Sadness. Loss. Renewal. Hope.

I love the Triumph Trophy. I love the character and power of the motor. I love the handling. I love the electronics. I love the stereo, bluetooth, and iPod connectivity. In fact, I love everything about it. Oh, yeah, except its reliability. That isn’t very good at all, especially when the bike is your primary transportation. Indeed, for several months, my only transportation.

Continue reading “Sadness. Loss. Renewal. Hope.”

I Pronounce It “Vulva”

Since I sold the GTO last year, I’ve been without a car, using my 2015 Triumph Trophy SE to go everywhere, in all weather, except the occasional heavy rain, in which case I’ve been taking Uber to work. That worked out really well for the last year, right up until early last week, when I took the Trophy in for its 10,000 mile service. Then, it all went sideways.

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Triumphant

2015 Triumph Trophy SE

BMW Motorrad has long had two boxer-engined motorcycles that were considered the top of their class: The R1200GS adventure bike and the R1200RT touring bike. Apparently, the Brits at Triumph Motorcycles found this enraging. Over the last century, the Brits have often found the Germans enraging, of course. Anyway, Triumph produced two bikes to compete directly with BMW’s offerings, the Tiger 1200 for the adventure crowd, and the Trophy for the touring rider.

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First Rides of the Triumph Trophy

The initial first rides of the new Triumph Trophy, which is the replacement for the Sprint ST, are starting to come in. Both Cycle World and Ultimate Motorcycling have published their first ride reviews this weekend. In both cases the reviewers liked the bike, and both felt very happy with the handling.

As always with a big bike, and Triumph’s claimed 662 lbs make it a big bike, one always worries about handling capability, especially when the road gets twisty. But, Triumph takes a certain amount of pride in making bikes that handle well, and they seem to have lavished the Trophy with some attention in that area.2013-triumph-trophy-06-290612

Ultimate Motorcycling declares:

Get into tighter turns and the Trophy SE defies its size. Much more agile than you’d expect from a 662 pound bike (claimed wet, but no panniers), it handles direction changes controllably and predictably, even when the road surprises the rider.

Similarly, Cycle World’s tester says:

But by the time you’ve ridden the bike a few blocks and snapped it around a couple of simple corners, that perception starts to change. You quickly forget about the shape of the plastic in front of you and marvel at how light and agile the big Triumph feels when it’s moving…The overall effect is that you feel as though you are riding a bike that is at least a hundred pounds lighter than what its manufacturer claims.

Will it give you the rocket-like acceleration of, the Concors14 or K1600GT? Probably not. But it seems pretty good, and at 135HP with 89 torques, it’s probably not boring:

The bike isn’t exceptionally fast by today’s performance standards, but that strong, linear torque output allows it to accelerate crisply and steadily in any gear, at any rpm and at any speed. Just give the throttle a twist and the Trophy moves forward, never pinning your eyeballs to the back of your skull but always rushing the bike down the road with enough authority to be satisfying.

It should be hitting the shores of North America by the end of the year. But, I wouldn’t expect getting a test ride will be easy.

2013 Triumph Trophy pricing announced…in Canada

CMG is reporting that the pricing for the 2013 Triumph Trophy has been announced for the Canadian market at CDN$19,999.

That’s worse news than I thought, considering the Canadian dollar is about on par with the US dollar now. Still, we’re only getting the full-on SE version in North America, so that’s still more than a grand less than a comparably equipped R1200RT. But it’s still a pricey bike.

This Looks Interesting…

MY13_Trophy_Pacific_Blue-1The long-lived staple for Triumph’s touring motorcycle was the Sprint ST. It’s dead now. In it’s place is the new Triumph Trophy, and it looks like a motorcycle aimed squarely at the BMW R1200RT.

The new Trophy has…well…everything, because here in North America, we’ll only be getting the top-of-the-line SE model, which comes fully loaded.

This all-new Triumph rides on an aluminum frame fitted with a single-sided swingarm and shaft final drive, and it is powered by a retuned version of the same 1215cc, dohc, 12-valve three-cylinder engine found in the Tiger Explorer adventure bike. It offers amenities comparable to or even exceeding those of some other big-rig tourers: linked ABS braking; traction control; cruise control; a ride-by-wire throttle system; a large (6.9-gallon) gas tank; a windshield electrically adjustable over a 6½-inch range; 31-liter detachable saddlebags with an optional 55-liter top trunk that includes a 12-volt power port; heated seats and grips; an adjustable-height rider seat; provisions for mounting an optional GPS receiver; a centerstand; and electronically adjustable headlights.

