The Triumph Speed Triple is a good choice if you fancy a naked motorcycle which can perform well on road and track. And if you want to go further, you can, with the 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and RS revealed. The two higher spec bikes aren’t radically different to look at, but have been revamped and refined with some major engine changes.
So if the new Speed Triples still have the fairly aggressive ‘factory streetfighter’ looks on the outside, what’s changed underneath?
Well the 1050cc engine has received 105 new parts. That includes lighter crank gear, lighter Nikasil-plated aluminium cylinder lines, a small starter motor, and a lighter battery and alternator. Plus it also now features new profile pistons and a new cylinder head with better gas flow through the exaust ports and a higher compression ratio. The sump also lowers the oil level in the engine to reduce drag and improve weight distribution, and allowing the re-reouted oil system to run internally through the head gasket to the cylinder head, which means no external oil pipes.
All of that effort on the power plant has had results. The 2018 Speed Triple models benefit from 7% higher peak power output with 150 PS/ 148Bhp at 10,500rpm. And more peak torque with 117 Nm at 7,150rpm, which is up 4%.
So more powerful, lighter, less external pipework, and it also spins up faster to reach a red line 1,000 rpm higher.
So far, it seems like the 2018 Triump Speed Triple S and RS are looking pretty good.
To compliment that hard work on the engine, there’s also a new exhaust which allows more flow, a larger catalyst and a lighter header system. So the gases leave more easily, and sound better which they do it. You also get restyled high-level silencers on the S model, and lightweight sports silencers on the RS. Plus an improved gearbox and slip assist clutch.
It’s hard to complain about more power and lower weight. But you need the handling to cope with it. The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and RS both have the single-sided swingarm and twin spar aluminium frame you’ll recognise from previous Speed Triples.
And both models also get Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tyres, and twin front disk brakes with Brembo four-piston, two-pad M4.34 radial Monobloc calipers. Plus a rear single 255mm disc with Nissin two-piston sliding caliper.
The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S comes with 43mm upside-down Showa forks and Showa monoshock rear suspension, adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping.
But for a bit extra, the Triumph Speed Triple RS gives you 43mm upside-down Ohlins NIX30 forks and an Ohlins TTX36 twin tube shock at the rear, which are also both fully adjustable for preload, compression and damping. And you also get 3kg of extra weight saving, an adjustable Brembo brake lever with matching clutch lever and a new comfort seat.
Previous owners will notice some updates from the saddle, as Triumph has updated the instrument panel to an angle-adjustable full-clour 5-inch TFT display with a new start-up animation, a choice of themes and styles, and new ergonomic switchcubes with illuminated buttons.
Along with five selectable riding modes, which link to different throttle maps for the ride-by-wire system, you get switchable ABS and traction control, daytime running lights, and a USB charger. Plus new cruise control standard on both the S and RS models.
The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS also gets a new keyless steering lock and ignition system, which can be disabled if you prefer. The ABS and traction control have also been further optimised for cornering and straight line performance with an advanced inertial measurement unit developed with Continental to constantly measure and respond to roll, pitch, yaw, lean angle and acceleration.
The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and RS might not have had a radical design change. Which would have been fairly tricky on a naked bike without losing some of the recognisable features. But they still get some tweaks and updates for the new model year.
That includes new high-gloss ten-spoke wheels and new exhaust systems. The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S gets race-style upswept twin silencers with a larger bore, aluminium heat shields, black bodies, and a more slender end cap.
But the 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS gets high-level Arrow Sports silencers with a more angular look, brushed titanium finish, and some weight-saving carbon for the heat shield and end cap.
The higher spec RS also gets laightweight carbon for the front mudguard and radiator cowls, new stickers, and colour-coding for the belly pan and pillion seat cowl (which can be removed with your key). The aluminium rear subframe also goes for a matt finish.
The colours are kept purposefully simple:
- 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S: Jet Black or Crystal White with titanium rear subframe, graphite wheel pinstripes, silver seat stitching and graphite decals
- 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS: Matt Jet Black or Crystal White, with matt aluminium subframe, red wheel pinstripes, red seat stitching and RS decals.
So there you go. Two new updated Speed Triples, with more power, less weight, and some more subtle upgrades to the looks and technology. It’d be good to know what any current Speed Triple owners lurk among our readership, and whether the new models would convince you to upgrade to the latest bikes (or might convince owners of other manufacturers to jump across).
In the meantime, here are a shedload of new pics.
2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and RS Details/Accessories:
2018 Triumph Speed Triple S Gallery:
2018 Triumph Sreet Triple RS Gallery:
So what do you think about the new 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and RS?