A three-cylinder motorcycle is a special and generally uncommon thing. It offers the benefits of both a twin and an inline-four but has a sound and character all its own. This is especially true of the legendary Triumph triples.
We at Roadshow are fans of the format too -- my first bike was a Tiger 800, and Tim Stevens has had a long-term love affair with his Speed Triple. The problem, though, historically, has been that if you wanted to live the triple life, you had to lay out a fair chunk of change to do so, but that seems to be changing. Enter the Triumph Trident.
The 2021 Triumph Trident takes the name of the brand's first three-cylinder model and repurposes it for what will be not only its most affordable bike but also its most beginner-friendly triple ever.
The Trident is interesting because it gets its own bespoke 660-cc engine that shares architecture with the brand's other offerings, but features 67 unique parts not shared with any other model. This power plant offers up a respectable but not intimidating 80 horsepower and 47 pound-feet of torque. The bike's ultraflat torque curve should go a long way towards making the Trident easy and fun to ride.
The Trident gets a six-speed gearbox with a slip-assist clutch. It has a nonadjustable Showa front suspension and a rear shock that's adjustable for preload, which, while basic, should do the job just fine. There are dual brake calipers up front from Nissin, and while they aren't overly flashy, they should work perfectly well on a bike that only weighs 415 pounds wet.
Being a modern Triumph, there are plenty of rider aids to make the bike even more new-rider-friendly. There's ABS and traction control, though the motorcycle lacks an inertial measurement unit, or IMU, so it's not technically "lean-sensitive." That shouldn't be too big a deal since Triumph calibrates its systems to work at full lean and then works back from there.
The Trident gets a single digital gauge pod with a black and white tach, speed and gear indicator on the top half and a small, full-color TFT screen in the bottom that can be used to change settings, display music and phone information, or even show turn-by-turn directions. It's a neat piece of packaging, and it's nice to see on a bike at the bottom of the range.
So, all that sounds good, right? The elephant in the room remains the price, but Triumph seems to have nailed this too. The 2021 Trident is set to go on sale in January for $7,995. For some perspective, that's cheaper than Yamaha MT-07 and Kawasaki Z650., and only a few hundred dollars more than both the
With pricing like this, it's hard to see the Trident as anything but a serious statement of intent and a shot across the bow of the Japanese brands that have historically controlled the bottom end of the market. Now, unsurprisingly, at this price, the Trident won't be built in the UK. Instead, it will be produced at Triumph's wholly owned factory in Thailand, but that's no bad thing. The overall quality of the machines built there is high, as with all modern Triumphs.
The Trident is set to hit dealers in the US towards the end of January 2021, and we're already looking forward to getting some quality seat time on what could be one of the most exciting beginner-friendly motorcycles to come out in a while.