|Performance Bikes - February 1999|
Well, Sorry, but there had to be a first. Mark Graham, the Editor for the publication Performance Bikes has refused permission for us to post this article. So if you want to see the full text, you will have to attempt to find a copy of this article.
Mr. Graham did agree to me posting a summary, so here is a brief overview with a few quotes tossed in. Of course all quoted material is copyright Performance Bikes 1999.
"The Sprint ST is Triumph's stab at putting some heart into the sports tourer market. But is it enough to set your pulse racing? The Spanish launch has the answers..."
Article by Simon Hargreaves
The following is my summary of the article by Simon. Items in quotes are direct from the article.
Well, you don't miss much on the first page. Simon proceeds to recount his tale of talking his way out of a lock-up by a local Spanish officer after wheeling up up down a street in the small town of Higuera da la Sierra in Spain. After the page of filler, we get on to the meat of the article.....
Simon finds the ST uninspiring and dull. "It's so uniformly competent and ultimately uninspiring, if you threw it in a pond it wouldn't even make a ripple." Of course the positioning of the bike between the 955 and the Trophy, he continues, creates a problem. If Triumph makes it too sporty, 955 sales will suffer, and too much of a tourer and it will pull from the Trophy. So of course that leaves it right in the middle - up against the king of it all, the VFR 800.
Simon goes on to question the retuning of the 955 motor for more torque and less vibration - he would prefer dropping the 955 motor straight in. He finds the motor full of power (110 hp, but seat of the pants felt to him like 105hp), but wanted more of a gain over the VFR's 100 hp. Simon was pleased with the absence of the normal 5k drop in the hp curve (from the 955), but disliked the low 9500 rpm cutout.
Suspension, in stock settings "is on the comfy side of soft". He recommend adding a couple of clicks at the back to take the sagginess away. He also recommends dropping the front from 145mm to 140mm or to use heavier oil - or both. But he also goes on to point out that Triumph has gone to great lengths to keep it stable, so you may not even want to bother with it.
On the riding position and comfort, Simon gives it the thumbs up over the VFR. Very comfortable even after 250 miles (he suggests that Triumph is atoning for the wrist aching you get on the 955), plus the extended touring range, due to better fuel consumption figures, is a plus.
Simon commented on the Sprint having lots of nice things, including mirrors that worked, a nice gearbox, grab rail, fuel gauge, clock, centerstand plus a catalog full of accessories.
Simon then goes on about the less nice things - the build quality. On this list he includes items seen when you take the fairing off - wiring and block connectors hanging in the breeze, rough engine castings, and a dull grey frame. I pulled my fairing, and didn't find this to be the case (on the connectors) so it must be that the press bikes were a little rushed to the site. I know that there were fairing changes between the press bikes and the rollout, so they may have corrected the wiring as well. As for the frame, mine is a metallic (metalflake) grey - maybe they should have checked the production bikes before making these comments. The only other problem Simon saw was the few hundred quid more than the VFR on the pricetag (worth it to me to have the Triumph name on the tank).
Simons conclusion was that the Sprint was more touring and the VFR was more sport. If you are a two up tourer covering long distances with full luggage then the ST's for your. If you are more of the Sunday rider, with a few long distance trips here and there, then the Sprint is probably too safe and solid.
Performance bikes then has a power graph saying blow off midrange improvements and give us raw power. Unfortunately they screw up the legend and make it appear that the VFR had the most hp of the group, when in fact it was the lowest scorer - glad to see the proofreader was on the job.
After reading the article two or three times, I sat back and thought, wow. It's sad that he went into the test with such a singular mindset that he missed a lot of the nice points of the bike. Oh well, somebody has to ride the Buells ;-)