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HomeNews & FearuresBike ReviewsPart 1: Searching For The Perfect Fit - Triumph Trident 660

Part 1: Searching For The Perfect Fit – Triumph Trident 660

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Everyone’s introduction into the motorcycle world is slightly different, mine was inspired by my dad riding motorcycles. So before I knew it 16 years of age rolled in and naturally getting my license was on the charts. In South Africa, at 16 you’re limited to 125cc only. At the time I was stupidly in love with supersport-styled bikes and a huge Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade fan, so the obvious choice was the baby version; the CBR 125R in the Ross White livery.

Image source: Honda

I gained a lot of experience on my Honda, including my first big crash which included unsympathetically scrubbing tar out of my hands and knees; yes, I learned the hard way that all the gear all the time is important… When I turned 18, I upgraded to the Kawasaki Ninja 300 which at the time was one of the best motorcycles in its class, and let’s just add that it was the 30th Anniversary Edition. That livery is probably my favourite design to date! I owned that bike until 2020 when I was forced to sell it due to financial reasons.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Bikers

Fast forward to 2024, and I want a bike again! For years I have pushed aside the desire to own one, but after doing so much riding in the past year it has become very difficult to keep the urge at bay—being a pillion just doesn’t cut it anymore. My main reason for wanting a bike is to enjoy weekend rides and short trips to escape from office life, the occasional commuting is inevitable, but the main purpose is to experience the freedom that comes along with the open road.

So, my journey in hunting for the perfect bike begins. For those of you who are not aware, I am only 5” (154cm) and only individuals my height will understand the struggle that is seat height. This disadvantage poses a great challenge when looking for my next bike, for example, I will never dream of riding the KTM 690 SMC R with its ridiculous seat height of 892mm, unless there’s a curb at every stop or I invest in some 1970s ABBA platform boots.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Sadly, this is something that will limit me, but I will not give up! Most people will do their research based on the amount of torque, power and tech, but not me. I’m looking for a bike with a low seat height, that is lightweight and agile. Many shorter riders as well as women have had to settle for bike brands like Harley-Davidson or cruiser-styled motorcycles with their low seat height and ground clearance. So this is why I am grateful that the middleweight category throughout most brands is considering shorter riders by making the necessary changes—no longer are we limited to cruisers.

This brings us to the Triumph Trident 660. This bike, to me at least, reflects typical Triumph build quality at an affordable price—it simply screams premium. One thing with naked bikes as we all know is that everything is exposed; there is no hiding of cables or poor design behind fairings. Triumph has always had a knack for designing minimalistic and smooth, rounded-off finishes, putting their brand in a different league.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I recently did a piece on a rider jacket from MotoGirl and I needed a bike to take some photos with. Since the Trident was on my list of bikes to test ride, we contacted Triumph JHB and they agreed that I could have the Trident for the weekend. Three full days with probably the best bike I’ve ridden this year. So far…

While researching bikes that would suit my needs as a rider the Trident ticked quite a few boxes. It’s affordable, the engine size seems like the perfect sweet spot and let’s face it—it’s good-looking. Yes boys, we ladies do care a lot about whether the bike is “pretty”.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Jokes aside, it goes without saying that the Trident falls into my category of “good-looking.” These days I find myself being more so drawn to the modern classic look, and this bike certainly has those features with the round headlight and simple TFT/LCD combo display. My personal favourite colour options are the Matte Jet Black and the Silver Ice Diablo Red. I originally fell in love with the Crystal White, but it was unfortunately discontinued.

Image source: Triumph

With looks aside, I wasn’t sure what engine size to consider when upgrading from a 300cc, but I had a better understanding of what would suit my riding skills after riding a variety of bikes at the Suzuki Safety Day at RedStar Raceway—the middleweight category being the perfect fit.

The heart of the Trident is Triumph’s trialled and tested 660cc inline triple, derived from their last generation 675 Street triple. In the body of the Trident, this legendary motor has been retuned for low-down torque with 64Nm as low down as 6,200 RPM and a nice punchy hit of 81hp at 10,000 RPM. A typical inline triple characteristic that I’ve grown to love is the smooth spread of power. Owners will also appreciate the low maintenance of this triple, with service intervals every 16,000km or once a year.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Working alongside the linear spread of power is the pre-programmed riding modes (Road and Rain) with built-in traction control making it a perfect option for beginner riders as there’s less thinking to do and more riding (especially when transitioning from a smaller cc bike like I’m doing).

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The Trident is equipped with the ideal combination of brakes, suspension and tyres. The Showa upside-down forks and rear shock work efficiently for what they are designed for, even with my weight (54kg) it didn’t feel too harsh on our bumpier roads. The suspension was well-damped making it stable around corners and the ABS-equipped brakes were adequate for the speeds that I was doing, and again ABS as standard is great for novice riders. I am told that the Michelin Road 5 tyres are incredibly good and the perfect rubber to give this bike both the stability and the mileage it needs in any weather condition.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Riding through JHB traffic I struggled a bit with the clutch as it felt super stiff and with my XS size hands the reach was quite far, thankfully, this was a quick fix. A little adjustment at our lunch stop and it was perfect for the remainder of the weekend. Rider ergonomics are such an important factor when choosing a bike, as the same bike will be different for everyone. What I would’ve liked to see on the Trident is an adjustable clutch lever as it’s already equipped with an adjustable brake lever.

I definitely felt comfortable on the Trident, especially the reach to the handlebars. I read a few reviews where people complained that the Trident is too compact, but then again one man’s problem is another man’s solution—or woman in this case. I think many will agree that I don’t look out of proportion, but it is rather fitting. Most of the bigger bikes do weigh a hefty amount which isn’t always comfortable for a woman with my stature, it simply creates room for dropping the bike which is never a confidence boost. The bike is perfectly balanced with a weight of 189kg making it incredibly easy for me to manoeuvre, even with a full tank.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

As mentioned earlier, seat height is a crucial factor for me. The Trident is set to 805mm with the option to adjust the pre-load on the rear shock. After a while, I quickly adjusted to the Trident’s seat height and by the end of the first day, I could confidently set my foot down. I would however customise the kickstand in a way that I can reach it more easily as it does pose a challenge.

After a few kilometres on the twisty roads in the cradle, I was really starting to gel with the Trident, with every corner my confidence grew and by the end of the day, the triple’s distinctive sound was ringing in my ears. Triumph did an amazing job at designing a confidence-inspiring bike which provides the fun factor that one would expect from a naked bike. The only thing that would elevate this bike is adding the shift assist, and perhaps considering an aftermarket exhaust.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Even though we spent the majority of the weekend riding, I can honestly say that I never once felt the need to adjust my seating position. Every inch of the Trident’s seat provides the ultimate comfort, not to mention its flattering one-piece design. I was also pleasantly surprised by the lack of vibration on this bike and although naked bikes aren’t designed for long open roads, I feel like I could do shorter trips to Dullstroom or Sabie—it’s that comfortable.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I was incredibly reluctant to return the Trident the Monday, but I can say with certainty that it is high on the list of bikes that I am considering. When I started this journey of looking for a bike I thought it would be quite daunting, but after riding the Trident I think this is going to be an exciting challenge to see how the next few weigh up to this beasty. Let the hunt begin!

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Triumph Trident 660

For more information on the bike featured in this article, click on the link below…

2023

Triumph Trident 660

Pricing From R175,000 (RRP)


Brand: Triumph
Meredith Potgieter
Meredith Potgieter
ZA Bikers Administrator & Lifestyle Writer
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