LONG-TERM TEST BIKES

Austin sets about mods that’ll make the Speed Triple fit his child­like physique

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Ja­son Critchell AUSTIN SMITH

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...

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