Super naked, streetfighter, wheelie machine; call them what you will, and we owe it all to the original hooligan known as the Triumph Speed Triple launched in 1994. Fast forward 20 some-odd years, and the all-new 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS is here to wave the hooligan flag with pride.
What’s new? In a word: Everything. The 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS has increased its displacement gaining more midrange and top-end power, kicked up the agility by shedding 22 pounds, and has more helpful tech than you can shake a stick at—not to mention the racetrack-ready components. We took to Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in the southeastern Mojave Desert to see what the new Striple 1200 RS can do on the track. Now, we’ll hit you with the Fast Facts.
- The all-new 1160cc engine lives up to the Speed Triple name. Let’s kick things off with a round of applause, please, and not just for the glorious exhaust howl. This powerplant is the textbook definition of smooth. It delivers silky bottom-end torque, stonking midrange, and a ripping top-end power that steals the spotlight during hard-driving corner exits. Thanks to 12 percent less powertrain inertia, the new triple revs up like the dickens. You can quickly stick your fork into its claimed 177 horsepower at 10,750 rpm and 92 ft-lbs at 9000 rpm, making a meal of it.
- Less weight and more power are the names of the game in 2022. Despite growing in displacement, the new engine is 15.4 pounds lighter, and a lot of credit goes to its featherweight internal components. The lightweight finger-follower valvetrain accentuates its rev-happy character, while also paving the way to a higher 11,150 redline and, yes, more performance. Not only is there more tractable midrange torque and top-end might than before, but we are also getting 30 additional ponies and eight ft-lbs of torque. And that’s just on paper—from the saddle, it’s as velvety and tractable as you like.
- Clean and precise shifting only adds to the refined feel. Our kudos go to the new slip-and-assist clutch, as well as the updated stacked six-speed gearbox. Shifting is excellent, and with the up/down quickshifter, pulling the light adjustable clutch lever isn’t necessary once leaving the pit. Kill times are superb, letting me click up a gear while accelerating from the apex. Downshifting is great, except when you spike the revs a little too high and need to let the motor settle before clicking down. Fair play to Triumph, as this would never happen at a street pace.
- Don’t worry; the single-muffler exhaust still has all the triple-cylinder roar you can ask for. Speed Triple purists may balk at the lack of a dual exhaust, which became a hallmark feature of the original and the long-standing 1050 Speed Triple motorcycles. That thrilling exhaust note still sings its note and helps with weight distribution, as it is no longer under-tail mounted.
- A fully adjustable Öhlins 43mm NIX30 fork and TTX36 shock take care of suspension duties. I ran showroom settings for my initial sessions and, while the suspenders were a bit plush for my tastes, I can give nothing but top marks for the ride quality. Cranking the settings up helped the Speed Triple become the pointed track machine I wanted it to be and let that sweet Triumph handling I have come to expect from the brand shine through. Importantly, riders have a good range of adjustment to fine-tune to their skill level and needs.
- Balanced handling makes all the difference. What stands out immediately is how predictable and controlled the Speed Triple’s all-new chassis is after leaving 22 pounds on the chopping block. Engineers biased weight more towards the front wheel for sportier handling, and lower to increase stability. That adds up to an RS that pitches onto the side of the sticky Metzeler Racetec RR K3 tires quickly and feels confident while doing it. The Speed Triple doesn’t shy away from a little manhandling while being chucked through Chuckwalla’s fast uphill chicane, showcasing solid stability.
- All-day ergonomics translate well to the racetrack. A sporty yet upright riding position isn’t taxing and is made even more accommodating by how svelte the whole package is. Designers moved the footpegs inward to further encourage a slim feeling, and the 4.1-gallon fuel tank acts as a solid anchoring point for cornering and braking. Those traits downplay the sculpted 32.7-inch seat height and help my boots reach the deck. Meanwhile, the riser handlebar provides all the leverage you could ever need to muscle the beast around a physical racetrack such as Chuckwalla.
- A full suite of IMU-supported electronics is up to the track task. Triumph breaks down its four preset riding modes into Track, Sport, Road, Rain, and a customizable Rider mode. The Hinckley engineers take a “set it and forget it” approach with the riding modes and don’t offer the same nuanced adjustment levels to TC, WC, or ABS as some of its competitors. After all, it’s a street bike, and I appreciate things being as straightforward as possible. Usually, that’d be the source of a damning complaint, but the systems all work incredibly well and fit their intended use.
