After years of catering to well-heeled hipsters, adventure bikers, travelers and other people looking for premium motorcycles, Triumph is now aiming at the mid-priced middleweight market—but the suits say Triumph is still making a premium product.
That’s the official origin story of the Triumph Trident, the company’s latest three-cylinder roadster. The new Trident has nothing in common with the Tridents of the ’70s and ’90s. It’s powered by a 660cc liquid-cooled inline three-cylinder engine with obvious roots in recent Triumph designs, but many changes to make it suitable for this platform. This is the first three-cylinder engine in the middleweight category (the Honda CB650 line is four-cylinder, and Kawasaki/Suzuki/Yamaha all build 650-700cc twins). Despite the distinctive engine, Triumph says the bike still offers “incredible value and a cost of ownership among the lowest in the premium motorcycle market.”
Starting with the engine: It’s obviously similar to the 675 engine, but Triumph says it has 67 new components, including cases, top end parts and other bits. Cost-cutting is obviously part of the intention for the makeover, but Triumph also wanted to make this engine more street-usable than some previous triples. The company bigwigs say the 660 has more low- and mid-range torque than the Street Triple S, for instance. The Trident’s engine is rated for 80 horsepower at 10,250rpm, and 47 lb-ft of torque at 6,250rpm. Also, 90 percent of that torque is supposedly available through most of the rev range. Of course, the gearbox is a six-speed.
The middleweight category has a reputation for slightly janky hardware, but Triumph included a slip/assist clutch on the 660, and a nice stainless steel silence (no doubt Arrow will be offer a tidy replacement soon enough, too). You can pay for an optional up/down quickshifter. With a ride-by-wire throttle, the engine can be put into Road or Rain riding modes; obviously, Rain mode limits output, but it also changes the traction control interference level.
Yes, that’s right: In a world where some of the most recent supersport 600s don’t even have traction control, Triumph’s fitted it to the Trident (it’s not powered by an IMU, though). You can switch it off through the riding modes interface. ABS is standard as well, and cannot be switched off (you can thank the EU regs for that).
The brakes themselves use two-pot Nissin calipers up front, mated to 310mm discs. In back, there’s a single-piston sliding caliper with 255mm disc.
The suspension uses “High specification, premium branded equipment,” but there’s still some obvious cost-cutting. Triumph sourced the upside-down forks (120 millimeters travel) from Showa, which is good, but they’re non-adjustable. The rear shock (also from Showa, with 133.5 millimeters travel) is only preload-adjustable. Of course, machines in this 650 segment are rarely known for their trick suspension—just the opposite, usually. At least Triumph’s gone to the experts for its components.
The frame itself is tubular steel, which is cost-effective and tough enough. The 17-inch wheels are aluminum. Seat height is a reasonable 31.7 inches (805 millimeters). Often, bikes in the 650 range skimp on the passenger accommodations, but Triumph says “The seat has also been designed with both rider and pillion needs in mind, with a deep foam construction providing comfort for both, without compromising on the bike’s style.” Maybe this will be a bit better, then? The pillion grab handle is an accessory, though, costing you extra.
The Trident comes with proper Michelin Road 5 tires, and riders can fit TPMS sensors at extra cost.
While LCD gauges have long been the standard for the affordable 650 class, TFT gauges are starting to creep into the 400cc segment. Triumph got the message, and it’s put a colour TFT instrument panel on the Trident. Riders can opt for the “My Triumph” connectivity system at extra cost, linking their smartphone to their motorcycle via the wonders of wireless tech.
Triumph also included all-round LED lighting, as every manufacturer should these days. The fuel tank has 3.7 US gallon capacity, or 14 litres. Triumph claims the Trident weighs 417 pounds (189 kilograms) wet.
Before taxes and other fees, the new Triumph Trident’s pricing starts at $7,995 in the US, and $8,995 in Canada. In the UK, it’s £7,195 out the door.
That might be a bit more than some of the competition in the 650 category, but the difference is very little, especially for buyers who are spreading their cost out over multiple years. It’s actually lower than some of the Japanese competition in this price range. Triumph’s management also spent considerable time praising up the Trident’s handling and distinctive Brit bike looks, with premium fit and finish. You’d expect the execs to say that, but they have a point. The middleweight category is known for cost-cutting, and if Triumph can make a better 650 (or in this case, a 660), then it’s going to grab a lot of attention if the price is right.
Furthermore, Triumph claims the Trident has lower cost of ownership when compared to the competition, thanks to lower service costs. The Trident has 10,000-mile (16,000-kilometre) intervals between major engine servicing, supposedly the best in the category. It comes with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty, with option to buy another one or two years’ worth of warranty. Triumph also claims that’s better than much of the competition.
So, it will be interesting to chart the Trident’s progress. If the current bike-buying boom continues into 2021, Triumph could have a massive winner here, as the company says deliveries to North America could start as early as next January.