Re: 2013 Triumph Trophy
Let me see how big this is...
2013 Triumph Trophy review
I have now had three chances to see, feel and test the new Triumph Trophy. The first at the Irish launch at Dublin Triumph, when, after a very good presentation, we had some touchy feely time with the bike in the showroom, then a quick 45 minute test drive some days later and lastly a four hour run on it the Sunday before Christmas. In a moment I'll share my impressions. First though, a little about me. Why? Because it really annoys me to read a review and try to make it relevant when I have no idea of the size, shape or experience of the author. For example, I read rave reviews on the effectiveness of the screen on the Pan European (Honda STX1300A to those across the pond) when it first came out. I ended up buying one and spent my entire tenure being severely buffeted. In fact, I found that for long high speed runs the best position was screen fully down. At least then I had a smooth airflow over me. So much for the 'cocoon of still air' I had read so much about. I'm not going to do the same to you.
So about me. I'm 6'1½'' with a 33'' inseam and weigh c.15 stone – about 200 lbs or a smidgen more, though work on that is starting soon, again. I first rode a motorbike in about 1970. I survived 3 years of biking around Dublin in the mid seventies as a student – probably with much the same approach to my wellbeing as motorbike couriers. During that time I rode 50, 125, 175 and 250cc bikes. Since 1995 I've had large touring bikes. I've owned 2 Goldwings, a 1200 Aspencade and a GL1500, the Pan European mentioned above and 3 BMW's, an R1150RT, a R1200RT and, for the last 5 seasons, an LT. I have also ridden other big bikes such as Harleys and Yamaha Venture and tall bikes such as Aprilia Capnord, Honda Africa Twin and BMW GSs. I feel this is relevant because I've read a lot of comments about how big and heavy the new Triumph is. Yes, if your sole experience is a Honda Hornet. But for me it was actually smaller and lighter than my current steed.
On to my impressions of the Triumph. And these are impressions. Actual measurements, technical data and photos and videos are readily available at various online sites, including Triumph's.
Firstly, in the showroom. Looks. A good looking bike. Much the same as the current RT, though with a nicer side view, and K1600 though I prefer the latter's owl face. It has what has evolved into a generic look. Have a gaggle of Pans, RTs, K1600s, Connies, FJRs and the Triumph coming at you and you'd be hard pressed to pick any of them out. Definitely not distinctive like the LT, Harleys or Goldwings. But where it's pitched, it's in the front row. I wasn't sure about the black plastic across the top of the front over the lights. I think continuing the colour would have worked better, or maybe some brushed aluminium like the GL1200. The RT has the same black plastic from the lights up but it works because the screen is shaped to it and covers it. And at the back, I'd have preferred more integrated luggage, like my LT, but even BMW don't do this anymore. Size. It is large. Slightly bigger than an RT and very slightly smaller than a K1600. It seems very wide across the tank area and in front of your knees. The seating length is about the same as the K1600 which is good for two up touring. Less helmet banging as experienced on shorter bikes like the RT's and Pan. Panel. Simple and straightforward with nice clear instruments and displays. A bit like the pre 2010 RTs before they gained the hooded dials but with a bigger info display. Toys. Plenty. Radio, heated seats & grips, electronic suspension, power sockets, bluetooth, etc. Luggage. About the same capacity as an RT but the top-box looses the coffin look. Both panniers take a full face helmet and the top-box takes two. All have the fancy Triumph system that allows some movement to aid stability. On opening the top-box I was surprised at high high up the floor was. Most of the capacity seems to be in the lid. Also, The floor was a disappointing cheap looking plastic. A bit of carpet or a lining a la LT would have made a huge difference.
Driving. Starting up the engine has a lovely sound. Distinctive like the RT but different. Smoother but still an odd sound. A good exhaust note. Some mechanical noise but not as much of the annoying whine of the Pans or K1600s. Overall a real, old fashioned, motorbike sound. I liked it. Engaging gear, the clutch is well weighted and the gear change slick even when cold. A big difference from my LT. First attempt to move off, easing the clutch out and cracking the throttle open, results in a loud roar as the super sensitive throttle has the revs screaming long before the clutch even starts to bite. I got used to this almost immediately and didn't embarrass myself any more – until attempting to move off for the first time again on my second drive. I had forgotten how sensitive the throttle was. Again, after the first effort I had re-learnt the necessary coordination and there was no further problem. Well, a slight side effect which I will mention in 'Niggles' below. But accelerating and gear-changing was smooth. In fact the gear-change itself was fantastic. Like the proverbial hot knife through butter. And the clutch lever didn't move about under your fingers as the K1600 does with its fancy slipper clutch.
The bike only had a couple of hundred miles on it so I didn't abuse it. But even 'gently spirited' acceleration on part throttle was lively and brought in a nice induction sound with an equally nice reply from the exhaust end. Mechanical noise wasn't really obtrusive at all. I would say that the latest RTs feel livelier when accelerating but that's probably down to the peaky nature of their power delivery. The Triumph seems to pull stronger through more of the rev range. Both are probably equally quick but I would guess that the Triumph would have the edge fully loaded.
Handling. During my two rides I had it on everything from city traffic to motorways, bumpy side roads and twisty mountain roads. Overall excellent. Weight disappears as soon as you move off. Slow u-turns are effortless. Very responsive at speed. Great turn in. Very secure feeling. Top marks.
