Every so often a new bike comes along and redefines the word entertainment.
Triumph's Street Triple is one of those bikes. If you're not laughing within a single mile of riding it, then there's something very much wrong with your sense of humour. Essentially a naked, detuned version of the highly-acclaimed 675 Daytona sportsbike, the Trumpet is an absolute hoot on two wheels. It comfortably won our middleweight naked group test last year.
Light and flickable, it feels more like a pushbike than a motorcycle. And though its spec sheet suggests pushing it hard might lead to problems, the only restriction you're likely to face is your own ability. Forks can't be adjusted at all, and the shock only for preload. But show the Triumph either a smooth track or bumpy road and it just gets on with the job of floating over it, simultaneously supporting the bike really well. That's the beauty of well-set spring and damping rates. On paper, the twin-piston brakes give the impression they won't be up to the task of stopping the bike in a hurry. On tarmac they're more than up to the job. Stoppies are very much the order of the day. All in all the Street Triple's chassis is trackday-good.
Better still is the superb three-cylinder motor. Its capacity and configuration combine brilliantly to produce one of the keenest and flexible middleweight engines on the market. Softer cams and pistons give the motor a broader spread of power than the 675 Daytona's. It's a more real world delivery, and actually makes more horsepower up to 9000rpm than the sportsbike. It gives fluid and gutsy throttle response and an utterly fantastic exhaust note at virtually all rpm. And if you can't wheelie this bike, you'll never be able to. Not many bikes are as easy to hoist and hold.
Life can get a bit windy and strenuous at constant high speed thanks to the lack of plastic up front, and provision for carrying either a pillion or load of luggage isn't the best. But if your biking is just about sheer enjoyment, then those two little 'handicaps' won't get in the way at all. The fact that all the entertainment comes at a bargain-basement £5350, is as astounding as the stylish British bike itself. The Street Triple simply must be tried.
•NU Ins group: 13
•Engine: l/c, 12v, four-cylinder, in-line DOHC
•Bore x Stroke: 74 x 52.3mm
•Gearbox: Six-speed, chain
•Power: 107bhp @ 11,700rpm (claimed)
•Torque: 51lb/ft @ 9,100rpm (claimed)
•Chassis: Aluminium tubed twin spar
•Suspension: (F) 41mm inverted forks, no adjustment (R) rising-rate monoshock, adjustable preload
•Brakes: (F) twin 308mm discs, twin-piston calipers •R) 220mm disc, single piston caliper
•Wheels/Tyres: Cast Aluminium/Dunlop Qualifier (F) 120/70 17 (R) 180/55 17
•Rake/Trail: 24.3 degrees / 95.3mm
•Dry weight: 167kg
•Contact Triumph 01455 251700