Third time lucky. On Monday the weather held and our twice-postponed test rides were on!
We being @Towner92 and me. He, being a tall lad, is looking for a larger bike and I persuaded him to get his leg over a Tiger 900 Rally Pro from Youles in Manchester. To keep him company I booked out their Street Triple 765 RS. I’ve wanted to try one for a while to see how the bikes have moved on from the old 675. Quite a bit, as it turns out. The character remains, though. Excellent.
Even though I’ve lived up this way for a long time now, it was my first time at Youles. The chaps seemed nice enough on the phone as we booked, cancelled and rebooked (twice) our test rides, and so it was in person. Johnny provided the sort of relaxed, polite service you want. Genuinely chatty without coming across as a pushy salesman.
I believe they book test rides in two hour slots. We were going to have the bikes from 1pm to 5pm but when we got there someone else had booked the Street Triple after me. I had a route planned that would take us to the Yondermann Cafe where a mug of tea, a slice of cake and a mid-point assessment were all on the menu. “Bring it back just before four o’clock if you want a bit more time.” Cheers. We still couldn’t reach Yondermann’s but the point was to ride so no big deal.
I figured we may get around in slightly less time than advertised. And so it was. Must’ve taken an inadvertent shortcut.
This post is about the Street Triple so I’ll leave Paul to wax lyrical about the Tiger but safe to say it made a good impression!
I’ve had my 675 over 10 years. ‘Familiar’ is probably an understatement. Every time I ride it I’m glad all over again that I chose the little black Triumph over all the other bikes in the showroom. I don’t think I would part with it even for a newer model.
I stabbed the red button to get the crank spinning on the RS and first impressions were that it has more of a roar than a growl. Much has changed, apparently, even if the number of pistons hasn’t. (Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.) It’s still makes a pleasing sound when the throttle’s blipped.
The bars feel flatter, wider, and as I pulled away the sporty pretensions were noticeable with the high footrests. I’m just under 6’ with joints that still work and felt comfortable enough. It does have what I’d called an ‘eager’ riding position, which may not suit those preferring the stretch of an adventure bike. Even with my standard-issue arms i was still canted forward a little. This starts to make more sense over 40mph as the wind gently pushes back and takes the pressure off your wrists.
I’d ridden my MV to Youles so the wide bars of the RS felt exagerrated for the first few miles. It didn’t take long to get used to the easy manoeverability they provide and that’s one of the joys of this bike. It’s set up so well you’ll soon find yourself flicking it through bends with confident ease, sweeping faster than a tetchy Yorkshirewoman along fast A roads and well-kept B’s. THe RS is the perfect excuse to get out of town.
Everything I’ve read abiut the RS and the lower-spec R version suggests that the latter is a better road bike. “The ride is too hard with the RS,” they say. Well I say, try riding a Superveloce and you’ll know what a hard ride is! It’s true, the RS doesn’t soak up every bump on our dodgy tarmac. I would avoid rough patches and potholes, but it’s really not as bad as I was expecting. Suspension is always a compromise and I think the RS has it about right for a naked sports bike. When you get a wriggle on it gives plenty of feedback and confidence, trackngt he road surface cleanly. I could live with it out of the box. My MV, by comparison, is going to Maxtons for them to have a word with Misters Marzocchi and Sachs.
So it’s fast, it’s smooth, it’s deliciously flickable. The UK spec bike is 118bhp according to Triumph. That’s at 12,000rpm, of course. Us wise old bikers know that torque is actually the exciting bit. Keep the engine spinning in second and third gears and the performance is addictive. The stifled Euro-spec exhaust even manages to emit a pleasing howl that grows more insistent as the revs climb. Rolling on from higher gears doesn’t give the shove that a bigger engine, or perhaps a Ducati twin, would. I think I may have to try a Speed Triple next.
It is fast, no doubt about it. What it isn’t is overly comfortable. I’m fine with the high footpegs and leaning-in-to-the-wind body positioning. The seat is another matter. The fidgetting began after a couple of hours. I don’t think I could ride the RS all day without doing something about that perch. It doesn’t look narrow but somehow if feels like it is. My MV isn’t exactly plush but I’d say it’s kinder to the ol’ backside even though it’s a sportier motorcycle.
The Cat and Fiddle has been neutered with cameras but it provides a good turnaround point. If you ever find yourself test riding out of Manchester I’d recommend the route we took, which offered up a good mixture of fast A roads, windy B roads, narrow village twisties with rougher surfaces and even some motorway to see what the wind protection is like. And then there’s the views. We only stopped once and it wasn’t exaclty a rideout so there aren’t many pictures but anyone familiar with the Peak District knows you can’t go far wrong.
As we wound our way back through the city the rain spat at us. Well it is Manchester. It was too little and too late to spoil the day. Back at Youles there was more chat about Tigers. We’ll be going back for the Explorer. THis was nestled among their used selection. Always good to see a Daytona.
So, would I buy a new Street Triple RS? Maybe. I would probably love it like I love my 675, for similar reasons. The seat would need attention and maybe there’s an even better suspension set-up for me, remembering the glowing endorsement from @MrsVisor. Perhaps I’m too used to the MV’s additional horses now. The RS isn’t underpowered by any means but I’d like a little more grunt in higher gears and lower revs. Sombody hand me the keys to that Ducati V2 Streetfighter…