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Triumph Sprint GT 2011 Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The brakes are powerful and the ABS unobtrusive, but the adjustable brake lever is too far from the grip at every setting, an easy one to fix at the factory or with a suitable drill bit if you know what you are doing.

Great Scottish roads, with low cop density as you go farther North and where summer is actually shorter than here in Canada. The Sprint GT really shines on this type of road as the sporty side comes out. (Photo: Triumph)

High Speed Ergos – and NO turbulence
GT stands for Grand Touring, as in hours of quick and entertaining riding on every type of road save for very twisty mountain passes. Rider comfort thus becomes THE major factor in the design and execution of the bike, with a triangle (Seat – footpegs - grips) that let you lean forward just so, with your legs comfortably tucked in under the seat. Add to that the need for protection from air blast and weather and you have yourself a nice problem to resolve as a designer, given that you know the range of humans that will ride your bike.

At 110kg and 1,80m, I am bigger than the target audience that manufacturers aim at for their comfort envelope, with my paunch and low flexibility showing up as further complications to deal with. It was thus no surprise for me to find that at rest, the bike felt high, as did the foot pegs, while the forward-mounted grips forced me to lean forward more than I like, at least for city and slow riding. But it was certainly not all bad, as we will see later on.

The seat felt positively cushy, and the rear view mirrors generous, as were the enormous saddlebags that gobbled up my XL integral helmet easily. By the way, those roomy bags are wider than the mirrors, something to remember when manoeuvring at close quarters. These case hang from the top and can move sideways at the bottom, letting the bike wiggle a little bit without the bags following every movement. I did most of my riding fully loaded, and the bike did feel freer than I would have expected when weaving through traffic at higher speeds. Good idea Guys!

The display panel included three round dials: an easy-to-read analog tach and an analog speedometer with too-small numbers. In today’s era of photo radars and low tolerance to speed, we need to know exactly how fast we are moving. A speed limiter might be a great addition here! You can select from three menus the kind of time-distance-range-fuel usage information you want to see on the third round dial. I missed the gear ratio indicator, having to depend of engine feel to eventually tell me that I was in fifth rather than sixth the odd time.

I intentionally kept the GT’s best feature – in my book – for the end: an absolutely turbulence-free ride at all time. Well OK, riding along in Paris-heavy traffic on a four-laner at a legal 130kph did cause some mild disturbances, just enough to confirm that the laws of physics had not changed while I was not looking.

(Photo: Bernard Suquet)
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