- Superb programming makes the electronics suite so good. Each riding mode adjusts the throttle map, cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive TC, and wheelie control intervention accordingly. Track and Sport share an athletic throttle map that I enjoyed immensely on the circuit. Meanwhile, Track’s TC setting is extremely impressive, seamlessly working in the background without curtailing your drive. Importantly, Track ABS disables the IMU and linked braking functions, allowing deep-as-you-dare trail braking. I was also pleased with Sport, which reels things in a little more, and the linked-braking ABS never interjected prematurely.
- This electronics talk is running a little long, but this for you, wheelie people. Interestingly, WC is linked to the TC mode and not independently adjustable. So, if you are one of the many Speed Triple owners who hoist their steeds skyward, you’ll need to disable TC altogether. Even in the most aggressive Track mode, the WC allows for a modest hovering of the front wheel, prioritizing acceleration over Instagram flexing. I don’t have a dog in this fight, as someone whose mediocrity at wheelies is well-documented. You will want to keep it enabled if you’re hunting lap times.
- RS trim means nothing but the best Brembo kit. The ratio-adjustable Brembo MCS master cylinder allows you to change the feel of your brakes, making them go from racetrack-sharp to commuter-soft with the roll of an adjuster. The braking feel and stopping power from the Brembo Stylema calipers and 320mm rotors are equally impressive. In the rear, a dual-piston Brembo caliper and 255mm rotor are great for correcting lines and bringing the bike back to the apex.
- Top-shelf Triumph means you get all the amenities. Hinckley designers know how to spoil the buyer. In this case, it starts with the bonded five-inch full-color TFT display that is perfectly visible and easy to navigate. Also, a keyless ignition has led to a keyless gas cap. Of course, we have full LED lighting, as you’d expect on a machine of this caliber. If that isn’t enough, the switchgear is backlit to help when riding at night. Once again, Triumph knocks it out of the park with an immaculate fit-and-finish from top to bottom.
- The 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS truly exemplifies the word refinement. After a handful of Chuckwalla track sessions under my belt, I can only doff my cap to Triumph. It produced a well-balanced, poised super naked that feels painstakingly refined, from the first bolt to the last. That thrilling engine doesn’t overdo it on the power, and the motor pairs excellently with its sweet-handling chassis for a riding experience that will undoubtedly charm the riding pants off any sportbike enthusiast—and get them out to a track day. Priced at $18,300, it’s feature-loaded and armed with tech that will help bolster its fight in the hotly contested super-naked upright class. Now, the only thing we need to do is take it into the streets, both urban and rural.
Photography by Joseph Agustin
- Helmet: Arai Corsair-X
- Suit: Mithos RCP-18
- Airbag: Alpinestars Tech-Air
- Baselayers: VnM Sport Compression
- Gloves: Alpinestars GP Pro R3
- Boots: Alpinestars Limited Edition Victory Supertech R
2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Specs
- Type: Inline-3
- Displacement: 1160cc
- Bore x stroke: 90 x 60.8mm
- Maximum power: 176 horsepower @ 10,750 rpm
- Maximum torque: 92 ft-lbs @ 9000 rpm
- Compression ratio: 13.2:1
- Transmission: 6-speed w/ quickshifter
- Clutch: Wet multiplate w/ assist-and-slipper functions
- Final drive: X-ring chain
- Frame: Tubular aluminum twin-spar
- Swingarm: Aluminum single-sided
- Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable Öhlins 43mm NIX inverted fork; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Fully adjustable linkage-assisted Öhlins TTX36 shock; 4.7 inches
- Wheels: Cast aluminum
- Front wheel: 17 x 3.5″
- Rear wheel: 17 x 6.0″
- Tires: Metzeler Racetec RR
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 190/55 x 17
- Front brakes: 320mm floating discs w/ radially mounted Brembo Stylema 4-piston monobloc calipers and radially mounted master cylinder
- Rear brake: 220mm disc w/ Brembo 2-piston caliper
- ABS: Cornering ABS
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 56.9 inches
- Rake: 23.9 degrees
- Trail: 4.1 inches
- Seat height: 32.7 inches
- Fuel capacity: 4.1 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 50 mpg
- Curb weight: 437 pounds
- Colors: Sapphire Black; Matt Silver Ice
2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Price: $18,300 MSRP