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Secondhand 2005-2010 TRIUMPH Speed Triple 1050 | BIKE TESTS

While there’s much debate about the Speed Triple’s looks, there’s absolutely no argument about its fun factor

Although the Triumph Speed Triple commenced life in 1994 as a conventional café racer, by 1997 the model had undergone a significant identity change – to factory streetfighter. Powered by a gutsy, exposed 885cc three-cylinder powerplant, with an aggressive stance, and quirky bug-eye headlights, it resembled home-built British ‘courier-specials’.

Here we’ll review the 2005-10 Speed Triple models that retained the styling attitude of the 1997 model while boasting seriously boosted performance thanks to the 94.9kW, fuel-injected,1050cc engine.

Its uniformly black alloy engine, frame and swingarm present as a monolithic chunk of heavy-duty machinery. Splashes of bright colour on the tank, front guard and seat cowl, along with the gleam from the mufflers set high under the stumpy subframe, are a standout contrast with the bike’s moody darkness.

The high-set mufflers give an unimpeded view of the stylish Honda VFR/Ducati 916-style rear wheel and single-sided swingarm

Aboard the bike you notice a number of things: the 815mm-high rider’s seat is comfortable; the fat motocross-style alloy ’bars look and feel just right; the ergonomic set-up is fine for most rider sizes; there’s not much bike in front of you; and … you’re developing a burning desire to fire it up. That’s the kind of bike it is. It sits you up in an eager ‘action man’ posture that combines with the wide ’bars to give you great authority over the motorcycle.

Even before you click into gear the raunchy idle produces a heady mix of whirring machinery sounds and induction and exhaust noise. Smooth and progressive clutch action and progressive fuelling get the 189kg (dry weight) bike rolling easily. At first the Speed Triple feels a bit top-heavy at low speeds and its restricted steering lock also shows up in slow manoeuvres, but these issues fade as you adjust.

On the road the bike’s charms are many. First up, it’s very easy to ride. It’s happy to plod along in traffic and is very responsive to all rider inputs. However, getting down to tin tacks, when you open the taps it’s such a goer – surfing its giant waves of torque is what Speed Triple fun is all about.

And, I’ve never been much of a mono or stoppie man – except on a Speed Triple.

It’s hard not to tap into its hooligan character, at least a bit. And when you start to play it feels as natural for you as it does for the bike. A fast launch turns out best if you short-shift into second to tone down the front wheel’s rate of climb, to keep the process manageable. It’s just as exhilarating in the hills when you’re firing it out of a second gear corner with the rear tyre’s lean angle setting the bike’s trajectory while the front gets some air.

All the while the stunning four-stroke triple produces the signature snarl that one Speed Triple devotee described as sounding like: “A choir of angels, all high on Avgas fumes”. On the subject of fuel, the 16.6-litre tank delivers a safe highway touring range of at least 230km. The Speed Triple isn’t a natural touring machine given the rider’s exposure to the elements and the luggage-hostile subframe design.

The six-speed gearbox is a notchy but accurate shifter. The fully adjustable 45mm inverted fork and monoshock provide a firm ride with predictable handling. While the radial-mount brakes are powerful, the Brembo-equipped bikes (2008-10) are even sharper.

A heavily revised Speed Triple was launched in 2011, easily identified by its ‘Dame Edna’ style headlights instead of the traditional round pair.

Apart from being a fine, reliable motorcycle, a 2005-10 Triumph Speed Triple is an individualistic and extrovert fun machine – one that excels at commuting and weekend scratching.


New Price

$15,990 (2005)            $16,590 (2010)


$6600 – $10,400


The Speed Triple 1050 has a reputation for being a trouble-free and bullet-proof bike given proper servicing.

More important than a particular bike’s age or kilometres is finding one with a good service record, with no signs of crash damage or evidence of neglect or abuse – look for steering-head bearing fatigue from too many monos. Also check swingarm bearings.

Always remember to factor in the cost of consumables like chain, sprockets, brake pads and brake rotors that will soon need replacing.



1994 – Triumph’s new Speed Triple drew on the factory’s heritage by christening its new naked sportsbike with a variation on the name of its game-changing model, the Speed Twin.


1997 – as well as adopting fuel-injection for its 885cc triple, the new Speed Trip’s distinctive bug-eye styling announced that Triumph had joined the streetfighter set.


1999 – A new 955cc engine lifted the performance bar, a trajectory that paid off for the factory in sales figures, thus paving the way for the later 1050cc model.


Because of the Speed Triple 1050’s high-tech engine-management system, most owners will leave major services to professionals. But routine checks, chain maintenance and oil and filter changes allow keen DIY owners the chance of some hands-on involvement. For major services, go to workshops with access to the latest Triumph engine-mapping downloads.

Minor services including oil and filter changes are required every 10,000km and majors, including valve clearances and throttle-body synchro-setting, are due every 20,000km.