Is there a 'perfect motorcycle'? That's the question that played over in my mind as I gunned the new Triumph Trident 660 along the sweeping curves up the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas. It's a seemingly obvious question, but without any clear, or even right answer. The plain truth is that, there is no 'perfect' motorcycle. Period. Yes, there are bikes that will come close to being perfect on a good day. But they will never tick all the right boxes, except, on some very rare occasions. But then it also depends on the kind of riding one wants to do.
Some prefer knee-dragging action on a racetrack, and to set new lap times on their favourite racetrack. Others will seek SUV-like presence, and the capability to keep going at it, even when the road ends. And some others will prefer gleaming chrome, and boast of big displacement engines. Eventually, the definition of the 'perfect bike' really depends on the rider behind the handlebars, and the kind of riding one intends to do. But more often than not, the 'perfect motorcycle' is one that brings joy, and tempts you to take it out for 'just another spin.'
Just 20-odd kilometres into the ride, the Trident 660 I'm astride makes a strong impression. It's compact, light, nimble, and has a full-blown entertaining personality. If those are qualities you seek in a motorcycle, then could the new Trident 660 have the potential to score high in the search for the perfect motorcycle?
The Triumph Trident 660 has a blend of Triumph's heritage design, like the Bonneville family, but with modern touches. It's still a member of Triumph's roadster range, sitting below the Triumph Street Triple, and it's compact, sharp, and sporty. The shape is typical Triumph roadster, with a muscular fuel tank, and sharp and minimalistic tail section. The round headlight gives a hint of retro appeal, but it's LED, as is the taillight, and turn indicators, which are self-cancelling, by the way.
Also Read: Triumph Trident 660 Launched At ₹ 6.95 Lakh
Overall, the Trident 660 has a sporty stance, and the 17-inch alloy wheels are shod with sticky Michelin Road 5 tyres. The chassis is a steel perimeter frame, so nothing common with the Street Triple there, and even the suspension is basic, with a 41 mm Showa non-adjustable fork and a monoshock which can be only tweaked for preload. It may sound basic on paper, but the chassis and the suspension are tuned to give the Trident 660 excellent dynamics to make it an easy and accessible motorcycle for new and less-experienced riders.
Tech & Ergonomics
Complementing the round LED headlight, the Trident 660 uses a circular TFT instrument console that is split into two sections. The top half shows the speed, rev counter, and fuel level, while the lower half displays the menus, riding modes, gear indicator, time, date, temperature, and odometer, all in different screens which can be toggled using the joystick-type four buttons on the left handlebar. The optional My Triumph connectivity system offers Bluetooth connectivity to display turn-by-turn navigation on the screen from Google Maps, and it can also be used to control a GoPro (Hero 7 and above).
With a short wheelbase, 189 kg kerb weight and 805 mm seat height, the Trident 660 is small-ish, but immediately comes across as a friendly and accessible package. It's no Street Triple RS with that extra dose of adrenaline, and the Trident comes across being easy-to-ride, and easy-to-handle. It feels light, and compact, whether you're pushing it, or turning it around, in a tight parking spot.
Performance & Dynamics
The 660 cc, inline three-cylinder engine is derived from the original Triumph 675, that from the Daytona, but it's a new unit from the ground up. The triple-cylinder engine makes 80 bhp at 10,250 rpm, and peak torque of 64 Nm at 6,250 rpm, but the spread of torque is wide. The power delivery is soft, and in fact, idle to low rpms, the triple-cylinder engine also feels and sounds 'soft', even on the throttle. A light slip-and-assist clutch makes it easy in traffic, and the gentle throttle response makes it unintimidating, bordering on being almost docile at low revs; all qualities of the 'entry-level' Triumph that it is designed to be.
