Finally Rode a Triumph Sprint ST - grin
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Thread: Finally Rode a Triumph Sprint ST - grin

  1. #1
    Sure, yep, lets ride... Array ZenOfZoom's Avatar
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    Finally Rode a Triumph Sprint ST - grin

    Triumph Sprint ST 955i

    As should only be done when considering a British bike I’ve test ridden and then popped off to the “local” for a couple of pints with the mates. Or at least went off and had a drink with some friends in a more Canadian version of the venacular.

    The Sprint immediately appealed to me with it’s classic lines that go against the trend of hard angular plastics found on many modern bikes. That and it was red. I’ve always had a soft spot for read bikes, especially the speeding ticket red variety.

    The Sprints diesel like idle was in complete contradiction to being one of the fastest colors available; but I’ve been fooled by at idle performance before. The K1200RS for example sounded like a shaking bag of gravel at idle, but could really hike up it’s skirt when it came down to moving. I tugged the throttle…

    “BWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH” Not just any version of the sound, deep base and throaty despite the stock pipes. This for me was the signature of the Sprint ST, a classic style hiding hooligan upbringings. Once actually in motion I took the time to revel in the engine and it’s sound.

    No anemic whir of the ST1300’s V4 the triple was like no engine I’ve met before. Torque, great gobs of the stuff and pull too, the ’01 Sprint is 110hp and I have no reason to disbelieve. This bike hussles and the engine note is pure joy. I admit to using every excuse possible to open the engine up under a hard pull of the heavy throttle just to hear the engine utter its baritone notes. That car didn’t hear me, “BWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”! I wonder if it can wheely on throttle alone, “BWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”. Oh look a bird, “BWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”. Any excuse would do, and all of them left me grinning like an idiot. This then would be serious giggle factor. A bike that evokes a purely passionate response on style and engine alone, but has a lot more to offer.

    The ergos on the Sprint ST were comfy, maybe a bit more relaxed than the VFR. The bags are well integrated into the bikes stylish flowing and soft lines. The handling was spot on, confident and almost predictive of my needs in the bends. Oh, you want to corner, great fine, by the way what do you take in your tea. And the engine, did I mention it pulls…

    There are lots of “liter” bikes out there, and I am sure this will tow any three of them! And it will sound great doing it.

    The over all package has relatively good fit and finish. No major issues, but a few distinct idiosyncrasies. The shifting was heavy, not clunky or difficult just heavy, as is the throttle. It’s almost as it Triumph has decided to overcompensate for a trouble past by overbuilding the bike. This is fine by me, the bike felt solid, planted and nigh bullet proof. Until I braked.

    I have had bikes with nose dive before, the Bandit 600 and an ST1100. This put their demonstrations of downward mobility to shame. So, a brilliant bike except for the front forks, those would need to be sorted. This is good as I’m sure it drives (or dives) an entire aftermarket industry. Oh and then there are the gauges.

    The readouts are clear and easy to read, it’s just that my demo displayed some eccentricities. The fuel guage failed to regester the tanks level for a good 3 minutes. It may have needed time to think things through. Neutral was hard to find, and the neutral light itself seemed periodically uncertain. And the order of the gauges was inverse of what my North American mind has come to expect, my eye naturally fell to the centrally displayed tach rather than the speedo to the left. Odd considering this engine gives good feedback and it happy to pull and rev quite a ways up the dial. Speed may not be the same concern as it was on the Blackbird, but one would do well to be aware of it.

    Second to the engine my favorite bit of the bit was the “Pass” light which throws on both high and low beams – a great idea laid low by teaming masses of Canadian drivers who don’t know what this means. Instead I used it to optically stand out to drivers pulling out, and if you’re going to use the pass button you may as well “BWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”.

    This bike is my passionate choice; it has quirks, faults and character. What it doesn’t have is good dealer support in Canada, if you have a breakdown in the interior of BC the chances of finding a triumph dealer are well… none. This is my biggest deterrent from the bike and shall remain so, at least until I get to feel the engine pull again “BWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”.

