Triumph’s newb-friendly Trident delivers European brand value, manageable but exciting performance, all in package that’s super-price competitive with the Japanese in Singapore
You’ve got your full Class 2 license, the next question (as it is with every stage of a motorcycle license) is: What do you get? Some riders stop at 2A and the 400cc limit, thanks to bikes like the Honda Super 4 delivering all you could want, within Singapore at least.
But here’s a good reason to forge on to a full Class 2, besides the power and prestige of a big bike. If you want something new, European, sporty, and easy to ride, Triumph has the most obvious answer here in its affordable Trident, which costs the same as a similarly sized Japanese bike.
While there was a Trident of yore from the 1970s, that bike presaged the modern superbike era. This Trident is rather different, as it’s a ‘standard’ motorcycle, or naked street bike. To put a finer point on that, it’s a Universal British Motorcycle (UBM), since its competition would be modern UJMs (Universal Japanese Motorcycles) such as the Yamaha MT-07 or Honda CB 650R and more.
We really liked the styling of the Trident, it’s in essence a modern take on the Bonneville – the circular-but-modern all-LED headlight, the ‘hunched’ tank design with its plastic knee cut-outs that are both stylish and utilitarian. A shapely bench seat and tail with LED tail-light, handsome aluminium five-spoke wheels, the swingarm with low-mounted license plate holder. It has classic lines, but thoroughly modern details and reminded us of the Honda CB 1000 R street fighter. In other words, the Trident looks very convincing as a modern streetbike with classic roots.
That’s even reflected in the circular instrument panel, which has a TFT color screen. It’s a small screen, but very readable, and having the white-on-black LCD above is both elegant and retro. As it is with cars and their digital cockpits, somehow, having digital bits integrated into classic-looking is more engaging than just a big tablet strapped to the machine.
You can upgrade the tech with the My Triumph Connectivity System accessory module (S$400), for turn-by-turn navigation, GoPro control and phone and music control, all via Bluetooth, using the handlebar-mounted switch cubes.
Middle weight bikes are designed to be accessible to new riders, and weighing in at 189kg (wet), the Trident is one of the lightest road bikes out there, weighing just 7kg more than the accolade-laden Triumph Street Triple. With ergonomics designed to cater to new riders and riders of petite build, the narrow seat and 805mm seat height, nearly everyone (this side of Hobbit-ville) will fit comfortably, with feet in contact with the ground when stationary, imparting confidence.
Despite being on the tall side of the rider bell curve (1.8-metres+) We were pleasantly surprised that the Trident was very comfortable, with no acute knee angle, no cramped shins and no sore buttocks, thanks to a plush yet supportive seat. The handlebar did feel a tad narrow, however this made lane-splitting that much easier.
This is a Triumph, so a triple is a given. In this case, the 660cc inline three-cylinder is not related to the also-660cc triple in the Street Triple S, but is derived from the previous 675cc Daytona sportsbike.
With 67 new components (over the previous 675cc triple), the Trident’s engine makes 80hp at 10,250rpm, and 64Nm of torque at 6,250rpm, pretty much bang on for bikes in this class.
Having owned a few Triumph triples before, we quickly homed in on the drivability of the Trident. Low to mid-range grunt was as advertised, with acceleration noticeably picking up above 5,500rpm all the way through to the 10,500rpm redline.
Compared with the bigger brother Street Triple RS (765cc), the Trident had less top-end punch, which is to be expected since it’s a machine with a more general operating area. And the throaty sound of the triple is certainly a welcome departure from the default parallel-twin configuration of the segment. It even manages to be quite frugal as well, with an average consumption of 4.8L/100km on our test, which would imply a near 300km range on its 14-litre tank.
Pipped as a commuter/ road bike and not a Street Triple challenger, we appreciated the calmer throttle response of the Trident. There’s a small lag before the engine responds after close-to-open throttle sequence. Riders bent on sportiness might find it lethargic, but newbies and relaxed commuters might actually find it a blessing.
The gear ratios are close, giving peppy acceleration, and the shifts were positive and precise, and clutch-pull light and newbie-friendly. We did find clutchless shifting to be smooth, particularly when downshifting. Triumph does offer an up and down quick shifter as an option.
There are two riding modes (Road and Rain), plus adjustable traction control, and ABS. There’s no fancy IMU and all the benefits those bring, but in this segment riders should only expect basic traction control and ABS.
Triumph has always made bikes that handle excellently, and the Trident is no different though even it can’t overcome physics and accountants.
The Showa USD forks in front and a preload-adjustable monoshock rear are obviously built to a cost, since they have no tuning options, but the Trident handled all sorts of road imperfections with ease. Its firm yet pliant damping results in a comfortable yet measured ride that was also more sporty than competitors.
However, the front end of the Trident couldn’t quite keep up when pushed. The narrow handlebar, yoke and fork combination showing their limitation, unable to hold the line solidly when the bike was leaned over at higher speeds.
The shock on the other hand, though rudimentary in features, seemed to tackle all that was thrown at it. Or perhaps it was the Michelin Road 5 tyres that come as standard, though well regarded for its performance in both wet and dry conditions.
But this shouldn’t bother the Trident’s prime target audience of course, and if you want more performance an upgrade to the suspension won’t break the bank. The benefits here are sporty handling and good ride in the day-to-day commute envelope.
Stopping power is excellent, despite non-radial front Nissins, with the rear brake especially feelsome and strong.
The Trident reminds us of a calmed-down, mature Street Triple, full of dynamic and sporting prowess, yet easy to use and comfortable for the city. The low kerb weight making its nearly light as a feather in reversing out of parking lots.
A big plus was that the engine emitted no heat (yes, we wore shorts), whether on the move or parked at the traffic lights. Even more importantly, the Trident was that kind of bike you’d park, walk away, then turn back to look at.
We always try to include a car metaphor for bikes we ride, to make them better understood. In this case, it would be something like a Jaguar XE, a small-mid executive sedan that stand toe to toe with entry-level execs from BMW or Mercedes. The metaphor doesn’t quite work though, since the XE never quite lived up to its promise, and Triumph is in far better position and makes consistently superb motorcycles – unlike the car brand.
With this blend of characteristics and a price comparable to Japanese offerings, we think the Trident will be the British brand’s most successful bike yet. Plus, local Triumph dealer Mah Motors is a known, reliable quantity by now, and offers a four-year warranty with the bike.
In fact, the Trident’s already proven us a little right at least: The Trident’s sold out until October 2021, at time of print.
In the past, a rider would graduate to 2A and decide that Honda’s ubiquitous Super 4 delivers enough of everything to skip going ‘Full 2’, but the Triumph changes that. Getting a Class 2 and buying this ‘Super 3’ might be the default for those new to big bikes.
|Engine||660cc, inline 3|
|Power||80hp at 10250rpm|
|Torque||64Nm at 6250rpm|
|Gearbox||6-speed manual with up-down quickshifter|
|Top Speed||Not stated|
|Agent||Mah Pte Ltd|
|Verdict||Attractive, sporty, easy to ride and priced well – could be Triumph’s big seller in Singapore from now on|
*Includes Road Tax, registration, but without COE, insurance