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2009 Triumph Street Triple R Review

Monday, March 9, 2009
2009 Triumph Street Triple R.
"Riding Triumph's Street Triple R may be hazardous to your driving privleges". This is the kind of disclaimer you need to hear before hopping on Triumph's 2009 Street Triple R.
Smoke, tire screeching and sirens. Not the kind of things any of us want to encounter, especially during a motorcycle ride. But when you’re aboard the new 2009 Triumph Street Triple R these are some of the situations that come with the territory, often good but also bad - if you get caught.

So where was the smoke coming from? The rear tire of course. The screeching? Again, rear tire. And the siren? Well, that was an ambulance zooming past in the opposite direction, but it could have just as well been the police because when you’re on this bike you suddenly change.

We’ve felt this way before. In fact, when we rode last year’s original Street Triple this same feeling of lawlessness overpowered our every action. From the moment you hit the starter button to the time you drop the kickstand down, it is as if you relent total control to Triumph’s middleweight streetfighter.

Blame it on its ridiculously friendly liquid-cooled 675cc Inline Three engine, pulled from last year’s Daytona 675 Supersport (however, retuned with a lower redline and different camshaft profiles for increased low and mid-range torque). Simply put, the engine is a masterpiece. It is as mild or wild as your right wrist commands. A flat and no doubt purposely controlled spread of power is achieved right from the bottom sweep of the tach needle making wheelies in first gear mandatory. As the rpm’s climb, so does engine power, but it rises in such a linear fashion that within seconds you’ll be stabbing at the gearshift lever with all seven blue shift lights screaming for relief. This much fun should be illegal; unfortunately some of the time it is.

Adding to the exhilarating thrill of acceleration is the Triple’s unique engine octave. A few pumps of the throttle in neutral and the engine lets out a high-pitched whine. In gear, that whine is quickly trumped by an induction roar that gets progressively deeper, then all of a sudden morphs back into a shriek as the engine hovers near its 12,650 redline (1300 revs shy of the ’09 Daytona 675).
2009 Triumph Street Triple R.
Larger radial-mount Nissin calipers and higher spec adjustable suspension are added features of the R-spec Street Triple.

Keeping the engine out of the red and accelerating forward is accomplished via the same six-speed transmission as the original Street Triple, as is the manual cable-actuated clutch. The transmission continues to prove it’s the definition of “close-ratio” as it features gears stacked right next to each other. Add in the Street Triple’s lower final-drive gearing and it’s a recipe for constant left foot work. It’s a small price to pay, however, because with an engine as good as the Triumph’s you’re going to want to keep the throttle pinned as much and as long as possible.

Although the Street Triple’s powertrain doesn’t make use of a slipper clutch (which is becoming increasingly standard for high-performance streetbikes such as this one), the combination of its minimal engine braking and progressive clutch action counteract the lower drive gearing and make it easy not to miss.

So by now you’re probably wondering, ‘Jeez, the R -spec sounds just like last year’s Street Triple, is anything even different?’ Well, yes. The chassis is where the R-spec and regular Street Triple differ.

One of the only drawbacks we found with last year’s Street Triple was its suspension. Although it’s versatile for a variety of riders in all weights and skill levels, it’s definitely on the soft side. And combined with its lack of adjustment (completely non-adjustable with the exception of the rear shock spring preload) it remains the limiting factor when blasting around at speed.

Triumph answered by delivering the R-spec Triple with a 3-way adjustable (preload, compression and rebound) inverted fork and equally adjustable gas-charged rear shock. With the factory settings you’ll notice a tauter feel, front and rear, without it being harsh or jarring. This pays dividends when you’re loading the fork while jamming on the front brakes, charging into a corner hard. However, back out the preload and compression adjustment on the fork and it begins to feel soft and springy similar to the non R-spec Triple’s suspension. Adjustability is paramount and with the R you get the best of both worlds.
2009 Triumph Street Triple R.
It doesn't matter where you ride, Triumph's Street Triple R is just as capable in the city as it is on back roads.

Another difference is the R’s higher-spec front brake calipers. Larger radial-mount 4-piston Nissin calipers grab onto a pair of similar-sized 308mm rotors, now with a new Nissin radial-pump master cylinder powering the set-up through stainless-steel brake lines. Out back the same 220mm disc is clamped down by a Nissin single-piston caliper and braided line.

