This year marks the 21st anniversary of one of Triumph’s most popular and enduring bikes, the legendary Speed Triple.
Back in 1994, when the original machine stormed onto the roads, it’s no exaggeration to suggest its ground-breaking combination of naked engineering, muscular styling and sportsbike dynamic instantly created a new class of motorcycle that paved the way for more than two decades of hard-edged, no-holds-barred street riding.
By innovatively fusing café racer culture with the muscular aggression of the streetfighter scene, the Speed Triple’s sleek, powerful design and torque-rich inline triple motor perfectly captured the animalistic thrill of hard riding for a generation of riders. It was bike anyone could respect and enjoy, from hardcore sportsbike riders to relaxed Sunday cruisers.
Since then the Speed Triple name and philosophy has lived on in a succession of models, each benefiting from advances in engine and chassis performance, but each retaining the indomitable physical stance and raw attitude of the original inline triple, and each developing its own band of passionate owners and fans.
So you might prefer the classic lines of the original 1994 T309 – the first to meld sportsbike dynamics with a roadster ethos, and now a prized collector’s item. Or how about 1997’s iconic T509 Speed Triple, with aluminium tube frame, single sided swingarm and famous bug-eyed headlamps? Or your favourite Speed Triple could be the classic from 2005, with underseat pipes and stunningly potent 1050cc three-cylinder motor. Or, of course, you could think of the current Speed Triple, benefiting from modern advances in chassis and engine technology to bring upside down forks and radial brakes with ABS alongside its colossal 134bhp inline triple engine.
Each Speed Triple has its own unique character, yet each answers to the same core philosophy: sledgehammer real-world performance delivered in a deceptively sporty package, and with a distinctive, raw-edged styling that draws looks wherever you go. And so to celebrate this 21 years of naked genius, Triumph is introducing the Speed 94 and Speed 94R.
The Speed 94 and Speed 94R unite both ends of the Speed Triple story, combining the modern Speed Triple engine and chassis package together with stylistic and visual elements of the very first, original Speed Triple from 1994. The result is, literally, the best of both worlds.
The heart of the Speed 94 and Speed 94R is, as it was 21 years ago, a fulsome inline three-cylinder engine. But its modern, fuel-injected 1050cc motor produces an astonishing 135PS and 111Nm of torque matched to an aluminium trellis frame, beefy single-sided swingarm, fully adjustable 43mm upside-down Showa forks and monoshock, and Brembo radial calipers equipped with Triumph’s anti-lock brake system.
But the Speed 94 and Speed 94R come with a host of styling and design cues to echo the original 1994 Speed Triple. Colours are either striking Racing Yellow or moody Jet Black, specially re-formulated to match the first Speed Triple paint schemes, and instantly tie the Speed 94 and Speed 94R back to those iconic machines.
The Speed 94 and Speed 94R also feature special colour enhancements, such as the side panels colour-balanced to match the look of the first Speed Triple. Other colour tweaks include black exhaust silencer wraps, a black filler cap, a colour-matched fly screen, seat cowl and belly pan, yellow pin-striping (Racing Yellow colour option only), Speed Triple logos in the original 1994 typeface, and a commemorative Speed Triple 94 tank-mounted plaque.
The Speed 94R is a high-spec R version of the Speed 94, and takes the concept to the ultimate level of chassis performance by adding uprated, black-anodized, fully-adjustable Öhlins NIX30 43mm forks, Öhlins TTX36 rear shock, Brembo Monobloc radial calipers, and is shod with Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres.
Just as the first Speed Triple did 21 years ago, the 2015 Speed 94 and Speed 94R are forging their own path: by combining thoroughly modern, naked streetbike performance, but matched to utterly classic styling.