What is it?
A sports tourer from Triumph. Or “Grand Tourer” as the GT indicates. It takes over from Triumph’s hugely successful Sprint ST (Sports Tourer). While the Sprint GT 1050 gets a number of critical redesigned components to shift the bike’s focus towards touring, it retains those aspects of its predecessor that first resulted in this fine machine.
These changes include a side-routed exhaust, as opposed to the under-seat design of the ST, more free flow in the exhaust system for a bit more power, an upgraded engine management system to improve fuel economy and throttle response, and a slightly retuned engine to shift the power delivery band. There is also an improved upper fairing.
Many of these changes came as a result of Triumph’s intense research through bikers from across the world to create this purpose-built machine according to the best experts available, the riding public.
The in-line three-cylinder, 1 050 cc power source is arguably the finest engine that Triumph has ever fitted to a bike. With the GT, maximum torque is reached at a full 1 200 r/min less than with the ST (now at 6 300 r/min), putting it exactly where you need it for touring.
With the engine of the Sprint GT 1050 retuning actual output was only increased by about four kilowatts. But the torque delivery was evened out, resulting in a bike slightly more touring biased than the ST.
Style, instruments and equipment
My first impression was that the GT doesn’t have distinctive styling. It seemed as if the styling gets lost in a sea of components and parts that were not chosen for their striking appearance, but rather for how well they fit together. If judged by the admiration from other riders, there seems to be something about the GT that works. In fact, the whole GT design philosophy is function over form, but with due consideration for aesthetics − even if the overall look is understated.
The cockpit displays were designed from rider feedback research to be clear and easy to read at a glance while at high speed. All dials are large and clearly visible, with proper illumination for night riding. The exception is the bar display of the fuel gauge, which is not very practical at all.
ABS is standard, as are those conveniently large panniers. The windscreen design is very effective at high speeds.
Traction control is lacking, and not even available as an optional extra.
With the Sprint GT 1050 you can quickly reach speeds way over the legal speed limit even if you did not mean to. The bike will pull in any gear and almost from any rev count – a very suitable set-up for touring, that requires adjusting speed to road conditions. The GT is deceptive; if you want to go hooligan you can and the Sport Touring tyres from Bridgestone (120/20-17 front, 180/55-17 rear) put enough rubber on the road to encourage aggressive cornering.
Ride and handling
The Sprint GT 1050 inspires confidence, is extremely easy to handle and even usable for commuting if you remove the panniers. On the previous Sprint, a triple under-seat exhaust design required the toolbox to be housed in a pannier (which was just stupid). The exhaust was changed to a three-into-one side-mounted unit, which allows a lower seat, giving more pillion rider comfort. The ample seat cushion on the stock seat adds to this.
The riding position is slightly forward, which makes aching wrists on long hauls a possibility for some, well before your butt starts to complain.
The handling is fairly sharp and the only real gripe is that feedback from the front suspension is not as direct as preferred for extreme cornering. I only mention this because there is so little to fault on this bike.
The rear suspension is adjustable for preload and rebound. This is done via a hand-twist knob at the rear.
Dislikes: The dislikes are few. The heat from the exhaust is very noticeable. The headlights are good, but they do project a few dark spots on the road in front of you and there is not enough sideways illumination.
Likes: The Sprint GT scores exactly where it aims: effortless, enjoyable touring. It is versatile and excellent value for money. There is also 31 litres worth of pannier space; enough for two full-face helmets, one on either side.
Verdict and rating
Every other sport tourer will probably beat the Sprint GT 1050 at something, but few can compare as a complete package. Comfort, speed, great handling and no fatal flaws. 8.5/10
Honda ST1300, BMW R1200RT, Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring, Kawasaki Concours 14
Specifications of the Triumph Sprint GT 1050
- Engine 1050 cc, liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line three-cylinder
- Gearbox six-speed, wet, multi-plate. Chain drive
- Power 96 kW @ 9 200 r/min
- Torque 108 Nm @ 6 300 r/min
- Weight 265 kg (wet, ready to ride)
- Seat height 815 mm
- Fuel capacity 20 litres
- Fuel consumption +/- 5.8 litres/100km
- Tank range +/- 340km
- Warranty and servicing Two-year unlimited km warranty with two-year AA roadside assist
- Price R109 500
- Rode by Bikeroutes
- Review by Louis Fourie, January 2013
More info from triumph-motorcycles.co.za