2011 Triumph Adventure Bike

2011 Triumph Adventure Bike Teaser Image
2011 Triumph Adventure Bike Teaser Image

We don’t know much about it, but as of today, at least we know that the new 2011 adventure bike from Triumph will sport a three-cylinder engine.   A look of utter shock and surprise fails to cross my face at this news, since Triumph’s premier engine is the 675 or 1050 triple.

That’s about all we know, though.

Triumph fails to release any hard details about the engine, aside from vague descriptions of it having a long stroke. Rumors put displacement at around 800cc, to line it up with the popular F800GS.

More details will have to wait, as Triumph seems keen on teasing everyone about this one.

That’s irritating.

The next release of information–such as it is–will be about September first.

The Triumph Adventure Bike

For 2011, Triumph will be releasing at least one new adventure bike.  We have no idea what the specs are, although it seems that it will be using something smaller than the 1050cc triple in the Tiger, so, just as a guess, I’d imagine it will be based on the 675.  Triumph has, however, released a fantastically shot, artistic video preview, which reveals precisely nothing about how the bike will look, or what its major components will be.  Except that it has two headlights.

Enjoy.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuGIrvrQvNM&feature=player_embedded

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Triumph’s Strength

Motorcycle Daily takes note of Triumph’s sales strength in the US, while other manufacturers’ sales are slumping.  They explain it as follows:

The advantage Triumph has is its heritage of triples and parallel twins. Virtually no other company has this heritage, and Triumph can therefore develop motorcycles that have very little competition in the market. “Competition” here means similar heritage and design.

When Triumph realized the folly of competing with the Japanese in the inline-four cylinder supersport market, and abandoned that format for the 675cc triple, it instantly found success. The triple gave it a different exhaust note, broader power curve, narrower engine and chassis, and, most importantly, a tie to its heritage of building performance triples.

While everyone else is building v-twin cruisers, Triumph cruisers are parrallel twins with a strong heritage that includes Marlon Brando, among other notable reference points.

Triumph Sprint ST
Triumph Sprint ST

I’m not sure that the “parallel twin” argument carries much weight.  The Big Four all have a number of parallel twins.  But the Bonneville, Scrambler and Thruxton definitely  have a certain recognizeable heritage, especially to people in their 40’s, like me.  We remember those bikes from when we were kids.  They were really–outside of the then-monster Harleys–the gold standard of style and power in an era where the 500cc motorcycle was the big boys bike.

Where MD really hits the nail on the head is Triumph’s dominance of the triple powerplant.  Other than Benelli, which is hardly a premier marque in the US–Triumph stands alone with a line of three-cylinder motorcycles.  Based on sales figures, a number of riders seem to be learning that the Triples have a unique performance advantage compared to the twins or I-4s.  Triumphs offer the low-end grunt of a twin, without sacrificing the high-end horsepower you get from an I-4.

They also have a distinctive look.  Triumph really has hit it out of the park in terms of styling, whether it’s the retro-cool of the Scrambler, or the smooth modernity of the Sprint ST–with a single-sided swingarm, no less. (Not all of Triumph’s bikes are a hit with everyone in the looks department, of course.  The agricultural engine of the Rocket III really divides opinions sharply.)

Triumph also competes aggressively on price.  For instance, the 2010 Sprint ST sells for $12.7k, while the big four are pushing their STs at $15K and up.  They really are an outstanding value for the money.

John Bloor really has done a fantastic job of bringing this venerable brand back to life.

Now, If he could just get the Sprint fitted with a shaft drive…

EICMA 2009

The big motorcycle show, Italy’s EICMA, will be happening in 20 days. Traditionally, this is a show that always brings some surprises for the new year.  So, what’s up this year?

Obviously, Aprilia will be rolling out the RSV4 and RSV4-R.  That’s a no-brainer.

BMW might be an interesting presence this year.  The rumors of what is going to happen with the R-Series bikes has been rampant, with everything from a new 1300cc boxer, to the 1200cc boxer getting an update with the 130HP DOHC motor ported from the HP2.  I’ve written about the GS getting that motor, but there are rumors that the whole R-series will be getting that upgrade as well, which would make both the GS and RT extremely attractive.  And with 130HP, the lighter-weight RT would approach the performance of the FJR, making it a true sport-tourer.  The 1300cc K bikes and the S1000RR are old news already, so the only conceivable surprise would come from a revamping of the R Bikes.

Ducati’s new 1200cc Multistrada and Hypermotard 796 will be there.  We’ve already seen the Hypermotard.  And we’ve seen the new Multistrada, too, except with lots of duct tape hiding the fairing.  The removal of the duct tape will be Ducati’s big event.

