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Triumph 350cc Street Single Rumoured

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Wayned, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Interesting that the KTM 125 Duke is also said to be getting larger engined versions, including around the same 350cc mark, possibly for at least some markets.

    The battle for a new segment within a segment of the market could be hotting up, with the 125 Duke being well specced, fun and a looker, and such a model from Triumph hopefully being somewhat akin to mini Street/Speed Triple, if the artist's impression (in the link below) is anywhere near the mark.

    Some new non-Japan Inc bikes in the entry level class that offer something above the usual fare, with the prestige and character/attitude they're known for - probably at a reasonable price premium over the usual fare - could appeal to a lot of riders, including more experienced ones that want a fun and economical city bike with some extra cred, along with the buying habits of the latter beginning to shift to some degree, due to the continuing (if not worsening) global economic squeeze and the now chronic uncertainty that runs alongside, pounding the side of the creaking, overloaded-with-debt bus.

    A lively 350 single naked roadie with charm, good manners (and hopefully they will be reasonably light), but also with a bit of extra fire in it's belly from either company would be an engaging ride.

    Not yet confirmed by Triumph, but it's an obvious segment for both companies, who haven't had any smaller capacity models (that is, road bikes in KTM's case), especially in the Asian and Sth American markets, but also in other places feeling the economic squessze, like here, Europe and the U.S.

    The prospect of Triumph having developed a new engine for a model like this also opens the door to the possiblity of a tiddler ADV tourer along the lines of the Tiger 800, if not even a fully fledged dirt bike.

    Speculation of course, but they have been aggresively and effectively scoring goals of late with their recent models, including in the new segment previously dominated by the BMW GS800 (and 800-engined 650), with the two new Tigers. The KTM 125 appears to be off to a good start, so they already have a foot in the door with a bike already to market, and a common remark on Western bike forums (and a sentiment surely shared by many) is the desire for the same bike with a bigger engine.

    Smaller/entry level models are also a way of establishing brand loyalty with new riders, which to some degree helps bring sales to a company when it's time for the step up to the next bike.

  2. It'll be a shame if it is made to look like a Speed Triple - have they not learnt from their sales figures: make a retro-styled big single, a Bonneville for learners and big single lovers, and it would sell everywhere. Or maybe that's a naive assumption - judging by Youtube videos of Viragos the South American market seems to display a lot of interest in faux-toughness and faux-speed, the sort of stuff that cries out "wanker" over here.
  3. Speed and Street Triples have been big sellers.

    Modern styling would sell more than Classic Brit, so I think something with styling cues from the S3, but toned down, so to speak, could be the right middle ground. If there's any clues in the sketch to what it would look like, I think it strikes a good balnce. Keep in mind that it's character would also likely be more modern agressive and sporty than might be suited by classic styling. That's not to say a few simple changes couldn't also yield a mini Bonnie or Thruxton.

    But motard-like ability in a more comfortable and practical package, and with more crowd-pleasing looks, makes a strong argument.

    The KTM 125 came from extensive research into what young riders want (bearing in mind this is now with their Indian connection). I take from what I've read from KTM that their aim is not just to snare mostly younger riders, but also to lure more youngsters into motorcycling with something that just makes them want it by seeing one, so that there's a bigger pie to take a slice from. In markets like the U.S. (and here to an extent), there's been a steady decline in younger people taking up bikes. The little Duke already seems to be showing what to aim for, which probably paves the way more than a little.

    I would think Triumph wouldn't aim for quite the edginess that KTM is known for, but even with some overlap, both models could appeal to enough different riders so as to not tread on each other's toes too much, while at the same time offering more choice in a modern, naked 350 single roadbike class that doesn't really even exist, but would slot nicely into the LAMs/Commuter/playbike area while also possibly luring some more seasoned riders to a smaller (or even second) bike.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see, but it's good to see some companies like these two trying something a bit different.

    Maybe the penny will even drop for more people about how engagingly singles can do what they do when they're done and packaged right, especially with a somewhat fresh approach.
  4. *Double post*
  5. I think it's f#cked before it's even born. Unless they provide a more upspec version with decent brakes and suspension. Otherwise it will simply be ignored in favour of plastic fantastics such as they new CBR 250 and whatever that new ZZR 250 is called. Only my opinion mind you
  6. History would suggest otherwise. Honda produced the very pretty GB 4/500 for a while, and that never really took off, until they stopped production. MuZ made a few different single cylinder versions that never sold. Can't remember who recently manufactured a retro styled one based around the DR 650 engine, and they seem to have quietly disappeared. Gilera made the very very pretty and well specced Saturno a few years back, and that never took off either. Yamaha's SRX 6 never really sold like mad either. The SR 4/5 seems to be about the only exception to the rule. And the motards seem to keep on keeping on.
    I personally think that 350 is too small. I reckon it needs to be at least a 500 -simply to provide the torquey feel that single lovers enthuse about.
    Slightly off topic -do a search on "Subaru sportbike" Powered by a fuel injected liquid cooled 500 single made by Fuji -supplied to Polaris for a few years for their Predator quads. I'm still pissed that never made production, cause I've ridden the quad it was housed in, and my first thought was "this would make a brilliant 2 wheel engine" Torquey, yet still loved to rev, and tough as nails. I would have bought one in an instant. Trouble is, no one else seems to want to. Oh well, time will tell.
  7. Good point Roarin. Even the SR was only exported for a few years to Australia and America (decades longer to Germany) so I can't imagine it sold that well here or in the US. Road bike big single fanatics tend to be tight-arses who buy used bikes.

