Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR – Beauty and Power
With 180PS (177.6 bhp) on tap and 125Nm of torque, the tiny, agile Triumph Speed Tripple 1200RR might not be the logical choice for a winter ride.
Weighing in at only 199 kg wet, with low clip-ons (135mm lower and 50mm further forward than the Speed Triple 1200 RS) and focused riding position, running on the track-focused Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 tyres, you get a good view of the traction control light flashing on the minimalist dash, as the cold late autumn air chills you to the bone.
I had been meaning to get my hands on the 1200RR earlier in the year, but for various reasons it ended up being a bit later. Not that I’m complaining though, any time on this bike is an absolute pleasure.
Triumph’s current range is bristling with beautiful bikes. They seem to have all of the bases covered; roadster, modern classic, adventure, cruiser and more. Some criticise the range for a lack of a full-fat sports bike, but if you ask me this 1200RR well and truly ticks that box. Who buys sports bikes these days anyway?
We’ll get to the details in a moment, but despite the cold roads, cold tyres, and cold rider…..did I mention it was cold…..the Speed Tripple 1200RR is an outrageous thing and Iso elegant. The engineering is excellent, the bike is beautiful from tip to toe; it’s a special bike. Top yoke, dash, subframe, frame, wheels and so much more are exquisite. It’s a feast for the eyes, genuinely beautiful. There’s a graceful balance to the bike, one part flows into the next; the bike looks balanced just silently sitting there.
Swing a leg over the pretty little Triumph and you will be how surprised how petite the 1200 RR is. It feels very narrow and short. Pegs are reasonably high and clip-ons are quite low, but man it feels good.
Thumb the ignition button and the full-colour 5” TFT instruments with My Triumph connectivity system comes to life. After scrolling through an animated sequence, It settles on a wonderfully minimalist display, showing hardly any information, just what you need, I loved it. You can of course select various preset views which show you additional information in a different style and even personalise what information you see. I loved the minimalist view, other manufacturers should take a leaf out of Triumph’s book.
Thumb the starter button and the triple barks into life, settling into a creamy smooth and unique three-cylinder purr.
My very first riding impressions were that the bike was stiff, uncomfortable and unforgiving and the riding position felt a bit extreme. It felt slightly intimidating at first; hard, focused and on cold roads. Weather dictated I was wearing some warmer but bulky riding gear and I’d recently been riding tourers, so the Triumph was a bit of a shock to the system.
It didn’t take long for me to change my opinion. What an awesome bike this is.
The Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 electronically adjustable semi-active suspension is superb. With Öhlins 43mm fully adjustable USD forks coupled with 17” cast lightweight aluminium wheels, the chassis is so responsive you just think where you want to go, look through the corner and the 1200 RR goes there. You feel like part of the bike, there’s almost no effort or conscious rider input, it’s brilliant. It’s like you and the bike are one.
The 1160 cc triple is a work of art. 180PS (177.6 bhp) at 10,750 rpm and 125 Nm of torque at 9,000 rpm are big numbers. Acceleration is brutal and the riding experience is intense.
Braking is taken care of by lightweight, track-spec, twin Brembo Stylema monobloc front calipers, biting down on lightweight 320mm floating front discs. At the rear, you have a Brembo twin-piston caliper and 220mm single disc. These are serious brakes but just like the rest of the bike, they are so well-balanced. Stopping power is immense but you have bags of feel and the Öhlins semi-active suspension and Brembo brakes work very well together.
The Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 tyres are very good. Despite the cold, they still offered decent grip and plenty of feedback. In the wet it was a bit sketchy but it’s no surprise.
A slipper clutch and up-and-down quick shifter are standard equipment and are very effective. The gearbox is smooth as silk, with perfectly spaced ratios. I had a slight issue with the quick shifter on my press bike where the quick shifter was working intermittently. Sometimes it was brilliant and silky smooth, other times it simply didn’t work.
On the road, the Speed Tripple 1200 RR is a dramatic and exciting bike to ride.
Pull up to the lights, select 1st gear, wait for the lights change then pin the throttle. Triumphs’ electronics do their job and the front wheel hovers just off the ground through the first 3 gears as you keep the throttle pinned and revel in the glorious engine note and fierce acceleration. It’s intoxicating and very addictive.
Unfortunately, the weather and time of year meant I couldn’t really exploit the awesome chassis and performance of the Triumph Speed Tripple 1200 RR. It really is a superb bike. It’s rewarding and fun and the bike really feels like an extension of you. It’s a superbly well-balanced bike, the components all work in harmony making the Speed Tripple 1200 RR an absolute weapon.
Full-colour 5” TFT instruments with My Triumph connectivity system
Optimised cornering ABS and switchable optimised cornering traction control (with IMU)
Five riding modes – Road, Rain, Sport, Track and Rider-configurable
Triumph Shift Assist up and down quickshifter
Advanced front wheel lift control
Full-LED lighting, including distinctive new single round headlight with DRL
Additional ride-enhancing technology including full keyless system, illuminated switch cubes and fully adjustable cruise control
Wet weight – 199 kg
Tank – 15.5 litres
Seat height – 830mm