But things change once you hit the mid-range; there's a likeable pull across the revs from as low as 3,000 rpm right up to over 9,000 rpm. What that translates to, is, less gear changes, and the Trident feels flexible and effortless, even at a higher gear than you'd think you're in. Across the twisty black top of our test route, the Trident feels eager to dip in and out of a series of corners. Even when leaned over a tight corner, it always feels composed and will let you get away with more speed and even mid-corner correction, if needed. There's a level of agility that new riders will love, and find reassuring and confident, but even experienced riders will love to explore the taut handling of the chassis.
The Showa suspension may be basic, but together with the steel perimeter frame, Triumph has been able to tune it to make it absolutely delightful. The Nissin brakes offer more than enough bite to offer sure-shot stopping power. The ABS isn't switchable, but the traction control is, for those looking for some more 'adventurous' type of riding. In fact, the Trident may feel like the docile goody two-shoes at low revs, but it will be up to the task for some old-fashioned debauchery if prodded.
Price & Competition
The Trident 660 has been launched with introductory prices of ₹ 6.95 lakh (Ex-showroom) for the base variant. What you don't get in the base variant, are the grab rails, dual-tone colour options, and the fuel tank decals of the top-spec variant. For those extras, you have to shell out ₹ 7.08 lakh (Ex-showroom) for the higher-spec variant.
Optional extras are the My Triumph connectivity system and the quickshifter, which will jack up the prices by a further ₹ 50,000. In India, the Trident 660's closest rival is the Honda CB650R, which makes slightly more power, but less torque, and is a more expensive than the Triumph at ₹ 8.67 lakh. The Trident also goes up against the Kawasaki Z650 ( ₹ 6.18 lakh), but the Z650 is due for an update and also has far less power than the Trident 660.
The Trident 660 has been positioned as an entry-level premium bike, for riders with less experience, or for those looking for a bike to get back into motorcycling. Looking at just the numbers, the Trident may not feel like much, but with 80 bhp power, with 90 per cent of the torque spread out across the rev range, in a 189 kg kerb weight package, makes for quite an entertaining motorcycle. It will be perfect for the daily commute, and will be up for some weekend fun, and will also happily take up touring duties if required.
So, no negatives, then? Yes, there are a few, but not really deal-breakers in my book. For starters, the throttle feels a little too soft at low revs, and I felt the traction control system a little too intrusive. In fact, after switching the TC off, somehow the throttle also felt more responsive. The six-speed gearbox is slick, but it needs to be worked on to extract the right push, and to get the music flowing from the triple. Our test route of nearly 200 km included sweeping curves and tight twisties, and not once did the Trident 660 fall short of expectations, offering a confidence-inspiring, and fun experience over the course of the day. But the test route also didn't offer the opportunity to check out actual top-end performance; not that it matters, but it just could be something more experienced riders may crave for.
What matters is whether you're a new rider, or even have some experience under your belt, the Trident 660 has enough and more, to keep you suitably entertained. Isn't that what motorcycling is all about? It may not give you rapid acceleration or bragging rights of a litre-class sportbike, but the Triumph Trident will certainly put a smile on your face every time you explore its capabilities, and limits of performance. It may not be your perfect motorcycle, but it's pretty close to what an ideal entertaining roadster should be. Triumph has absolutely nailed it, to make an engaging and compact motorcycle that just screams 'FUN', at every twist of the throttle!
(Photography: Prashant Chaudhary)
|Engine Capacity||660 cc|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder|
|Maximum Power||80 bhp @ 10,250 rpm|
|Peak Torque||64 Nm @ 6,250 rpm|
|Clutch||Wet, multi-plate, slip-and-assist|
|Frame||Tubular steel perimeter frame|
|Front Tyre||120/70-R17 Michelin Road 5|
|Rear Tyre||180/55-R17 Michelin Road 5|
|Front Suspension||Showa 41 mm upside down separate function fork|
|Rear Suspension||Showa monoshock RSU, with preload adjustment|
|Front Brakes||Nissin two-piston sliding calipers, twin 310 mm discs, ABS|
|Rear Brakes||Nissin single-piston sliding caliper, single 255 mm disc, ABS|
|Seat Height||805 mm|
|Kerb Weight||189 kg (wet)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||14 litres|