2012 Triumph Street Triple

The gentlemen in Hinckley have unveiled pics of the all-new, updated styling for the early release of the 2012 Triumph Street Triple. For some reason, most of the pics are in blue and white.

I’m not sure what, other than some styling changes, the new bike has to offer. In terms of styling, however, the Street Triple gets new headlights like the Speed Triple, aluminum handlebars from the Street Triple R, as well as a spiffy new engine cover. Oh, and a new Triumph logo.

I’m not sure I’m on board with the purple model color.

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.

The naked bikes are back

The American love affair with motorcycles, such as it is, has not extended to the naked bikes in recent years.  They sell like hotcakes to our cousins across the pond, but in the US…not so much.  We like our cruisers and repli-racers and sport-tourers.

For the 2010 and 2011 model years, that has changed drastically, with a whole slew of naked standards, big and small, coming back to the US in a big way, and from nearly every manufacturer. Kawi completely redesigned the big Z1000 for 2010, Triumph has been pushing the Street Triple, and now Yamaha weighs in with the new FZ8, while BMW is trying to recapture the magic of the F800ST with the new F800R.

Motorcycle USA has stacked up some of these bikes against each other in a new comparo. What makes this one interesting is that the three bikes chosen, other than being middleweight standards, are powered by completely different powerplants. The F800R is a twin, the Street Triple is–as the name implies–a triple, and the FZ8 is an I-4.

So who wins? Is it the thumpy Twin of the BMW, the silky smoothness of the Yamaha I-4, or does the Street Triple offer a sporty compromise between the two that makes is a superior bike to ride?

Apparently, there are a lot of things about the Street Triple that catches the testers’ hearts.

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC

Triumph has released the first official picture of the new adventure bike they’ve been touting, the Triumph Tiger 800 XC.

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC
2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC

Still no specs or details, other than that this is the off-road version that has a 21″ front wheel with knobbies.  The more street-oriented version will have a 17″ front wheel and street tires.  other than that, we’re still waiting on all the tech specs for these two models of the new Tiger.

Like all modern enduros, it has a beak, too, a la the BMW R1200GS.  I still don’t know what BMW did to get that passed into law.

2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm

Triumph unveiled a new addition to its cruiser line at the INTERMOT show in Cologne, Germany today, with the introduction of the 2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm.

2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm
2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm

Once again, Triumph follows the “Dark Custom” styling movement with the Storm’s blacked out engine case and radiator cover.  The dual headlights are another stylistic difference from the base Thunderbird.  the chassis and components are essentially the same, however. The big difference is that the standard 1600cc Thunderbird’s parallel-twin has been bored out to 1700cc for the Storm, resulting in an engine output of 100HP, and 115 ft-lbs of torque. Previously, this engine was available as an $899 option on the standard Thunderbird, but now it’s in a model of its own.

2011 Triumph Speed Triple

2011 Triumph Speed Triple
2011 Triumph Speed Triple

Via Hell For Leather, the details of the new 2011 Triumph Speed Triple have leaked the night before its official unveiling.

The look of the Speed Triple is all new, most notably with the headlights changing from the traditional round headlamps to an excitingly chunky and angular shape. In addition, an entirely new aluminum frame holds it all together. the riding position has also been shifted slightly forward. There’s also the new 43mm USD forks, which are now fully adjustable.  Triumph claims the improvements to the frame and ergonomics improve the bike’s handling.

Many of the improvements, however, are under the hood, not out in plain sight. Among them is a weight loss of 5 lbs, bringing the weight weight down to 417lbs.  At the same time, the engine’s output has been increased from 128HP to 134HP at 9,400RPM, while torque has been boosted from 76 ft-lbs to 82 ft-lbs at 7,750RPM.

Finally, for the first time, ABS brakes are available on the Speed Triple as an option–although if you choose them, that kind of throws out the 5 lb weight reduction.

No word yet on pricing, but given Triumph’s commitment to value, something close to the current year’s price range of $8,899-$9,599 seems likely.

