Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Launch Reaction

The Speed Triple gets an upgrade in its lineup with the addition of the 1200 RS.

If you’re a fan of naked roadsters, it’s hard not to dig everything about this bike. Except maybe the price tag. Coming in at $4,000 more than the Street Triple S, and almost $2,000 more than the Street Triple RS, the $18,300 starting price is quite high.

What does that extra dinero get you?

Let’s dig into what’s new (and what hasn’t changed), and then get to my thoughts on the bike after this first look.

Breaking it Down

The obvious difference is the more than 100 additional CCs of engine displacement. It’s all bore, too. In fact, the stroke on the 1200 is less than the 1050. This new bigger oversquare engine is going to net you higher RPMs and almost 30 more horsepower (177bhp vs. 148bhp), but not much more peak torque (92 lb-ft vs. 86 lb-ft), across a wider, smoother powerband.

Triumph wasn’t content to just tweak the existing Speed Triple engine, and this 1200 triple and its transmission is actually a new redesign. The new engine and transmission are lighter, more compact, and sport a whole host of internal improvements for improved power delivery. It looks chunkier, tidier, and more Spartan than the 1050, for sure.

Bigger engine and a bit more power. What else?

The main chassis appears to be mostly the same at a glance, but is all new as well. It’s a bit smaller, lighter, and more compact, for better mass centralization. The bolted-on rear subframe in particular looks shorter and beefier.

The 1200 RS sports the same ultra-premium Öhlins suspension components as the 1050 RS, but tuned for the 1200’s power delivery, chassis, and weight distribution. It’s all fully-adjustable, of course. It loses 10mm (a bit of 1/3″) of travel in the rear, though. That’s not a dealbreaker, and probably unnoticeable with the tuned suspension, but still a minor difference.

Front brakes are largely the same as the 1050 RS, though the rotors are lighter, and the calipers are upgraded to newer Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers, the same as you’d find on a Panigale V4 (read: fancy). Rear brakes are reduced in size from a 250mm disc to 220mm, but benefit from the addition of a twin-piston Brembo caliper and OC (optimized cornering) ABS for superior control.

Wheels are a new design for lighter weight, too.

Overall dimensions of the bike remain roughly the same, and are within 1/2″ or so all around. There’s one more degree of rake and about 1/2″ more trail. Probably not enough to notice.

Despite the numerous weight saving measures, the 1200 RS gains about 20 lbs (dry) over the 1050 RS.

The Speed Triple 1200 RS gets a lot of trick electronics and other tech, which is where I think most of the additional pricing comes into play.

The same five ride modes from the 1050 RS are available: Road, Rain, Sport, Track and Rider. It’s also equipped with a new IMU to handle traction control and ABS. There’s a 5″ TFT screen that is Android and iOS compatible for phone calls, music, navigation, and even GoPro control. Cruise control is standard for easier long distance rides, and when you get to your destination and are ready to ride like a maniac, a track-ready quickshifter is also standard. Keyless entry is also standard, included a keyless gas cap, if you haven’t had your fill of tech.

Thoughts and Reaction

I really dig The Speed Triple 1200 RS, and Triumph is showing just how much a company can (and should) deliver with an update to a single model.

Have to say, though that the price tag was the first thing that got a reaction out of me. It’s nearly $20,000, which is a lot of money. However, I think the Speed Triple 1200 RS while pricey, is not overpriced. It’s actually packing a lot of value into that $18,300 price. Everything is ultra-premium, and Triumph spared no expense and cut no corners on the 1200 RS. It’s packed with features and tech, and is absolutely competitive with other bikes in its class.

Buyers in the market for the Speed Triple S may find it hard to justify the extra $4000 for the 1200, though. Those eying the 1050 RS on the other hand, might find it easy to spend $1800 more to get a lot more bike. It makes the old 1050 RS a bit of an odd man out in the lineup. The 1050 RS is not long in the tooth by any means, and is also a great value that packs a lot of features in a great package. The 1200 is just a lot better, for not much more money. It’s probably not going to be an issue in the long run, though, as the new 1200 engine will certainly become the standard engine across the Speed Triple line, a lower-priced S or R model will be announced, and the 1050’s will be sent to pasture.

When that time comes, expect some killer deals on remaining 1050 models.

Love it or hate it, the front end still looks a lot like an angry robotic Brundlefly. That bug-eye look is Triumph’s signature for their triple-equipped roadsters. I’m a fan of those angry bug eyes, and think it stands out and looks great. The new, brighter LED headlamps look super cool. When you add the fly screen (someone in Leicestershire must be a Jeff Goldblum fan), it looks even better.

Overall, it’s a great looking bike. Sparse, compact, refined, and aggressive.

The paint and graphics are pretty subtle with just enough boldness and a few splashes of color to give it just a little edge. It’s certainly very British. I like seeing flashy paint jobs, but would never actually own a bike with one, so I appreciate how subdued and clean it looks.

This is a bike I’m pretty excited to ride. It looks fast, agile, and fun. I’ll be keeping an eye out for upcoming Triumph demo events so I can ride one and see if it delivers.

All photos © Triumph


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