Common Tread

2018 Triumph Speed Triple first look

Feb 05, 2018

Triumph followed up its recent teaser video of a new Speed Triple with the introduction of new S and RS models of the iconic bike, featuring a revamped engine and new electronics.

Triumph Speed Triple
The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and RS on the road. Triumph photo.

Triumph unveiled the new models at a launch party attended by — among others — World Superbike champ Carl Fogarty and Isle of Man TT winner Gary Johnson, the two "hooligans" featured in the teaser video. I personally enjoyed the opening part of the video, which provided a quick history of the Speed Triple line, from the original, 885 cc carbureted 1994 model, back when streetfighters were a relatively new phenomenon, to the present.

Prices for the new models will be announced on Feb. 26, but we have all the other specs. Triumph says there are 105 new parts in the 1,050 cc triple, and the changes have raised the redline 1,000 rpm and made the engine rev faster. Triumph's figures have the horsepower at 148 at 10,500 rpm with 81 foot-pounds of torque peaking at 7,150 rpm, measured at the crank.

Speed Triple TFT instrument panel
The TFT dash comes on both the S and RS Speed Triples. Triumph photo.

In many ways, the 2018 Speed Triples follow the path we already saw Triumph take with the Street Triple line. Both models get a new TFT instrument panel like the one we enjoyed on the Street Triple RS. The Speed Triple RS has a fifth track mode, while the S has four rider modes. Both models even come with cruise control, which is a surprising feature on a bike that traces its lineage back to urban streetfighters.

The biggest difference between the two models is the RS gets an inertial measurement unit and adds cornering ABS and traction control. Speed Triple RS models in the U.S. market will also come standard with Triumph Shift Assist, which allows clutchless upshifts and downshifts.

Arrow exhaust
One of the upgrades on the RS is carbon fiber bodywork. Triumph photo.

Other upgrades on the RS include carbon fiber bodywork, a keyless ignition system and Ohlins suspension instead of Showa. On both bikes, you get a 43 mm inverted fork up front and a rear shock that are fully adjustable, so it's not like you suffer a big penalty for choosing the lower-spec S. 

2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS
2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS. Triumph photo.

Triumph says the new Speed Triple will be more agile and better handling, and the old model was no slouch. That, along with the boost in power and some new tech, is intended to restore some of the appeal of what used to be Triumph's most recognizable model, back in the days of those early Speed Triples seen in the video, but has since been surpassed by the smaller Street Triple.