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Triumph Trident – Near Perfect!

To better understand the Triumph Trident, it helps to get a bit of history about Triumph’s Street Triple and Daytona lineup. The Street Triple was introduced in 2007 as a naked roadster version of the Daytona sportbike, which was released the year prior. Both bikes came with a 675 cc triple engine, and the Street Triple had a starting price of around $8,000. Since then, the Street Triple has transformed into a premium performance-focused bike with a larger, more powerful 765cc triple engine and a price tag well into the 5-figure range. This evolution of the Street Triple leaves a void in the standard sportbike segment for Triumph. Enter the 2021 Triumph Trident 660.

Like the original Street Triple, the Trident has an $8,000 price tag and uses a reworked version of that bike’s 675 cc powerplant to create a new 660 cc triple engine.

At this price point, the Trident 660 competes directly against some long-time staples from Japanese brands. These include the iconic SV650 from Suzuki, Yamaha’s MT07, the Honda CB650R, and Kawasaki Z650. But after spending some time with the Trident 660, I believe the Trident has entered this segment as the unquestionable leader. Everything, including the design, performance, and price, are near perfect in its execution.

Design

Styling will always be an objective category, with the Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS being an exception as it is quite obviously very hideous. Sorry DS fans. Otherwise, what type of bike you find attractive most likely comes down to personal preference. For me, the Trident 660 is an exceptionally good-looking machine.

The middleweight naked sportbike segment is one of the most competitive, and the Trident 660 brings enough style and grace to stand out from the competition. The front comes with a single round 7-inch headlight. In 2021 you might be surprised to find that not all motorcycles in this class have LED headlights. The Honda CB650R has been the only exception. Yamaha added an LED headlight to the MT-07 for the 2021 model year. In contrast, Suzuki and Kawasaki are still making do with halogen lighting on the SV and Z650. Triumph doesn’t stop with just the headlight, as all of the lighting on the Trident is LED.

The packaging on this bike is exceptional. There are very few visible wires or lines. It’s safe to call Triumph a premium brand, and they are one of the best in the industry when it comes to build quality. It’s fantastic to see that they didn’t cut corners even when making an inexpensive entry-level bike.

Four different color options are available, Silver Ice and Diablo Red, Matt Jet Black and Matt Silver Ice, Crystal White, and Sapphire Black like the one we have.  The Silver and Red scheme is my favorite, with the large union jack logo on the tank. It will add $125 to the base price. The tank itself looks great, with the Trident logo visible on the side and large knee cutouts. Even after staring at this bike for over an hour, I kept finding little unique touches that don’t stand out on their own but form together to give the Trident an overall cohesive look.

Most modern bikes have bulky fenders for the license plate and turn signals. The Trident gets a tire hugger design that makes the rear of the motorcycle sleeker. There is a bit of bulk when viewing the bike from the left side, but for a factory piece, it works well and gives the bike a sporty appearance that traditional bumpers interrupt.

Of course, being a naked bike, the engine and frame are completely visible.  Even though the materials and equipment used on the Trident aren’t on the same level as the Street or Speed triple, the fit and finish are still very high.

Components and Powertrain

The list of components includes Showa suspension and Nissin brakes.  There isn’t any adjustability up front, but the damping is spot on from the factory. When riding Trident, you can tell that Triumph spent plenty of time researching and developing every aspect of this chassis. Rare at this price point, the 41 mm forks are inverted, increasing front-end stiffness and providing better response, feedback, and feel. Competition from Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki only offer telescopic forks.

The brakes are from Nissin with 2-piston sliding calipers in the front with 310 mm discs. The rear has a single-piston and a reasonably large 255 mm disc, making this the largest braking setup in the class. It goes deeper than that because the Trident comes equipped with steel brake lines, which can help with better braking feel and performance over time.

With a seat height of 31.7 inches, it’s easy to get on and off the Trident and hold the bike up while stopped. The rake and trail help provide a very comfortable riding position for both short and tall riders and excellent cornering stability. Overall, the ergonomics are proper for those looking for a modern roadster.

But it’s the 660cc triple powerplant that really makes the Trident special. The engine produces 80 horsepower at its 10,250 rpm redline and 47 lb.-feet of torque at 6,250 rpm. However, about 90 percent of that is available throughout most of the rpm range. The bike always feels eager to go but completely wakes up around 4,000 rpm. Triple engines are well-rounded because they provide the solid mid-range torque you get from a twin with the good top-end power of an inline-4.

