Road Test: Triumph Sprint ST

Triumph have gone straight for Honda's sport touring jugular. Watch out VFR, here comes the new Sprint ST. Jon Urry flies to South Africa to ride it.

Posted: 24 April 2008
by Jon Urry

There are just over 400 people in the UK waiting very excitedly for a specific day to happen. This day may vary from one person to another, but each one will almost certainly have his, or her, specific day pencilled into their diary. It will probably be highlighted in red, but one thing it will certainly say on that page of the diary is 'pick up new Triumph Sprint ST'. That's how many of the new Sprints Triumph has already sold - and before anyone has even ridden the bike.

On the face of it 400 bikes may not sound that impressive, but put it in context. This is half of Triumph's UK allocation of Sprint STs already sold and it's going to take until April for any spare ones to appear in dealers. If you want one you will have to prepare yourself for a wait.

And you really do want one of these bikes because it's very, very good. Sorry to break this news to the non-deposit holders. Those who have already placed an order, prepare to be very smug indeed.

Why is it so good? Well, let's get a bit of history out of the way first. The current Sprint ST is a very underrated bike due to its one major disadvantage. It looks crap. I'm sorry, but it looks like a six-year-old CBR. Get over this and you'll discover a very good motorcycle hiding behind the jelly-mould exterior. The chassis is excellent, the motor very smooth and it's extremely comfortable. I think the correct term is 'BOBFOC', which stands for Body Off Baywatch, Face Off Crimewatch.

Put it against the competition and it's almost there, but just a few little niggles let it down. And in a class led by the legendary Honda VFR800, a few niggles is all it takes to drop down the order.

But Triumph has given the Sprint a work-over. The look is new, chassis updated for a more sporty performance and the engine, while retaining the triple format, has been completely re-worked. It gets a smoother gearbox and a 150cc hike to 1050cc, and that equates to a claimed power increase of 3bhp to 123bhp, with torque up to

But it isn't the engine that has caused this rush of pre-orders, it's the new look. According to Triumph the theme of the new Sprint is 'three'. A triple engine, three headlights, three clocks and three exhaust outlets, but thankfully only two wheels.

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Discuss this story

Bought mine in July 2008 and loving it!!

Posted: 18/02/2009 at 19:13

I am looking to upgrade to one of these from my Bandit 650S

Are they really that good, have heard a lot of good things about them.

Posted: 18/02/2009 at 21:28

Yep, every bit as good as a VFR, if sports tourers are your thing. Feel like Kawasaki's used to, you know, all growly and ready to pounce.  They're a decent size too, none of this miniature race replica malarkey, but they're narrow enough for a short a*se like me to get both feet flat (I'm 5'10"). Sweet handling with a plush ride (how do they manage that?), comfy as, two hundred miles plus to the tank, over fifty five miles per gallon, six thousand mile service intervals....what's not to like?  Love it. Get one with heated grips . You know it makes sense...

Posted: 18/02/2009 at 21:49

 Well Mrs Flo is 5'6" and can, but she has (lovely) long legs...mmm? oh, sorry, got a bit distracted there . My best biking buddy didn't have any trouble and he's around 5'6", so yeah, you'd be fine Hudson. What you riding at the moment?

Posted: 18/02/2009 at 22:15


Go get a test ride! I traded my 600 Bandit for mine. You just need to try it.

Posted: 18/02/2009 at 22:39

Thanks guys,

 My daily commute is 60 miles each way and a lot of that is M25 so I want something that will happily eat miles in comfort with good weather protection and a big tank range...I get 170 miles to reserve from my Bandit which is ok but more is better

Off to find my local Trumpet dealer now

Posted: 19/02/2009 at 13:34

I want one!

Posted: 19/02/2009 at 13:56


  I've just read this review of the brilliant Triumph Sprint ST and was surprised that the author cant do basic math.

