For the past 30 years ever since John Bloor relaunched Britain’s legendary Triumph marque in 1991 with a range of three- and four-cylinder motorcycles that dared to target Japan Inc. head on, Triumph has always done things differently. This included dropping its fourcylinder 1000/1200cc models in ‘98 because, despite being the first to feature twin balance shafts in their engines to counter vibration, Bloor determined that these bikes were ‘too Japanese’. He wanted Triumph’s models to stand alone – hence the focus ever since then on various triples of different capacities, and – since the return of the Bonneville in 2000 – parallel-twins. The latest manifestation of that is the newfor-‘22 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR – the British brand’s long awaited first large-cube sportbike for a very long time, only done quite differently – no, VERY differently.
Of course, after Triumph made such a success out of going its own way with bikes that were unique in the marketplace, it was inevitable that these would end up being copied – hence Yamaha’s range of MT-09 triples, ditto MV Agusta’s 675/800 models, and Royal Enfield’s retro-style 650 parallel-twins. But John Bloor, his son Nick and the man they’ve charged with enacting their gameplan, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer, Steve Sargent, have continued to forge the company’s distinctly individual model strategies together with Triumph’s head of engineering Stuart Wood, 57, a 35-year company veteran who joined Bloor’s R&D team in 1987, three years before the debut of the first bikes bearing the revived British brand’s historic badge.
“We wanted to build on the basis of the Speed Triple 1200 RS we launched earlier this year, which has been an immediate success with 3,900 examples purchased in just the first six months it’s been on sale,” says Wood. “So we’ve aimed at combining the engagement and agility plus the pinpoint handling of a 765 Street Triple, with the performance and attitude of the latest generation Speed Triple 1200 RS, clothed in the styling of a traditional-type British café racer, expressed in a modern context. But above all it had to be enjoyable to ride on the road – despite its ready adaptability for use on a race track, we weren’t interested in producing a racer with lights. Instead, we’ve focused on delivering a fast, thrilling and very capable real world road bike – and we hope our customers will agree that’s what this is!”
It has indeed been quite a while since Triumph last featured an outright sportbike in its range - not since the 2006 demise of the muchloved Daytona 955i launched in 1997, in fact. This was a good bike with heaps of personality thanks to its then unique-sounding three-cylinder motor, albeit not quite up to its Japanese rivals in terms of outright performance. The middleweight Daytona 675 which replaced it proved a huge success, winning lots of multi-bike comparos against bigger one-litre Superbikes, and rumours have since abounded of Triumph ramping this up to produce a full-size Superbike successor to the 955i. But instead, Sargent & Co. have focused on expanding their offerings in the Adventure bike market, while seemingly ignoring the go-faster customer. Not any more, though.
But rather than tackle the Superbike market head-on by trying to compete directly with Fireblades, Panigales, R1s and the like, Triumph has decided once again to go its own way. Whereas when they originally created the Speed Triple back in 1994 [see History sidebar] Triumph’s R&D team simply deleted the bodywork from the three-cylinder Daytona 900 sportbike, and changed the handlebars to produce a stripped-out sportbike, this time around they’ve done the opposite, and added a framemounted café racer style half-fairing and fitted clipons to make a semi-streamlined ultrabike out of a Naked hotrod. The resultant 1200 RR retails in the UK for £17,950 incl. 20% tax, with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty and 10,000mi/16,000km service intervals. That’s for one in the Crystal White & Storm Grey colour scheme, whereas the Red Hopper & Storm Grey variant commands a £250 premium – but both are much more visually striking than the rather anonymous-looking black or silver livery of the 1200 RS.
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder
Capacity: 1160 cc
Bore: 90.0 mm
Stroke: 60.8 mm
Max Power: 180 PS / 177.6 bhp (132.4 kW) @ 10,750 rpm
Max Torque: 125 Nm @ 9,000 rpm
Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with electronic throttle control
Exhaust: Stainless steel 3 into 1 header system with underslung primary silencer and side mounted secondary silencer
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate, slip & assist
Gearbox: 6 speed
Frame: Aluminium twin spar frame, bolt-on aluminium rear subframe
Swingarm: Aluminium, single-sided
Front Wheel: Cast aluminium, 17 x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Cast aluminium, 17 x 6.0 in
Front Tyre: 120/70 ZR 17 (58W)
Rear Tyre: 190/55 ZR 17 (75W)
Suspension Front : Öhlins 43mm fully adjustable USD forks, 120mm travel. Öhlins S-EC 2.0 OBTi system electronic compression / rebound damping
Rear: Öhlins monoshock RSU with linkage, 120mm rear wheel travel. Öhlins S-EC 2.0 OBTi system electronic compression / rebound damping
Front Brakes: Twin 320mm floating discs. Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers, OC-ABS, radial master cylinder with separate reservoir, span & ratio adjustable
Rear Brakes: Single 220mm disc. Brembo twin piston caliper, OC-ABS. Rear master cylinder with separate reservoir
Instruments: Full-colour 5” TFT instruments
Length: 2085 mm
Width: (Handlebars)758 mm
Height : (Without Mirrors) 1120 mm
Seat Height: 830 mm
Wheelbase: 1439 mm
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