This seems to be a recurring trait with all things Triumph. One word to sum up my first impression... eh? Again dual headlights. Again the disappointment slap. Moreover, the skinny front tyre was making the bike look feeble and underweight.
Twin exhausts, though, sit tightly under the rear seat. The handle bar is near-linear and short, the other end of the spectrum from the Rocket. I take my time to walk all around it and take in the curves. So that we have it out of the way, Speed Triple was one of the foremost streetfighter bikes to sport a naked engine look. I straddle it and lean in to grasp the ears. And it is a world of a difference from the 2300cc gargantuan asteroid that I was merrily zipping around a few days back.
The saddle makes the rider lean in front with an aggressive seating. Footrests tuck in the legs neatly under the gas tank. By the time you move in to the first gear, you realize that the ergonomics make the bike and you essentially a single moulded moving object.
RIDE & HANDLING
Triumph Speed Triple has only one thing embedded in its DNA - and that's no-holds barred, crazy-ass speeding. And it does it with the finesse of a Renaissance painter. The meek rev of the idle engine suddenly takes the form of the crackle of lightening as soon as you open the throttle. Statutory Warning: given the maniacal nature of this wild steed, be fully ready to move all your body weight to the front of the bike, lest you wheelie out of control.
Enter sharp turns. Did I mention that this demon has an abnormally short handle bar? This squarely equates to not casually turning the handle at your whim when the bend approaches, the way you can manoeuvre pet hamsters that sell in the Indian motorcycle market. It's a pure-core racing hooligan, which has to be turned with leaning in your weight (or bring it down to a manageable speed and turn it like a grown-up pansy).
Braking is sharp and incredibly accurate. But Behold; with the weight of rider mostly already on the front wheel, braking has to be an eclectic mix of front and rear brake engagement.
Suspension is firm but potholes can rattle everything you were born with. It's essentially a high-rpm performance bike, so keeping the engine on high throttle does transfer the engine vibrations to every joint and bone. But that is with any street-racer. Get yourself performance gloves, jacket and shoes, will you?
Speed Triple is Triumph's flagship bike that has been setting standards the world over for its razor-sharp performance, cheetah-quick shootouts and the pedigree it comes with. It is as much a city bike, with once-in-a-while insane streaks thrown in, as it belongs to serious race-tracks... to leave skid-marks on its competition's faces. It becomes what you want it to be... a romantic love story or a passionate one-niqht stand.
FHM: Which is the bestselling bike from your stables in India?
Vimal Sumbly: The classic range, especially the Bonneville, has been one of the most sought after motorcycles amongst aficionados across globe, and the trend in India is no different.
How is Triumph faring among the various luxury motorcycle brands that have entered India?
We do not look at a brand as competition. Honestly, the Indian consumer today has a wide range of products to choose from. Among them, Triumph has witnessed a substantial growth within the last 18 months of its operations here. The 12 awards won by Triumph Motorcycles at various auto award ceremonies in India are a testimony to this.
Tell us a bit about new models that the brand is about to launch in India.
The pace of introduction of our new products is in consideration with market dynamics and consumer demand. With the recent launch of the Tiger XRx & XCx we now have 13 of our most prestigious models in 5 different categories. All I would like to say is that it's a very exciting time to be a rider in India and you'll have more options from the brand.
What's the brand's USP?
We are synonymous with the quintessential British pedigree of class, style and attitude, built for enthusiasts who are looking for heavy duty on-road performance. At Triumph a lot of emphasis is given to technology. We give our customers a class leading 3 cylinder layout, designed to give you outstanding manoeuvrability and handling. We also make a twin cylinder possessing instant torque with smooth power delivery and a character that remains unrivalled to this day.
Personally speaking, which is your favourite bike from the stables?
Well, this is the part where I Love my job. I live in Pune and like to go cruising to Mumbai on any one of the Thunderbird, Lt or the formidable Rocket III Roadster. I have also done Pune to Goa on the New Tigers, which has been my preferred option for any kind of adventure. I have also thoroughly enjoyed zipping around on the Daytona 675 R at the Buddha international race tracks. Sometimes it's hard to tell where the bike ends and you begin.