Street Triple on tour
Joe’s Street Triple RS heads off for an alpine adventure
The plan this year with the RS was always to do a big road trip somewhere in Europe – somewhere I’d not been before and a place in which I could really test the bike in different scenarios. There was only one place for it, the Alps. I have an old school mate, Glenn, who lives not far from Chamonix, France, and it was the perfect excuse to get over and see him for the first time in years.
Trying to find a week free in my schedule was difficult, but I soon knocked a couple of gruelling travel days off my itinerary by organising my bike to be shipped out to Geneva using Bikeshuttle (they’ll transport your bike there and back from £445 with reductions for a one-way trip. Visit www.bikeshuttle.co.uk).
I dropped my bike with them at 11am and one minibus, flight and overnight stop later, I was in Geneva and reunited with the RS outside my hotel at 7am the following morning. Brilliant.
There was no route plan before I arrived but once I was there the weather decided to turn against us, forced us to travel down into Italy in search of some sunshine.
What we found was a road that looked incredibly promising for some great action and a place to camp – the Colle Del Nivolet, aka The Nivolet Pass. This road had it all and climbed high into the sky with switchback hairpin turns and sheer drops to get the adrenaline pumping.
I rode for 400 miles in the first day and the Triumph didn’t protest once. The only thing was that at altitude, it did become a little asthmatic, with the lack of oxygen at just over 2600 metres becoming noticeable – not just for the engine but for me as well!
Fitting the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIIS (approx £250 mail order) before the journey made a world of difference, especially with the amount of rain I had to contend with. They’re incredibly confidence-inspiring, and do a great job of dispersing standing water.
The weather put a downer on things and forced us to camp for only a couple of nights. It also meant I had to miss out many of the roads I’d wanted to see (a second visit is on the cards). What I did ride though was unbelievable, partly because of the sheer beauty of the Alps but more so because of the bike. It was flawless at being a luggage mule, a wet weather expert and a sporty little number on the Alpine passes.
The ride back was the part of the trip I was least looking forward to. Luggage loaded with 95 litres of clothes, cameras, tripods and flash kit, I programmed the sat-nav for home, turned the key and got my head down to catch my Eurostar crossing. After 702 miles and 12 hours, I was home.
It rained for 60% of the journey, which sucked – especially when one of the panniers split open and the waterproof covers failed. I had no coffee stops, food or respite other than the time it took to refuel, but to my surprise I woke up the following day feeling brand new.
It took 650 miles for my backside to start aching, but even then I was still able to ride with minimal discomfort. I am genuinely surprised at how good the RS was at munching the miles.
It took four tanks of fuel to get home, averaging 180 miles between fuel stops. On the French motorways I was getting over 200 miles before needing to refuel though, which I thought was really good considering the pace I’d set. The RS took on the near-2000-mile round-trip with ease and was more fun out there than any lumbering tourer.
Next stop, the track.
‘It took 650 miles for my backside to start aching, but even then I was still able to keep going’