2 Wheels

5 Things That Annoy Me About My Triumph Street Triple R

After passing my motorcycle safety course, I spent some time test-riding different bikes before eventually buying a used Triumph. Specifically, a 2012 Triumph Street Triple R naked bike, in-between a standard and a sportbike. And although I’ve enjoyed riding it overall, there are a few places where it could be improved.

The turn signals

2012 Triumph Street Triple R handlebars shown from the rider's perspective
2012 Triumph Street Triple R handlebars | Matthew Skwarczek

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This one’s a bit nit-picky, but it is worth keeping in mind for riders with smaller hands. My 2012 Triumph Street Triple R’s turn signals work fine, but they’re a bit awkwardly-positioned for my hands. I have to stretch to use the switch, which requires me to move my hand away from the clutch lever. Or briefly take my hand away from the handgrip completely.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the safety course, but it feels strange to move my hands too far away from the clutch. Though to be fair, it is something that’s getting easier for me to do as I ride the bike more. It reminds me a bit of when I first learned how to drive stick. I was hyper-focused on every little thing, so a tiny disruption caused me to worry.

And the handlebar height itself is perfectly fine.

The 2012 Triumph Street Triple R’s gauges

2012 Triumph Street Triple R digital display, showing tachometer and LCD display with trip odometer
2012 Triumph Street Triple R display | Matthew Skwarczek

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RideApart reports the 2012 Triumph Street Triple R’s gauges are “hard to read.” I haven’t had that particular issue. The tachometer has big numerals, the LCD display is clear. I haven’t taken advantage of the programmable shift lights, but the gear indicator is very helpful. However, the bike’s display does have some faults.

2020 Indian Scout Sixty's gauge, showing speedometer, indicator lights, and digital display
2020 Indian Scout Sixty gauge | Indian

For one, there’s no fuel gauge. True, not every motorcycle offers one. For example, the Indian Scout Sixty doesn’t have one, though the Kawasaki Ninja 400 does, The Drive reports. Interestingly, the Ninja costs about half as much. And the Triumph Street Triple R does have both a low-fuel light and multiple trip odometers, so you can tell when you’re running low.

Green 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 400 rider perspective view, showing digital display and handlebars
2020 Kawasaki Ninja 400 gauge details | Kawasaki

But having a dedicated fuel gauge would make it easier to plan my ride out. Also, although the trip odometers help, you can’t display the main odometer while you’re riding. Which, considering the digital display is configurable, seems like an odd exclusion.

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However, there’s another problem with the gauges that may make newer riders nervous. If I’m sitting upright, I have to move my head down a bit to see how fast I’m going. The speedometer display is big and clear, but it takes more than a split-second glance to properly look. If I assume a sportier position, flat against the gas tank, the gauge is then right in front of me. Which is fine for empty back roads or on the highway, but not really helpful for the average urban or suburban street.

Like the turn signals, this is something that’s getting easier the more I ride the Triumph Street Triple R. But on crowded roads, it can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking to take my eyes off the road to glance down.

The Triumph Street Triple R’s long-distance faults

Red 2012 Triumph Street Triple R
2012 Triumph Street Triple R | Matthew Skwarczek

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The 2012 Triumph Street Triple R may split the difference between a standard and a sportbike fairly well, but the naked design does have some downsides.

Red 2012 Triumph Street Triple R flyscreen and headlights
2012 Triumph Street Triple R flyscreen | Matthew Skwarczek

My bike has a flyscreen, which Motorcyclist reports is an optional accessory. And it actually does a fairly good job of deflecting oncoming wind. At highway speeds, it’s certainly better than the screen-less Harley-Davidson I once rode. Mostly because I can hang on without worry.

However, to truly get out of the wind, you have to lay flat against the gas tank. Which is fine for short distances. But if you plan on riding on the highway for extended periods, you’ll want an extended windscreen. Luckily, Triumph does offer such an OEM screen, as do several aftermarket companies.

Also, in keeping with naked bikes’ stripped-down design, the Street Triple R doesn’t really have any storage space. There is a small bit of space underneath the lockable seat. However, it’s best-suited for a few small tools and your insurance cards. The bike can fit 2 people, and it comes standard with passenger pegs. But if you need more storage space, you’ll need a backpack, or possibly saddlebags and a tank bag.

Most of these annoyances, though, come with owning a motorcycle with sporting intentions. And I’m enjoying riding my 2012 Triumph Street Triple R enough that I can live with them.

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