We thought last year’s Street Triple had an above average set of brakes so we were optimistic about the upgraded Nissin’s. But our first ride let us down as initial front brake performance wasn’t on par with the sum of its components, even with around 1000 miles on the odometer. After a few hard stops, the brake pads did finally bed-in and performance improved significantly. As the bike sits now, the brakes are more than enough power to flip you over the handlebar, fortunately there’s also plenty of feel so fast, rear-wheel-in-the-air stops are simple and fun. Just like last year’s Street Triple, the rear brake is about as good as it gets. And with the bikes short wheelbase, low seat height and centralized 425 pounds of mass, it makes for perfect rear brake sideways antics.

Like the standard Street Triple, the R gets the identical frame and swingarm as this year’s Daytona 675. Though where the base Street Triple makes use of slightly less aggressive chassis geometry, the R gets identical numbers (23.9 degrees rake, 92.4mm trail) to the Daytona 675, including the ability to modify the pivot angle of the swingarm if desired.
2009 Triumph Street Triple R.
It doesn't matter if your a novice or an ace. Triumph's Street Triple R has what it takes to keep any skill level rider entertained.
On paper the R should turn sharper than the standard Triple, but we couldn’t tell any difference. What we did notice is that the Triumph’s agility remains as good as ever. Likewise, its stability, even at high speeds on rough pavement, is extremely planted. Also notable is the continued fitment of Dunlop’s versatile Qualifier rubber and we continue to be impressed with the tire’s quick warm-up times, mild steering manners and outstanding level of outright grip.

The R’s cockpit is a mix of old and new. The seat features a new double-stitched two-tone cover and is now slightly taller (5mm). Magura aluminum handlebars replace the steel bars yet retain the same slightly elevated position and bend. Another plus is the front brake lever now offers 6-position adjustment.

Compared to even a Supersport motorcycle, the Street Triple R feels small. The combination of its slim engine dimensions, short length front-to-rear and low center of gravity make it one of the easiest motorcycles to control. Period. Our only complaint is that handlebar movement is limited due to the steering lock, which makes tight quarters maneuvering more difficult than it should be.

The same slick-looking instrument panel returns and seems to have more onboard functions than the space shuttle. A big sweep tachometer is easy to see at a glance as are the digital speedo and standard warning lights. But when you try to use functions like the lap timer, miles-per- gallon, average speed, and other engine functions, it’s confusing. Further complicating things are the three small buttons on the base of the panel, which are hard to access with or without gloves. Even worse, once you figure out how to navigate through the menus, getting each function to reset is impossible unless you practically study the manual. It’s all way too complicated.

