Is there a harder-working R&D department in the motorcycle industry than the designers and engineers beavering away at Triumph.
The British firm has embarked on a broad update of its growing motorcycle range, one that has seen nearly every model – topped by the Speed Triple 1200 RS and Tiger 900 – given nothing less than a thorough update, while the fresh-from-the-ground-up Trident 660 and Rocket 3 have also made their bows.
Nevertheless, there remains one clear gap in the Triumph range – a sportsbike.
Triumph has been sportsbike-less ever since the Daytona went out with a bang with the launch of the very limited edition, very quickly sold out Moto2-inspired 765cc engined swansong special.
However, this looks likely to change in the coming weeks after Triumph surprised everyone this week by ‘doing a Beyonce’ and dropping dropping an album (well, teaser on YouTube) prototype with a leading, yet still intriguing Speed Triple 1200 RR moniker.
It was an announcement few expected to land this side of New Year, nor any time soon because crunching the numbers probably wouldn’t come out in favour of the fun option we’d prefer.
But who cares about numbers, when you can do someone show-stopping anyway? (This is why we shouldn’t be allowed to run a motorcycle company…)
Strictly speaking, there is no formal guarantee there is a sportsbike lurking under those shadowy shots and, cynically, there would be no surprise (but maybe a murmur or disappointment) if it turned out to be a ‘pseudo sportsbike’ with a half-fairing.
Indeed, this is what many are expecting with a more aerodynamic reprofiled body to serve the purpose of making it more slippery and, in theory, look sportier than the latest generation Speed Triple 1200 RS, which while handsome, is perhaps a little too well dressed for a track day.
It’s worth noting though that one of the few points of interest available in the (meagre) source material is the crouching profile of the rider, which would lead us to swing back along the fully-faired, fully-fledged sportsbike pendulum.
If it is then it would certainly be an unexpected step into a category Triumph has never attempted (or intimated interest in), with such a formidable 1200cc engine. Already bigger than its rivals, while we wouldn’t like to suggest Triumph is striking for the Honda Fireblade and Kawasaki ZX at this stage, at the very least the RR could well be a dip of a toe into warm performance-infused waters.
After all, Triumph never officially axed the Daytona, but instead put it on indefinite hiatus. But even then we only expected to see a potential successor reappear in two or three years time, and it would stick around the 600-800cc mark.
We conclude simply to say, we like the idea of Triumph-developed triple-cylinder sportsbike. We like this idea a lot. We’re not convinced this is what we’re getting, but Triumph has been ramping up in all areas recently, not least in motorsport again…
So, who wants to put some money on Triumph developing a big, beefy triple-cylinder motorcycle to start on the WorldSBK Championship grid in two to three years?