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First impressions: 2011 Triumph Sprint GT

Mark Forsyth reports back with the low-down on Triumph's new tourer

NO IT'S not Jean Reno, it's Visordown's very own Mark Forsyth calling in from the Isle of Skye with his first ride report of the 2011 Triumph Sprint GT:

"Just ridden the brand new £9,499 Triumph Sprint GT for an hour through the Scottish highlands and have just stopped at a petrol station to check the tyre pressure, all was as it should be.

The steering is incredibly heavy and lifeless, perhaps an attribute of the extended wheelbase courtesy of a longer swingarm.

On an upside is the amazing high speed stability of the Sprint GT but it may take the rest of the afternoon to understand if Triumph have gone a tad too far in the wrong direction in the geometry stakes. At least the afternoon’s ride to Skye will be comfy…

After stopping again I added a load of rear preload and it has really improved the steering. The downside now is that the rear shock tops out over big bumps as there is no way to adjust the rebound damping.

The biggest plus for the Sprint GT is what buyers get for under ten grand; it's VFM on a massive scale. It's a fantastic bike for big fellas, there is lots of space to stretch out and a considerable protection from the redesigned fairing.

The panniers, which come as standard, are monstrous and big enough to take an XXL helmet in each one.

Standard fit ABS is a nice touch too, although in operation it's no way near as slick or unobtrusive as the system offered on the Honda or BMW's.

At the close of the Triumph Sprint GT launch and, I have to admit, my initial opinion has changed (for the better) after finding a series of blasting, top-gear roads that only God himself could have designed.

It’s this sort of environment that really suits the big Trumpet. There are two reasons for this. One, Triumph have dropped a higher ration top cog in the gearbox and two, they’ve extended the swingarm by 78.5mm.

Now that might not sound like much but it bestows the GT with unerring stability to the point where slower, nadgery stuff is really quite physical.

But on fast, sweeping stuff where fifth and sixth gear are the order of the day the big Sprint really finds its legs and rewards the rider with a quick, quiet, smooth and stable armchair-like ride to carve through the bends.

On my bike – worryingly numbered 13 – changing the rear preload made all the difference to the steering. There are 30 preload settings available on the remote adjuster. I wound it in fully and backed it out eight turns. It turned the handling of the GT from slow, cumbersome and vague into a much more acceptable compromise between accuracy and stability. This change, however, didn’t remove the trait of tram lining in road grooves.

The motor gets new throttle bodies and a remap in a bid to boost torque. The new under slung silencer helps here, too. Triumph claim that it’s boosted power and torque with the added benefit of freeing up under-seat storage space and now the passenger’s butt doesn’t get cooked by a hot exhaust system.

Power and torque are improved in the all-important midrange area and in this zone (70-100mph+ in top gear) the three cylinder engine is a joy to use. On the downside it doesn’t have the low down pull or the top end kick of Honda’s VFR1200. Interestingly, the bores in the Sprint are at their maximum size at 1050cc. Couldn’t help feeling that in this sort of bike (and this sort of class) it would really be a much different machine with another 200-400cc.

Sorry. I’m nit-picking. What the Sprint GT does really well is deliver a hell of a sports touring package for under ten grand. There is no disputing that it offers mega value for money."

With the new Sprint GT, Triumph have redesigned the front fairing, a single exhaust now exits from the right hand side rather than under the seat and the 1050cc triple engine has been revised, now producing 130bhp - up 7bhp on the current ST.

Go here for a more comprehensive review.