2013-Triumph-Trophy-02

Needless to say, that makes for a bit of a complicated cockpit, but certainly no more so than the RT has. It even looks quite a bit like the RT, though the its triple powerplant puts out 135HP and 89 torques. That’s 25HP more than the R1200RT, but, it also weighs about 70 pounds more.

No one has gotten one for testing yet, and I have to admit, I’d love to be able to test it, because I’m very curious to see how it stacks up to the RT in comfort and handling. Whatever else you may say about the RT, the handling is unmatched. It’s practically telepathic. It’s the best touring bike I’ve ever ridden in terms of how ridiculously easily it corners. I’d love to see how close Triumph came to nailing that.

I’m also interested in the price, which we won’t know for another month. The thing about the RT has always been that, at around $20,000, that sharp handling and comfort comes at a steep price. And the thing about Triumph has been their ability to price their bikes at a price significantly below the competition.

If they can nail the handling, and still come a couple of K under the price of the RT, they may have a winner with this one.

I’d love a chance to spend the day on one, to see how well dialed-in Triumph’s first stab at an RT-killer is.

Dear Triumph: Build this!

six-monkees-daytona-1050-530x384This comes to me via the Kneeslider. It’s a Triumph Speed Triple, modified by a German outfit called Six Monkeys. Yes, that’s a Daytona 675 fairing. It’s also got some other tricked out bits.

It’s also a very cool Speed Triple conversion, and I’d bet it’s fun as hell to ride.

The question I have is, why isn’t Triumph building one of these. I mean, the Daytona is a nice Supersport, but a fully faired…let’s call it a Daytona 1050…would be a sharp motorcycle.

And, after all, some of prefer our bikes to have a fairing and a bit of wind protection.

BMW F800GS vs. Triumph Tiger 800XC

Comparo dyno charts

Motorcycle.Com has a head-to-head comparo between the two hottest mid-sized adventure bikes in the world right now. It looks like it was tough choice between these two, too. Just take a look at the dyno graphs.

It’s a fascinating comparo, because the two bikes are just so close together in features. Triumph even replicated the layout of controls and accessory power ports on the BMW. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess.

At the end of the day, it seems the only difference between these two machines is their relative street/trail performance. Which one is best really depends on how you’re going to use it, but, as a practical matter, both are great.

There’s still something about that Triumph triple powerplant, though…

Triump Street Triple vs. Yamaha FZ8

Motorcycle Daily has done a head-to-head comparo between the Street Triple and the new FZ8. Both are naked bikes, but that’s about the only thing they have in common, according to the MD testers.  Both of them felt the FZ8 was boring, unless the poor suspension was frightening the bejeezus out of you. But that really isn’t the excitement you’re looking for in a motorcycle, is it?

Most of the FZ8’s reviews have been generally positive, so this overall thumbs down for it is a bit of a surprise.

Sad, really, because there does need to be something between the 600cc and 1000cc displacement sportbikes, with an extra dash of rider comfort. Like a GSXR-750 that doesn’t have tortuous ergos. Or a lighter VFR800 Interceptor.

The new Ninja 1000 is close, but it’d be nice to get something down in the sub-500lb range.

I’d like some tikka masala…and a Daytona 675, please

Triumph Motorcycles announced that they will be entering the Indian market in 2012. Marketwatch reports that the british brand plans to import bikes directly to India, rather than building them there. As India has a 100% tariff on imports, that’s going to make the Trumpets a bit less of bargain than they usually are.

Triumph is, however, studying the feasibility of opening a plant in-country–which seems like it would be necessary for any sort of long-term growth, considering India’s unreasonable import rates.

“India is a very important motorcycle market and Triumph has assessed it carefully before deciding to step in,” said Nick Bloor, Triumph’s chief executive. “We see it as the next step in our global business model.”

Triumph has appointed Ashish Joshi, the former head of European operations for Indian motorcycle maker Royal Enfield as its managing director for India.

Triumph currently has two manufacturing facilities in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and three in Chonburi, Thailand. It produces about 50,000 motorcycles each year, selling them in about 35 countries.

Taylor said Triumph has been getting several inquiries from prospective customers in India and plans to initially sell its motorcycles in six to eight cities in the country.

Triumph now joins the Big 4 and Harley-Davidson in India.