(Jerez, Spain) They have now almost disappeared from the market, but there was a time when pure 600 cc sports cars were among the best-selling motorcycles. First designed to conquer the toughest circuits and then made road legal, they offered immense riding joy. Thanks to the Triumph Street Triple 765 2023, the formula lives on.
It’s impossible to explain the 2023 Street Triple 765 without first going back to the late 1980s, where the idea of a 600cc sports car designed for competition but legal on the road was born. The formula exploded and merciless competition became routine between the four major Japanese brands—Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha—who seemed to be the only ones capable of building such precise and refined machines. At their peak in the first decade of the 2000s, they were often completely redesigned every two years, a rate of development not seen since, but which was necessary to “win the race Sunday and sell Monday in store “.
Often bought by a younger clientele, the 600 were among the models that suffered the most from the 2008 financial crisis. sales to a critical point. The money was simply no longer there for the development of the models or to fund the races that popularized them. There are still a few survivors of this class today, but their technology dates back mostly to the time of this crisis which marked both the exceptional level of sophistication reached by these motorcycles and the sad beginning of their end.
Triumph entered the 600 arena late with a relatively uncompetitive four-cylinder model compared to Japanese products, but the British marque has done surprisingly well with its three-cylinder Daytona 675 launched in 2006. Slim and light, the 675 had the added advantage of being more torquey than the 600 thanks to its larger displacement. It was very successful both on the track and with buyers, but like many models in this category, production was discontinued due to insufficient sales. However, the stripped down version of the model called the Street Triple is of an ever-popular class and continues to be offered.
For 2023, the Street Triple gets an overhaul that’s very reminiscent of the ones that were advancing the 600s at the time. Indeed, each internal part of the three-cylinder – now inflated to 765 cc – has been redesigned in order to lose a few grams while mechanical losses are minimized in order to gain a few horsepower. The transmission is also new and offers very close gears. Two versions of the Street Triple 765 are offered to the general public, the R favoring the road and the RS better equipped for the track. A limited-edition MOTO2 exists for the wealthy, but all are already sold out, according to Triumph.
Slightly less powerful than the RS, the 118-hp Street Triple 765 R is also the less expensive of the two, by a good margin. Intended to spend most of its time on the road, it is equipped with fully adjustable suspensions adjusted in a generally softer way and is equipped with high-performance brakes, but not the latest in the field. Even the tires favor the road due to their more durable rubber. And the model is indeed very cooperative in road use thanks to great agility, remarkably low weight and a reasonable driving position.
Offering ten additional horsepower, the RS offers more advanced suspensions, brakes and electronic steering assistance, in addition to being shod with softer tires. In fact, under its bare motorcycle air, the RS is none other than the reincarnation of Triumph’s late pure mid-displacement sports car, minus the fairing. Instantly at ease on the circuit, it is distinguished by its very high ease of handling and remarkable precision, even when pushed at race pace. Almost as comfortable as the R on the road, it is the clear choice for riders who plan to participate in regular track days.
Driving the Street Triple 765 R through the Spanish countryside on almost deserted roads was definitely fun, but it was the RS version, at the renowned Jerez circuit, that left the most lasting impression. It epitomizes what a 600 would be today – minus the fairing and a very nice extra cylinder as a bonus – if the financial crisis of 2008 had not arrived and the development of these incredible machines had not been interrupted. So light and precise that it offers downright telepathic piloting, it is bitterly regretting the disappearance of this class. Luckily, beneath a standard-style tourer, Triumph still offers one such bike.
Model: Street Triple 765 R/RS
Warranty: 2 years/unlimited mileage
Engine: 765cc liquid-cooled inline three-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed, chain final drive
Fully loaded weight: 189/188 kg
Front brake: 2 discs with 4 piston calipers and ABS
Rear brake: 1 disc with 1 piston caliper and ABS
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 180/55 ZR17