LONG-TERM TEST BIKES
Austin sets about mods that’ll make the Speed Triple fit his childlike physique
Triumph Speed Triple RS, KTM 1290 Super Duke R, Suzuki GSX-R1000R, BMW S1000RR, Yamaha MT-09
YOU DON’T NEED to spend thousands on a bike to improve its performance, or to make it feel like it was made for you. So, this month, I’ve added a few practical touches that, while not increasing the power, I think will make me a quicker rider. Here’s how...
The windblast on the Speed Triple is, like any naked, directed straight into my chest. Being only 64kg (without my kit; sorry, you didn’t want that mental image, did you?) that windblast has quite an effect. But small improvements can make life that little bit easier, so I’ve fitted Triumph’s flyscreen visor kit (£52). For the price of a good night out, you get four inches of extension (and who doesn’t want that?) with half of that just tilting upwards. The tiny screen is tinted, which suits the bike’s colourscheme, but you’re never going to be tucked that low to be looking through it, so the tint doesn’t cause visibility issues. Made by Acerbis, the quality is good, with a thickness you’d expect of OE parts. It took no more than 30 minutes to fit, with the removal of three bolts and the nose cone being the extent of the spannering involved.
So, is the £52 worth it? In brief, yes. At lower speeds, you don’t notice the difference, but get up to speed and those hard second and third-gear accelerations are now a lot easier to effect without feeling like I’m being blown off the back of the bike. Also, for longer journeys, especially on motorways, it just makes it more comfortable, rather than a fight to keep pulling yourself forward on the bars.
I’ve also fitted the standard rear seat cowl (which was peculiarly absent when the bike arrived). It makes the whole bike look so much sleeker, vastly improving the looks of a bike that was already a solid 8/10. The cowl also weighs less than the pillion seat it replaces. Losing the pillion seat was all the inspiration I needed to lose the now-redundant (and 1.48kg for the pair) pillion pegs which I’d also been catching the rear of my boots on. Again, they were a doddle to remove. A quick look around the shed, and two allen bolts later, and the exhaust bracket was once again securely attached to the sub-frame.
With the bike now looking awesome (to me, anyway), Chris thought it would benefit from a further
‘Now, hard second and third-gear accelerations don’t make me feel like I’m being blown off the back of the bike’
practical addition. He threw Scottoiler’s new xSystem chain oiler (£199.95) at me across the desk, with the comment, “Perfect for the modern commuter looking for a discreet solution to chain maintenance,” it says here. “Just what you need for that 50-mile commute of yours. Off you go...”
I could see his point. Without a single-sided paddock stand in my garage, chain maintenance isn’t easy and the Scottoiler would not only save me time but also prolong the life of the chain.
I continued the game of pass the parcel, handing the Scottoiler to Whitey. When it came to fitting it, he had no option but to wedge it under the rear seat before trailing the dispensing pipe along the bottom side of the swingarm. It’s not perfect, but with some time and modification, Whitey’s confident you could hide it almost totally out of sight.
So far so good, but I did have to turn the flow rate down to the minimum as the rear end was getting plastered. Scottoiler say the xSystem only lubricates when you are moving. This guarantees lubrication only when you need it, and the unit then goes into a deep sleep mode when you finish your ride, drawing a minimal amount of power from your bike’s battery. I have had no issues with starting the bike up, so other than a bit of chain lube plastered up the side of swingarm early on, all is good.
Michael Rutter is going to thrash the Speed Triple around Donington in a future issue of PB, so it will be interesting to see where it ends up on the Rutter Test leaderboard. But, more importantly to me, when that happens, it means K-Tech’s Michael Hancock will get his hands on the bike and its suspension settings prior to Rutter riding it. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with, as I believe more can be had from the bike, especially as I’m now so familiar with it and riding harder. I’ve come to realise it’s not tracking the road as well as it could, but with fully-adjustable Öhlins upside-down forks and twin-tube monoshock taking care of the springy bits, James can hopefully find a happy medium with the settings for me to really enjoy the rest of this awesome weather we are having.
Removal of pillion pegs saves a sizeable 1.48kg
So easy, even a child could disassemble...
Now Austin’s pace has reached a summertime high, the limits of the suspension is more evident
Austin’s mods take the Speed Triple from a looker to a stunner
Oil flow now reduced to its minimum setting Lube spaffed up the swingarm before the flow was backed off It’s a tight squeeze...