AR ITCH

E, is now the right time to buy a nearly new bike?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Features - ST nd rd

Tri­umph Street Triple, New £7499 Used from £4700

The Street Triple’s bal­ance of power, light weight and torque made it a huge hit. 2013 saw a sharper styled new gen­er­a­tion launched.

than a new one, and does a three-yearold MT still cut the mus­tard against its sim­i­larly aged ri­vals?

There are pit­falls to buy­ing used. New ma­chines come with a two-year man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty, which will have ex­pired, and af­ter three years a bike also re­quires an an­nual MOT. Is this an is­sue? If you buy from a dealer you can of­ten ne­go­ti­ate a war­ranty for peace of mind, and un­less the bike’s been ter­ri­bly ne­glected or abused then an MOT should pose no prob­lems.

“Very few bikes fail their first MOT on any­thing other than con­sum­ables such as tyres or brake pads. Although on ma­chines such as these, head bear­ings can cause a fail­ure but they’re not a mas­sive is­sue to re­place,” says fel­low tester Mark White, a me­chanic who runs his own bike busi­ness.

So me­chan­i­cally there shouldn’t be any down­sides, what about ser­vice costs? Again, Mark gives his ad­vice: “PCP plans in­sist the bike is reg­u­larly ser­viced, and if you buy a new ma­chine you would be a fool not to ad­here to ser­vice sched­ules,” he reck­ons. “But you need to be aware if the bike is near­ing its valve clear­ance check, as this pro­ce­dure can add a few hun­dred quid to a ser­vice bill.”

But the big­gest con­cern for any used bike buyer is one of van­ity. Does a three­year-old bike look and ride like its age sug­gests? Sur­pris­ingly, no.

That’s the great thing about the cur­rent crop of mid­dleweights. Out of the Street Triple, Z800 and MT-09, only the Yamaha has been up­dated since 2013 and it has only re­ceived small fu­elling and sus­pen­sion tweaks, and gained trac­tion con­trol this year. Vis­ually, noth­ing has changed on any of these mod­els, so aside from a digit on the li­cence plate, they look just the same as the lat­est 2016 mod­els. How­ever, on closer in­spec­tion a few of the used bike per­ils do raise their heads.

Car­ry­ing the most miles on its clocks, at 11,386, the Z800 dis­plays a few typ­i­cal used Kawasaki traits. The brake line ends were show­ing dis­coloura­tion and Seller says 2012, 12-reg, 6830 miles, FTSH, two own­ers from new, Data­tool Sys­tem 4 alarm, belly pan. MCN says Very clean ex­am­ple with suit­ably low mileage and use­ful mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Looks great in black. the axel nut had lost its plat­ing, while the af­ter­mar­ket ex­haust barked loudly. Zed own­ers are far more likely to cus­tomise their bike than Street Triple or MT own­ers, so this is to be ex­pected, but over­all the bike has shrugged off its mileage re­mark­ably well. While the Street Triple ap­peared stan­dard, a quick look at the shock re­vealed the spring’s preload had been wound off, Seller says 2013, 13-reg, 2600 miles, FSH, two own­ers from new, sports screen, tail tidy, car­bon can. MCN says The mod­i­fi­ca­tions don’t add any value, but it’s su­per-low miles and in nice con­di­tion. hint­ing the bike has been low­ered for a shorter rider. When buy­ing used, your first task should be check­ing and re­turn­ing the sus­pen­sion to stan­dard set­tings if re­quired. And the MT-09, which had cov­ered less than 5000 miles in to­tal, was show­ing sur­face rust on its shock, which isn’t a com­plete sur­prise. Over­all, the fin­ish on the MT far ex­ceeds what you would ex­pect on a bike with such a bud­get price tag, but the MT’S sus­pen­sion has al­ways been its Achilles’ Heel.

From the first day MCN rode the MT-09 we found the overly long fork and soft shock gave it a float­ing sen­sa­tion, whereas the Z800 and Street Triple feel far more se­cure in cor­ners. The ev­i­dence in front of us cer­tainly backs up our sus­pi­cions that cor­ners had been cut on the MT’S sus­pen­sion, and ex­perts agree. Dar­ren Wnukoski, who runs MCT Sus­pen­sion, has seen more than his fair share of MT-09S.

“We’ve had over 50 MTS through our door,” he says. “The stan­dard sus­pen­sion is very poor, but a £240 fork oil and spring change and a £400 Öh­lins shock trans­forms the bike.” Does the stan­dard sus­pen­sion ruin the ride? While most own­ers agree it isn’t great, they learn to live with it as the rest of the bike is so good. Es­pe­cially the en­gine.

Again, it isn’t with­out its faults and Yamaha pretty quickly is­sued a fu­elling map up­date to rec­tify an overly abrupt throt­tle, but the MT- 09’s mo­tor is leagues ahead of the slightly ster­ile Z800 and rel­a­tively un­der­pow­ered Street Triple. The Yamaha’s triple is an en­gag­ing en­gine to use, brim­ming with the real spirit that has been sadly sucked out of the Kawasaki’s in­line four in the name of us­abil­ity. The throt­tle is cer­tainly sharp, but com­pared to the muted Kawasaki I’d much rather have a bike with a bit of fire in its belly than a su­per-flat power de­liv­ery. And while the Tri­umph’s triple is beau­ti­fully smooth, when you ride it back-to­back with the MT-09 it feels like you have to spend your days wring­ing the Tri­umph’s neck to get it to per­form. Which it most cer­tainly does, just in cor­ners rather than on the straights.

Against the soft Kawasaki and floaty Yamaha, the Tri­umph is pin­point pre­cise in the bends. Aim a Street Triple at a set of cor­ners and it never fails to im­press. If Yamaha had given the MT a sim­i­lar set-up in 2013 it would have been even fur­ther ahead of the field than it al­ready was.

Which brings me to an­swer­ing this road test’s over­rid­ing ques­tion – is it worth buy­ing a three-year-old bike over a new one?

Sign up for PCP on any of these bikes new and you will spend around £5500 over three years be­fore hav­ing to hand the bike back. Opt to go for a used ex­am­ple and you can buy a three-year-old MT-09, Street Triple or Z800 out­right for the same amount. Yes it will be a three-year-old bike, but it will be your three-year-old bike not a fi­nance com­pany’s. Buy a good one – which isn’t hard to do – and it will look as fresh as a new bike and may even per­form a bit bet­ter if you spend some of your saved cash on sim­ple up­grades.

Which is the one to go for? Europe has spo­ken with their col­lec­tive wal­lets and new or used, the Yamaha MT-09 is still the front-run­ner if you want a do-it-all mid­dleweight with style and spirit.

For a bud­get bike, MT’S dis­play im­presses Su­per-bright tail light is pack­ing LEDS Street’s classy clocks have a lap timer Buy used to get ex­tras like this seat cowl LCD dash shows gear, fuel, trip and more Z-shaped tail light is a nice de­sign touch With i

If you want a revvy en­gine and ag­gres­sive styling, the Z800 is for you MT-09 ABS Street Triple ABS Kawasaki Z800 ABS In the naked mid­dleweight mar­ket, the Street Triple’s han­dling can’t be ri­valled

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