Before choosing the new Triumph Speed Triple RS motorcycle, I had test ridden a number of 'full on' sports bikes like the BMW S1000RR, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and the Honda Fireblade SP as well as some 'naked' sports bikes, like the BMW S1000R. The Speed RS had the character I wanted, it was something special on the road. The only other motorcycles that came near to it (for character) were the Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory and the Triumph Street Triple RS.
Please note that this review will grow as I expand on more information regarding the RS and my use of the motorcycle.
Some information is repeated within the review for continuity as some readers might select to read only certain parts. If you wish, you can skip the review, which could be construed as heavy going and just head for my Summary of the Triumph Speed Triple RS at the end.
The review relates to two Triumph Speed Triple RS motorcycles. My first one developed a problem during its 500 mile service due to its oil change. I rejected it and within a few weeks, I received a second brand new RS which has now covered in excess of 1,952 miles. Throughout the entire experience, I cannot fault the Dealer Salesman and the Technical Director who treated me with the utmost respect and went out of their way to ensure a smooth transition to my second motorcycle.
I have taken delivery of my 1st 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS (5th May 2018) and I added a few extras which you can view in some of the images below -
Triumph Alarm System
Datatag (Security Tags Placed on Parts of the RS & Registered on the Datatag Database)
Triumph Up/Down Quickshifter
Triumph Front Fork Protectors
Triumph Rear Seat Grab Handle
Triumph Smoke Tinted Fly Screen
Techspec Generic SS Snakeskins (Cut to Shape for the Sides & Top of the Tank)
Scottoiler for Automatic Oiling of the Chain
R&G Aero Sliders
Evotech-Performance Radiator & Oil Cooler Protectors
Optimate 4 Battery Charger
Oxford Boss 16mm Alarm Padlock for the Front Disc
BikeTek Rear Wheel Paddock Stand
I was well pleased, the salesman and the service department did a splendid job of preparing the motorcycle and explaining the controls.
Dealership & Manufacturer Relationship
I firmly believe in supporting my local dealership but a dealership is only as good as it's own mechanics and the motorcycle brand manufacturer. It can have the best sales representation, who treat you well and ensure that your new motorcycle is properly presented but in the long-term and at the end of the day the ongoing relationship between yourself, the service department and of course, the motorcycle brand manufacturer is critical. Confidence building is essential because if you lose confidence in the model build from the manufacturer or the service department's ability to maintain your motorcycle properly then it can place you at a loss as to where to turn to, especially if you cannot afford to trade in your new motorcycle for a different brand.
Purchasing a new motorcycle must be given careful consideration as the 2 or 3 years warranty BINDS you to the manufacturer and the brand dealership for the servicing, manufacturer recalls and any warranty repairs, Thereafter, when the warranty has run out, you can if you wish, take your motorcycle to a third party servicing department.
New models of motorcycles, just like cars, can have their teething troubles and honesty from the manufacturer and the dealership has always been the best policy in addressing them and reassuring the customer. When you are in the business of purchasing a new motorcycle it is advisable to check out the service department's list of manufacturer's training certifications relating to each model per mechanic as sadly a few dealerships employ home grown mechanics who do not possess certification and are often assigned to service brand motorcycles they are unfamiliar with. This is not a casual consideration, after all, if a motorcycle is not properly maintained it could cost you serious injury or worse. Professional dealerships, invariably display their mechanics photographs, names and training certificates on the wall behind the service reception desk. Some even go further and outline the mechanics background and long-term experience, below the photograph.
Scottoiler (Drips Small Amounts of Oil on the Chain)
The Triumph Dealer, who supplied the motorcycle, did a great job in concealing the Scottoiler behind the left side of the frame next to the rear suspension adjustment controls. Its a sports version (quite small) but it holds a fair amount of oil which drips very slowly onto the chain when the RS is running. Its just a matter of keeping an eye on the system to ensure it is working and for topping up the oil. (see images below)
R&G Aero Sliders - Crash Protection
I purchased the Aero Sliders from R&G online and the Triumph Dealer fitted them for me. There are two positions for the R&G Aero Sliders, one is behind the radiator but I opted for a more central position on the bike, near to the seat. NOTE: If ordering the R&G sliders, beware that there are two kits, one for the front and one for the centre position - they have different spacers. ALSO when fitting to the centre position - remember to keep the original bolts taken off the RS in a safe place. (see images below)
Triumph Front Fork Protectors - Crash Protection
I had the Triumph front fork protectors fitted by the Triumph Dealer. There were other choices available from 3rd parties, but I think the Triumph variant suited the RS more than the others. (see images below)
Triumph 'Smoked' Fly Screen
I had the Triumph 'smoked' fly screen fitted by the Triumph Dealer and not only is it a very nice piece of 'eye candy' which finishes of the look of the RS but it appears to be effective. On a private road, I hit 105mph at 11,000 revs in 3rd gear and at no time did I feel the wind blast was unsettling me or preventing me from enjoying the moment. I was not tucked down on the tank but slightly more crouched forward to deal with the massive acceleration. (see images below)
Triumph Rear Seat - Cowl
When you purchase the RS, Triumph also supply a cowl in matching red/black colour to fit to the bike to replace the rear seat. It is a cracking piece of 'eye candy' and I should really fit mine because it gives the RS a more sporty appearance. I will probably get around to it as it is languishing in a cupboard.
NOTE: If you are having an Triumph alarm fitted, make sure that the Dealer gives you the alarm sensor for the cowl. It is normally supplied separately with a couple of self tapping screws. I fitted the sensor immediately even although I am not using the cowl - saves the sensor getting lost over time.
Triumph 'Rear Seat' Grab Handle
I had the Triumph grab handle fitted behind the rear seat but not for strapping a bag to. First of all, it is a sturdy piece of kit and because I am not a fan of moving a motorcycle about in my garage using the bars - I use the left bar grip and the grab handle. I really like it the most for holding onto with my left hand to straighten the RS upright, whilst raising/lowering the RS rear wheel on my BikeTek paddock stand - makes it a breeze for single person operation. (see images below)
Additional Security - Alarm Padlock for Front Disc
My Triumph Speed Triple RS is fitted with an (optional) Triumph Alarm System but I also ordered an Oxford Big Boss 16mm Alarm Lock - OF4 Model for locking the front wheel whilst in the bike's steering lock position.
It is a large device but I carry it in a waterproof textile pouch (a Lowepro Slip Lock Pouch) attached to the left side of the frame (small black cable ties) just in front of my leg.
The Oxford Alarm Padlock just fits the front disc by a small margin (must be fitted into the narrowest part of the disc).
Additional Security - Datatag Motorcycle Parts
I also requested the Triumph Dealer to Datatag the various parts of my RS that could be broken up for spares if the motorcycle was stolen. I put the Datatag label on the tank at the front where it could easily be seen and act as a deterrent.
Triumph Alarm System - Excellent Security
As a condition of my insurance, I have to set the Triumph Alarm when the motorcycle is left unattended and even in my locked garage. I don't know how long the battery will hold charge with the alarm set but in any case, the bike will be in storage over the winter period and I also use another motorcycle, so the Triumph will be sitting with the alarm draining the battery. Hence the requirement for an Optimate 4 to trickle charge the battery when the Triumph is in the garage.
