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Triumph Sprint GT 2011 Review


by Marc Cantin ,

In addition to the Triumph Sprint ST, the company’s highly effective entry into the sport touring market, Triumph has now added  the 2011 Sprint GT for high performance touring. An Adventure model is scheduled for announcement on November 1st, and you can get a bit of a preview at In fact, Triumph has announced three new models for Europe at the Cologne motorcycle show, with a rumoured four more coming at the Turin Show in a few weeks.

Elegant, classic lines, with a few twists to make it Touring friendly, like large mirrors and luggage. (Photo: Marc Cantin/

But back to the 2011 Sprint GT, an evolution of the Sprint ST that focuses on the needs of the longer distance touring riders, especially those with a sporty bend. This means huge luggage capacity, a suspension that combines a smooth solo ride with adjustability for passenger and luggage, or for playing around on twisty roads, and easy-to-live-with ergonomics for the rider and passenger.

Pass me some of that torque please
Triumph’s 1050cc three cylinder engine, the mainstay of the large-engined Triumph family, shines on the new GT as it provides a unique mix of torque, power, sound and just plain grunt.

The raison d’être of the big triple is easy to comprehend. Twins are reputed for their torque, but limited in maximum revs due to relatively massive pistons and connecting rods that need to be stopped and started repeatedly at high revs. With lighter reciprocating components, fours can rev higher to develop more power, but give up torque at low rpm to achieve this high rev efficiency. It thus makes sense for a smaller manufacturer in need of a distinctive brand image to split the difference and make the triple an integral part of its product strategy, especially since you get a unique growl thrown in as an added bonus.

The 1050 used on the Sprint GT benefits from the latest developments from the Hinckley boffins, such as a more efficient stainless steel 3-into-1 exhaust system, updated electronics that increase max power up to 128hp (+5 from earlier models) at 9200rpm, and max torque is up 4lb-ft, to 80 at a low 6300rpm. The real benefit here is a fatter torque curve all the way from 2500rpm to max revs at 9500.

The six speed box still gives off a reassuring cloc (Not quite a clunk!) when changing gears and lets you upshift easily without using the clutch. With a 7% longer final drive ratio, enveloping bodywork and the exhaust system now under the engine, engine feedback is more muted – right in line with the bike’s touring mission.

Touring-focused chassis and suspensions
Simplicity of purpose, in this case touring, reduces the number of options, and thus compromises that need to be made so that the suspension can cope with every combination of load, roads and riding styles out there. For this GT, Triumph developers focused on smooth roads and a comfortable ride, setting aside the stiffness required for serious track activities.

The older ST’s wheelbase was stretched by 75mm for added stability on the GT. Developers then restored most of the lost agility by raising the rake by a full degree and reducing the trail by 5mm. These changes produced the needed stability in a straight line and enough cornering agility to keep the fun in sporty riding.

Cost considerations mean no adjustability in the fork, and only preload and rebound adjustability at the back. The good news is that the stock settings work well for the greater majority of riders and their needs. More demanding owners can take some of the purchasing dollars they saved and invest in more adjustability, such as with a fork kit and a better shock.

A little more room for folded legs and shaft drive would add greatly to the GT, especially for heavier riders. (Photo: Triumph)
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