Comfort. Now, here's the big question for a tourer, especially from BMW owners who support a huge aftermarket industry in seats and windscreens. This is particularly why I wanted a longer time with the bike after my first spin. Overall excellent, again. Seat. I think the test was that during my 4 hour ride I took two short breaks, one for fuel and one for coffee. Getting back on the bike each time was like getting on for the first time. Not even the slightest discomfort and not a hint of the immediate pain experienced when you re-acquaint an aching muscle with the seat that caused the soreness in the first place. Contrast that with my first experience with the LT's soft touch seat – 45 minutes was all I could bear. Ergonomics, in the sense of the pegs/seat/bars relationship were good for the first run and excellent for the second. No shoulder, neck or back pain after 4 hours. The difference between the two rides was that the seat was at the low setting for the first and I found my legs bent a little more than I'd like. At the high setting it was perfect for me. I could still flat foot both sides when stopped. Suspension. It had the electronic version and it was set to comfort/solo rider for both drives. I found that was firm enough for me and, as mentioned above, gave excellent handling so I didn't fiddle with settings. It was a bit too hard for my liking on the bumpy roads. Didn't soak up the bumps like my LT or even the version 1 ESA RT's. But it handled way better. Probably the same overall feel as my Pan European. Interestingly, I've just had a drive on a GS with its long travel suspension and it felt equally firm. Maybe my LT has me spoiled.
Weather protection. Excellent. Windscreen performed about the same as my LT which has the high screen option with a Laminer Lip added. One difference I noted was that I could feel cool air on the top of my head for the first time. Whatever way the LT deflects the air doesn't allow this even though the buffetting/noise seems the same wearing my Schuberth Concept helmet. There's about 6'' of still air behind, up, down and outwards from the mirrors. The LT has more still air below the mirror with the 'wings' open, less with them closed. The airflow past the legs starts right beside mine on the LT, about 4'' further out on the Triumph. The width of the fairing and the little lips around the edges show here. No sense of pressure on my back at speed with the screen up. I was solo so no impressions from the rear seat. I had one heart stopping moment when I leaned left to change lane after overtaking an Izuzu Trooper. At that moment I was hit by the bow wave and a strong gust from the side (there was a gale warning earlier) and I thought the bike was being whipped from under me. The LT is far more stable in the same conditions. Sometimes heavier can be better! I remember noting this improved stability when I first got the LT after my R1200RT so the Triumph is probably very similar to the RT in this regard.
Living with it. Very easy to drive. It feels in between sitting on it, like an RT, and sitting in it, like the LT. Closest is the K1600GT. Easy to paddle around into parking spaces and to hoik up onto it's main stand. Clear instruments with information I like readily available. For instance, on my LT I have to scroll though mpgs, range etc., to get to temp. The Triumph has it displayed on the top of the info screen constantly. Scrolling through the available screens seems natural. One of the screens showed I was getting c.52mpg (imperial) at a constant 75mph and almost 60mpg at 60 mph – on a tight engine. Overall it's fast enough, torquey enough, comfortable, responsive, well equipped, good looking and sounds great. I like!
Niggles. And these really are only just very minor in the scheme of things and can be easily sorted. I mentioned there was a side effect of the sensitive throttle earlier so I'll start there. The cruise control canceling is linked to the throttle as well as clutch and brakes. It needs to be decoupled from the throttle urgently. This is no doubt just a software fix and could be flashed in at the dealers. At the moment any movement of the throttle cancels cruise with resultant forward lurching. This happens on bumps and even once when I put my hand back on the throttle. Niggle 2 also concerns the cruise and this is that the switches are on the right. Try as I might, I could not engage it, especially with that throttle. I ended up setting it with my left hand, which meant not only taking my hand off the bar but looking down to see what I was doing. Not clever. Next switches. Main ones (indicators, horn, lights) very good but the minor ones, especially the cruise control (again) were poor. They were aimed at my navel and impossible to read. The LT has the writing or symbols on the tops of the switches, facing you, not on the front faces. I expect you'd quickly get used to things though but it's not user friendly at the outset.
The first time I tried to give a dab of rear brake the pedal just wasn't there. I eventually found it a lot lower and further in than I expected. Using it required quite a bit of foot contortion which was very surprising as the gear lever was perfectly positioned on the other side. During a chat afterwards the service guy at Dublin Triumph said that the lever could be easily and quickly adjusted to my preference.
The top-box lid is supported when open by straps on either side. Unlike the LT, they don'r reel in and at one point I found that one had been trapped outside, probably blown out as I closed the lid. The result was that the lid was wedged up a bit on that side. I'm not sure if that would have allowed a leak or not but it was a bit untidy.
My first drive was on a bright sunny day with a clear blue sky. Being winter though, the sun was low in the sky. With it behind me I had severe reflections on the panel, blotting out the info screen completely and making the main instruments difficult to read. I remember the same on my Pan, even slightly worse. The screen on the LT is brilliant that way, though my Garmin display suffers the same fate. My final niggle, and this is seriously tiny, is the response rate of the windscreen. This is especially noticeable as it begins to lower from full up. No big deal. I'm just used to it happening faster.
These are really just quibbles (and indeed the ones relating to the cruise control will not even bother a rider who doesn't use it. I do, all the time.). Overall it's an excellent bike. If these issues were dealt with it would be absolutely brilliant. Would I set off for the south of France on one? In a heartbeat. Would I buy one? I'm waiting for a call from the dealer now to see if we can hammer out a deal.
'04 Ural Tourist