This video is a good example of how to fit the Optimate Flying Lead to the battery - NOTE: The new Optimate 4 Flying Lead, has a different (more waterproofed) plug connector - see image above.
The Triumph Alarm System is a Thatcham Category 1 approved - so when you
switch off the engine and shut down the ignition, the alarm will
automatically set within a few seconds. Not the full alarm but the
immobiliser. However, if you enter the garage, switch off the alarm and
you are in the process of moving the motorcycle outside (engine has not
been switched on) the full alarm system will reset and then activate,
due to the movement of the bike. I now
start the engine and then switch it off before moving the motorcycle
outside - during the process, the immobiliser sets but not the full
alarm - then when I am ready to start the bike, I have to use the alarm
key fob to switch the immobiliser off. Its a small price to pay for
Normal setting of the alarm is easy - switch off engine and ignition, turn the front wheel to left/lock position and press the lock steering button on top of the right controls cluster (image below) and you will hear a short hiss/click as the steering lock engages (check steering is locked by attempting to gently move the front wheel). Now, within a few seconds press the grey button on the alarm fob and the indicators flash twice to set the full alarm system. To unset, press the grey button on the alarm fob and the indicators flash once - must start engine within a few seconds or the alarm will automatically set the immobiliser. NOTE: When you engage the ignition to start the engine, the steering lock makes a short hiss/click as it automatically unsets.
NOTE: If you are having an Triumph alarm fitted, make sure that the Dealer gives you the alarm sensor for the rear seat replacement cowl that is supplied with the RS. It is normally supplied separately with a couple of self tapping screws. I fitted the sensor immediately even although I am not using the cowl - saves the sensor getting lost over time.
The alarm fob is the small one with the grey button (see images below). The large fob is the electronic unit for enabling the bike's ignition (must be on your person or near the bike for the ignition to work). The second image shows the key for unlocking the petrol tank and rear seat - works like a flick knife, press the chrome button on the large fob and the key flicks out. To close into fob, simply press back home. The blue key is for my Oxford Padlock Alarm.
BikeTek (Single Swingarm)
Rear Paddock Stand
(One Person Operation)
The BikeTek rear paddock stand is a substantial piece of kit, fitting it on the RS rear wheel is easy - put the bike on its side stand, slip the paddock stand pin into the rear wheel axle (left side) and slide it home. Using the rear grab handle, raise the bike level which allows both wheels of the paddock stand to rest on the ground. Using this method, the paddock stand pin will always remain fully and firmly in the rear wheel axle. Now, to lock the bike in position, push the rear of the paddock stand to the ground and the bike rear wheel will be lifted off the ground. To put the bike back down onto its side stand, which first MUST BE DOWN, reverse the procedure. Remember to hold the bike's rear grab handle as you raise the rear of the paddock stand off the ground and when you gently let the bike fall onto its side stand.
The spindle shaft on the BikeTek paddock stand rotates in its own bearing inside the red main frame. I regularly oil the bearing with chain oil spray and the spindle shaft itself, to ensure smooth operation of the spindle shaft insertion into the rear wheel and the spindle shaft's rotation as the RS rear wheel is raised up.
Tank Protection - Sides & Top
Radiator & Oil Cooler Protection
For my original RS, I purchased a 3rd party tank pad for the top/rear of the tank to protect it from wear and tear because when sitting on the seat, the front of my textiles were always near or against the tank. It must be the matt black paint finish on the tank of the RS, for no matter how I tried, the tank pad would become unstuck and curl up. I was ready to use clear silicone sealer to finish the job but the RS went in for it's service before I could get around to it.
For my original RS, I purchased TechSpec Snakeskins pertaining to the 2016 Triumph Speed R model (none available for the RS). These offered side wear protection for the RS tank and extra grip for my knees, Although they stuck instantly and stayed stuck, I was never happy with their shape as they did not cover the entire sides of the tank. This time around I have ordered the 'Generic Variant' of the TechSpec Snakeskins, which are 2 x sheets 7.5" x 13" which I intend to cut to shape from templates of the side of the tank (right and left) and as a bonus, a tank pad for the top/rear of the tank is included.
I have fitted my generic TechSpec Snakeskins to my new RS and they stuck well and stayed stuck. I used a sheet of cardboard to make a template for the FULL sides of the tank and used sharp scissors to cut the rubber. The sides and the top are now well covered and look great.
After a while, I got fed up with the Snakeskins Tank Pad as it did not cover very much on the top of the tank. The RS has a neat wheelbase and the higher seating position means (its an age thing) I am straddling the tank when mounting the bike. I found that the front of my jacket was always up against the tank and when mounting the RS, my jacket tended to drift on the tank paintwork above the tank pad. I decided to replace it with a MotoGrafix Triple Tank Pad. The old Snakeskins Tank Pad simply peeled off and I stuck it firmly on the door of a metal cabinet in my garage. I cleaned the tank area of the RS with mentholated spirits, heated the tank paintwork with a hairdryer and popped on the new tank pad which stuck fast and firm and so far has remained firmly stuck to the tank.
After I was out and about on my RS, I noticed that the front of the radiator and oil cooler were heavily impregnated by dead flies and there was a dirt trail up the middle of the oil cooler from the rear of the front wheel. The RS was purchased for sports handling and invariably would be ridden at or near to the 60mph speed limit on country roads. I reckoned it would only be a matter of time before a stone would be flung into the oil cooler or the radiator and I would be stranded miles from home. Therefore, I have ordered up (black powder coated) aluminium protector sheets for the RS radiator and oil cooler from Evotech-Performance. These slip onto the front of the radiator and oil cooler using the existing fixing bolts. Now fitted - see image below -
Radiator & Oil Cooler Protection
Oxford Indoor Cover
My RS motorcycle stands in a large agricultural metal framed garage and although the roof is lined with condensation prevention panels there is a fair amount of condensation and dust which adheres to the RS. During the summer the condensation was non existent but as the weather cooled with the onslaught of Autumn, I began to notice dampness creeping onto the engine and frame of the bike. It was time for action and although my RS was sprayed with rust repellant, I decided to purchase an Oxford Protex indoor cover. It is ideal as the material is soft and designed to repel dust and condensation.
I went for the RED MEDIUM version which on later reflection was a
mistake. The medium size is 100% correct and the cover is a great fit
but red was the mistake. No matter how careful you are in putting a
cover on a bike; inevitably there will be oil or grease from the chain
and rear wheel area that will soak onto the material and boy does it
show up on red - I should have purchased the black version.
TFT Screen + Main Menu
The TFT screen is brilliant and the choices of display 'blow the mind' and they are all excellent.
I chose the Menu/Display (Theme 1 - Style 2) shown in the image below and when out for ride and using the joystick on the Left Side Controls Cluster, I can scroll across left/right/up/down through all of the bottom screen Visible Tray displays - although I tend to leave it as shown.
More on the Main Menu after the TFT Screen image below -
The Main Menu for full editing capabilities is accessed by pressing the HOME button (little house icon) on the Right Hand Controls Cluster. (see image after the table section below)
I have left all the Display Setting Choices in the Display Setup/Visible Tray enabled which is the default mode in the menu. NOTE: The Visible Tray is shown on the bottom of the TFT Screen in the image above.
