Smart Money

Con­quer miles with the finest of Hinck­ley’s fun tour­ers

Motorcyclist - - Contents - —Abhi Eswarappa

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.

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