I suppose it’s essential to be impartial and totally objective when fulfilling the role of motorcycle journalist, testing bikes for your information and entertainment. There has to be an element of subjectivity because we can’t be automatons all the time and just report the facts – not that anyone would want to read that anyway - but we can’t just slag off a bike because we don’t like a particular make or because our skill isn’t great enough to make sense of the machine in our hands.
But, just sometimes, a bike comes along that not only speaks your language, but has the same accent and sense of humour, digs the clothes you wear, likes the same music and food and is happy to watch motorsport on the TV 24/7; in short, it fits like a glove.
One thing I have found, doing this job (can anything so enjoyable be called a job?), is that I have become increasingly confused about which bike I would buy if I had to spend my own money. Each bike has its plus- and minus-points and I love them all for what they are, but none has stood out as the bike that I would invest my money in. Some have come close, but there’s always been just that little…..something, missing.
If there is one bike that, to me, encapsulates the new Triumph brand, it is the Speed Triple. Not the Daytonas or Trophys or the retro models but the naked street fighter. Maybe because it is so uncompromising in its design and attitude; it’s a sort of two-finger salute to all those who wrote off the British motorcycle industry all those years. It’s a glorious ‘up yours’ that has backed the attitude up by being a sales success.
Anyway, enough waffle. The Triumph Speed Triple R: R30,000 more than the standard Speed T, but is it necessarily R30,000 better? Given that the standard Speed T is a cracking machine already, does adding fancy suspension and braking components, lighter wheels and a smattering of carbon fibre really make it all that much better?
The real world answer is; of course not, no, unless you had the skill of a professional racer and could detect the improved parameters of braking and roadholding that the uprated components give you. For you and I there is little other than bragging rights in having them fitted to what is already a state-of-the-art bike; having Ohlins stamped on your forks and rear swingarm and Brembo on the calipers does draw attention to the bike’s competency and away from your dire lack of skill to do anything with it!
But the Speed Triple is just such a brilliant bike and the R version adds that bit of extra bragging rights that so many of us bikers love.