2011 Triumph Sprint GT: Four Views. All “meh”.

Motorcycle Daily got four different riders/writers to asses the 2011 Triumph Sprint GT, the longer, fatter, heavier American version of the Sprint ST–which is still available in Europe–and write down their impressions.

Essentially, the four different motojournalists seemed to say, “Nice, but too heavy with too long a wheelbase.” Which is pretty much what I thought when the initial specs came out.

I guess we’re just in the middle of a trend to larger and heavier motorcycles right now.  Unless you buy a crotch rocket, and can live with the scrunched up riding position.  Cruisers are sporting 1800cc mills now, the sport tourers are up to 13oocc+, all with heavier engines, frames, etc.

It’s beginning to look every bike will soon be a Gold Wing.

2011 Triumph Sprint GT Review

2011 Triumph Sprint GT
2011 Triumph Sprint GT

The Triumph Sprint ST has been replaced by–or, rather, evolved into–the Sprint GT.  But looking at the specs in the Motorcycle.Com review, I’m not sure it’s an evolution to something better.  It may be, but the tale of the tape in comparison to the previous model doesn’t excite me.

First, the wheelbase has been lengthened significantly, from 57.3″ to 60.5″, which seems to threaten to reduce maneuverability (about which, more below).  But, I guess they had to lengthen the wheelbase, in order to stuff in the extra 60lbs of weight, with the GT model now coming in at a hefty 591lbs, fueled up and ready to ride.

In return for that 10% increase in weight the engine output has been slightly increased, from 123HP to 128HP, while torque jumps slightly to 79.7 ft-lbs–about 4 ft-pounds more than last year’s ST model.

The maneuverability reduction from the longer wheelbase seems to be offset by a narrower tires and more aggressive chassis geometry.  Power-to-weight ratio is much lower on the GT than the previous model, but it apparently still retains fine cornering and handling, despite the extra weight. And, of course, for the “touring” side of the sport-touring equation, the extra heft and longer wheelbase make for a steadier highway ride.

The looks have been updated a bit, although, to my eye, it looks very much like an FJR1300 with BMW saddlebags attached. In other words, the updated design is still about three or four years behind the times.

It also still has a chain drive, and whether you prefer that to a shaft is always a personal call.  Me, I want a shaft in a tourer.  It’s 2010.  Am I supposed to spend my Saturdays lubing a chain like some kind of animal?  Having said that, I’d trade my shaft-driven FJR for a chain-driven Ducati Multistrada without blinking an eye. (Actually, I’m begging for someone to let me make that deal.) But the Multistrada is not, first and foremost, a tourer.  It’s very much in the sport category, so the chain is appropriate.  At 600 pounds, however, the Sprint is definitely out of the sporting and into the touring category.

Still, for $13,199, you get a lot of bike for your money, so the drawbacks of the GT are not, at that price, by any means deal-breakers.