My New (to me) Street Triple

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Categories: Travel, Real Racers

My interest in the Street Triple actually started months before I even owned a motorcycle. In 2011, I attended the International Motorcycle Show for the first time ever, with the hope that I might find some motorcycles that stood out to me. It was there that I first saw this beautiful machine.

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I realize this isn't a great photo, but I'm glad I have this moment captured. Little did I realize that a year and a half later, this would become my number one financial goal.

The Day I Got the Bug

After two years of riding my Ninja 250, my moto mentor, Big Bob, suggested I give the Street Triple a try. By that point, I owned two motorcycles and had bought both after his suggestion, so his opinion carried a decent amount of weight. It helped that the bike came in a color I liked, but I’ve never been one to buy a bike only for its looks – it has to be right for me.

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On a random day where I was puttering around with my motorcycle, I stopped by a dealership to check out their gear. That’s when I noticed it: a used Street Triple R. It wasn’t the color that I liked, but the salesman was quick to notice my interest and immediately asked if I wanted to test ride it. In minutes, I’d signed the necessary paperwork and was gearing up..

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We rode a loop that encompassed the highway and some quiet residential streets. I will never forget the rush—it felt like the bike was just gliding across the pavement. It whisked into each turn and the power band promoted pure giggling.

The salesman asked me what I thought when we returned to the dealership, to which I managed to mutter, "Hummanna, I, wat, faljfnweaxa" and some other nonsensical words. As he laughed, I was finally able to spit out some sentences about the glass smooth engine and the phenomenal handling. In that moment, I'd made up my mind: I was getting that bike. And this was the only bike I ever wanted in a particular color, and I was hellbent on making that happen.

Why Don't You Get the R?

Every time I gushed to my friends or other motorcyclists about my desire to upgrade to the beautiful Imperial Purple Street Triple, I immediately got the response, “But why not the R? It’s way better.” To add a little clarity, the Street Triple R didn't come in phenomenal purple color that I was so hooked on. The argument followed that it would be cheaper to just buy a Street Triple R and paint it the color I wanted, but I was skeptical. I decided to do the math.

Triumph Street Triple R

I asked a buddy, who regularly does custom paint jobs, to estimate the work to paint the R version, and he estimated $1,100 - $1,500. Now take into account that an R costs typically $300 - $500 more. So if I bought the R version, I would be spending $1,500 + $500 = $2,000 more to get the bike in the color I wanted with better suspension and brakes. I decided to compare what it would cost to make upgrades to the Street Triple.

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I went straight to the experts for advice on suspension—aka I talked with the RaceTech guys. I explained the dilemma I had. After they asked me about my height and weight, they settled the entire argument: Neither bike was properly set up for me. No matter what I got, I would have to upgrade the suspension to get it right for my weight.

So I finally decided I would look for the bike in the prettier color scheme, with the realization that I would eventually need to upgrade the suspension. For the next year, I watched all the motorcycle sales websites to research what I would eventually need to spend.

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