    At the same time, I reckon it might be different for Triumph: if Bonnevilles are selling so well (weren't they the best seller, until overtaken last year by the W800?) then with the brand name I reckon Triumph could reel in the market of people who can spend the cash on a nice learners bike and dream of Triumphs - essentially the on-their-way-to-a-Triumph (or Harley) crowd. For the same reason I reckon it would be a good idea for Harley to make a learners bike if our market was big enough (which of course it's not). It would be the Triumph badge on a retro bike rather than the cult of the big single which would sell it - all those attempts you mentioned relied on the cult and, as I said, its members are tight fisted. A learner's Triumph would probably take a nice cut of the XVS650 market - again a market that is doing really well, and one where perhaps many of the buyers purchase the Yamaha with the long-term desire for a Triumph or Harley? - and it wouldn't lower the perception of exclusivity or mystique of a bike which is already selling really well to the fully licensed. Especially if it was a really good bike within its limits (which a big single can easily be).

    And, isn't part of the failure of Meriden and friends blamed on their decision not to (or to cease) making learner bikes? From a purely cynical capitalist perspective, I'd suggest it would be a good idea again to make them because of the British-European snobbery or pride (depending on your perspective) which is still latent in plenty of buyers - unadmitted even to themselves sometimes - the sort who would/do take a secret pride in the fact of (their perception that) their bike is British or American. Many of these people are led to lose that snobbery because they have to ride a Japanese bike for a good time, and no doubt fall in love with it and get over such nonsense. This was partly how Meriden and friends lost potential irrational devotees when they stopped making learner bikes. With the rise of nationalism as a response to globalisation, I think there is still an opportunity to cash in on such a phenomenon, as irrational as it is (parts are usually sourced from all over the place). Some cynical Freudian marketing to really milk it. But it's weakened when a person has to ride, and then falls in love with, a Japanese bike. Just a musing thought - could be all nonsense.

    On a different note, I guess a good indication of whether a Brit-style big single would work is given by the sales of Royal Enfields. And I don't know how they're doing. I do know that many experienced riders would buy one in a heart-beat were REs not a piece of rubbish mechanically. But learners usually don't know about that unfortunate fact.

    The other bike you're trying to think of it the Sachs 650?
  8. Singles are baaack!
  9. Sorry I am going to have to disagree with this. Whilst I agree that the GB400 didn't sell well, I think that was generally before lams. Things are different now, I would have never thought the CB400 would sell especially at $11K as it is a old style bike but it does seem to have a good following.

    Will agree that it would be better at 500cc as the issue with the 350 is that it is going to be slow, not much faster than the CBR250R but will probably be at least $8-9K (as it is not made in Asia). That is going to be a difficult sell unless it gets watercooling, efi and abs.
  10. *hmms* I dunno, it'd make sense to do an oldskool 350-ish cc neo-retro/"modern-classic" bike. Afterall, back in ye olde times that's how big roadgoing motorcycles were. And all this limited-run/custom focus for flat-trackers and cafe racers, such as those made by Deus Ex Machina.

    Dust off an old 1950s/1960s single or twin people remember fondly, modernise the frame rigidity, electrics and fuel/ignition with dummy carburettors hiding the modern hardware and start printing money?

    The bigger question would be whether there's enough margin to make it worthwhile vs the perception of LAMS-sized bikes being disposable stepping-stones on the way to bigger, better, burlier things. :k
  11. Who here is ready to buy a Triumph made in Brazil, I wonder?

    I was mildly doubtful that bikes made in Korea would sell (I was wrong). I was very doubtful that bikes made in China would sell here, and I was partly wrong (learners don't seem to care). So maybe there is a place for a cheap learner Triumph after all?
    Or maybe it will be like all those Mexican VWs and Indian Hondas... a smart source of revenue from the developing world rather than another addition to the brand's core catalogue. That would explain the capacity.
  12. I'm hoping all the people who own Triumphs made in Thailand are!
  13. Yup, that's the one. I seem to remember JohnnyO getting around on one for a bit, but never caught up on a ride to see it in action.
    I think you're right about the people who would buy one being too tight to buy new. Ha ha ha. I chased an SRX6 for ages, never found one even though they couldn't give them away new, and ended up with the GB 500. God I loved that bike. It's the one bike I ever regret selling in my 26 years or so of riding. It's the most fun I've ever had on a roady. Closely followed by my VFR 400. He he.
    I hope the new breed take off though. As long as they aren't too maintanence intensive ie 250/450 MX style they might have a chance.
    I find it really weird that adventure style and Motard style singles sell really well, (enough to justify the dealers continuing to import them anyway) but roadys seem to just die out and disappear.
  14. It is odd, given that a large percentage of them spend most or all of their time on the black stuff.
  15. Mmmm. And that soggy suspension gets old after a while.