Used Review: Triumph Sprint RS

Quiet, unassuming and unpopular the Sprint RS may have been as a new buy, it now has a loyal following and makes a bargain sports tourer.

Posted: 5 April 2008
by Bertie Simmonds

I was at the launch of the Sprint RS in southern Spain in 1999. Some muppet in the office thought it would be a good idea to ride back from there to the Midlands, in late December.

But thanks to decent winter kit and the Sprint RS's solid attributes, I got back in one piece and none the worse for my ordeal. The days in the saddle gave me plenty of time to suss out the Sprint RS. Here was a solid, capable machine which shared most of its bits with the more expensive Sprint S - the ally beam-frame was the same and so was the motor. The RS worked well over more than 1000 miles of good, bad and plain ugly weather and was comfortable for many hours at a time. The motor was plenty peppy enough and the suspension pretty good, even with a firm shock and slightly soft forks. Turn-in was quicker than the ST too, thanks to modified, 'sportier' steering geometry.

Despite its virtues the RS never shone like the more popular ST. Instead, the RS's image was that of the solid family man. But, unassuming as it may be, the RS can spring a few surprises and it's almost as capable as its bigger brother ST - and let's not forget that the ST routinely gave Honda's VFR a run for its money.

All that niggled was the lack of 'sock-you-in-the-face' looks and any creature comforts. Half a fairing on a bike costing more than seven grand? Where's the grab-handle? The centrestand? These were extras from the accessories catalogue, meaning the price could really add up if you wanted something properly equipped.

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An excellent bike.  I've had the 108bhp 2000 Sprint RS and currently have the 118bhp 2002 Sprint RS.  The latter bike has been dynoed on a Dynapro machine, showing a clear 112bhp at the rear wheel.  Fuel consumption is excellent, giving 40mpg on average in town commuting and over 55mpg on longer runs on the motorway.  Good strong acceleration all the way to 140mph, comfortable and great fun to ride.  Good handling, brakes and easy to work on as well.  Good exampes sell for under £2500 now and they are popular bikes.

Posted: 07/04/2011 at 21:18

Totally agree with the above... My last bike was killed in France damn feckers... and for 18 months I was without a bike as I was moving to Vienna, Austria... was looking at getting a new bike and was toying between the Trumpet and the Aprilia Falco / Futura... Found the Trumpet a 2000 model with 30000Km's on her for very little money compared to the Aprilia pair. So far I have had her a month and she has performed faultlessly apart from the foot gearchange lever end snapping looked like a fluke metal fatigue. New part on order just waiting for that. First weekend I owned her I rode 700km's in around 6 hours and comfort wise it looks like perfect for me and I could easily do 1000km's a day got up on the Sunday and wanted to go do it all over again. Great on fuel managed to get 325Km's to warning light... and as to playing on the twisties its great if a bit slow on turn in but once she is in place thats it she stays there... brakes are fantastic and the engine note from the Carbon Triumph exhaust is fantastic... makes it fun going through tunnels which abound over here... for the money I paid for her and how good she looked for a 11 year old bike she is perfect for what I need tours round Europe trip back to England... and then hooning around at the weekend... that Triple motor is solid... and happy as a happy thing with her...

Posted: 08/04/2011 at 15:41

I have had both early and late models and am still running one with 51k miles. They are excellent machines and I would thoroughly recommend one to anyone. However, there are a few things I would take issue with in the review above. The comfort issue is subjective. I am 14st and struggle at anything over 100 miles with the seat. I have ST bars and risers which raise the bars about 3ins so this may be a contributory factor, but I wouldn't say it was long-journey comfortable. A chain oiler helps chain life, I am still on my second chain and sprocket set at 51k miles. Tank range is worse on later bikes which have a larger airbox reducing capacity, but I can usually get to 150 miles before the light comes on. My main disagreement with the review concerns finish. I reckon it is bloody good. I have always used mine in all weathers and only clean it about twice a year and when I do it still comes up like new. Other than paint on the rear footrest hangers and (recently) a bit of peeling paint on the swing arm I think the finish is fantastic. The fork bottoms and engine cases show no signs of salt damage whatever.  The rear view mirrors are not positioned far out enough to clear your elbows it's true, but I have no problem with vibration at all. And forget the Bridgestone 020s and stick a set of Michelin Pilot Road 2s on. The Bridgestone fronts used to lose their shape after about 3k miles and the steering went off. The backs squared off also. The Road 2s do non of this and grip fantastically for a good 9k miles. The last point I would mention concerns the brakes. They do work well as advised, but even with regular cleaning the pistons are prone to sticking in the calipers. This results in there being plenty of wear left in the pads, but the lever coming back to the bar. I have tried everything suggested to cure the problem without success. The only thing you can do is get some tyre levers and push the pistons back in and pump them out again. This works for another couple of thousand miles. This is the only fly in the ointment on what I consider to be one of the finest and most underrated motorcycles available. The engine is a true gem and other than a burned out generator both of mine have been relentlessly reliable and great fun to ride. In the right hands they can embarrass a lot of so-called superbikes and they are now great value. 

Posted: 26/06/2011 at 20:39

Does 15>157 MPH, all in 6th gear, returns over 55MPG, if your careful, low and midrange torque, certainly on a well sorted (TuneECU to re tune the Bikes ECU) later model will see it embarrass many hot 4 cyl Japs, and 1000 miles a day, in reasonable comfort are very possible..

I once got 277 miles, from brim full to empty, though I WAS taking it very easy!!!!!!!
Crackin all rounder..........

Posted: 23/05/2012 at 10:36

Couldn't agree more with the above reviews. I have owned a 2003 model for the last seven years covering over 25000 miles. The bike now has 32000 miles on the clock and is running as smooth as ever.
I have fitted the Triumph carbon can + tune, triumph hugger, tail piece, centre stand, flip up screen, headlight relays and phillips H4 bulbs.
I changed the original chain and sprockets at 26000 miles and replaced the original battery this spring. Tyres now fitted are michelin pilot 3's which have performed faultlessly wet or dry. The bridgestone bt21's I had previously squared off on the front in around 5000 miles, the bt20's I had on before that were fine.
The bike has never let me down, a rough idle was sorted by unblocking the breather pipe where it connects to the base of the tank. The chain adjuster on the s/s swing arm also seized but was easily sorted with a strip down and clean. Other than the 12000 mile valve service I do my own maintenance which is all straightforward enough.
I ride the bike most weekends in all weathers and the finish has stood up well, other than a little black paint flaking off the front of the engine.
At 6ft tall I find most bikes a little small, but the RS looks physically big and is comfortable for riding all day. Over 50mpg is easily achieved, which makes a difference with petrol at nearly £6.00 a gallon. I find the suspension perfectly adequate for road riding and will probably get the front and rear suspension rebuilt soon. The front brakes are exceptional as long as they are kept clean.
A very underated motorcycle, cheap to run and insure, lovely triple motor, fast, comfortable, a British bike for British roads and weather

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 20:44

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