TRIUMPH took the bold step this week of inching away from the classic and adventure motorcycle segments and released what many would term as a proper sports bike, the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR.
Its makers though are shying away from tagging the new Speed Triple in that way, referring to it as a modern take on the café racer. And because of that, finding a true rival for the bike is pretty tricky!
With no true factory-built café racers sitting in the 150 to 180bhp mark, we’ve widened the net a little and come up with the bike that many feel is a natural competitor to the new Speed Triple, the MV Agusta Superveloce.
Triumph SPEED TRIPLE 1200 RR 2022
Is the MV Agusta Superveloce a true rival of the Triumph Speed Triple RR?
The first test for these two bikes is the application and how the bike came about. Triumph has always claimed that a Speed Triple must be a road bike first and foremost, not a stripped-back sports bike like a Ducati Streetfighter V4, Aprilia Tuono and so on. On that front, the MV might seem a mismatch as it is based on the track focussed F3 800 sports bike, although it’s not strictly the case. In Superveloce form, the cockpit is more spacious, the footpegs more accommodating and the clip-on handlebars more comfortable – both wider and higher. Based on a sports bike it may be, but it has been tweaked to be more usable on the road, and for us, that’s good enough for this test!
The new Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR comes in one spec level and two colour options, white and grey with gold pinstripes, and red and grey which will set you back an extra £250. In its most extravagant form, the RR will set you back £18,200 OTR based on the RRP. The little MV comes in two flavours, standard and S. The stocker comes in at £18,550 in 2021 trim, while the Superveloce S will set you back a hefty £21,110! Taking nothing else into account, you’re going to have to seriously want the Italian exotica in your garage over the Triumph base don price alone.
Chassis and electronics
There are two areas where the MV really lags behind the Triumph in terms of value for money. The Öhlins EC 2.0 electronic suspension system on the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR is world-class. It allows the rider to almost infinitely adjust the front and rear suspension of the bike without climbing out of the seat – let alone getting any tools out!
The suspension set up on the Superveloce by comparison looks a little bit budget. Fully adjustable Marzocchi forks may function well enough, but on an £18k bike they don’t quite have the same clout as the slinky Swedish set-up. Likewise, at the rear end, Sachs shock absorbers work fantastically well, they just seem to find their way onto manufacturers mid-spec offerings!
One area that MV Agusta didn’t scrimp was with the braking system. For those, they turned to Italian legends Brembo, with four-piston monobloc calipers biting down on 320mm discs. Matched to the brakes is a Continental MK100 ABS system with rear lift intervention and cornering function.
Engine, power, and torque
With both bikes sharing an inline three-cylinder engine, riding either will guarantee an entertaining road ride that is full of torque and engine character. With the Superveloce giving away 400cc to the beefy Speed Triple, it’s no surprise that the power and torque of the figures are going to be a little skewed! With 147hp, the Superveloce’s power output is pretty much what the previous generation Speed Triple produced, and with the latest RS and RR models pumping out 177bhp, it looks like our pretty Italian friend has been out-gunned again.
If there is one final point that should be swaying you one way or the other, it’s in useability. The MV Agusta Superveloce is undoubtedly a beautiful bike, but it is held back by an aggressive riding position, overly hard seat, and all or nothing engine character. It also has a tiny fairing that is almost impossible to squeeze yourself behind, basically reserving this bike for high days and holidays, and not much else in between.
The Triumph on the other hand is built around a road bike, and even with its lower handlebars and higher pegs, it feels like a comfortable place to be. We’ll be testing the bike later in the year at the global press launch, stay tuned for our full and definitive verdict after the event!