The electric blue naked motorcycle you see here is the Speed Triple from Triumph. You could think of it as the angst-ridden (and larger-hearted) sibling of the gentlemanly Street Triple. Or you could simply think of it as a tool to help you keep pace with the FZ-1s, CB1000Rs and Z1000s of the world.
Whichever way you look at it, this is, in essence, a very fast and focused naked bike.
It looks it too. Sure, the bug-eyed headlamp may not catch your fancy, but there’s little else to take away from what is such a well turned out motorcycle. It's got an aggressive tipped-forward stance, and details such as the sculpted tank, exposed sections of the twin-spar frame and stubby, dual underseat exhausts only add further muscle to the design.
Another highlight is its single-sided swingarm that gives you a clear view of the smart 10-spoke rear wheel. If there’s a big spoiler here, it’s the ungainly sari guard that our test bike came with.
Swing a leg over the bike and you’ll find the seating position to be a touch on the aggressive side. You sit higher up than you would on a Street Triple and also lean more aggressively into the handlebar. It’s not uncomfortable but it can get tiring over long stints.
For their part, the soft palm grips make a great point of contact for your hands while the good quality switchgear is also logically placed. Instrumentation is a combination of an analogue tachometer and a digital screen for the speedo, fuel gauge, trip meters and service due indicator. What’s nice is that you can also program the gearshift indicator lights to your preference.
And that brings us to the engine. The new bike comes with a 1050cc, fuel-injected and liquid-cooled, in-line three-cylinder motor that belts out 132.7bhp at 9400rpm. No, the Speed is nowhere near the most powerful bikes in its segment, yet when you ride one, you won’t be left wanting for more power.
In fact, such is the fury with which it takes off, you’d need a whole lot of guts to wring the throttle open fully in first, second or even third gear. There’s strong power right from 4000rpm onwards till you hit the rev limiter at 10500rpm. That means you can make short work of just about any stretch of tarmac.
Building speed also has the 3-1-2 exhausts let out a progressively deeper, bass rich soundtrack, while scaling back on the throttle has the Speed crackle and pop in protest. The sounds just add so much character to the Speed experience.
Around the corners, it feels a lot lighter than its 214kg kerb weight would have you believe. Direction changes are quick and there’s lots of grip offered by its Metzeler tyres. But to be really honest, you’d need a race track (and a lot of skill) to take it to its dynamic limits. In day-to-day riding, you’d like how rich in feel the ABS-equipped brakes are and how the suspension, though firm, soaks up the bumps well enough. But it’s also in typical riding that you’d wish for a lighter clutch and smaller turning radius.
On the whole, the Speed Triple comes across as a very accomplished motorcycle. It’s fast and involving, just like any good street naked motorcycle should be, yet it’s still quite different in character from its in-line four rivals. Priced at Rs. 10.4 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it also happens to be among the best-priced litre-class naked bikes on sale in India to date. That and the fact that Triumph Motorcycles is rapidly expanding its footprint in India means there’s little reason for you not to give the Speed some serious thought.