Character
Before choosing the new Triumph Speed Triple RS motorcycle, I had test ridden a number of 'full on' sports bikes like the BMW S1000RR 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.

I have taken delivery of my 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 Handles

  • 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

Scottoiler
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.

R&G Aero Sliders
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.

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 great security. 

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.

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. Put the left wheel of the stand (bike stand side) on the ground, hold onto the bike's rear grab rail, straighten the wheels of the paddock stand evenly down onto the ground and the bike will automatically straighten up off its own stand. Finally 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.

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).

TFT Screen
The TFT screen is brilliant and the choices of display 'blow the mind' and they are all excellent. I chose the display shown in the image below and when out for ride and using the joystick on the left side control switches, I can scroll down through all of the bottom screen displays although I tend to leave it as shown -

Controls
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.

I had the indicators set for automatic and they switched off after the turn.

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. If you accelerate and then release the throttle, it will return to the cruise setting. Braking on either brake, disengages cruise.

Lights
I left the bike set on daytime running lights and they look great.

Left Controls Cluster

Right Controls Cluster

Seating Position
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 with my long arms I was 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 oil lower in the engine. 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.

Brakes

I found the front brake was progressive and yet, when required, a serious squeeze of the front brake lever brought the bike to an abrupt halt. The rear brake proved ideal (clutch/rear brake/throttle) for those slow manoeuvres in slow city traffic and for lane splitting. 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.

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. The torque/speed range to a gear (without tugging the engine) in city and dual carriage traffic was 20mph - 2nd gear, 30mph - 3rd gear, 40mph - 4th gear or 5th gear or 6th gear. Man, I wonder what that induction noise up to 11,000 revs is like - looking forward to the experience.

Suspension Setup
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.

Motorway Riding
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 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.
 
Running In
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 top revs/speeds, is as follows -

0 -100 miles 3,500 revs 56mph
100 - 300 miles 5,000 revs 75mph
300 - 600 miles 6,000 revs 85mph
600 - 800 miles 7,000 revs ?
800 - 1,000 miles 8,000 revs ?
1,000 miles PLUS 11,000 revs ?

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.

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 light stayed on and the RS has been with them ever since. 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. There is now a correct procedure to follow when changing the oil and filter - done in a specific order to prevent the vacuum occurring. This vacuum issue is 'random' and I was unfortunate that it happened to my RS. I still opted for a new Triumph Speed Triple RS which will arrive within a few weeks.

Replacement Motorcycle - Another 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS
I have taken delivery of my replacement RS (23rd June) 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. To be continued .....

Tank 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. Hopefully my new purchase (see next section) will resolve the problem.

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.

Radiator & Oil Cooler Protection
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.

Quick Shifter/Blipper
The Triumph Dealer fitted the Triumph quick shifter/blipper to my new (replacement) Triumph Speed Triple RS motorcycle. It was electronically calibrated but until I have run up more mileage, I have opted to disable it in the bike's menu ......
to be continued

Sport Mode
To be continued

Track Mode
To be continued

Rain Mode
To be continued





 


If you have enjoyed this article - please donate to my charity of choice  - 
The Sick Kids

Richard Lawrence
Scotland
United Kingdom

 

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