This powerplant evolves from Triumph’s very familiar 675 cc triple engine found in the previous generation Street Triple 675 and Daytona 675. It maintains the same 74 mm bore but has a smaller 51.1 mm stroke vs. the 52.3 mm stroke on the 675. All told, there are 67 new components throughout the engine. The exhaust design is sleek without the bulky muffler found on many bikes these days. No question, adding an aftermarket can will still be a must to enjoy all the sound the triple engine has to offer.

On the Road

Wet weight for the Trident 660 is 417 pounds, which is reasonably light. Combined with the extremely direct steering, the low weight makes this bike an absolute joy to ride through tight turns. Everything about it is easy but not at the expense of plenty of character provided by the triple engine.

I found the throttle response to be very linear. It’s perhaps a tad slow when you first open the throttle, but that’s likely what you want from a bike in this category for smoother power delivery. It was barely noticeable, and once you get going, the response is very direct.

Power flows through a 6-speed transmission. There is no quick-shifter out of the box, but Triumph provides one as an accessory. Considering this bike will likely be the first bike for many riders, it’s good to be able to get the skills of traditional shifting, which will make you a better rider overall. I found the clutch actuation of the standard setup to be light and predictable in its engagement. However, having a factory option for an up and down quick shifter is another plus for the Trident, as they are nonexistent in this motorcycle class. The Trident 660 is fitted with a slipper clutch that will ensure the rear wheel doesn’t lock up if you happen to shift to too low of a gear. Another good feature for newer riders.

The Trident comes equipped with Michelin Road 5 tires. These tires are some of the best and excellent in almost all conditions. Whether you’re on the highway or going down a twisty road, these Michelins provide tons of confidence.

Keeping everything under control is ABS and traction control, with two ride modes, thanks to a ride-by-wire system, which is another premium feature at this price point. There’s a button to change between rain and road drive modes on the fly. The controls on the handlebars allow you to adjust options through the round display. While the display is clear and provides all the information you would need, this is one area where I think the Trident is a bit lacking. A full TFT display would’ve been better versus the split design.

With Triumph’s connectivity module, you can add turn-by-turn navigation, phone, music, and GoPro controls, which can all function using the handlebar controls and display. While these options will quickly increase the price, they are things many riders will invest in anyway. Having factory parts designed specifically for the Trident 660 adds a level of quality to their fit and finish.

Owning the Triumph Trident 660 should also be cost-effective with a 10,000-mile or 12 months service interval. If anything goes wrong, there’s a 2-year unlimited mile warranty.

Conclusion

All told, after spending some time with the Trident 660, I believe it is now the best bike in the standard middleweight segment. It falls into a perfect middle ground of pluses and minuses. The CB650R offers almost everything the Trident does. But with a base price of $9,200, it’s over $1,000 more expensive than the Trident. The Yamaha MT07 and Suzuki SV650 are the staples in this class and come in roughly $400 cheaper than the Trident. But in almost every way, the Trident 660 feels more refined and balanced than both of those bikes. The fit and finish is also a class above the Yamaha and Suzuki, making the $400 price difference feel like a bargain.

Unfortunately for the Kawasaki Z650, it remains, in my opinion, a bit of an afterthought in this segment. Not that it isn’t as good as the SV or MT07, but for me, it doesn’t elicit as much emotion as those bikes and add to that also being down on overall build quality, equipment, and ride quality when compared to the Triumph, and well, it ends up last on my list.

With the introduction of the Triumph Trident 660, Triumph has hit a bullseye for this segment. The price is right, and it seems the folks in Hinckley have done everything possible to make the Trident 660 the leader in this segment with near-perfect execution. The styling may not be for everyone, but that’s nearly the only thing I can find at fault with the 660 compared to its competitors.

To be fair, it would be best to have all of these bikes together and do a proper side-by-side comparison. The Honda CB650R is the only one I haven’t spent time riding, but I can’t imagine its dynamics would fill a $1,200 price gap. So, for now, I feel comfortable saying, if you’re looking for a new naked middleweight motorcycle, the Triumph Trident 660 should definitely be at the top of your list of bikes to checkout.

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