Common Tread

Video: Drifting a pair of 200-horsepower Triumph Street Triples

Sep 14, 2016

With the release of Kawasaki’s supercharged H2 behemoth last year there has been much speculation surrounding the possibility of utilizing superchargers and turbochargers to increase power output from smaller displacement machines. So needless to say, when Triumph released this video last week featuring two turbocharged Street Triples laying down over 200 horsepower, my interest was piqued.

Ernie Vigil and Nick "Apex" Brocha have been piloting heavily customized Triumph motorcycles for years. The pair are featured in wildly intense ICON Motorsports videos tackling everything from police car chases with Triumph Speed Triples to worldwide ADV excursions on Tiger 800s. The main difference with the duo’s most recent production is that it was released on Triumph’s YouTube page, not ICON's.

While the final product, “Slide City: Turbo Motorcycle Drifting,” is an adrenaline-inducing two-minute, three-second powerfest, I found the behind-the-scenes look at the development of their riding style and the bikes to be far more interesting.

In “Motorcycles are Dangerous: The Story Of Motorcycle Drifting,” Ernie and Nick discuss how they managed to break away from the parking lot stunt shows to develop their own personal style of high-speed motorcycle drifting. As their skills progressed, so did their machines.

For this new video, the duo debut a pair of heavily customized Triumph Street Triples sporting Daytona fairing uppers and Garrett GT2502R Turbos. While these bikes dynoed at over 200 ponies, Nick isn’t satisfied. When asked what he is hoping to accomplish, his response is simple: “At the very least, at the wheel, 250-plus (horsepower) on a 600-class bike… With all of the electronics that will let me abuse the living shit out of the bike without ever having it talk back.”

Putting turbochargers on motorcycles is not a new concept. Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki all dabbled with this technology in the early 1980s. The main difference between bikes that were born the same year as this author and the ones featured in this video are the computer-driven technologies developed over the past 33 years that can harness the potential power of a turbocharged system promises to make today's bikes more than merely a novelty. 

Technology is already making some really powerful naturally aspirated bikes, like KTM’s Super Duke, BMW’s S 1000 RR, and Yamaha’s tech-heavy YZF-R1M controllable enough and safe enough for the consumer market. But watching this video, the first comparison that comes to mind is Kawasaki’s blown H2. Last year, Kawasaki seemed to promise that several smaller displacement machines would be coming out and would use supercharging, like the H2, but we have not seen any of that come to fruition yet.

I find it curious that this video was released on Triumph’s page. Is there a possibility of a turbocharged Street Triple in our future? What about a Daytona 675R laying down 200-plus horsepower with a sophisticated electronic system to help riders control all of that power? While I have heard nothing to make me get my hopes up, my imagination is racing ahead with the idea, anyway. If this video shows us anything, it’s that the technology already exists to make that option a reality.