My changes in the Main Menu are -
Enable the TSA (Shift Assist)
Set Indicators to Auto Basic
Set Display Theme to Theme1 and Style 02
I have created a few basic tables of the Main Menu/1st Sub Menus -
|MAIN MENU||1st Sub Menu|
|Reset Defaults||Reset all to Defaults|
|MAIN MENU||1st Sub Menu|
|Bike Setup||TSA (Shift Assist)|
|MAIN MENU||1st Sub Menu|
|Lap Timer||Visible Tray|
|Reset Defaults||Too many other headings to list|
See Image of Right Controls Custer with HOME button (little house icon) below -
The Joystick which is situated below the indicator switch on
the Left Controls Cluster is used to scroll
left/right through the Visible Tray's various display
choices and in certain displays, you can toggle it up/down
to open up more choices and by pressing the Joystick, you
can select a mode or start/stop a display. By pressing it in
for a few seconds, you can reset the display. The Joystick
is also used in conjunction with the M button on the Left
Controls Cluster to select Riding Mode choices, like RIDER,
RAIN, ROAD, SPORT and TRACK.
See Image of Joystick and M button on Left Controls Custer below -
The Triumph Speed Triple RS controls are most excellent (once you find out what they are) and I did not have any problem with them. Not once did I operate the wrong control by mistake, not even the indicator switch which sits above the joystick on the left control cluster.
The red starter switch on the RS (keyless ignition) is on the Right Controls Cluster - see image below.
Normal Start in Neutral Gear (alarm switched off and the side stand up or down - RS key fob in your pocket) -
Press the top of the switch back and the RS logo appears in TFT Screen and then the display is shown
Press the bottom of the switch once and the ignition system engages, the TFT screen displays all the warning lights and at the same time the steering lock makes a short click/hiss as it unlocks
Hold in clutch lever - press the bottom of the switch and hold - the starter engages the engine to fire up the bike then release the hold on the switch
Make sure the oil pressure light (oil can icon) on the right of the TFT screen extinguishes along with the other warning lights
If side stand down, flick up
Hold in clutch lever and select 1st gear - ready to move off
Quick Start in Neutral Gear (alarm switched off and the side stand up or down - RS key fob in your pocket) -
Hold in clutch lever - press the bottom of the switch and hold longer until the starter engages the engine to fire up the bike then release the hold on the switch - at the same time the steering lock unlocks but you cannot hear it for the starter motor
Quick Start is a faster method that Normal Start BUT the TFT screen remains black until the engine starts
When the TFT display comes on - make sure the oil pressure light (oil can icon) on the right of the TFT screen extinguishes along with the other warning lights
If side stand down, flick up
Hold in clutch lever and select 1st gear - ready to move off
RS Stalled in any Gear
Hold in clutch lever - press the bottom of the switch and hold - the starter engages the engine to fire up the bike then release the hold on the switch - change gear if necessary and move off
Switching Off in Neutral Gear (in neutral the side stand can be up or down) -
Press the top of the switch completely back and the RS shuts down
Turn the steering to lock position and press the Lock Button at the back of the Right Controls Cluster and the steering lock makes a short hiss/click noise - check the steering is locked
Set Triumph Alarm by pressing the grey button on the alarm fob and indicators flash twice (if optional alarm fitted)
The red horn button is situated front/bottom of the Left Controls Cluster and when pressed there is a peep sound that is fairly loud but more importantly it is sharp to the ears. Now this is ideal to warn women drivers that you are approaching - their ears are conditioned to pick up sharp sounds, even in their sleep - the sound of crying babies is an example.
Indicators - Set for Auto Basic
I had the indicators on the Left Controls Cluster, set for Auto Basic and they switched off after a short distance but Auto Basic is not governed by the movement of the steering, it is actually an 8 second time frame and an additional 65 metres of travel. However, it is an unlimited time frame if the RS is standing still, say at a busy junction and then they switch off after an additional 65 metres of travel. I started to use them in Manual Mode as I found that when entering long slips of the motorway in heavy, slow moving traffic, the indicators switched off before I entered the slip. However, in manual mode, it is easy to forget they are switched on, especially in heavy city traffic where you can be distracted. So it is back to Auto Basic and keeping an eye on them when entering dual carriageway or motorway slips.
The cruise control is awesome and it takes a fair bit of deceleration movement on the throttle (acts like a switch) before the cruise is disengaged. When running in cruise control, if you accelerate and then release the throttle, it will return to your chosen cruise setting. To set the cruise control on the Left Controls Cluster, flick and hold briefly the cruise switch to SET and a green indicator on the left of the TFT screen will appear/confirm that cruise is set. To decrease speed, press the cruise switch set button, to increase speed, press the cruise switch resume button. Braking on either brake, disengages cruise and to resume cruise, press the cruise switch resume button.
I left the bike set on daytime running lights with the green light indicator showing on the right of the TFT screen. To select dip beam, you move the light switch on the Left Controls Cluster down and then to select high beam, you flick the red flick lever under the front of the Left Controls Cluster. By toggle flicking the red flick lever you can dip or high beam your lights. The day running lights look great and when in day running mode, you can flick the red flick lever to flash your beam light. For normal day use, I leave the lights in day running mode.
Mode M Button + Joystick + Home Button
The M Rider Modes button is situated on the Left Controls Cluster and takes you into the motorcycles Rider Mode Menu on the TFT Screen bottom section, (Visible Tray) to select the various modes, RAIN, ROAD, SPORT, TRACK and RIDER. Using the M button and then the Joystick control with the bike coasting - throttle rolled off, clutch lever in and NO brakes applied, you can select the desired riding mode displayed. To edit individual riding modes, you use the HOME button (button has image of a small house) on the Right Controls Cluster and the Joystick control to toggle and press Joystick to select a desired setting. See more in the TFT Screen + Main Menu Section above. You can link to it from here .......click here
Left Controls Cluster Images
Right Controls Cluster Images
Sports Motorcycle Comparisons
When compared to a sports motorcycle, the Triumph Speed Triple RS may be faster around a corner than a Honda Fireblade but in a straight line, watch the Fireblade disappear, especially if you are both in 1st gear at the time. The Fireblade does 100mph in 1st gear whilst the Speed Triple RS does 105mph in 3rd gear at 11,000 rpm. So what the hell is a Triumph Speed Triple RS - I reckon it was spawned to be a street motorcycle and someone at Triumph let their imagination run riot and morphed it into a track bike. So it is a 'full on' sports bike for handling with upright bars and a gearbox leaning slightly towards street use BUT still mental (when it wants to be) on country roads. Its what you want for everyday use and/or the track, especially when you dislike the seating position on a Fireblade, a BMW S1000RR or a Suzuki GSX-R1000. The RS is a motorcycle that you can enjoy riding in the urban environment, take for a crazy blast on country roads or cruise at 70mph along the motorway with cruise control activated.
The build quality of the RS is superb and the motorcycle when moved around in the garage feels solid and strangely chunky with its short wheelbase and low centre of gravity. I can feel the weight but on the road it feels lightweight and very easy to handle.
Maintenance & Warranty
The Triumph Speed Triple RS has a 2 Year Warranty and must be maintained annually or at a maintenance interval in relation to the mileage, whatever comes first. It is unlikely that I will ever maintain my RS in my garage and instead it will go to the Triumph Dealer. However, I will perform the basic maintenance checks of the RS, prior to taking her out on the road. You can now read and download my Triumph Speed Triple RS - Daily Checklist.
