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 GT 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 mounted? 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 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, 1050cc 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 1200r/min less than with the ST (now at 6300r/min), putting it exactly where you need it for touring.
With the engine retuning actual output was only increased by about four kilowatts. But the torque delivery was evened out more, 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 general response regarding the admiration of it by 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, sadly, lacking and not even available as an optional extra.
With the GT you can end up way over the legal speed limit even if that was not your intention. The bike will pull in any gear and almost from any rev count – a very suitable set-up for touring where adjusting speed to road conditions is required. 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 GT 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 would be preferred for extreme cornering, although, it must be added, this negative is only mentioned because there is little fault to find 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: Where the Sprint GT really scores is exactly where it is aimed. 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 GT 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 for Triumph Sprint GT 1050
- Engine 1050cc, liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line three-cylinder
- Gearbox six-speed, wet, multi-plate. Chain driven
- Power 96kW@9200r/min
- Torque 108Nm@6300r/min
- Weight 265kg (wet, ready to ride)
- Seat height 815mm
- Fuel capacity 20 litres
- Fuel consumption Approximately 5.8 litres/100km
- Tank range Approximately 340km
- Warranty and servicing Two-year unlimited km warranty with a two-year AA roadside assistance plan
- Price R109 500
- Rode by Bikeroutes January 2013
- Review by Louis Fourie
More info from http://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.za/