There are seasons and trends in motorcycling just like any other industry, and it seems that we are witnessing the beginning of another significant season right now – the awakening of ‘the middle’.
Long the home of budget bikes with decent value but limited appeal, the mid-range category…let’s say, from 500cc to 700cc or thereabouts, is gaining new attention as manufacturers finally catch on to the fact that riders who can’t splash $25K on a new bike still want to have fun, enjoy meaningful features and own a bike that they genuinely feel enthusiastic about,
We’re welcoming bikes like the Aprilia RS660 and the Yamaha Tenere 700, models that deliver lots of features and an amazing riding experience, yet feature very reasonable price tags. But perhaps more importantly, there’s a part of this new wave of mid-range bikes that offers even lower pricing, great style, lots of features and LAMS compliance into the bargain. And the darling of this category right now is Triumph’s new Trident 660.
Right across the board, Triumph is in a good place, arguably producing some of its most inspired bikes in ages. So perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s Triumph who have recognized that when LAMS riders want some excitement in their lives, they’re not always thinking of a race replica. Stylistically, the Trident 660 is its own special thing, naked for sure, a little bit retro but with some modern styling cues as well, and a whole lot of minimalism. (If indeed minimalism is something you can have a lot of…) It’s a genuinely striking bike to behold, something that will attract a lot of LAMS riders and will almost certainly see more than a few open licence holders reaching for their wallets too. It’s a little beauty in the photos and it’s even better up close, in the metal.
Not many LAMS engines in the past have been described as ‘soulful’, but this is another area where the Trident 660 shines. The 660cc three-cylinder engine is a peach, burbling away beautifully at low revs and snarling its way through the rev range nicely. Pumping out 54ps at 8,750rpm, power is just what the LAMS crowd needs – plenty to work with, delivered in a linear fashion that’ll make you take notice without scaring a new rider silly. Around town it’s perfect, and out on the open road it’s not lacking at all within the speed range you’d be willing to endure on a naked bike. The engine also has 10,000 mile service intervals, which does a lot for peace of mind regarding the reliability of the mill.
With style well and truly covered and a gem of an engine, Triumph has wrapped it all in a naturally agile chassis with compliant, quality suspension including Showa USD forks up. Braking is by Nissin, with 2-pot sliding calipers up front chomping on 310mm discs, with ABS as standard. Simply put, the bike handles like it looks – nimble and agile, with a playful, light feel. There’s been a lot of care taken into designing a bike with wide appeal for riders of all shapes and sizes, too. The seat height is low at just 805mm, and combined with the bike’s slim build, even riders somewhat vertically challenged will usually find connecting feet with mother earth to be no problem at all.
Sweetening the package by trickling down some goodies from higher in the range, Triumph has gifted the Trident 660 two rider modes (Road and Rain), switchable traction control, LED lighting and TFT instruments ready to take optional connectivity. That’s a useful swag of functions for any rider, without burdening the bike with tech to get lost in. The Rider Modes, switchable traction control and ABS combined arguably provide an ideal platform from which a new rider can build confidence.
The ride is a genuine pleasure, fun and playful with power that’s a joy to explore, particularly with that great exhaust soundtrack that encourages you to run up and down through the silky 6-speed gearbox. Triumph have caught on to the unique aural appeal of their triples and they’ve made sure it’s there to be heard, rather than muted. It might seem like an insignificant detail but it really does bring a smile to your face.
Perhaps saving the best ‘til last, the Trident 660 comes in at well under $13K. It’s a hell of a lot of bike for the money and it’s arguably a LAMS bike that a lot of riders will be very happy to hold onto once they’ve gained their full licence. It’s easy on the eye, enormous fun to ride and sounds superb. Nowhere does it feel compromised or cheap. By any standards, Triumph have pulled off something very special with this bike, let alone creating a bike that’s a strong contender for king of the naked LAMS list.
As we’ve already mentioned, if you think it looks sweet in the photos, you oughta see the Trident 660 up close – it’s a genuinely desirable bike regardless of what category it lands in. To find out more about the new Trident at Bikebiz, contact us today and get ready to enjoy a mid-range triple that really rocks.