So is the Street Triple R right for you and is it worth the $800 up-charge over the standard Street Triple? Well, if you’re the type of person who has little self-restraint, than this motorcycle will not be for you. It’s one of the few bikes that possess the right combination of power, weight and size, which make it all too easy to get in trouble on a Mad Max maniac binge, and it’s just so much fun. And now with the R’s more competent suspension and brakes, it’s equally as rowdy through the corners. Quite the combination, only downside being you may be attending traffic school quite soon…
Videos Presented by GoPro Cameras 
2009 Triumph Street Triple R
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Triumph Street Triple R Specs
2009 Triumph Street Triple R.
Engine: 675cc Inline-Three, DOHC, 12-valve
Bore x Stroke: 74 x 52.3mm
Compression Ratio: 12.65:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-Injection
Horsepower: 90.2 hp @ 12000 rpm
Torque: 42.7 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, cable actuation
Transmission: 6-speed
Front Suspension: Kayaba 41mm inverted fork, 3-way adjustable for preload, compression, rebound; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Kayaba gas-charged shock, 3-way adjustable for spring preload, compressio and rebound; 5.1 in. travel
Front Brakes: 308mm discs with radial-mount four-piston Nissin calipers
Rear Brake: 220mm disc, single-piston caliper 
Tires: Dunlop Qualifer 120/70R17, 180/55R17
Curb Weight: 426 lbs. (ready to ride)
Wheelbase: 56.6 in.
Length: 79.9 in.
Width: 30.7 in. 
Rake / Trail: 24.3 deg. / 95.3mm 
Seat Height: 31.8 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.6 gal.
MSRP: $9499
Warranty: Two year, unlimited mileage
Colors: Matte Graphite; Matte Blazing Orange
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ed282bk   February 11, 2011 02:25 PM
I'm a newbie, and really love this bike. I do understand that it's a bit too much for a first bike. Anyone have any suggestions for a newbie bike where I can work my skills up to tackle a street triple?
Wayne -Street Triple R  January 5, 2011 04:23 PM
I bought one mainly for the light weight, reasonable ergos, and fine handling. It doesn't feel big and ponderous. What I didn't expect was the excellent powerband and top end rush; the power feels like a much larger displacement engine and is useable on the street. It takes a lot of willpower to be judicious with the throttle. Definitely not a bike for beginners; 92bhp to the rear wheel combined with a 416lb wet weight is WAY too much for newbies. I don't really care for the hard-core sportbikes with the agonising riding position and peaky powerbands; power only relevant to the racetrack and suicidal on the street. I also think that bikes over 470lbs wet are too heavy for good effortless handling. I'm 5'-8 though and I would recommend the larger Speed Triple for riders over 6'. - Wayne
ryan -gsxr1man  December 21, 2010 12:06 AM
This bike is lame!
GARY -MR  September 16, 2010 05:44 AM
Sentinel -Thanks for the great review Adam!  September 12, 2010 05:07 PM
This is a great review and was lots of fun. I've been going through the "what's my next bike" grind for way to long. For me, sportbikes are just unbearable for the commuting I do. Not just their ergos, but their peaky power bands too. After pretty much ruling out every other bike on the market for one reason or the other, I've settled down to either the new 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 or the Triumph Street Triple R, and I think between the two I'm leaning heavily on the Street Triple due to my love for a much lighter bike that I can more easily thrash around, and power limits I'd be able to exploit more than on the litre bike.
Dave Morgan -Street King  June 8, 2010 06:13 AM
I recently picked up the STR and have found it to be a great all rounder with more than enough capability to take on all comers. HP can be improved with the Arrow pipes and remapping and make it into a formidable street fighter. A novice could ride it but a veteran rider can make this pup sit up and bark bigtime.
Ricardo -No worries...  March 5, 2010 06:32 AM
Well, no worries we did it. Was a pink cable out of position from de TPS. Ciao amigos...
Ricardo -Street Triple 1050 2008  March 3, 2010 12:50 PM
Hello, i need help. I am working a street triple 1050. Did oil change, filter, spark plugs and clean air filter. Well it doesn´t start any more. Just a few secs and it turn off. Any ideas..? Thanes for the help....
Joel -Tall riders  February 3, 2010 04:37 AM
Rick, I'm 6'3" and just bought a Street Triple R. I've got no problems fitting on it. It's an absolute treat to ride.
