REVIEW | Triumph revives legendary name with new entry-level Trident 660

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2021 Triumph Trident 660
2021 Triumph Trident 660
Dries van der Walt

• Triumph recently introduced their newest bike, the Trident 660.

• The Trident 660's engine is reworked version of the Daytona 675's.

• The bike is priced at R150 000.

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Triumph has recently introduced the media to their latest entry-level bike, which, in typical Triumph tradition, revives another nameplate from bygone days - Trident, a name that harkens back to 1968. The 2021 Trident 660 is a light, nimble mid-size triple, and shortly after the media day, we got one for a full review.

The only part of the Trident genes that were transferred from the original to the modern version - by way of the 750 and 900 cm³ Tridents of the 1990s - is the inline three-cylinder engine. While the 1990s bikes sported a contemporary look, the current 660 features an interesting blend of retro (teardrop tank and round headlight) and modern (abbreviated tail and mid-outlet exhaust pipe).

Unashamedly naked

The Trident is unashamedly naked, with only a tiny fly-screen that fills the space between the top of the headlight and the single round dial that contains a full-colour TFT instrument panel. Because real estate on the panel is limited, different bits of information need to be selected via arrow buttons on the left-hand handlebar. This allows the rider to access a fairly extensive menu from which to select what is displayed on the lower half of the panel, while the static upper half displays a bar tachograph, digital speed readout and gear position. Adjustable brightness ensures that the panel remains readable even in bright daylight.

The bike is fairly basic out of the crate: there are only two riding modes - Rain and Road - and no electronic safety net barring the obligatory ABS and traction control, and non-adjustable Showa shocks. However, we found this simplicity refreshing rather than limiting, because we didn't have to go through an aircraft-like checklist before pulling off. However, it does offers one feature that, in our opinion, is more of a safety point than a mere convenience: self-cancelling indicators. It is too easy to forget to cancel your indicators, a problem that has led to many a nasty accident.

Despite the shocks being non-adjustable, the Trident's handling is a pleasant surprise. It takes on the twisties with pinpoint accuracy and retains its poise over mid-corner bumps. Shifting your centre of gravity forward during hard cornering results in a pleasant, confidence-inspiring experience. Despite being intended as an urban bike, the Trident revels in being ridden hard, something the pliant triple mill with its broad torque range actively encourages. While we didn't have the opportunity to confirm our theory during the review period, we are convinced that, on a breakfast run through some mountain pass or the other, the Trident won't be upstaged by more overtly sporty nakeds.

Triumph Trident 660
2021 Triumph Trident 660

Extensively reworked

With an engine capacity similar to that of the Street Triple S, it is easy to assume that the Trident's mill is a retuned version of the latter, but it is, in fact, an extensively reworked version of the Daytona 675's mill with no less than 67 all-new parts. A big (and in this application, positive) difference is that peak-power revs have been reduced to 10 250rpm from the Daytona's 12 500rpm, albeit with a 35kW power reduction in Trident guise.

On the upside, it produces its 64Nm peak torque (only 10Nm less than the Daytona) at 6 250rpm in comparison with the latter's 11 900rpm. To place this into perspective, the Speed Triple RS produces 94kW at 11 750rpm and 80Nm at 9 500rpm. The bulk of the Trident's torque is available from just over 3 000rpm, making it a much more user-friendly bike and arguably a better all-rounder. It's a howl to ride, both in commuting traffic and on the open road. Its eager nature and excellent handling masks the fact that it is less powerful than the Street Triple, and the low-down torque is as rewarding in the twisties as it is in traffic.

Triumph offers several accessories, including engine and frame guards, scrolling LED indicators, a belly pan and an auto-blipping quick shifter. However, they don't offer a taller replacement for the fly screen - a huge pity, because it would have extended the bike's utility to no end. That said, at highway speeds on windless days, the wind is no problem, but if you go faster or ride on a really breezy day, be prepared to make very close acquaintance with the top of the fuel tank. Failing that, you'll have to turn to the aftermarket industry if you want decent protection from the elements.

With a launch price of R150 000 for the basic Trident 660, it is a lot of bike for the money. It's punchy, nimble, competent and huge fun - although marketed as an urban bike, it is a great deal more than that. The combination of the affordable price and Triumph's reputation for premium quality makes the Trident worth a close look if you're looking for a starter bike that you won't outgrow anytime soon.

Triumph Trident 660
2021 Triumph Trident 660
Specifications: Triumph Trident 660
ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder
Displacement: 660cm³
Maximum power: 60kW @ 10 250rpm
Maximum torque: 64Nm @ 6 250rpm
Fuel supply system: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded 95 Octonane RON

TRANSMISSION
Type: six-speed sequential
Final drive: X-ring chain
 
DIMENSIONS
Overall length x width x height (mm): 1 041 X 1 089 X 795
Wet weight: 189kg

CAPACITIES
Passengers: 1+1
Fuel tank: 14 litres

BRAKES
Front: Nissin two-piston sliding calipers, twin 310mm discs, ABS
Rear: Nissin single-piston sliding caliper, single 255mm disc, ABS

SUSPENSION
Front: Showa 41mm upside down separate function forks (SFF)
Rear: Showa monoshock RSU, with preload adjustment

WHEELS and TYRES
Wheel, front: Cast aluminium, 17 x 3.5"
Wheel, rear: Cast aluminium, 17 x 5.5"
Tyre, front: 120/70 R17
Tyre, rear: 180/55 R17

Price: R150 000
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