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  3. #2
    `bertR1`
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    you should make a sleep therapy book

  4. #3
    One more time eh? Array spacely's Avatar
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    Right on Neil, the last time I rode a Triumph triple (955 daytona) it had a factory performance pipe on it and sounded wicked! I bet they sell a few on sound alone.
    WMRC # 31

  5. #4
    Stupid bastard Array Hu99's Avatar
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    I concur wholeheartedly, Zen. I rode an ST when I was shopping around a few years back. I ended up buying a VFR800 (the red 2000 that STILL sits at RMS after 2 years!) and I loved the Sprint ST from a very hard to reach spot in by heart. Being English, I wanted to like it so much....and I did. But it was the nagging thought in the back of my mind that kept saying "what if...?" The horror stories of Triumphs from the 70's are hard to ignore when you start considering the same marque. Even though they are suposed to have cleaned up that whole sordid mess and tightened up on quality control, you can't help but think the worst. And then you notice what you call the idiosyncracies: guages that don't quite function the way they should, or something that doesn't quite fit right. It's too bad because as you say, that motor and the sound thereof are exactly what riding is all about. In fact I think the Sprint comes that closest to an actual all round bike. As capable long distance as the VFR, but with much more of the visceral thrill that we all ride for. I'd be curious to hear from somebody who has owned an Sprint for a few years to see how they hold up in the long run. A quick visit to the owner's registry at micapeak. com show that most owners are happy with the bike and have experienced no problems. I don't trust this however, and feel that they are protecting Triumphs because they still believe in them. I mean if you can overcome the awful reputation that they had, ignore the lack of dealer support and still buy one, then you've got to be holding a flame for the brand somehow. I found this list of woes from the only owner who reported problems on Micapeak, and I think that this is more indicative of the reality of Triumph ownership:
    Problems: Engine Stoppage --------------- The engine would stop occasionally. This was eventually traced to a bad CO% setting in the engine management system. This was a really dangerous fault - imagine lane splitting to the front of the traffic, when the lights turn green the engine chooses that moment to simply die. Engine Flat Spot ---------------- There was a huge flat spot at 5,000 RPM even though it had the aftermarket exhaust which is supposed to alleviate this. Apparently the performance camshafts fix this problem for the bargain price of $AUD1000-00! Why should you have to after purchasing what is not a cheap motorbike? Electrical Problem ------------------ The common ground plug burnt out. This was a known problem on 1998 models. This was actually fixed under warranty which was good. Before it was fixed, the bike would sometimes stop and the ECU alarm would light up. Eventually the bike stopped for good (leaving me stranded). Fuel Light ---------- The fuel light worked for a while then stopped. I never figured out what this problem was. Maybe it was as simple as a blown globe, but it was such a brute of a job to check that I never bothered and simply filled up every 200 kilometres. Oil Light --------- The oil light worked intermittently and then not at all. Pinging ------- The engine would "ping" under load no matter what octane fuel I used. Bad Fuelling ------------ Even with the CO% sorted out, the fuelling was imperfect. Riding hard was fine. Riding at a steady throttle at medium revs, the bike would accelerate and decelerate constantly. Erratic Running --------------- Sometimes the bike would be running fine, then the engine fan would switch on (say at lights) and then the engine would run roughly (ie almost unrideable) below 5,000 RPM. Locked in with Dealer --------------------- Like most bike owners I have a favourite mechanic. Unfortunately, with the Triumph, every time the fuel tank is removed (required at every service), the ECU alarm light comes on. This can only be reset with the Triumph computer. Triumph will only sell the computer to an authorised dealer, so after each service you have to go to a dealer to have the alarm reset.

    As always.....caveat emptor!
    What was it all about?

  6. #5
    Registered User Array Digi168's Avatar
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    I have an '02 sprint and it is a great bike, with the factory race pipe and the triple it sounds awesome. The bike has quirks but that is what makes it a triumph..
    WMRC #749

    THE WORLD IS GOING CRAZY
    "You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the US of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the 3 most powerful men in America are named 'Bush', 'Dick', and 'Colon'"

    -Chris Rock

  7. #6
    ridenrain
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    Good write up. When I dropped my 02 Sprist ST off this weeklend for it's 20,000km service I found that the ST's are probably one of the biggest sellers. That's suprising considering crusiers are suposed to be the regular. When I bought this, I looked at the VFR but found it's electronic gee-wizz factor to much for an extended service life. Similar to the confusion of old mechanics opening the hood on new cars.
    I've had zero problems with mine and I'm going to track down the mica-peak registry to see what that's all about. I'be been a very active lurker on the following triumph sites and heard tales of woe from broken plastic fuel fittings and radiator flushing methods but nothing taht shook my belief in my choice of bike.
    http://www.t595.net/
    http://portal.t955i.net/portal/DesktopDefault.aspx

    ...But that fuel gage. The tank is not uniform but they didn't put in a graduated scale. It stays solif full for 100k, then plumits in the next 100k, then the light may come on but you still have almost another 80k. At least that's as far as I wanted to push it.

    ..and the sound. Bieu has the carbon pipe on his and it really does sound nice. Give a listen whenever he rides it. On the VFR, I was flirting around the 7000rpm range to make the V-tech cut in and out. Good sound fun but distracting in traffic.

    This is a really good series you've been doing. Keep it up.

