Conquer miles with the finest of Hinckley’s fun tourers
BROUGH SUPERIOR. Norton. Ariel. Hesketh. Recent British motorcycle history is littered with manufacturers that have been revived, but none has been as successful as Triumph. If Chris and Adam’s tour of England on the Thruxton R and Speed Triple RS (page 38) inspires you, here are some of the most enjoyable mile-munchers Triumph has released since its rebirth in Hinckley.
The Tiger 1050 had a winning formula: take the motor from the hooligan’s wet dream Speed Triple, then combine it with comfortable upright ergonomics, room for all of your stuff, and pavement-focused 17-inch wheels. Triumph realized that the average ADV bike rider wasn’t interested in getting dirty, so it did away with off-road pretensions and created an excellent package to go farther, faster. The base model was introduced in 2007, but you want the SE ABS model because it came equipped with ABS, a gel seat, centerstand, hand guards, and color-matched side bags. Budget $5,500 to put one in your garage.
If you want to conquer gravel roads along the way, look to the 1050’s predecessor: the Tiger 955i. It wasn’t ideal for anything more severe than fire roads, but it looked the part thanks to a spoked 19-inch front wheel, a skid plate, and even a paint scheme that evoked a tiger’s claws. The 104 hp of the tremendous triple motor made it one of the fastest of the big dualsport bikes of the time, but only the tall need apply. For $3,000, you can get a nice early example, which is ideal because the Tiger 955i’s claws got softened over time. Triumph eventually installed hard bags and cast wheels, turning it into more of a street tourer. At that point, just spend more and get the Tiger 1050.
If you prefer your mile munching
with an emphasis on the sport side of sport touring, then the Sprint ST should be high on your list. Well-regarded by media and riders alike, the Sprint maintained the excellent performance of its predecessor but ditched the bulbous styling. Riders think of triples when they think of Triumph, and the company obliged, with references throughout: three headlights, three gauges, and even three exhaust tips on the distinctive underseat muffler. We loved the Sprint ST on its debut, praising handling and power delivery that put it in the running with established sport touring machines from Honda and BMW.
Triumph followed up this model with the Sprint GT, which had a longer wheelbase for better stability at the expense of handling. Your choice will depend on your riding style, but we’d budget $4,250 and pick up a 2008 ST. By that point Triumph had upgraded the headlight, switched from plastic to steel gas tanks, and made luggage a standard feature.
For an extra dose of rarity, go back in time to the Daytona Super III. Just 803 examples were sold worldwide, and the United States got 179 of them. What made the Super III special was the involvement of famed engine expert Cosworth—it developed a new method of pressure sand-casting for the engine cases. In addition to Cosworth’s touch, this bike got bigger cams, flat slide carbs, Alcon six piston front brakes, and ample carbon fiber. The results of the engine work yielded a healthy 115 hp (versus 97 for the base model).
Despite the power bump and the racy looks, the Super III’S weight and dimensions made it a sport-tourer rather than an outright sportbike. Even though these are rare, you can find one for $4,500. Just make sure you pay attention to serial numbers, because they are occasionally faked. Get a real one, and you’ll enjoy what we called a “charismatic sportbike that can also be used as a daily rider and medium-distance touring machine” back in August 1995. Hope you like yellow. No matter your choice, these Triumph triples all represent entertaining ways to get to your destination with alacrity and British class.
Hard bags and cast wheels turned the Tiger 955i into a street tourer.
The 2008 Sprint ST is a winner: comfortable, quick, and cheap as chips.
The rare, Cosworth-powered Daytona Super III.