2011 Triumph Tiger 800

2011 Triumph Tiger 800
2011 Triumph Tiger 800

Via Motorcycle Daily, it appears that Triumph is finally unveiling their new adventurer tourer.  It’s an 800cc triple version of the Tiger. As noted previously, it will come in two versions, one with a 17″ front wheel for mainly on-road use, and one with a 21″ front wheel designed for better off-road performance. They’ll probably have quite different tires as well, with the off-road focused version perhaps coming with stock knobbys.

Essentially, Triumph has taken their existing 675cc triple and bored it out for the new bikes, to give it a displacement similar to–and probably power superior to–the BMW F800-series bikes.

In addition to the new Tigers, Triumph also released detail images–though nothing that shows the whole bike–of accessories for the 2011 Speed Triple.  From the looks of those photos, the Speed Triple has been completely redesigned, as well, giving it a more modern, updated taste of styling–insofar as a naked bike can be said to be styled, at any rate.

Triumph has been doing better financially than many other manufacturers, which I suspect stems from the value pricing of their products.  These two new Tiger models are only the beginning of the expansion of Triumph’s lineup, as they expect to launch four additional models by the 2012 model year.

Good for them.

It seems I’ve been doing a lot of Triumph cheerleading lately, huh?

Adventure-Tourer Shootout

Motorcycle USA runs a head-to-head adventurer tourer test between the BMX R1200GS, the new Ducati Multistrada 1200S, and the Triumph Tiger 1050, a bike that looks to be making an exit from the Triumph line-up this next year, with the advent of two brand new Triumph adventure bikes.  Read the full review for the details, but the Triumph, as always, gives you full value for the money you spend on it.  Does it beat the Panzerkampfwagen that is the GS or the hyperdrive-powered MTS?  Tough question.  It beats the GS on the street, and the Multistrada off-road, so it’s probably a better all-rounder.

But, though I’ve never ridden the Tiger 1050, I’d throw my personal lot with the MTS1200.  It’s an unbeatable streetbike in this category.  Occasional forays on well-maintained dirt or gravel roads won’t rouble it, but I’m not really likely to do much of that.

I’d pick the MTS, for the lighter weight and amazing quickness and maneuverability on the street.

But, I have to say, for the price, Triumph is about the hardest brand of bike to beat.  They really do make value-priced bikes that do what they’re advertised to do.  And, with the money you save, you can always farkle them up.

2011 Triumph adventure bike video

Triumph has released another video of its upcoming adventure bikes, giving us a bit more information about them, as well some better glimpses of what they’ll look like.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2WWmp38kBI

There will be two models–one focused on on-road adventuring, and one emphasizing off road capabilities.

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.

Yamaha V-Max vs Triumph Rocket III

The Yamaha (or Star Motorcycles, as I guess we’re calling that branch of the company now) V-Max has been the archetypal hooligan/power/super cruiser since its debut in October, 1984, at the dealer show in Las Vegas. In 2010, we’re so jaded about “superbikes” and whatnot, that it’s hard to remember sometimes, just what a revolutionary–and frightening–machine that 1985 V-Max was. There were professionals who were frightened of the thing back then.

Many years–and several generations of engine power upgrades–have passed since then, but after a bit of an absence, the V-Max returned in 2009, with the original 1200cc V-4 replaced by a monster 1700cc V-4, with a claimed output of nearly 200HP.

But, Triumph’s response to the V-Max is the 2300cc triple of the Rocket III.  With the largest motorcycle engine in regular production–the Boss Hogs notwithstanding–the Rocket III is no slouch in the musclecruiser category.

Now, Motorcycle USA has tested these two bikes head-to-head. At the end of the test, the difference between the bikes–aside from the much lower price of the Rocket III–really is a tale of the Dyno.

Triumph Rocket III Roadster vs. Yamaha V-Max: The difference is in the Dyno.  Simply choose your preference: torque or horsepower
Triumph Rocket III Roadster vs. Yamaha V-Max: The difference is in the Dyno. Simply choose your preference: torque or horsepower

With its much higher torque and low RPMs, the Rocket has grunt to spare, starting below 1,000RPM.  The V-Max, on the other hand, requires a more sportbikey riding style, dragging the power out of the high-RPM horsepower.  Either way, these bikes have tire-shredding, front-wheel-lifting power to spare.