Checking the engine oil level is a critical procedure due to the advanced way the oil is held in the RS and the nature of the oil flow as it is pressurised around the oil channels. As per page 99 of the RS User's Manual which is supplied with the bike, the engine oil level must be undertaken with the RS in an upright position (not on the side stand) with both wheels on the ground and the engine oil must be warm. Therefore it is best to check the oil regularly, especially after a run out on the bike and before the oil becomes cold. To obtain an accurate reading, the oil filler plug/dipstick has to be fully screwed home before removing to perform the oil check. The maximum level of oil is measured at the upper marking, which is just above the dipstick area that is scored with cross section cuts.
Checking the tyres for cuts/abrasions/damage is a checklist routine which is best undertaken on a regular basis, before riding out. I find that the RS requires more than weekly regular tyre pressure checks, (check prior to a ride out) and the correct tyre pressure in relation to best handling performance is required. I have 3 tyre pressure gauges and each one delivers a different reading, One of them is certified, so I tend to rely on its reading. The other two are out by as much as 2 PSI below and 4 PSI above. The recommended tyre readings, must be taken with the tyres COLD, and are front=34 PSI and rear=42 PSI.
Key Fob + Rear Seat Security + Fuelling
The key fob is rather large in the palm of your hand, especially if you also have the optional alarm fob, but both are bearable. The actual key for the petrol tank and the rear seat removal is retracted inside the key fob.
The RS detects the key fob in your pocket as you approach and allows you to engage the red start/ignition switch on the right control cluster to start the bike. At the same time, it allows you to lock/unlock the steering lock via a button on the right hand control cluster. My RS is fitted with an alarm so the back seat or the replacement cover for the back seat, have sensors built into them. If the seat or replacement cover is removed before the alarm is unset, the bike alarm will activate. I did not have a problem filling the RS with petrol. The bike was light enough to hold upright as I sat on her, the petrol cap was easy to unlock and the petrol went in very easily. The petrol gauge proved fairly accurate and after a few seconds of moving away, it displayed the full setting on the gauge. A quick touch of the joystick resets my average mile display and my mile range - - - the actual mpg centre/bottom display always resets to -.-- when the RS is standing still (see image of TFT screen below).
Fuel Consumption - Replacement RS Motorcycle
The first 100 miles
drove me up the wall but thereafter is was not half bad. At 500 miles, I
was looking forward to the 500 mile service and I actually put the RS
off the road in the garage until the pre-booked time at the
I have completed over 2,000 miles on my replacement Triumph Speed Triple RS and I am now averaging 54.3 miles per gallon during city, motorway and a lot of country road blasts. On motorway trips in constant 6th gear at 70mph with cruise control on, the RS delivers around 79.4 miles per gallon and at around 60mph it delivers around 90.7 miles per gallon.
The RS has a stock comfort seat which soaks up the ride on your rear for around 60 miles or as you break yourself and the RS in to put 1,000 miles on the clock, you can achieve in excess of 100 miles without any 'numb bum'. I have a 33" inside leg and yet the seat height is enough for me to ride the bike without any movement restrictions or cramping and there is plenty of room between the seat and the pegs. I do not feel uncomfortable reaching the bars, they are slightly forward but I am seated in a semi-upright position without any wrist strain.
Weight Saving - New Oil Distribution System
The RS has a new oil distribution system which along with refined combustion chambers, some carbon fibre parts, a lighter battery and alternator, reduces some of the weight of the previous Speed Triple. A new sump holds the 3.8 litres of oil lower in the engine and the sump drain plug is now positioned horizontal above the sump base and away from any potential road grounding (speed bumps, etc). The oil-flow is re-routed through the cylinder head which allows for the removal of external oil pipes. The RS weighs in at 189kg (dry) and I found the lower centre of gravity greatly enhanced the handling.
I don't know how many miles I will get out of my tyres carving up country roads (I suspect around 3,000) as those factory fitted Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres are relatively slick.
Brakes & ABS
The ABS and Traction Control are set up in the Continental Inertial Measurement Unit which provides the vehicle’s current movement status to all requesting devices - more on this in the Riding Mode Section further down the page. I found the front brake was progressive (brake lever dial set to 19) and yet, when required, a serious squeeze of the front brake lever brought the bike to an abrupt halt. At setting 20 on the brake lever dial, I found the braking was too abrupt. As the miles piled on and the pads wore in, the brakes became even more efficient. The rear brake proved ideal (clutch/rear brake/throttle) for those slow manoeuvres in slow city traffic and for lane splitting. It has some bite when used on its own, for at slower speeds on bone dry roads and on the odd occasion, the ABS kicks in to prevent lock up of the rear wheel. Out on the country roads at higher speeds, it was comforting to know that the brakes could slow down the bike, even if I overcooked a corner. I never attempted an emergency stop using only the front brake but using the front and back, the ABS did not kick in as fast (on bone dry roads) as most other bikes I have ridden, which I enjoyed, especially as the wheels did not lock/skid. I have not used the RS in wet conditions - this area is now covered further down the page. For all the default Riding Mode Configurations - RIDER, RAIN, ROAD, SPORT and with the exception of TRACK, the default ABS settings are the same, although the Traction Control varies.
Acceleration + Exhaust Note
Even when running the RS in, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As I neared the 500 mile mark, I could open her up to around 6,000 revs and the acceleration was awesome, coupled with a glorious induction roar. I have to admit, the acceleration up to 7,000 revs would be more than enough but the RS has much more to offer (after 1,000 miles of use). I never felt that I was having to hang on, even although the torque surge was massive. As the miles pile on, the exhaust note gets louder.
I have not altered the factory default setting which I have found excellent for road holding and handling. I weigh in at 15 stone and the ride on the bike is firm. I guess, I could ease off the rear and make the ride a little softer but then the handling may not be so good? For now, I intend to leave the suspension settings alone.
Suspension + Handling
The suspension of the Triumph Speed Triple RS is everything you would want in an Öhlins setup. Once I had her mileage up near the 500 mark, I took her out on the Edinburgh to Moffat to Peebles road with the most awesome twisty corners you could imagine. There were negative, positive cambers, small humps, tight and sweeping corners with hump back bridges and man she stuck to the road like glue. Make no mistake this is one serious sports machine and even with a standard comfort seat you know she had a hard suspension designed to handle any road condition or corner thrown in her path. I never felt any 'numb bum' on the country corners but it was different story on the motorway. I now wear 'cycle gel pants' under my textile or jean trousers and they work. They say that after about 1,000 miles, your rear end gets used to a sports bike, so perhaps, eventually, the gel shorts can stay at home? I cannot complain, the RS is up there with the 'big boys' and even although she is a 'naked' I reckon she can hold the corners with the best of the top 'full on' sports bikes. I over cooked a few corners and the cornering ABS electronics smoothed out the ride but I admit, I don't like to rely on such technology - nice to have it though.