What's 1050 minus 955  150??  no...its 95cc and even that 8 % increase in capacity has shown up a measly 5% increase in torque and 3% upping of the power, which is eaten up to some extent by the 3kg weight increase of the 1050 model . The mirrors are unfortunately similar looking to the moped mirror, which detract from the bikes spirited performance. The underseat storage has gone...I mean totally removed and the seat cant even be used to hold helmets hanging each side with a decent seat lock and under seat metal hooks. The seat uses allen keys instead of a seat lock.. try getting your wets out in a hurry even if it did have underseat storage. The battery is so difficult to manouver out, you are left wondering if you are doing something wrong in replacing a defective or worn battery. The headlights are put in the triple format..nice.. but their reflectors are so mall, that they are a poor performance item on the highway. it does not come in Green... A british Bike !!!. 

Dont get me wrong..its a great bike...but it has gone backwards in many areas ..that made me chose the predecessor which can fit my wets and bikelock and led torch and tyre repair/inflate kit, with space for a bit more..

The 955i has larger headlights, generous underseat storage and a seat lock. It can be augmented with metal hooks (helmet clips)under the seat near the strap across the seat between the rider and pillion(idea taken from R1 Yamaha). 

The ecu is updated to be faster.. but it makes the bike more twitchy at slow speeds in btw traffic.

Anyway.. I am always skeptical when I read a review that sings the praises of a bike with almost none of the negatives..for example.. the mirrors arent as steady as the predecessor 955i and the headlights tended to blind oncoming traffic through either being poorly adjusted or just plain loose. This bike is surely a great sports tourer..the motor sees to that, but there are some basic conveniences that were lost for the sake of an underseat pipe, which heats the seat, not good in summer, so extra insulation is put where an underseat storage compartment should be.

Triumph have more work to do if this newer model is to be as good as its predecessor in all areas.

I've upraded my headlights to Xenon like 90/130 watt bulbs and put a seat heater in, that I can switch off. I'm 163cm which is 5'5.5'' in height.. that's short. I had to get the seat reappolstered to lower it a bit, and put a seat heater pad in at the same time.

I've also setup my pass/high beam switch to open/close my Garage door which is handy for maintaining control when comming up the driveway.

The rear lights were easy to uprate to LED bulbs and my headlight switch now uses the 3 positions for (off, left headlight, Both headlights), which conserves power during daylight as the led parkers are always on and allows both low beams for extra dark roads at night if in the country. During the city traffic you only need one light and this puts less drain on the charging system and the battery due to slow speeds, allowing me to run higher wattage gloves which, with the larger reflectors make for very bright lighting when needed.

Conclusion... dont believe reviews that are all the good points.. all bikes have faults, mine has a nasty fuel guage rather than a digital range reading...triumph got that right on the 1050.

Regards to all


Posted: 18/04/2009 at 15:46

Hi Hudson, reading your post I wonder what bike you have. What's your definition of light. certainly the sports 600 series get as low as 160kgs stock standard, and the sprints are just a hair over 200 dry weight. Considering they are ultimately a long distance tourer, they are a nice compromise. I have taken to riding 80kms each way to work on the highway, but also use my bike around town, so the weight actually assists me on the highway. keeping in mind the yamaha MT-01 weighs 240kgs, which is the same difference from the 600 to the sprints, and harleys can weigh around 395, the sprints then..are a good weight because any lighter and your long distance comfort suffers. Its a case of less is better..or in this case..for highway riding..more. I enjoy flicking the bike around at 20-30kph, as the weight is so low down that you can feel like you are riding a smaller bike at city traffic speeds. so..what are your wheels Hudson.



ps. buy a 955i and put the extra 5000k price difference into a "turbo connection" turbo see web site (50% more power guaranteed)

Posted: 19/04/2009 at 01:43

I think a good Oil Temperature Gauge will surely do something good for this bike. Also reading the review, this has to be a good motor bike to own. Good stuff about here.

Posted: 21/10/2010 at 15:27

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