It’s an odd one, this. For all intents and purposes, the (breath in) Triumph Street Triple Rx SE is a new machine, taking over from the model before it that we all knew and loved. But what exactly has changed on it, other than the borrowed back end of the 675 Daytona? The answer, it appears, is not very much.
True, you get the luscious new paintwork, a belly pan and a fly screen. But that’s it. That’s what constitutes the new model (on top of the juicy stuff from the outgoing bike for the SE – snazzy quickshifter, sweet KYB suspension and ace Nissin calipers). What’s going on? Is this Triumph being lazy or proactive? Is it enough to keep it ahead of the MT-09? And is it any good?
The answer to the last two questions is an unreserved yes. Our feature on the Street Triple last month proved that the naked 675 is simply sublime, perfectly fitting its role and making mincemeat of the opposition – although rivals are closer than ever before. Riding this particular bike was a joy, with its fruity and playful motor, deft suspension and tanker-stopping brakes all making it a sublime experience on all manner of British roads. But is that enough for the Trumpet?
The last update to the bike was made in 2013 when it had a diet (losing six kilos), a new balance and new exhaust (as well as keeping ‘those’ headlights). Up until this bike, the Trip’ was Triumph’s best selling bike, a key to the firm’s expansion into other classes, but with little in the way of significant development (a bigger motor, a significant restyle, or a substantial price cut) the days of these bikes flying out of the showroom seem long gone.
So is the Rx a sign of Triumph going through the motions? By their own admissions, they wouldn’t have bothered revamping the Daytona 675 supersport machine had John Bloor’s crystal ball not been playing up at the time. The supersport market went down the drain during the recession and, unlike Incy Wincey, hasn’t shown any signs of climbing up again, so you can understand Triumph not churning out anything new for this market. But as Yamaha has shown with the MT-09, get every ingredient right and you can wallop the opposition where it hurts – in the showroom.
When you make any change to a bike, it has to be meaningful and have a perceived benefit – and the Rx SE’s changes sail close to the rocky shores of irrelevance. It looks a bit better, and that’s it. But the design, the tooling and the testing of the new rear end would have kept everyone busy while the factory decides in what direction it will move in next. We asked two dealers on their opinions on the bike and, off the record, their response to it rhymed with pucking dointless…
So while the company enjoys decent sales in the adventure and classic sectors, helping to swell the owner’s coffers to over a billion quid, progression in the sporting sector seems stymied. Whether this is a blip or a conscious policy remains to be seen. The proof of the pudding will be the extent to which the bigger Speed Triple gets overhauled (we know it’s coming because Triumph is offering £1,215 of accessories for each bike sold). Here’s hoping that it’s more than the sum total of the Rx’s changes.