Triumph 765 RS Street Triple

Triumph 765 RS Street Triple

Words: Séan Hendley and Donovan Fourie

Pics: Kyle Lawrenson 

We wandered off to Midvaal Racetrack the other day to do a photo shoot and get some track time on a couple of litre naked bikes and bumped into Donovan who happened to have the latest Triumph 765 RS out at the track for the same reason, so we played a little game of ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, swapping out bikes for the day.

Inspiration from Transformers? Nah, Transformers was inspired by the Street Triple.

Donovan Says:

Triumph has been the official engine supplier to the Moto2 World Championship since 2019. In that time, it has learnt a thing or two about racing. After all, there are 30-odd of the best riders in the world giving them feedback. 

With all that data swirling in its digital Brownian motion through the Triumph R&D department, the new 765 has to be good. There’s no point reading further because that’s all you need to know.

You’re still here? Fine, let’s delve deeper…

The Street Triple is the gem of the Triumph range. Gem is the right word – small, shiny and it makes its wearer look good. Its bigger Speed Triple sibling might hog the spotlight for power and brutishness, but the mischievous giggles found snickering their way out of the Street Triple rider remains unmatched in the Triumph range. It’s small, effortless to ride, fast and provides more theatre than even some of the big-litre superbikes. 

A long-time resident of our garage is a 2008 675 Street Triple. 

Compared to modern digital standards, it may as well be in a museum together with its fellow Jurassic dwellers. The most sophisticated electronic wizardry on this machine is the spark plugs, and yet even today, 15 years after the Triumph Factory birthed it, it is still as entertaining as the day we bought it. That triple motor still whirs its melodic whizz, it still turns on a dime and the grin on our faces is still a fixed feature.

The Midvaal track has seen better days...

Not all bikes can make this boast. Some feel somehow outdated; having been the king of the hill, they find themselves left behind by the tide of progress and fall into the cold pits of mediocrity as newer generations of motorcycles find new boundaries far beyond their comprehension.

The Street Triple somehow sees all this and decides not to take part.

Despite previous generations’ refusal to pass the crown, Triumph has indeed moved on, and now has the aforementioned racing to add to its R&D résumé. What have they learnt?

The engine is the star of the show.
Sexy, isnt she?

Firstly, that more horsepower is king so they’ve added another seven bringing the tally from 121 to 128hp with an extra Newton metre of torque for good measure. They did this by throwing in new pistons, new conrods, new valves, higher-lift cams and shallower intake ducts. The result is bigger nostrils to breathe through and a compression ratio that has been raised massively from 12.5:1 to 13.2:1.

You can feel it. Sprightly is too numb a word. Explosive fits the bill.

It’s not a nuclear 200hp tsunami nor is it the sledgehammer Super Duke, but somehow Triumph makes 128 horses work for their feed. Maybe it’s the triple that gives an allusion that you are going faster than you are, even if you’ve owned a triple for 15 years and should by all rights be used to it. Whether it’s an allusion or genuine speed, who cares? The manic laughter shielded by your helmet is unrelenting.

For gadgetry, the new 765 is again adorned with a TFT dash straight out of the magic mushroom department. There are four options to choose from and none of them gives the rider a clear view of the rev counter, something essential when lapping a circuit and trying to eke out every decimal place of every second. Until you get near the rev limiter in which case the dash throws up a series of unmissable red lights making the exact moment it touches the rev limiter, signifying an urgent up change through the quick shifter, unmistakeable.

The chassis is completely new. It feels almost like a supermoto. But there’s more to it than just growth hormones. The Aluminium frame stays the same, with re-dialled Showa forks and an Ohlins rear shock. However, the rake has been steepened by 0.7 of a degree while the trail has been reduced from 100mm to 96.9. To sum everything up, it’s been made shorter and taller. And that’s potentially worrying.

The previous STs had the rider famously sitting low down, becoming part of the machine. That imparted a huge sense of security and control. It wasn’t the quickest steerer in the world, but after some muscling it’d be more planted than a Giant Sequoia. 

Raising it and shortening it should ruin much of this. 

In some ways, it has. 

But only when you are cranking it, and we mean knee-and-elbow-is-not-far-behind lunacy. It starts resisting those last five degrees, and that is problematic for people wanting to top time sheets. Even then, their style can be adjusted to a more hard-braking-in-out agenda. 

It’s riskier but effective. 

Ask Brad Binder.


But none of this, dear reader, means a damn because let’s just be real for a moment. Almost no one goes that far, and therefore it doesn’t matter.

Instead, we have the more motard feel the ST’s seating arrangement promises. It feels more alive, more reactive. Tipping in at the mere shake of the shoulders, it does that both while you’re challenging the stopwatch and shuffling to work.

Sean says:

“On our last few laps, the storm clouds had gathered and the heavens opened up just enough to make the track a little greasy as I pushed a little too hard into a sweeping left hander and got a little bit ahead of myself and clamped on the hooks in a mild panic which had the front wheel push out in an attempted low side. Fortunately the Triumph engineers had anticipated talentless numpties like me doing stupid things like this and the OC-ABS held hands with the chassis and suspension and quietly and confidently saved my dignity and itself from the scrap heap.

Did we mention the brakes?

Stopping duties are by the most powerful set of Brembo fitted to an RS to date. The dual 4 piston Brembo Stylema radial monobloc callipers grab onto twin 310mm floating discs up front with OC-ABS and are powered by a Brembo Radial master. The single 220mm disc outback is covered by a Brembo single piston unit, and together they really bring this bike to heel extremely well and with confidence inspiring feedback. 

Having made the mistake of dropping a demo Triumph before, I gingerly tip-toed back to the pits in the ever increasing rain and quickly helped Don load it onto his trailer.”

Riding the Triumph 765 RS after muscling some quite aggressive big naked bikes between Midvaals weeds and cracks felt refreshingly easy and relaxing. The 128 hp didn’t seem overly aggressive, especially coupled to a machine that barely tips the scales at 188kg’s and is a comfortably narrow 792mm’s. Triumph has managed to balance the motor rotational force of the motor and the dynamic weight of the 15 litres of fuel in the tank  quite neutrally in the middle of the bike somewhere making the RS feel a little bit like a beefy SuperMotard, which is further enhanced by the wide bars and quite attacking, upright seating position. 

The relatively short wheel base at a ball hair under 1.4 metres also makes it turn quite quickly into the bends. Spanking it off the apex and twisting its throttle properly does having the wheel pointing skywards alarmingly quickly while you are still trying to get your ass back onto the seat and right the bike up is quite terrifying if you don’t know what you are doing, but a big giggle if you do. 

I wouldn’t call this an entry level or beginner’s bike by any stretch of the imagination. 

It’s a very serious bit of kit not for the uninitiated – even with its grocery basket of really good electronic nannies turned on to the max. But if you are looking for a light, nimble and quite quick hooligan machine or a well priced track day toy, (starting at around R215k), then this is the bike for you. There’s little in the way of wind protection and serious seat padding, so as with every other naked roadster, it’s not a great long distance road bike. What it is, is a little pocket rocket.

Pop down to your local Triumph dealer and have a ride for yourself, then ride a few of their other demos and be honest with yourself and then buy what your heart tells you, not your head and you will have no regrets.

It’s a giggle machine, the fundamental bedrock of the Street Triple philosophy. And it will continue to do so even when technology has drifted on and its great-grandchildren are rolling about already.

At your Triumph dealer.


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