrow is music to the ears. It really gets your adrenaline flowing. Like a child I would put my ear closer to the tank and give her a little throttle to get a glimpse of the induction howl. I can’t wait to open her up and let the octaves loose. The exhaust note is also very crisp. Its not crazy loud (which I hate) and produces this really nice racy sound. I love it.
5. Suspension – is top spec and makes the bike feel extremely planted while cutting through city traffic and taking sharp turns. If it’s this good on the street, imagine how good it will be on a twisty mountain road or the track. Its perhaps the best handling bike I’ve ridden barring maybe the Daytona 675R.
6. Gear box – like the engine is butter smooth. The shifts are very smooth. The clutch pull is very light and riding in peak city traffic is a breeze. The quick shifter is absolutely awesome. It works like clockwork and I’ve not missed a single gear shift till now. Touch wood!
7. That gorgeous TFT dash – it’s simply gorgeous. Very detailed, crisp and easy to read even in bright sunlight. And it’s easily adjustable for the viewing angle. Its also highly customizable with a lot of different menus and themes. If you are into that sort of stuff, you will love it.
8. The looks and the paint scheme – looks are subjective and I’ve always loved the way the Street and Speed Triple look. I think with this gen, Triumph have retained the core look making it nicer and edgier. The integrated LED DRLs are a nice add on. Triumph offers the RS in India in two color schemes – gloss black and matt silver. The latter is my preference. Its awesome when you see it up close.
9. Fit and finish – now this is not an area where Triumph is bad, but with this bike they seem to have taken it to the next level. Well done Triumph!
10. Equipment level – I can’t say enough about this. Top spec Brembo brakes (including the master cylinder and lever which is adjustable for reach and pressure), fully adjustable Showa and Onlins suspension, Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa tyres, a quick shifter, a color matched cowl supplied with the bike, ride-by-wire throttle, five riding modes including one that’s fully customizable, switchable traction control and ABS….the list just goes on and on. And all this under 12 lakhs on road. Well done Triumph and Triumph India (under Mr Vimal Sumbly’s leadership) for putting a premium product into the hands of thousands of enthusiasts with this sort of value.
11. X factor – every time a car or a bike has wowed me, it has always had an x factor element to it. It’s not one specific thing that you can point out, but it’s there and it makes the machine special. In this case it maybe the combination of that awesome engine, slick gear box, incredible handling, confidence inspiring brakes and seductive noise that creates the X factor. They say the whole is greater than the sum of parts. In this case it’s much much greater.
What’s not good ?
Well there are a few things worth highlighting
1. The suspension is super hard in the factory setting. That is absolutely the right thing to do and was evident in the way she was dancing today. But it is a bit harsh for street riding with our potholed roads. But it’s fully adjustable and I’m sure it’s just a matter of finding the right setting to fix this for the street.
2. Auto blipper – Triumph should have included one. On such an awesome bike it’s a pity to not have one.
3. Integrated Bluetooth and telemetry – after putting such an awesome dash there I feel Triumph missed a knock out punch by not putting integrated Bluetooth (aka Ducati and KTM, the latter has it on the Duke 390) and telemetry (aka Aprilia and to some extent Ducati). This perhaps would have made this an unbeatable street, touring and track package. I know I am being greedy…par kya karen, yeh dil maange more
I went home inspired. Inspired that a marquee motorcycle manufacturer has attempted to create a motorcycle that thrills the mind, body and heart. A machine so capable that if I had to have only one bike, this would perhaps be it. And that you don’t have to break the bank to afford it. Its half the price of any super naked out there (BMW S1000 R, Yamaha MT 01, KTM Superduke, Aprilia Tuono, Ducati Monster 1200 R etc) but is perhaps as good as them if not better as a package (barring power and thus top speed). So Triumph is really sending a message out there – you don’t need to pay a premium price to own a premium motorcycle and I applaud them for that.
To everyone out there who has dreamt of owning a real sport bike. One that you can ride everyday. One that you can tour on. One that you can take to the track straight out of the box. A bike that will excite you, energise you, and like in my case inspire you. The time has come to head to a Triumph showroom and get the new Street Triple RS or the “Thrillachine” as I’m going to call it now. And by the way the RS in the name does not stand for some fancy technical jargon like “Race Sport”, it simply and rightly means “Ridiculous Smiles”!
Go get one and get on the road. Let adrenasense take over your mind and body for a few hours…go be inspired!