City Riding - Throttle Control
I had no problems in city traffic and even with the bar end mirrors, I could lane split with ease. Smooth, very smooth throttle control from almost stop to moving forward, even down at sub 10mph speeds and at almost dead stop, coupled with clutch/rear braking, she is a breeze to manoeuvre. The only downside is that her 'full lock' turning circle is not the best by bearable. Coming towards a roundabout at sub 20mph for immediate entry without stopping, she will continue without a stutter - in the correct gear of course. I have a 33" inside leg and I found that when required, I could easily reach the road and 'duck walk' the bike back into a parking space although I did fit a rear 'pillion grab handle' which makes moving the bike about with the left bar and the grab handle, a lot easier - I am not a fan of moving a bike using only the bars. The RS has a hard suspension but small potholes and rough tar repairs were smoothed out relatively well but you could still feel them. However, I never suffered from any 'bottom end' pile drivers, which was nice.
Cruising along at 70mph with the cruise control switched on, is a great feeling. Both hands on the bars but relaxed in the knowledge that the throttle will not easily disengage the cruise at the slightest touch, it takes a deliberate de-acceleration movement on the throttle (like throwing a switch) to disengage cruise or a slight touch on either brake. You come up on a slow car in the inside lane, open up the throttle to accelerate past and then relax as the throttle re-adjusts automatically back to your cruise control pre-set speed. You are travelling at 50mph and in a blur you are at 85mph (the 500 mile running in top limit) as you open up the throttle in 6th gear - oops and you let her immediately roll back to the pre-set cruise control speed limit. I never found the wind to be a problem, the bike felt stable enough and even with cross winds she never wavered from the straight line. I have not used the RS in the rain so I cannot comment (as yet) on that experience. My RS is fitted with a small smoke screen which is beautiful and finishes the 'eye candy' of the bike. It seems to work as I don't seem to suffer from any oncoming wind blast, even on the odd occasion where passing a vehicle has taken me to the 85mph mark (for a moment) but I cannot comment on what the RS would be like without the screen.
Country Roads + Modes
The RS is built for the twisty country roads and there is nothing like leaning her over and coming out of the corner as you open up the throttle. Man what a feeling and the roar of the induction noise adds to the experience. I love approaching a tight corner, clutch lever in and manually blipping the throttle on the downshifts; down through a couple of gears in a millisecond (without any clunks) and holding the line as I then throttle her, coming out of the corner. I have only used the RS on bone dry roads and judging by the small amount of tread on those Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres, I will be switching to RAIN mode in the wet. I have not tried SPORT or TRACK mode as yet, due to limiting the revs as I run her into the 500 mile marker for her first service. For the moment it has been ROAD mode and that is enough, believe me, that is enough.
I have been out and about on the motorcycle and running up the mileage for its 500 mile service and then it will be onto 1,000 miles before I can finally open her up.
The rev indicator is setup to display an orange section when the bike reaches the running in rev limit of 3,500 revs and at 100 miles the orange section moved on to the next rev section of 5,000 revs and so on as the miles piled up.
The chart of my running in (restricted) revs at 6th gear speeds, is as follows -
0 -100 miles
100 - 300 miles
300 - 600 miles
600 - 800 miles
800 - 1,000 miles
1,000 miles PLUS
500 Mile Service - Oil Change Problem
I took my RS in for its 500 mile service on the 25th May. After the Triumph Dealer serviced it and started it up, the oil pressure light stayed on. The sump was removed and the engine checked but the problem remains - now Triumph are directly involved to try and resolve the problem. The RS boasts a new style of oil system. I have to laugh at fate - I purchased the RS because I did not think my first choice (the Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory) would prove reliable.
Motorcycle Rejected (30 Day Clause Invoked)
I did invoke the 30 day clause and the Triumph Dealer offered me a new bike or a full refund. I opted for a brand new Triumph Speed Triple RS replacement, which I should receive within a few weeks. The fault remains unresolved on my original RS and they have promised to inform me of the result - The Triumph Speed Triple RS was too good a motorcycle to pass on.
500 Mile Service - Oil Change Problem Resolved (5th June 2018)
Triumph have established that the cause was a vacuum created in the oil distribution system which blocked the oil flow. This can occur when the new oil is being filled in the engine. There is now a correct procedure to follow when changing the oil and filter - done in a specific order to prevent the vacuum occurring. Please Note: This is now an alternative procedure to the one outlined on Page 101 of the RS User's manual which is supplied with the motorcycle.
I received a courtesy phone call (8th August) from the Triumph Dealership regarding my experience with my 2nd RS and I raised the methodology for the oil and filter change. The Technical Director confirmed that he had first received this during a phone discussion with Triumph in early June and also in the latest Triumph Bulletin which also covered other issues. He outlined the procedure in brief but as I intend to use the Triumph Dealership to service my RS, I did not delve into it any further.
Today, (17th August 2018) the Triumph Dealership Technical Director sent me an email outlining the full oil change procedure as outlined below.
The first 100 miles
drove me up the wall but thereafter is was not half bad. At 500 miles, I
was looking forward to the 500 mile service and I actually put the RS
off the road in the garage until the pre-booked time at the
The first 100 miles drove me up the wall but thereafter is was not half bad. At 500 miles, I was looking forward to the 500 mile service and I actually put the RS off the road in the garage until the pre-booked time at the Triumph Dealership.
Warm up the engine then turn off the ignition
Remove the oil drain plug and allow oil to fully drain (with the bike on the side stand on level ground)
Remove the old oil filter
Refit the oil drain plug with a new sealing washer (25Nm)
Fill the engine with oil (3.2 litres) - this level does not reach the engine oil filter screw hole and does not spill out over the engine
Apply a smear of clean oil to the sealing ring of a new oil filter, then fit and tighten (10Nm) - there is no requirement to fill the new oil filter with oil before fitting
Check and adjust oil level as necessary (Maximum is 3.8 litres)
Start the engine and let the engine idle - DO NOT REV THE ENGINE - ensure that the oil pressure light goes out shortly after starting
Allow the engine to idle for 30 seconds (do not rev the engine)
Stop the engine - check and adjust oil level as necessary
MY NOTES ON THE OIL & FILTER CHANGE PROCEDURE:
The Maintenance Page 101 of the RS User's manual now requires correction - the new oil is filled in the engine AND THEN the new oil filter is fitted and not the opposite way around as per the current 2018 manual.
As per Page 101 of the User's manual, the engine when started should be allowed to idle for 30 seconds to allow the engine oil to circulate, before revving the engine.
To expand on Page 101 - as per the Maintenance Page 99 of the User's manual - the engine oil must be at full operating temperature with the RS standing upright and off it's stand with the dipstick screwed fully home in it's seat before removing it to perform the oil check. The maximum level of oil is measured at the upper marking, which is just above the dipstick area that is scored with cross section cuts.
The Maintenance Page 99 of the User's manual regarding the oil check procedure is also linked from Daily Safety Checks - Page 75.
This vacuum issue is 'random' and I was unfortunate that it happened to my RS. I now appreciate that after the warranty period, some bikers will want to change the oil and filter themselves - I hope the above information is helpful?
Replacement Motorcycle - 2018
Triumph Speed Triple RS
>>> Now Fully Run In <<<
First of all, let me state that the incident I experienced with the 500 Mile Oil Change did not in anyway dissuade me from accepting a 2nd brand new RS rather than a full refund from the Triumph Dealer. I could have easily taken the money and purchased a BMW S1000R or the Aprilia 1100 Factory Tuono. However, I had spent a great deal of research on the RS prior to my original purchase and after the demo ride - it was a no brainer, the RS ticked all the boxes. Shit happens and many new models experience wrinkles - I knew that before I purchased the RS, one of the first to do so BUT at my age, I am counting down the years, so I opted to purchase the RS before time runs out.