MV Agusta has had the same model lineup of two bikes–the F4 and Brutale–for the last decade.  This year looks to be a little different, however.  We’ve already seen the two new Brutale models, so, while they’ll no doubt be there, no one will care.  What we haven’t seen is the revamped F4, other than the teaser image MV released several days ago, So I expect that to be unveiled.  But what we really haven’t seen are the two entirely new models that have been rumored over the last month or so.  The 675cc triple that has shown up is spy shots, and the company’s new Superbike, which is expected to lead MV Agusta back to participation in WSS or WSBK racing.  We don’t even know if it’s a completely new model, or WSBK-compliant F4 model.  But, after a decade with the same old line-up, MV might be the surprise of the show this year.

Neither Honda now Yamaha will be there, which, in Honda’s case seems a bit odd, since their new VFR1200F has just debuted, and it’s supposed to be the basis for a whole new line of motorcycles from Big Red.  So, it seems strange that they won’t be at EICMA so show it off.

Triumph will be there, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the new Street Triple R show up, with its new black and gold paint scheme, reminiscent of the John Player Special motorsports paint scheme of beloved memory.

But, surprises aside, with thingsas bad in the motorcycle manufacturing and sales world as they are, it seems that this year will mostly be a low-key affair, which the absence of two of the Big Four won’t help.

BTW, I wonder if Harley-Davidson will be pulling the Buell 1125R from the show?

Motorcycle.Com’s Best of 2009

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The annual march of media bike choices continues, with Motorcycle.com weighing in with thir top picks of the year.  Their choices are interesting, and a bit different than I would have expected.

Triumph Street Triple R: Motorcycle.Com's Bike of the year for 2009.
Triumph Street Triple R: Motorcycle.Com's Bike of the year for 2009.

For the overall bike of the year, they picked the Triumph Street Triple R.

Best Sportbike honors go to the Kawasaki ZX-6R, with the runner-up being the Honda CBR1000RR.

The Ducati Monster 1100 gets the nod for best standard motorcycle, with second place going to the Harley-Davidson XR1200.

The best cruiser pick is the all new Triumph Thunderbird 1600, with the Suzuki Boulevard M90 taking an honorable mention.

The award for best touring bike goes to the BMW R1200RT, closely followed by the Honda Gold Wing.

BMW also take both first and second place spots for sport-touring, with the K1300GT winning, and the F800ST getting the honorable mention.

BMW stays in the winner’s circle for best off-road bike, with the top honors going to the F800GS, and the second spot going to the Aprilia SXV/RXV 5.5.

They also have picks for best eccentrics, scooters, technology, and more, so why not go there and read them?

Europe’s Top Bikes

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Our cousins in The Old Country love motorcycles as much as we do, but they don’t love the same motorcycles, apparently.  The French automotive magazine MotoRevue has released their list of top five motorcycles in Europe, and, as you might imagine, they’re quite different from the Motorcyclist picks of the year I wrote about a few days ago.

Three Italians–the Ducati Streetfighter and 1198, and the Aprilia RSV4–head the roster.  One Brit bike, the Triuph Speed Triple, makes the list. And the 2009 Yamaha Star V-Max rounds it off.

Apparently, our European cousins are speed freaks.  But then, they tend to have speed limits that are a bit less stodgy than those on this side of The Pond.

The English Invasion (Updated)

2010 Triumph Thunderbird
2010 Triumph Thunderbird

Other than Triumph’s web site, no one seems to be reporting this, but as of this week, the very first Triumph Thunderbirds have arrived in the United States.  The first bikes arrived on Tuesday, so that means that there is a very high likelihood that some of them will be on showroom floors at Triumph dealerships this weekend.

So, along with the Bonneville, and Thruxton, Triumph has now bought the venerable Thunderbird back to life, and back to the US.

The new Thunderbird is a 1600cc parallel twin, and, while I can’t find any actual specifications on it, the engine supposedly puts out “in excess of 80 HP”, and “in excess of 100 lb-ft of torque”.  Stack that up against, say, a Road King.  Harley doesn’t like publishing horsepower stats, but the RK has around 96 lb-ft of torque.

That makes the Thunderbird competitive in performance.  And, at $12,499 for the standard version and $13,299 for the ABS version, it’s very competitive in price.

UPDATE: The Motorcycle Daily web site has a write up on an initial-production Triumph Thunderbird. They note the following about the bikes powerplant:

[T]he new Thunderbird is powered by a new water-cooled, parallel-twin engine that displaces 1597cc, with a DOHC 8-valve head. The engine makes 85 horsepower and 14,90 Kgm (108 ft/lbs) at 2750 rpm. For those who want more power, Triumph offers a kit that adds 12 horsepower and more torque.

Sounds like a beefy ride.

$12,499 for the standard version and $13,299 for the ABS version