‘Revolution’ is a word that gets used a lot these days, whether the marketing people rolling it out are selling corn chips or hatchbacks. So when a motorcycling icon such as Triumph shouts ‘Triple Powered Revolution’ on the feature web page for their new Speed Triple 1200 RS, are we looking at hot air or a bike with the punch to back up its press release?
Very much the latter.
The new 1200 RS takes a thirty-year streetfighter legacy and makes it look…almost tame. And to give that some context, the current Speed Triple 1050 is still a gob-smacking street bike with plenty for most people and too much for some. Even in 2021, 150 ps from a naked road bike is not something to be sneezed at. But the new 1200 RS has more of everything by the truckload. A street bike designed for those who live by the rule that too much is just about perfect.
Triumph has thrilled us for years now with various incarnations of the big 1050cc triple engine, a real favourite with the Bikebiz team. There’s been plenty of evolution. But validating the 1200’s ‘revolution’ claim is the fact that the compact, light, 1160cc three-cylinder mill in the RS is a clean-sheet design, entirely new. It’s more compact, lighter, yet belts out 180ps of power and an arm-stretching 125Mn of torque. Triumph aren’t messing around. The new engine makes the 1200 RS the most responsive, fastest-accelerating Speed Triple ever.
The new bike backs up its muscle with plenty of smarts, too, including ride by wire, a host of throttle and traction control maps, 5 customisable rider modes, Optimized Cornering ABS and switchable Optimized Cornering Traction Control. You’ll notice that ‘corners’ get quite a few mentions in the electronics rollout and they were high on the agenda when suspension was considered, too. There’s premium Ohlins kit front and rear, backed up by monster Brembo brakes and wheels shod with sticky Metzeler Racetec RR tyres. Light and agile, the 1200 RS has closed the book on the days when Speed Triples were considered straight line muscle bikes without much in the way of cornering credentials. This is a street bike you can take to the track and confidently mix it with the fast group
Triumph has been taking huge strides in tech and connectivity in recent years and the Speed Triple RS was obviously at the front of the queue for more than its share of electronic goodies, too. Ignition is keyless. Lighting is all LED and a 5-inch colour TFT display includes My Triumph connectivity for everything from navigation to smartphone use, music and GoPro control. GoPro? No doubt there’ll be plenty of wheelie footage titled ‘closed circuit, professional rider pictured…’
There have been more than a few manufacturers lately wading into the ‘hyper naked’ arena with some brilliant, big-power bikes. Some of them actually seem to make a lot more sense on the track than on the street, if you can just take the wind blast. Which leaves some of these bikes with an identity crisis. Where do they really belong? With the new Speed Triple 1200 RS, Triumph’s biggest dog has effectively walked out onto the street and cocked its leg on the nearest lamp post, confidently staking claim to its natural territory and reigniting three decades of hooligan attitude. At Bikebiz we absolutely love it.
The numbers of the beast…
If wheelies, the smell of burned rubber and slightly bloodshot eyes aren’t enough for you, here are some fast facts and basic numbers for the new Speed Triple 1200 RS:
- Lightest, most powerful and highest-spec Speed Triple ever
- 1160cc inline triple, 180 ps power, 125Nm torque. Mercy.
- Ohlins suspension both ends
- Brembo Stylema brake calipers, 320mm front discs
- 5 configurable rider modes
- Optimised Cornering ABS, Optimised Cornering Traction Control
- Up and down quickshifter
- A tad under $28K
For the Speed Triple faithful, the new 1200 RS is the Messiah. For those who are yet to dip their toe into the rich pool of naked street DNA, it’s a hell of a way to get started. You could ride every day on the road and never get bored, or go to the track regularly and blast past superbikes on the back wheel with a “why so serious” grin behind your visor.
Triumph are doing amazing things. The revolution is very real. To find out more about the Speed Triple 1200 RS at Bikebiz, contact us today. After all, there’s a little bit of hooligan in us, too…