I have taken delivery of my replacement RS (23rd June 2018) and have already put 150 miles on the clock - sticking to ROAD mode. The quick shifter is fitted and electronically calibrated but not enabled in the bike's menu settings. I will not be using it until the RS has covered some miles and I can raise the revs. It is booked in for its service in 4 weeks time but I reckon I will have achieved 500 miles long before then - the RS is such a blast to ride. I completed the 500 mile running in mileage in 4 days and the RS is now sitting in my garage waiting for its 500 mile service appointment in the middle of July. The 500 mile service went without a hitch and I am back on the road racking up the miles. By the 19th July, I had clocked up 1,026 miles.
Rear End 'Numb Bum'
Now that I have reached 1,000 miles on the bike's clock, I have chucked the pedal cycle 'gel pants' as I can easily ride the RS for around 60 miles before I have to take a break. In fact the other day, I did a 124 miles round trip without a break and only a slight 'numb bum' which was easy to shake off. I felt it on the motorway but by raising my rear of the seat and placing my weight onto my legs, knees and the pegs for a few moments, I shifted the pain and I was good to go for another 5 miles before I had to repeat the exercise. There is no doubt that as the miles pile on, the pain piles off - its like riding a horse and breaking in a new saddle.
Clunky Gear Box + Clutch Adjustment + Elusive Neutral Selection
I find the Triumph Speed Triple RS gearbox a little bit agricultural - which simply means that using the clutch, there is an inconsistent gear change clunk as opposed to a nice click, from 1st through 2nd to 3rd on the upshifts and likewise from 4th down to 3rd, down to 2nd and down to 1st. This was also the case with the Demo RS (no quick shifter), my 1st RS (no quick shifter) and now the replacement one with a quick shifter fitted but using the clutch. Interestingly, when my RS is first started and the engine oil is relatively cool, there are no clunks in the lower gear changes when using the clutch. I am hoping that as the miles pile on and the gearbox wears in - it becomes slicker in the clicks rather than the clunks. Note: Using the clutch disables the quick shifter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This section refers to using the gearbox without a quick shifter fitted.
To mitigate gear change clunks, you can use the clutch and ease the shift up from 1st to 2nd gear at around 18-20mph. To clutchless upshift with gradual or fast acceleration from 2nd gear through each gear to 6th you can place foot pressure under the gear lever, then in a millisecond/miniscule action, roll off the throttle to release the drive on the gear train, the next gear up then slips into place without a clunk and in that millisecond the throttle is reapplied.
The 1st section (0 - 1.42) of this video explains clutchless upshifting -
use the clutch to downshift from 6th through each gear to 2nd - it is foot pressure on the gear
lever, then in a millisecond/miniscule action it is clutch with a blip
of the throttle to raise the revs and the gear lever downshifts to the
next gear and the clutch is released - either to open up the throttle
for faster acceleration or to roll off the throttle to decelerate the
motorcycle. At sub 15mph as the RS slows for a junction or traffic
lights, you can use the clutch to ease the RS from 2nd gear into 1st
gear without a clunk.
NOTE: When stationary and with the clutch lever held in and engaging 1st gear from neutral, there is always a heavy CLUNK from the gearbox - my RS idles at 1,400 revs.
The RS clutch adjustment is critical and the clutch lever play should be set correctly as per the Triumph manual. You might be amazed to read that some dealership mechanics do no check the clutch lever play and the clutch cable it too tight at the clutch lever or too slack. A very loose clutch cable can be experienced by the engine biting the gears just as the clutch lever is being released from the hand grip and a common result is that the RS will not engage neutral when stopping and on the shift to neutral, jumps from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 1st and back again. Sometimes you have to drive the bike slowly forward a bit in 1st and then try again. At the other end, if the clutch cable is too tight on the clutch lever with no play, you risk clutch wear - which may well go unnoticed for a long, long time.
I don't intend to fiddle about with the mode settings other than selecting the normal default modes (using the M button on the Left Controls Cluster and then the Joystick to toggle/select) to suit the road conditions or the level of entertainment at my disposal - for example selecting ROAD mode for everyday riding or RAIN mode for wet road conditions or SPORT mode for a little bit more fun. I doubt that I will ever be in TRACK mode but you never know?
Continental Inertial Measurement Unit
The Triumph Speed Triple RS is fitted with a Continental Inertial Measurement Unit which provides the vehicle’s current movement status to all requesting devices. The verified signals of yaw, pitch and roll rate and longitudinal, lateral and vertical acceleration are transmitted to the data bus via standardised interface. The signals are used in complex control algorithms to enhance comfort and safety applications for passenger and commercial vehicles (e.g. ESC, ADAS, AD) as well as for motorcycles (optimised curve ABS), industry and agricultural vehicles.
The Continental Inertial Measurement Unit algorithms are matched to perceived road conditions and are given corresponding names. The optimum algorithms are set in DEFAULT mode in the RS menu and can be tailored/changed to suit the riders style. In this respect the menu of the RS offers RAIN, ROAD, SPORT, TRACK and a RIDER mode.
Below is the DEFAULT settings table for the Modes -
|Off||0||Via Menu||Via Menu||Via Menu||0|
|OFF||0||Via Menu||Via Menu||Via Menu||0|
Triumph Quick Shifter/Blipper - 21st August 2018
My quick shifter was first enabled after the 500 mile service (12th July 2018) on my 2nd Triumph Speed Triple RS and thereafter I had problems as it proved inconsistent and very often clunky in the gear downshifts under 7,000 rpm. It worked perfectly well in the 7,000 PLUS rpm range, especially when the RS was set in SPORT mode. I established from the Triumph Dealership (17th August 2018) that this particular model of the Triumph Assist Quick Shifter cannot be adjusted, other than the mechanical fitting. I have attached a .pdf file which now covers this - Triumph Assist Installation. When correctly fitted, (according to the installation .pdf file) the Triumph Assist Quick Shifter will not operate below 2,500rpm. It also requires a positive force placed up or down on the gear lever for it to change a gear correctly. Another strange peculiarity of having the quick shifter fitted OR it may be because the RS has now more miles on the clock - is that in the higher rev range, even at 70mph in 6th gear on the motorway, I do feel a buzz through the bars and in the pegs, which I rather like.
20th August - Quick Shifter Re-Calibration: I decided to check out the Triumph Assist Quick Shifter for myself so I measured the connecting rod for the correct length and the quick shifter appeared mechanically okay. Next, I disabled the quick shifter in the RS TFT screen menu and rode the bike for about 10 miles. Thereafter on a quiet road, I set the RS to ROAD mode, enabled the quick shifter in the menu and rode the RS in each gear for around 10-15 seconds at around 3,500 rpm and upshifted using the quick shifter between each gear. Now the quick shifter in RAIN, ROAD and SPORT modes operates at 3,000 rpm and above for clutchless gear upshifts with either slight or fast acceleration on a throttle held steady and for downshifts at 4,000 rpm and above where there is reasonable deceleration with a throttle roll off and the downshifts are even more proficient when the front brake is also slightly applied. It even works from 1st gear on the upshifts and from 2nd to 1st gear on the downshifts. I still have the buzz through the bars and the pegs in the higher rev range, even at 70mph in 6th gear on the motorway.