Rick -bike size  December 28, 2009 12:14 PM
Will this bike work for a taller guy? Im 6'3 with a 34+ inseam. I like everything I hear and read about this bike, but wonder if it would be too cramped. Any input appreciated. Thanks.
J White -Triumph "R" Style  December 9, 2009 03:04 PM
What else is there to say....its all been said. I bought the bike off the showroom floor in Detroit and have never looked back. Out of the crate its badass and I can't get enough of it. Peace guys and safe riding
speedtripler -street triple r  November 27, 2009 07:39 PM
i gotta give this bike its due respect. its the reason i ended up in a triumph dealership. the look,the sound,the performance,the price,its character,it all easily won me over. its sooo different from all the 600cc sporties or thumpin harleys in my area. but alas,it was not to be. much like cars,small-blocks can be quick and cool. but for me,big-blocks always pound harder,so i bought the 1050 speed triple. still an awesome bike tho.....oh ya,KEVIN CARMICHAEL RULES!!
ShagDoubt -Tripler vs Monster 1100  November 14, 2009 11:41 AM
Recently test rode these 2 bikes back-to-back....and the Triumph was a clear winner for me. Whilst very similar on paper they are chalk and cheese in riding experience with the Ducati engine feeling like a bag of spanners in comparison to the Trumpet. Ergonomics were strange on the Monster and i felt "perched" on top with nothing in front of me and clocks way out of my sight line. Engine braking is enormous and lock ups were all too easy. Bags of torque and a lovely soundtrack though. Attraction of the Striple have all been discussed below so i won't repeat but will say that coming off a BMW K1200R i was expecting it to feel weak and underpowered - but was blown away.....and pick mine up at the end of the month. :D
Crash Gordon -WTF?  October 27, 2009 10:43 PM
"John - Speed triple R lacking power April 13, 2009 11:56 AM It's not a bad bike for a new or novice rider. More serious riders will find its lack of horsepower and low quality brakes a real letdown. Simply put, it's no Ducati." One: That's one of the most retarded and pretentious things I've ever read. Really? Are you kidding? Two: You can't ride a spec sheet. Even if you were correct in your ignorant, stuck up little assessment of the situation, and discounting what everyone has said/already knows about Ducati's service intervals, there is something to be said about the way a bike feels, how tractable the power delivery is out of the corners, frame geometry, feedback, etc. A Ducati rider of all people should know this. Even though it's all true, it's also usually a Ducati rider's line when defending a traditional lack of outright horsepower.
MrJanuary -Street Triple instant classic  October 13, 2009 07:22 AM
I own a stock Street Trip (except for fender eliminator) and have done over 3,000km (4800mi) in two months. Mostly commuting, but plenty of national parks and highway. I'll be getting a screen for those highway runs, despite falling in love with the sheer minimalism of the stock machine. Plenty of power for accidental wheelies from standing start (it's just simply amazing). As fast as anything else out there from point to point on public roads, and probably track as well. I would have gone the R, but I got my ST at a very good price (traded in VTR250). No regrets. Arrow or Akrapovic exhaust... not sure. Bernouilli - Vibration problems on this one too? March 9, 2009 12:48 PM no vibrations worth mentioning. engine a little noisy, tappety, especially when cold, but performs like a porn star so I think of it as character. J Khan - Street triple R or R6 July 2, 2009 03:34 PM I've always had naked bikes, and although always try to keep them under cover, they have been drenched. No problems at all. Your rumour about naked bikes suffering weather more than other bikes is a myth. Hard to believe you took that advise seriously man... John - Speed triple R lacking power April 13, 2009 11:56 AM To prove you don't know what the f#*$k you are talking about, the article is describing the "Street" Triple R, not your imaginary "Speed triple R". There's no such thing as a Speed Triple R. I wish there was, 'cos it'd be the perfect weapon to hunt down and dispatch batty-boys on Ducatis. Aprilia make better motorcycles anyway, if you must go Italian. The Street Triple, and especially the R, will be talked about for decades as a classic motorcycle, a real standout form a generation of middleweight and litre bikes as well. If you haven't ridden one, go out of your way to give it an honest burl. It's worth paying for.
Thruxomatic -It's no Ducati?  July 30, 2009 12:17 PM
@ John

