2013 Triumph Street Triple R Review

I’ve heard a lot of ranting and raving about the new Street Triple R. E.g., ‘If you are going to buy a naked bike look no further’ and the more common ‘OMG best bike evahh, Triumph for Lyf3!!!’ So when I was lucky enough to have one for a couple of days I was keen to see what all the hype was about.

First impressions, bar the questionable looking sloped twin headlights, it’s not a bad looking bike. I particularly like the new, low slung exhaust, sporty stance and the white and red colour scheme. Starting the bike up, you’re met by that familiar Triumph three cylinder note. Pleasant, but I would definitely throw on the Arrow aftermarket pipe. When the dash comes to life it is clear to read, and it has a fuel gauge (I love fuel gauges)!


Sitting on the bike I found the controls well laid out and the switch gear to be of good quality. The clutch pull is light and progressive and the seat very comfortable. It’s a nice bike to sit on.

Taking off, the first thing I noticed is a surprising amount of torque off bottom. Nothing like a big v-twin, but solid for a 675 nonetheless. Across the rest of the rev range the power is flat and linear. You’re certainly not going to have your arms ripped off (I could not get the bike to power wheelie, one cross in the naughty box), but you can still get up and boogie.  One thing that did shit me to tears was the ‘jerk’ when initially opening the throttle, one of my pet hates. When I bought this up with Triumph they said it was because it was such a ‘torquey’ motor. No Triumph, no. If this is the case, then why do other bikes I’ve ridden with more torque have great throttle response? Anyway, bar this the fuelling was faultless.

The best way to describe the handling on the STR is neutral. There are no hiccups or surprises, just consistent, predictable tip in and stability. Around town it’s an easy bike to ride and it was nothing but smooth on the highway. The suspension was very compliant, soaking up bumps fantastically but still firm allowing you to push the bike in corners. The brakes are also very good, offering exceptional power and feel. I genuinely enjoyed using the front brakes. I did not like how quickly the ABS kicked on the rear brake. I’m sure I would get used to it, but to me it just felt too intrusive.

I do my fair share of night time riding for work and found the ghastly headlights to throw out a decent beam. I did stumble across one shocking discovery in my night time adventures though.

Scene – You are riding along on a beautiful clear night enjoying the crisp air when BAM! Massive blue light in the face! No it’s not a UFO coming to probe you right in the eye ball, it’s the shift light! 

I’m not exaggerating, this thing is bright. So, thinking I could simply change the settings on the dash to protect my precious eyes, I learn that cracking the Enigma code is easier. I’m sure there is a way to change settings on the dash, but in my two days with the bike it was beyond me. I might have changed the trip meter after pressing fifty buttons once, I’m still not sure.

In the twisties, the STR feels almost slow. The turn in is steady, the engine smooth and the suspension planted. It’s not till you look at the speedometer that you realise you are actually moving along at a rapid place. I’m loathe to say it because you have probably heard it a million times, but the STR just feels refined and predictable.

So is the Triumph good? Most certainly, better than good even. It’s real all-rounder that does a lot of things right. The suspension and brakes are great, the engine (bar the jerky initial throttle and lack of zest) is solid and it’s comfortable. Look, considering I could only find a few things I didn’t like, and two of them are relatively minor, that’s a good effort, because I can be a negative prick. But would I buy one? No. The STR just didn’t have that edge or excitement I’m looking for. Motorcycles are very much an emotive experience for me. I buy them as much with my heart as my brain. And this just didn’t tug on my heart strings. Maybe if I shortened up the gearing and added an exhaust system…nah just give me back my Brutale 675.

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