Triumph Speed Triple Problems: 5 Known Issues (Explained)

Clocking miles on a Triumph Speed Triple without a single problem is pretty common.

This is because the Speed Triple is up there with some of the most reliable bikes Triumph has ever released. Ask any Speed Triple owner; they’ll tell you how much of a joy it is to ride this bike.

Although the Speed Triple rides like a dream, a few of the riders we’ve encountered have expressed a few frustrations.

We’ve found a list of problems with the Triumph Speed Triple. Some of these are big problems, while others are nothing more than pet peeves and minor nuisances to riders.

Still, if you’re in the market for a Speed Triple, it’s good to have all the insight you can get.

Let’s get straight into it!

1. Classic Ignition Pick Up Coil Problem

A few years ago, a string of Triumph owners encountered issues with their pick-up coil.

While the Speed Triple wasn’t on the list, any bike’s pickup coil is susceptible to burning out.

What is a Pick-Up Coil?

The pick-up coil, or ignition coil, serves as a high voltage transformer. It increases the ignition system’s initial voltage up from 12 volts to thousands.

The voltage needed to produce a spark that traverses the spark plug’s electrode gap depends on myriad variables constantly changing.

The ignition coil cranks on to satisfy that voltage requirement.

Ignition coils are built to be reliable, but nothing lasts forever. Heat and vibration can cause shorts or damages to its inner windings.

However, coil death’s most frequent culprit is the energy overload created from bad spark plugs/plug wires. It’s important to make inspecting and changing your spark plugs a part of routine maintenance.

Here are some more symptoms of the faulty pickup coil on the Speed Triple

  • Difficult starting
  • Misfiring
  • Backfiring
  • Rough Idle
  • Replacement Spark plugs don’t fix the above symptoms.
  • Check engine light

Like I mentioned earlier, a burned-out pickup coil is often the result of the coil working overtime and overheating due to a bad spark plug.

If your spark plugs are good, check if any of the wires around the pickup coil are shorted. Bad connections can fry your pickup coil too.

If you have no shorts and you’ve replaced the spark plugs, but the problem persists, a visit to the mechanic might be necessary.

With an active warranty, a Triumph dealer will replace parts under that warranty. Regardless, routine maintenance and inspection includes inspection of your spark plugs and wiring harness, and finding bad connections before they cause other parts to burn out will save you time and money in the end.

2. A Difficult Front Break

Yet another problem faced by Triumph bikes, especially naked bikes, is the front brake problem.

Although this is not a huge problem that could turn away potential buyers, it’s worth mentioning to anyone interested in the Speed Triple.

The problem refers to the stock brake pads that come preinstalled on most Speed Triples.

If you are lucky enough to have purchased a Speed Triple from a previous owner that took good care of it, then this issue might not even occur for you; Most new owners opt to install 3rd party brake pads from well-known brands if they experience this problem.

Here are a few general steps to change brake pads on a 2007 Speed Triple:

  • Remove the rattle clip from the retaining pin
  • Remove the pad retaining pin.
  • Remove Anti Rattle Spring
  • Remove brake pads by pulling them apart.
  • Remove the two caliper bolts.
  • Gently remove the caliper from the disc, making sure not to damage the wheel.
  • Using brake cleaner solution and a toothbrush, clean both the pistons and the caliper

On the earlier Speed Triples, the bike had brake pads such as Nissin and, later on, Brembos.

The move from Nissin brake pads to Brembos was an attempt by Triumph to get ahead of this problem. Riders maintain that the upgraded pads don’t help and the problem persisted, while other owners claim that their Brembo-equipped Triples don’t have the issues anymore.

On the Speed Triple’s older models, the rigid front brake was caused by the brake calipers.

The calipers’ pistons rapidly grab and let go during braking, resulting in bending or unevenness on the brake disks.

This usually happened on the Nissin brake pads that come preinstalled on most older model Speed Triples.

Here are a few things owners have tried to fix the problem:

  • Removing and thoroughly cleaning the pistons.
  • Replacing brake pads
  • “Bleeding out” the brakes/replacing brake fluid.

If the problem persists, a visit to the dealer is recommended.

3. On-going Electrical Issues

When it comes to electrical problems, most bikes will at some point face a problem or two in their lifetime.

This is especially true for the Triumph Speed Triple, which has had quite a few of its owners complain of intermittent electrical problems.

Naked bikes like the Speed Triple have many of their internal components exposed. This is not ideal for wet climates because water can seep through to the wiring and damage it.

This particular problem showed itself when the lights on the instrument cluster or dash of the bike started acting up. The odometer readings go haywire, and sometimes the lights don’t even come on when the bike is started.

Since bikes use voltage to start, a thoroughly damaged wiring harness can lead to a completely unresponsive bike that won’t start. This is mostly accompanied by a clicking noise coming from the starter that wants to turn over but doesn’t have the voltage to connections to make it happen.

Here are a few basic things to check when the bike’s electrical seems to be faulty:

  • Battery charge
  • Loose battery terminals
  • All fuses
  • All spark plugs
  • Corrosion on any wiring
  • Corrosion on battery contacts

The first thing I always check when experiencing poor voltage or connection is the battery terminals.

Bikes rattle while they roll, and screws can come loose. Sometimes a few quarter-turns on your battery terminals can have you back to 100 percent in no time.

That said, many Speed Triple owners realized that it was the fuses under the seat that were faulty. When opening the seat to get access to the fuses, they found signs of fuse corrosion.

