Can it really be over 21 years since the launch of the iconic Triumph Speed Triple? Yes, it was 1994 when the reborn Trident was adapted into one of the world’s first street-fighters to emerge from a main-stream manufacturer. The Triumph Speed Triple has become a British icon that seems destined to stay.

The original bike featured an 885cc engine fitted with carbs, clip-ons bars and only 5 cogs in the box. But it would only be a couple of years before Hinkley Triumph realised that there was a hunger for the modular engined bike to be turned into something more distinctive.

The carbs were replaced in favour of a reliable fuel injection system, high bars were added, a beefy single sided swing arm at the back connected to a single shock tidied things up and just for a bit of fun, twin bug-eye headlights gave the impression that this was a track bike that had been stripped naked.

Sales came in thick and fast and soon the bored out 955cc motor was slotted in and weight shaved a bit here and there. The resulting bike was the darling of the press and Triumph was elevated to a whole new status wearing its new stripes well.

Triumph Speed Triple 04
The 2003 model shown here shows the original round headlights and the destinctive twin frame tubes.

It would be 2005 before any more major changes would happen. The engine was stepped up again to a 1050cc unit capable of producing a useful 129bhp. The longer stroke resulted in the bike gaining better manners in power delivery with a smoother torque curve and handling was enhanced with the obligatory USD forks.

2007 saw the introduction of a catalytic converter and some brembo calipers on the, now very handsome, triple. Such was the interest Triumph decided to launch it’s little brother.

The very smart Street Triple 675cc, basically a smaller but extremely perky variation of the original, entered the market taking all of its design cues from it older sibling. Again an instant success.

2011 saw the bike gain a whole host of new mods, keeping it right up at the top of the wish list.

The naked, business-like appeal of the bike seems never ending from the more angular bug-eyes to the upswept chrome exhausts that give the bike such character. A hard act to improve.

BUT …and it’s a big but. Yes they’ve done it again! The new 2016 Triumph Speed Triple is about to launch in the spring with a whole host of new goodies.

While many manufacturers are boasting of 3 riding mode systems, Triumph have developed 5; Rain, Road, Sport, Track and wait for it… Custom – yep.

Set up your own favourite configuration and head for the hills. So much choice you’ll be like a excitable kid in a sweetshop. Flick through the choices as you ride, there will be no excuses if you get challenged.

Throttle is now a nice ride-by-wire set-up that will help both economy and performance and the engine has undergone no leass than 104 modifications and improvements which see it nudging 140bhp. Wow.

Styling-wise Triumph hasn’t let the new emission regs ruin anything. Those pipes are still at seat level, the engine looks tight into the frame and detail touches to the instruments, fly screen, indicators and the rest show this bike is very much a refined diamond.

Rakish good looks and performance that frightens the horses ensures a strong future for the Triumph Speed Triple.
Rakish good looks and performance that frightens the horses ensures a strong future for the handsom Triumph Speed Triple.

With the standard S model featuring so much for a nudge over £10k it seems uneccessary to add any more, but if you want the kudos, carbon fibre panels, higher spec Ohlins and billet machined parts can be added for just a shade over an extra grand. Good value if you ask me.

Keep an eye on your local dealer. Special launch date events are planned and Triumph are pretty good with test rides for the keen and eager amongst us.

Book it Danno!

CW