If you wish to read about a state of the art quick shifter, check this out - HM Quickshifter GP
In SPORT mode, the throttle is much more responsive and the quick shifter operates best, up and down at 4,500 revs PLUS (tested on a private road) and the higher the rpm, the better the quick shifter works.
I cannot see myself using the TRACK mode for riding the RS on normal UK roads. On the track you have the ability to run off, slide onto gravel or grass but on the road you have walls, trees and the worse of all obstacles - the kerb stones. I don't see myself as a road racer, so TRACK mode will not be used unless I undertake a track training course and pay Knockhill Racing Circuit a visit for a track day?
At last it rained and I was able to take the RS out for a spin in RAIN mode where the Continental Inertial Measurement Unit drops the power output to 100 horses, slows down the throttle response and boosts up the traction control for the wet conditions. The ABS remains the same as in ROAD mode. There is a definite calming down of the bike and likewise when it is raining, I calm down as well. So, I am afraid there are no high speed cornering reports, no incidents of harsh acceleration - I learned my lesson several years ago on a Scout when it barrelled away from me on wet cobbles, when I gave it too much throttle. For the ride it was very much upright on those almost slick tyres, carefully treading around the grease covered roadway on the roundabouts, after the long dry spell, and sticking very much to just under the speed limits. All in all, I never felt the RS was unsure, even in heavy rain on the dual carriageway and I never felt unsure.
RIDING MODE CONCLUSIONS - 21st August 2018 - 1,635 Miles
With my Triumph quick shifter enabled in the menu and re-calibrated - I use ROAD mode for urban and normal everyday use and select SPORT mode for short country road blasts; barring rain or damp roads, which would necessitate a switch to RAIN mode. I will not be using TRACK mode on public roads.
Triumph Quick Shifter Limitations: Due to the rpm operating range of my Triumph Assist Quick Shifter, especially on the downshifts where it is efficient and consistent at 4,000 rpm or above - it is inevitable that when adhering to the speed limits on public roads, I am forced to use clutch/throttle blips on the downshift to mitigate gear clunks. Classic examples are travelling at 60mph in 6th gear at 3,900 rpm, 5th gear travelling 50mph at 3,500 rpm, 4th gear travelling at 40mph at 3,200 rpm and 3rd gear travelling at 30mph at 3,000 rpm.
Gear Upshifts: In RAIN, ROAD and SPORT modes, I use the clutch to slip the RS from 1st gear into 2nd gear at around 18-20mph to mitigate the odd gear clunk. The clutch use disables the quick shifter. Thereafter, from around 3,000 rpm or above, I can clutchless upshift using the quick shifter from 2nd through each gear to 6th gear, during moderate or fast acceleration with the throttle held steady at the time of the upshift. I still do not like to use the quick shifter from 1st to 2nd gear.
Gear Downshifts - In RAIN, ROAD and SPORT modes, I use the quick shifter at 4,000 rpm or above to downshift through the gears from 6th through each gear to 2nd and I find that it operates best with positive deceleration and even better if the front brake is progressively applied - it produces a nice rev blip and is often accompanied by an exhaust burble (nice). However, to sharply increase acceleration and the rpm on the downshift and especially when quickly dropping several gears, I prefer to blip up the engine revs, using the clutch/throttle on each gear shift. The clutch use disables the quick shifter. To avoid gear clunking whilst shifting down from 2nd gear to 1st, I have found that as the bike slows down to sub 15mph, for give ways at junctions, traffic lights at red and for approaching roundabouts the 2nd to 1st gear can be selected, using the clutch (without any throttle blip) by gently slipping through neutral into 1st and there is no gear clunk.
NOTE: When stationary and with the clutch lever held in and engaging 1st gear from neutral, there is always a heavy CLUNK from the gearbox - my RS idles at 1,400 revs.
Triumph RS Performance
The 1050cc triple engine delivers 150PS and a peak torque of 117Nm at 7,150 revs. It's fitted with a new free flowing exhaust system with twin stainless steel Arrow cans, an upgraded gearbox and with a graded slipper clutch and 3kg weight saving - the RS is a substantial improvement over the old Speed Triple.
The torque from the RS has no lull in its delivery during the continuous and huge surge in acceleration - and that is in ROAD mode. SPORT mode makes the throttle more responsive and there is less traction control but to be honest, I never at any time felt the traction control kick in and I spanked the RS on the corners. The RS is the nearest you will get to riding a race horse - you can feel the motorcycle flex as its frame blends itself to the road and cornering conditions. I enjoy the upright/slightly forward seating position on the comfort seat and the feel of a buzz through the bars and pegs at higher revs and you can feel the massive torque that starts at 1mph and never ends as it's massive engine power takes you rocketing forward. It's handling on dry roads is awesome, especially when cornering and although the RS weighs in at slightly over 200kg (wet) it feels lightweight on the road. You don't have to break the speed limit to enjoy the RS as it sticks like glue and takes you over negative and positive cambers, small humps, tight and sweeping corners with hump back bridges at speeds below or on the 60mph speed limit and yet faster than any car or most other motorcycles could achieve - and in safety. Even with it's stock comfort seat, the suspension in default factory settings is relatively hard and you will feel the road through the bars, even running over a very, very, very small stone. This is good, its just what you want in a sports motorcycle - to feel the road.
Consider this - in ROAD mode when you open the throttle wide in 2nd gear at 20mph the RS takes off like a bat out of hell and in seconds the engine has wound up to 11,000 revs and doing 85mph before you then click it into 3rd gear and before you have time to think, the RS is at 11,000 revs at 105mph and then you run out of road. This is all on a private road (of course) and the front wheel gently lifts a few inches of the ground for a set distance before it gently drops back onto the tar again. I should have tried it with the faster throttle response in SPORT mode, with less traction control interruptions - next time!
For road use, the RS is way overkill but great fun. On that private road in ROAD mode, it delivered the following results -
would need to go on a race track to take the RS further up the gears in top
end revs. From the rev and speed examples, you can quickly deduce that
the RS is very unlikely to reach it's full potential on normal roads,
especially country roads in the UK where the speed limit is 60mph but
then the acceleration and handling, more than makes up for it.
In ROAD mode, in the city where the speed limits are 20mph/30mph/40mph - the speed to matching minimum rev to a gear (without tugging the engine) was as per the following table.
Note: Using the clutch/throttle/rear brake, you can ride the bike at 2mph in 1st gear for slow manoeuvres.
1,400 (idle revs)
In ROAD mode, on country roads where the speed limit is 60mph and 70mph on the dual carriageways and motorways, I have put in the speed and matching revs for 5th and 6th gears in the 50mph - 85mph speed range -
First of all, let me state that the incident I experienced with the 500 Mile Oil Change did not in anyway dissuade me from accepting a 2nd brand new RS rather than a full refund from the Triumph Dealer. I could have easily taken the money and purchased a BMW S1000R or the Aprilia 1100 Factory Tuono. However, I had spent a great deal of research on the RS prior to my original purchase and after the demo ride - it was a no brainer, the RS ticked all the boxes. Shit happens and many new models experience wrinkles - I knew that before I purchased the RS, one of the first to do so BUT at my age as I hit 70 years old, I am counting down the years, so I opted to purchase the RS before time runs out.