"It's not a bad bike for a new or novice rider. More serious riders will find its lack of horsepower and low quality brakes a real letdown. Simply put, it's no Ducati."

The new 696 Monster has 80 hp and weighs 359lbs dry. The Street Triple R puts out 90 hp with a 367 lb dry weight. Throw in the Duc's traditionally tall gearing as stock and I'll bet that Street Triple R makes mincemeat of that Duc. On a curvy track where the Street Triple can make the best use of its shorter wheelbase ... good luck.
J Khan -Street triple R or R6  July 2, 2009 03:34 PM
So I am deciding between the Yam R6 and the Street Triple R. Bike will be used mostly for commuting and occasional track days. I ride all year round and am told naked bikes do not last if driven in the rain - True or myth Also how would a Street Triple R hold up on Track ?
Robert Sanders -Speed Triple R  June 19, 2009 04:30 PM
John os right, It's no Ducati,---and that's a good thing---I sees too many Ducati's on the Road dead with Electrical problems. Reminds be of back in the 1970 areas of Trhumph and BSA's when Lucas was called "The prince of Darkness".
robert -poopbuttass  May 24, 2009 07:16 PM
anyone who doesnt give this machine its due is an asshole. "well i ride a ducati so watch me go suck my own pecker cuz my poop doesnt stank...." badass power in a light cheap to own badass package, period. bulletproof reliability in decent service increments. I'll buy a duck when i want narrow service intervals that cost more than my monthly payment....
Neo_knee -Street Triple  May 13, 2009 01:22 PM
I am 5'3 and this is my first sport bike. I want to know how it handles for a beginner rider.
Monica -Mr Right or Mr Right Now?  May 5, 2009 02:52 PM
This bike is at the top of my list right now, fighting it out with the '09 Ninja 650R. Both bikes look sexy, both receive great rider reviews, and both fill a niche. I'm just having a hard time deciding which niche I want filled!
Fred Hill -Street Triple R lacking power???  April 24, 2009 06:34 PM
Got one. Love it. Very fine in all areas, no complaints. Gotta love this comment from John: John - Speed triple R lacking power April 13, 2009 11:56 AM It's not a bad bike for a new or novice rider. More serious riders will find its lack of horsepower and low quality brakes a real letdown. Simply put, it's no Ducati. 106 hp, radial mounted dual 4 piston Nissins, extremely low wet weight... mine has the Arrow 3 in to 1 low mount exhaust with the ECU flash from Triumph too. It is a fine motorcycle for any level of rider. Oh and the valve adjustment interval is 12,000 miles and is inexpensive and uncomplicated, thank God it is not a Ducati! Ah well, to each his own.... Enjoy whatever you ride and be safe.
Bob -Street R  April 13, 2009 10:08 PM
FYI... the spec sheet says one year warranty, its actually two unlimited mileage. Great bike.
John -Speed triple R lacking power  April 13, 2009 11:56 AM
It's not a bad bike for a new or novice rider. More serious riders will find its lack of horsepower and low quality brakes a real letdown. Simply put, it's no Ducati.
Adam Toner - Glasgow, Scotland -Triumph Street Triple R  March 25, 2009 12:01 PM
Hello America. I've just traded in a three and a half year old Triumph Speed Triple 1050 in for a Street Triple R - and don't regret it one bit! I do most of my riding in Glasgow and on the 'twisties' around Loch Lomond National Park and the surrounding countryside. The fully adjustable suspension offers a superior ride over the standard Street Triple even on factory settings and the 675 Daytona motor is a peach! If you haven't checked one out it's well worth the effort!
Ken -Street Triple R  March 17, 2009 11:07 AM
After taking one for a ride I keep my Buell.The Street Triple R is good but my Buell is better for me.
Dean -Grammar  March 11, 2009 10:23 PM
You relent total control to the bike? C'mon, guys!
Emmet -nice  March 11, 2009 04:35 PM
Great video! consise, to the point, great slow motion, keep up the good work!
Superlight -Triumph 675  March 11, 2009 07:00 AM
We rode the Daytona 675s again at Bike Week - what a great bike! Anyone contemplating the purchase of a Japanese 600 supersport owes it to themselves to check out this Triumph.
Mark -Street Triple R - a must  March 10, 2009 04:43 PM
Well I took one out a few weeks ago and was so impressed I bought one. I pick it up this Saturday and cannot wait....
Joe McG -Well done  March 10, 2009 08:54 AM
The video review is the best I've seen from you folks yet. Everything was right: - good sound - smooth shots with transitions that were very unobtrusive - interesting clips o good looks at the hardware highlights o exciting riding shots (IHMO: this bike's hooligan effect/capabilities war rented the "extreme" riding shots and added a lot to the video, but I worry that the non-riding public's tolerance for this is getting lower and lower...) o enough of Adam to feel connected while taking nothing away from what we came for: a fair and fun bike review o well delivered (and written?) script Really good work! PLEASE KEEP IT UP!
Phamar -street triple  March 10, 2009 02:13 AM
Thelse bikes are cool. The only complaint I have about both the street triples is they are small motorcycles best suited for medium to small sized riders. Im 6'4"and I feel like Im riding one of those pit bikes when Im on one. This isn't really that unusual though (a R1 feels tiny too)but Id like to see it in a X Large
associate editor adam -street triple r engine vibration  March 9, 2009 09:47 PM
what up bernouilli-- there is a bit of engine vibration through the rev range but honestly the only time you notice it is when you're droning on the freeway. not bad at all.
Brian -Heck yeah!  March 9, 2009 09:41 PM
Yes!...The Triple R rocks. As does the Standard Triple (seriously...who is really gonna need the adjustable suspension? Better yet...how many would know how to adjust it properly?). Also nice on the R is the aluminum handlebar (Triumph must have got tired of complains about the steel junk the regular Triple comes with and how many owners promptly swap it out for Renthal units to get rid of nasty vibration). What does NOT rock is riding in True Religion jeans! C'mon...quit acting like a squid and set a proper example for the riding community. If you don't protect your legs...why bother wearing ANY protection. Jeans look cool, but skin graphs do not. What's next?...flip flops? No more jeans please.
jimbolaya -love it  March 9, 2009 05:55 PM
The only thing that might make me prefer the '09 Ducati Monster 1100 may be less shifting. Remarkably, the weights seem about equal. The 675 will have less reciprocating mass. I so wish BMW would release the 1200 Lo-Rider shown at '08 EICMA Italy, what may be the do-all end-all naked (well, unless Ducati released an 848 naked, which I'd prefer for its lower reciprocating mass vs. the promised 1098-derived naked).
thewall67 -Sport bike based street fighters  March 9, 2009 04:54 PM
The Canadian. I think I've heard that about nearly every street fighter based on a sucessful super sport. I agree, just plop the exact same engine in it as the Daytona and call it a day. If people want more grunt just gear it down.
Bernouilli -Vibration problems on this one too?  March 9, 2009 12:48 PM
This is an awesome bike, but a lot of owners of the non-R model have reported an insupportable engine vibration problem (between 6k-8k rpm ) since it was released a few years ago. Has this issue been solved for 2009?
The Canadian DAN -Cool........  March 9, 2009 11:24 AM
They shoul of left the Daytona power output in the R..... Now that would of been worth it....
Ben -Speed Street Triple R  March 9, 2009 10:23 AM
Awesome. This bike kills the new Monster in the styling department. I love it.