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Triumph Shares More Trident Images and I’m Underwhelmed

Triumph tries to create hype by sharing 'test' photos of its forthcoming middleweight roadster

Perhaps aware that no publication gives enough of a damn about its Trident model to actually pay for spy photos, Triumph has released some of its own – revealing a middleweight naked that looks like what you’d get if Triumph’s parts bin were raided by Benelli.

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That’s me being snarky (and probably thereby deleting my name from any press invites for a while), but it’s a known thing that Triumph (along with KTM and a number of other manufacturers) has a habit of tipping off spy photographers so they know exactly when and where to be when a model in testing rolls by. Buzz for this redecorated Street Triple S has been low, however, so the company has posted “test” photos of the bike on its website and sent copies to everyone on its mailing list.

Triumph describes the bike as “a new triple-powered dimension to the competitive middleweight roadster world.” But, as I say, the best guess is that this is just a Street Triple S in different (read: more affordable) clothing. The current Street Triple S has been around since January, when it replaced the Street Triple S that was introduced in 2017. The Street Triple S of 2017 was powered by a 765cc inline triple – just like the Street Triple R and Street Triple RS – but delivered 112 hp to the other bikes’ 117 hp and 122 hp respectively. Whereas the 2020 Street Triple S is driven by a 660cc inline triple that promises ~94 hp, or 47 hp when restricted for A2 riders*. I’m assuming the 765cc S was dropped because most people were choosing to buy the R and RS instead.

The Trident being ‘tested’ at Triumph’s headquarters

Feel free to debate whether Triumph really needs a bike in the already too-crowded field of middleweight nakeds, but the 660cc Street Triple S’ biggest problem is its price tag. Starting at £8,100, it costs at least £1,000 more than alternatives like the Honda CB650R, Kawasaki Z650, Yamaha MT-07, Suzuki SV650, et al. Triumph’s answer to this problem is the Trident: a Street Triple with a cheaper frame, cheaper suspension and Scrambler 1200 tank.

Triumph first started trying to build hype for the Trident back in August but I was so thoroughly disinterested that I couldn’t find the energy to write about it. To me, this is supporting evidence for the journalistic murmuring I’ve been hearing over the last few years that Triumph has run out of ideas.

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Triumph hasn’t yet given any details on the Trident except to say it will launch in spring 2021. A full reveal is promised “very soon.” Triumph has done a number of early October launches in past years, so perhaps we’ll find out information about capacity/power/bells and whistles as early as next week.

Triumph says it has been working on the Trident for four years, which, based on the finished product, means its work ethic is on par with my own**. But, as I say, the educated guess is that this is largely a Street Triple S in cheaper clothing. It’s likely the bike will also be detuned to deliver better real-world performance or some such marketing speak. And, because Triumph is good at throwing technobling at its bikes, we can probably expect a mix of useful stuff (eg, cornering traction control) and pointless shit (eg, an in-built dash camera that takes pictures of you at random intervals and automatically posts them to Instagram Stories) that will make the bike look comically dated in a year or so. Triumph says the Trident will be “competitively priced” and the educated guess from the November 2020 issue of Bike magazine is that it will come in at or around £7,000.

Honestly, what is the point of giving this bike the ‘We’re trying to fool the photographers’ paint scheme when you’re the one issuing the photos?

“Through the final testing stages the Triumph product team have been fine tuning the characteristics that will make the new Trident the first choice for a new generation of Triumph riders,” states a media release. “(The Trident will bring) all the advantages of a triple to the (middleweight) category, with class-leading technology as standard, and an agile and rider-friendly chassis and ergonomics.”

I’m interested to see your take on this thing. Are you as disaffected as I am, or does this bike excite you? I have no doubt the Trident will be fun to ride. Every Triumph I’ve ever encountered has been fun to ride. But I struggle to get excited about this thing. It doesn’t feel game-changing; it doesn’t even feel like a progression. It feels like a half-hearted second attempt to enter a crowded market segment, an attempt made because companies are supposed to make money and this is a way to do so without having to spend/risk the time, money and energy of doing something innovative.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Triumph, though. What’s your take?

The Triumph Trident is set to hit dealerships in spring 2021

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* For those of you playing along outside the European Union, tiered licensing means that riders under the age of 24 are issued A2 licenses – as opposed to the A license I carry – and limited to machines of 47 hp or less. A number of manufacturers offer bikes that can be restricted to said power output, then derestricted after said rider comes of age but I seriously wonder how many such bikes are actually sold. Because there’s no way to tell a bike’s been restricted just by looking, most young people I’ve encountered just buy old fast bikes and simply say the bike’s been restricted.

** That’s me sorta apologizing for only posting one other story in September. Sorry.