Whether it is my RS or the BMW S1000R or the Aprilia 1100 Factory Tuono, the stark reality is that none of those motorcycles will ever reach their full potential on a public road, unless you want to lose your licence or eventually hit a kerb, an oncoming vehicle or a tree. In fact for most of the time the RS will be running at somewhere around 4,000 to 5,000 revs with the odd 7,000 PLUS revs reached in the lower gears when accelerating past a vehicle, especially when you consider that at 11,000 revs in 2nd gear you are at 85mph. The Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres lean towards the slick side so I expect perhaps 3,000 miles out of them (on country road blasts) and it is RAIN mode in the RS menu for wet conditions.
During a country road blast, you can feel the motorcycle flex as its frame blends itself to the road and cornering conditions. I enjoy the upright/slightly forward seating position on the comfort seat and the feel of a buzz through the bars and pegs at higher revs and you can feel the massive torque that starts at 1mph and never ends as it's massive engine power takes you forward. It's handling on dry roads is awesome, especially when cornering and although the RS weighs in at slightly over 200kg (wet) it feels lightweight on the road. You don't have to break the speed limit to enjoy the RS as it sticks like glue and takes you over negative and positive cambers, small humps, tight and sweeping corners with hump back bridges at speeds below or on the 60mph speed limit and yet faster than any car or most other motorcycles could achieve - and in safety. Even with it's stock comfort seat, the suspension in default factory settings is relatively hard and you will feel the road through the bars, even running over a very, very, very small stone. This is good, its just what you want in a sports motorcycle - to feel the road.
Do I require a Triumph Assist Quick Shifter/Blipper for every day use and for country road blasts - NO. Read more on the Triumph Assist Quick Shifter in the main review.
The RS gearbox is slick but can be clunky on the upshift from 1st through 2nd to 3rd gear and on the downshift from 4th down through 3rd to 2nd to 1st gear. To mitigate gear change clunks - you can clutchless/throttle upshift and clutch/throttle blip up the revs on the downshift. NOTE: These methods of operation can be undertaken, with or without a quick shifter. Read more in the Clunky Gearbox and Riding Mode Conclusions sections in the main review.
I normally ride my Suzuki GSX-1250FA Sports/Tourer (a Suzuki Bandit with a fairing) on the Edinburgh/Moffat road, up through St Mary's Loch, over to Selkirk and onto St Boswells and finally on the A68 back to Edinburgh. Invariably, I would run that 'Borders' trip a couple of times a year in the summer stopping off in Moffat for lunch but compared to the Triumph Speed Triple RS, my Suzuki which is an awesome motorcycle, now feels ancient. On the RS, I have made that trip 7 times (so far) this summer and every time, I have a huge smile on my face. The adrenalin factor is very high on those twisty corners, the exhilaration you get, heightens your senses and brings with it an awareness that you are more alive!
I have an optional fly screen fitted on my RS and at motorway speed limits, I never feel any serious wind blast on my chest and the RS in crosswinds is very steady and keeps straight. I weigh in at 15 stone and with the RS suspension set at factory default, the handling is crisp. I can ride around 120 miles before 'numb bum' creeps in but in any case, I normally stop at 50-60 miles for a break. I tested the RS on a private road and in 3rd gear at 11,000 revs at 105mph the RS remained straight, stable and I did not feel the oncoming wind was interrupting my comfort or control of the bike. I would like to try her out on a track and it may still happen but next year, once I have got to grips with the RS.
I had no problems in city traffic and even with the bar end mirrors, I could lane split in the dual carriageways with ease. Smooth, very smooth throttle control from almost stop to moving forward, even down at sub 10mph speeds and at almost dead stop, coupled with clutch/rear braking, she is a breeze to manoeuvre. The only downside is that her 'full lock' turning circle is not the best by bearable. Coming towards a roundabout at sub 20mph for immediate entry without stopping, she will continue without a stutter - in the correct gear of course. I have a 33" inside leg and I found that when required, I could easily reach the road and 'duck walk' the bike back into a parking space although I did fit a rear 'pillion grab handle' which makes moving the bike about with the left bar and the grab handle, a lot easier - I am not a fan of moving a bike using only the bars. The RS has a hard suspension but small potholes and rough tar repairs were smoothed out relatively well but you could still feel them. However, I never suffered from any 'bottom end' pile drivers, which was nice.
Okay the Brembo brakes are just below the Triumph Street RS 'top of the line' Brembo's but having taken out a Street RS before the Speed RS, the brakes on my bike are bitchin and on par with the Street. They will pull you up progressively or instantly without any brake fade and thanks to the Continental Inertial Measurement Unit algorithms, the ABS and Traction Control have your back, especially if you overcook those corners.
The crème de la crème is of course the TFT Screen, in other words the 'icing on the cake'. Mind-Boggling in its offerings of display and a menu system that appears as if it could outwit an astronaut but in reality becomes like an old friend, once you get to know it. From this screen and using the menu button and joystick you can set-up the RS to suit your riding style in all weathers OR you can simply select the default settings - RAIN mode for wet weather, ROAD mode for around the city and everyday use, SPORT mode for country blasts (my favourite) and if you are brave and on a track, select TRACK mode.
When compared to a sports motorcyle, the Triumph Speed Triple RS may be faster around a corner than a Honda Fireblade but in a straight line, watch the Fireblade disappear, especially if you are both in 1st gear at the time. The Fireblade does 100mph in 1st gear whilst the Speed Triple RS does 105mph in 3rd gear at 11,000 rpm. So what the hell is a Triumph Speed Triple RS - I reckon it was spawned to be a street motorcycle and someone at Triumph let their imagination run riot and morphed it into a track bike. So it is a 'full on' sports bike for handling with upright bars and a gearbox leaning slightly towards street use BUT still mental (when it wants to be) on country roads. Its what you want for everyday use and/or on the track, especially when you dislike the seating position on a Fireblade, a BMW S1000RR or a Suzuki GSX-R1000. The RS is a motorcycle that you can enjoy riding in the urban environment, take it for a crazy blast on country roads or cruise at 70mph along the motorway with cruise control activated.
Is there a downside to the RS - yes, just one - I am glad I have a second motorcycle that is much more sedate, so that I can rest my mind and body and do a bit of touring, in-between the intoxication of country blasts on the RS.
Triumph Speed Triple RS - Online Survey
On the 30th October 2018, I received a request from Triumph to complete an online survey regarding the RS. The survey gave me selection choices 0=lowest mark to 10=highest for numerous questions which included the build quality, handling, and performance, amongst many, many others.
The RS scored 10 for every question with the exception of my rating for pillion passenger comfort as I will never carry a pillion passenger and I gave the RS - 8 for maneuverability, due to it's 'slightly' tight full turning circle but on reflection, I should have rated it 9, because it is such a tiny wrinkle.
I don't like to expose my Triumph Speed Triple RS to salt covered roads in Scotland. So, unless the roads are clean/dry and clear of drying salt, she is now in storage in the garage over this late autumn/winter period and connected to a Optimate 4 trickle battery charger until early March 2019.
I can't wait until she is back on the road again.