  8. #7
    Sure, yep, lets ride... Array ZenOfZoom's Avatar
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    Wow, great feedback on the Sprint ST guys, thanks. I do think that one of the things that is appealing about this bike is it's character engine, guages, ride quality and all. It seems to have a lot more soul that a lot of bikes out there.

    While they may not have gotten everything spot on there's a lot of passion to the beaST.

  9. #8
    Formerly FURY Array Triplepete's Avatar
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    Was that the 2001 Red Sprint from RMS?

    I had considerations on that bike because it seemed like a good deal, but then I thought about it and remembered a ride where my friend's 955 Daytona's engine died mid way thru a turn coming back from Baker. I believe it was the same motor in that ST.

    Good deal for a great bike but not worth the risk of being stranded or worse, getting killed.

    Have you ridden an FZ1 lately?
    Your Anguish Sustains Me

  10. #9
    _____________ Array iceneweb's Avatar
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    i'd also be a bit hesitant about a trumpet. one friends 94 speed triple has been very reliable, but anothers 98 is plagued by problems. anothe factor is that i think the ST will probably be given a whole new look next year, as the current model looks a bit 'blobby' for current trends.

    have you looked at the Ducati ST2?

    btw: that FZ1 looks great. probably the best looking naked out there
    Last edited by iceneweb; 09-20-2003 at 10:25 AM.

  11. #10
    Entertainment Poster Guy Array rearwheelrider's Avatar
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    RICHES BEFORE BITCHES

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  12. #11
    Stupid bastard Array Hu99's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iceneweb
    i'd also be a bit hesitant about a trumpet. one friends 94 speed triple has been very reliable, but anothers 98 is plagued by problems. anothe factor is that i think the ST will probably be given a whole new look next year, as the current model looks a bit 'blobby' for current trends.

    have you looked at the Ducati ST2?

    btw: that FZ1 looks great. probably the best looking naked out there
    I quite like the Sprint ST looks. IMHO it's not "blobby" at all but looks well though out and a more mature alternative to the spiky wedge shape sportbikes. The Ducati ST2 however is, (again IMHO) absolutely hideous and looks so far out of date that it may have been designed by somebody in the 60's trying to imagine a futuristic bike. As for the FZ-1, I agree. Beautiful!
    What was it all about?

  13. #12
    I wish I was regular Array EF ZED ONE's Avatar
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    I love the howl of a Triumph triple with a pipe but I've heard too many reliability stories to seriously consider one.

    Not that I'm biased but a FZ1 at $11,000 (asking price) is a bargain. Tons of aftermarket accessories to boot.
    Zen, take one for a test ride then PM me and I let you take my modded FZ1 for a rip. Seriously.
    A Penske rear shock and Traxxion Dynamics revalved forks has made a very good bike great. It feels almost infinetly adfjustable from race bike firm to butter soft with just a few clicks of rebound and comp. An Ivan's jet kit gives it creamy throttle response, smoother than FI bikes, 5 of my riding buds with FI bikes agree to this. Ivan's 900 plus dyno runs developing the kit has seemed to pay off.
    Admit it, the most fun you've ever had has been when your naked.

    Great support group in the FZ1 owners association forum and pats page.
    http://www.cartestsoftware.com/fz1/index.htmli

  14. #13
    370HSSV-O773H Array arcrz's Avatar
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    Your take on the exhaust sound reminds me of the first time I rode a Truimph.I felt the same way.It was a 955 Daytona,I really liked it,it went like hell,handled nice and looked great.I found my self sitting at stoplights blipping the throttle cuz I liked the sound of it so much.
    Then I rode a Speed Triple with a full factory performance exhaust and a Carbon Fibre can.What a cool bike!!!! I found myself revving the shit out of it whenever I could,and sometimes when I shouldnt.And yanking wheelies all over the place too.Definately a bike you can get in trouble with.It was such a fun bike to ride and the sound of that uncorked triple is one of the nicest sounds on 2 wheels.
    Hug a two stroke....you`ll never go back to trees.

  15. #14
    T-Rat
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    Great bike eh, Neil. I know I love my RS, I've got 13,000kms on mine now and not one hiccup. I would suggest you go look at a brand new one though...Two year warrenty and if you do break down they pay for towing to the closest dealer. In the pre factory fire models there is a recall on for rear wheel needle bearings failure. So stick to 02 and beyond. I picked mine up last year about this time and only payed 10,999 plus taxes.

  16. #15
    ridenrain
    Guest
    I'd concur with the newer vs the older. There were some glitches and that 2 years vs one year wone me over. You could argue that the VFR might never need it but if it does need a new alternator later on, it's worth having.
    ..and you get to talk bikes with this guy:

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