When the 2002 Speed Triple cycle from Triumph first came out, the boast was about its new chassis design and bodywork, as well as a new generation of its Daytona engine. At the time, the 118-horsepower motorcycle was considered punchy. The curve from the revised bodywork was an aggressive upgrade from previous designs and there was an improved handling ability that made the bike more agile and responsive. The motor that was used at the time was a 995cc, which could rev anywhere from 10,500 RPM to 11,0000 RPM, but maintain its cool so it could comfortably produce more power. The lightweight die-cast crankcases were built to withstand high pressure and the DOHC 12-valve liquid-cooled engine. The exhaust valves were smaller than its predecessor and had inlet and exhaust ports that were redesigned for better fuel flow. The compression ratio for the bike was raised from its previous 11.2:1 to 12:1 and was revised to minimize power loss. There was also a larger, reshaped airbox that fed the new closed-loop fuel injection system. The optimized engine performance, despite being more compact, showed a seemingly effortless mid-range torque performance.
The Daytona 955i engine, which was also part of the 2002 Triumph Speed Triple lineup, had the alternator on the left end of the crankshaft and the starter motor drive on the right. Thanks to the introduction of the rare earth magnet, this new layout helped reduce the noise of the bike, especially when sitting idle as it eliminated the need for the gear train to drive the alternator. The claw-style gear change mechanism was a revised setup that allowed a considerably improved performance when it came to shifting actions. New headers and a new silencer featured on the exhaust system also factored in the bike's quieter, yet still powerful, performance level. At the time, in order to cater to the Californian and German regulations regarding allowable emission levels, Triumph installed a secondary air injection system to this particular lineup.
There were a number of upgrades in the cooling and lubrication systems that improved the efficiency of the coolant, radiator, and engine. The weight of this engine was 2.5 kilograms, which was considerably lighter than the bike's predecessor. The chassis was also lighter and more agile, which enabled quicker steering for the rider. Measuring at 1,429 millimeters, this saw a reduction of the Speed Triple's wheelbase by eleven millimeters. The geometry behind the steering was adjusted for increased agility. As for the tail end of the bike, it was raised to increase ground clearance, as well as add a more aggressive appearance to the 2002 model. The front-inch wheel was now a lightweight seventeen inches, which saved 450 grams of unsprung weight, thus improving the bike's steering response. While its predecessor had six mounting bolts secured to the front disc brakes, the 2002 model now saw five. However, the floating discs, four-piston calipers, and the rear brake all remained unchanged. The colors that were available at the time for the 2002 Speed Triple bikes were Aston green, jet black, neon blue, and nuclear red. The bodywork was restyled to come across as an aggressively leaner machine but still boasts enough power for riders to appreciate. The slimline digital console mounted on the aluminum subframe significantly cleaned up the front-end look, enabling this series to show itself off as a bike that does more than just keep up with the times. The Speed Triple bikes were designed to appear more individualistic and aggressive than previous models.
According to Reviews
Bikez gave the 2002 Triumph Speed Triple cycle somewhat favorable reviews, all based on a total of seventeen ratings that were provided, and did point out a few issues the rating site had with it. The only real issue that seemed problematic, and not just for the 2002 series, was the spongy brakes. The key problem was the caliper pistons were not adequately coated, so this made them vulnerable to dirt, debris, and corrosion. However, even with this issue, the 955i models were highly praised as one of the best stopping bikes in the market. Motorcycle News gave the 2002 models a near-perfect rating in reliability. Even as time passed, once the issue revolving around the brakes was discovered and rectified, the lineup still continued to hold a reputation for being a highly performant motorcycle.
More About Triumph Speed Triple Motorcycles
Starting in 1994, Triumph began the Speed Triple series as one of the first motorcycles to produce a bridge between race replica motorcycles and sportbikes, which are known as streetfighters. This style of bike did away with the aerodynamic plastic fairings as an answer to put an end to riders crashing their race replicas while on the road. This move by Triumph added a new wave of motorcycle fans who wanted a bike that could handle the road without being too light or too heavy. The original lineup saw the engines at 885 ccs, which were in the 1994 and 1995 models. Over time, as the technology made itself available, Triumph continued to upgrade these streetfighter-classed motorcycles. From 1999 until 2004, the Speed Triple series was deemed as the best years of the series. Triumph has come a long way since its 1885 origin out of Meridan, England. Originally as Triumph Engineering before the 1983 bankruptcy, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. started anew, thanks to its founder, John Bloor. The actual lineage of the first official Triumph motorcycle can actually be traced as far back as 1902. While it has been a bumpy ride for Triumph, the survival of the company owes its thanks to Bloor, who continually invested into it from 1983 until 2000, the first year it finally broke even as Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. From 1999 until 2004, thanks to the Speed Triple lineup, the success of the company was enough to grow to become what it is now. The 2002 lineup, in particular, served as an instrumental year to catapult the popularity of not just the class of streetfighter bikes, but the entire motorcycle industry as a whole, especially in its home territory of the UK.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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