I must admit, the first impression of seeing the new Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR online when it was launched last year didn’t impress me. The headlight and the front fairing just didn’t do it for me. Seeing that the launch was very track-focused left me even less interested as that’s not the kind of riding I do.
However, when asked if I’d like to test it for a few days I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t? I knew it was a fast, high-performance motorcycle and I was keen to see for myself just how justified all the hype around it was.
It was delivered to my house one February morning, the clouds were dark and hanging low and there was rain in the air. The roads were wet and I wasn’t keen to get out on the bike in such conditions. So we spent some time getting to know each other in the garage instead. Whilst the headlight and the front end still didn’t make me stare at it in awe, I sure was smitten by the rest of the bike.
The Crystal White colour is stunning and really works well with the contrasting black frame and carbon fibre components and I really like the shiny speckles added to the paintwork. It almost shimmers in a certain light, especially when a ray of sunshine broke through the cloud when I finally took it out.
Every detail on the bike is well designed. From the smart branding to the pegs and the single-sided swingarm, it all fits together pleasantly on the eye. After a while of having the bike in the garage and riding it, I even started to like the headlight and the fairing around it. I had to admit it’s grown on me.
The LED bright display is tucked under the front screen, it seems slightly on the small side (5”) but once you’re on the bike and riding, the display is well arranged and clear to see. I did spend some time figuring out how to display general information such as total miles on the bike. There are many buttons on each side of the handlebars so I spent some time getting familiar with them.
When I eventually went for a ride I felt a bit intimidated to start with. Partly because the tires fitted to the bike were Pirelli Supercorsas with hardly any grip, partly because of the very aggressive riding position and partly because it’s a 1200 cc sportsbike with 177 bhp which is way more than you need to legally ride on public roads.
The tyres worried me because this was February, the roads had several layers of grit and grease on them and I knew I had to be careful when leaning the bike into a corner.
So I gingerly set off, adjusting my brain to the new riding position. The clip-on handlebars are fairly comfortable and your knees are not exactly around your ears but it is still an aggressive riding position. The seat feels soft and squidgy to the touch but after 20 minutes of riding the bike I sure felt it in my back and my backside.
It didn’t help that I was wearing layers of clothing as the temperature hovered around 5 degrees Celsius and that made the sporty riding position a bit uncomfortable.
Still, I must admit, it put a huge smile on my face as soon as we had gotten comfortable with each other. For the first ride, I opted for a dual carriageway to Chester and a city bimble to meet a friend for lunch on the riverbank. The bike sat happily on the A55 cruising at 70 mph and even the wind wasn’t a problem. The cruise control helps keep the speed steady and it gives your wrist a break, too.
Once we hit the city traffic it rumbled patiently at the lights and stayed at the speed limit running smoothly. The quick shifter worked brilliantly even at low revs. It sure turned a few heads as I parked by the river and enjoyed a delicious lunch.
The bike is keyless and as I’m not used to this, it felt odd at first to walk away without having to remove the keys from the ignition. It took a bit of getting used to working out how to lock the steering. A few days later I spent a good few minutes trying to unlock the steering in a car park and get the engine started, much to the amusement of the elderly couple sitting in their car watching me.
Feeling happier and more confident on the bike, the next ride was a slightly more spirited on one of the wonderful winding roads of the less populated Welsh countryside. The good side of a mid-week February ride means there aren’t many cars around and definitely no bikes so the roads I wanted to ride were quiet. The bike sounds wonderful when you open the throttle and the quick shifter changes the gears up or down so smoothly. Riding into a corner is easy, the bike leans effortlessly and makes you feel faster than you actually are. Or at least that was the case for me.
With the roads greasy I kept the bike in the rain mode. There are 5 riding modes, rain, road, sport, track and rider. The bike is really light and low, too. It weighs less than 200 kg when fully filled up and I can reach the floor easily with my feet flat on the ground. All this means the bike is easy to manoeuvre when stationary, in the garage or when parking in an awkward space.
What a brilliant bike if you are looking for a spirited ride or a road legal track day toy so you can ride there and back, too. It turns heads everywhere you go and it’s a great conversation starter. A capable bike that can be sensible on the road, too. And if you are wondering, I have taken to that retro round headlight and fairing after being around it for over two weeks.
Motorcycle kindly supplied by Triumph UK, for more information on Triumph Motorcycles UK visit triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/
For more specific details from a previous post https://superbike-news.co.uk/the-new-triumph-speed-triple-1200-rr/
Ladies Heated Body Warmer supplied by Keis Apparel