What happened is that the fuses’ legs had been shoved into the connector until only the tip of the fuse had to contact with the connector instead of both the tips and the legs.

Properly fitting the fuse and making sure it’s making contact should solve the problem fairly quickly.

Checking fuses is part of routine maintenance; replacing fuses displaying corrosion signs should happen before they cause electrical issues.

Another area prone to have problems on the Triumph Speed Triple is wires coming from the ignition cluster.

These wires have been known to experience wear and tear as they’re quite brittle. Wiggling these wires around to reproduce the problem has shown some positive results.

Once the problem wire or group of wires is located, a simple replacement can often solve it.

Electrical issues are reoccurring for any bike out there, so this does not take away from the Triumph Speed Triple’s positives.

4. Cam Chain Tensioner Issue

The Triumph Speed Triple uses a hydraulic cam chain tensioner.

Cam chain tensioner “slap” is generally observed after the bike hits about 7,000 miles.

After the bike has clocked some miles, the cam chain tension will give out a strange sound, usually called a “cam chain slap.”

This is because Hydraulic cam tensioners wear prematurely when you don’t follow up with your oil levels and properly adhere to the owner manual’s oil change intervals.

Symptoms of a Bad Tensioner or Badly Adjusted Cam Chain:

  • Cam chain slap
  • Noisy ticking sound
  • Bike stalling

Inspecting your chain tensioner should be part of routine maintenance on your Triumph Street Triple.

The cam chain tensioner sees a lot of action.

A worn-out cam chain can lead not only to noises, but it could end up jumping a tooth and throwing the valves out of sync.

Unattended worn-out cam chains can become an expensive fix- the unsynced valves could hit a piston or cause engine damage.

Once a tensioner becomes loose, there’s no real way to adjust it back to its required tightness.  Over the years, riders have developed a few DIY mods for this. None of them are full-proof, nor are they much more economical than the cost of a brand new tensioner.

The best way to reduce the cam chain’s noise is to replace it with a new, correctly tuned cam chain tensioner.

Owners that were able to take the bike to a dealership to have it checked also reported that the mechanic replaced the tensioner and o-ring together and that the noise went away. If your bike is under warranty, this service is covered.

If a Triumph is still under warranty, it is recommended to take it to a dealership to have the noisy cam chain checked out.

Keeping up with your oil levels and oil changes is the best way to keep your cam chain tensioner from failing prematurely.

5. Rust/Corrosion Problem

It’s a given that any vehicle is prone to have some corrosion occur. One of the Street Triple charms is that it’s a naked bike, but this comes at a cost; its guts are more exposed to the elements, and water causes corrosion.

Wet and rainy areas like oceanside locations lead to more corrosion on vehicles because of the salty air and seawater.

The Speed Triple’s rusting usually starts at the wheels, exhausts, and any shiny bolts on the bike.

A big part of the corrosion is typically the place where the bike is stored. Storage in a garage full of pool chlorine products and paint cans, for example, will usually lead to corrosion and rust on any bike.

The Speed Triple owners have found that using metal polish on the bike’s rusted areas has gotten good results. Also, a good recommendation is to keep any moving parts on the bike lubricated. This refers to parts such as the chain.

Corrosion and rust are typically not harmful to the Speed Triple. Since the Triumph Triple is such a good-looking bike, while rusting and corrosion may not damage the motorcycle, it still grinds its owner’s gears.

Quickly scan our article that talks about 5 Most-Common Problems With Triumph America

General Pros And Cons For The Triumph Speed Triple

Pros

The Triumph Speed Triple is loved by both old and young. This naked sportbike features a comfortable riding position, and owners love its performance.

Triumph kept on increasing the engine size on the Speed Triple from 855cc all the way to the current 1,050 offerings. Owners of the Speed Triple will argue that it is overall the most fun-to-ride naked sportbike out there.

Upgrades on the latest Speedy models feature better performance and braking. Most owners are impressed by the adjustable brake lever and how easy it is to adjust the lever’s pivot distance. This makes braking a joy and can be adjusted to suit the preferences of the rider.

The Speed Triple feels like an upgraded version of the Street Triple with more torque and better weight distribution. Yet, its design is on par with some of the most stunning naked bikes in the world.

Cons

  • Classic ignition pickup coil problem
  • Front brake of death
  • On-going electrical issues
  • Cam chain tensioner issue
  • Rust/corrosion problem

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS won best super naked of the year in the MCN Bike of the Year Awards. MCN was impressed by how the Speed Triple manages to behave like the small, tight, refined feel of the latest 765 Street Triple with more grunt, reassuring big-bike-stability, and attitude.”

Source: MotorcycleNews.com

“Upon its introduction in 1994, the Triumph Speed Triple defined the hooligan genre with a rambunctious motor and aggressive handling. The Speed Triple has evolved over the years, becoming more of a gentleman’s upright naked sporting motorcycle than a pavement-rippling bruiser.”

Source: UltimateMotorcycling.com

What’s The Resale Value On The Triumph Speed Triple?

Year Mileage (miles) Price ($)
2010 Triumph Speed Triple 15,015 4,999
2013 Triumph Speed Triple 3,372 6,788
2017 Triumph Speed Triple R 2,922 9,499
2017 Triumph Speed Triple S 3,536 7,999
2019 Triumph Speed Triple S 501 12,399
2019 Triumph Speed Triple RS 1,300 13,500

NB: – The above prices are estimates and may vary according to your location and model of the bike.

References:

UltimateMotorcycling.com

MotorcycleNews.com

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