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Triumph Sprint RS Review + Yamaha FZ6s comparison

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Iondah, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. If you've been following this topic for a while you will have seen that I'm quite interested in a Triumph Sprint RS as my prospective upgrade, after I got off restrictions 2 weeks ago. Today I finally got to ride one:


    The test Bike:
    - 2003 Model
    - 23,000km
    -955i Triple engine
    - Yellow (bleh!)
    - Excellent, excellent condition
    - $10,000
    - Also should note that from 2002 onwards the Sprints received a revision to the 955i triple power plant which takes it up to 120bhp, 105nm and drops the weight to 197kg.

    I rocked up to Yamaha City this morning and asked for a ride on the RS I had seen there a few days earlier. The guy there was very obliging and got things out and was handing me keys in no time. Since I'm so recently off restrictions I thought I should at least have a short spin on a 600 before jumping onto the dauntingly large 955. So, I had a go on a FZ6 which was frankly disappointing (yeah, could have picked a better 600 but it was a Yamaha dealer).

    The throttle was really snatchy like a teenage wife, though the power was good. Handling was awkward with a weird bar position which also made the bike quite uncomfortable in the arms – in the same way that Toyota saw fit to attach a Truck steering-wheel to my Corolla). The gearing was extremely notchy and clunky though the clutch was nice and light. However, the worst thing about this bike was the all-digital dash which in moderate Melbourne sun was like trying to read the clues for a crossword in a Flea’s Sunday paper.

    Still, revving it up the Bolte loop past a sluggish Melbourne Water truck did make me chuckle like a naughty Santa and made my bum slide back on the seat. This was until I got to the top of the Bolte and copped the wind, which was directed straight off the joke of a crap screen and into my neck - It was like being groped by a deforested Orangutan. On the way down, the brakes were good with the bite of a tiger and the feel of mink gloves – probably the thing I liked most about the bike.

    None of this really mattered anyway since I had no intention of buying it, and it served as a useful comparison for what was to come:

    When I got back the Sprint was waiting for me. With some trepidation I climbed on like a limp virgin and sat for a minute to psych myself up. My first thought was that this bike just feels good. I'm 6'3" and 85kg and the seat height was perfect. Broad comfy seat and surprisingly sporty bars give it a comfortable ride position with a good angle for handling purposes. It's far heavier than what I was used to on restrictions but feels very stable. After working out the Chinese finger-trap of an ignition system, I pushed the starter and the RS growled into life. I sat for another minute and fiddled with the throttle. After the snatchiness of the FZ6s I was extra wary of the 110bhp I could be injecting with a flick of the wrist.

    I flipped up the stand and started to walk it up to the corner of Elizabeth St. First both feet down, then one, then both feet up, despite weaving through lunch time footpath traffic.

    This bike was surprisingly easy to control even at low speed. The throttle was totally predictable from 1000rpm and although the clutch was a little heavy for my liking, it did give very good feel. Lights go green and off I go. No jerky starts like on the FZ6. This thing is smooth as a bald man's cranium and I'm up to 50km/h while barely moving my wrist, tacho sitting under 2k.



    The Sprint RS inspires absolute confidence and in no time I was rocking side to side up Elizabeth St to get a feel for things. The bike is just so damn well balanced it's very easy to throw around at any speed. Heading down towards the freeway I got stuck in traffic and didn't get above 3rd, but that was OK since its most of the riding I do. The bike is super comfy though the clutch is very heavy and probably needs adjusting on this bike. The exhaust note on this thing (which has a megacycle carbon can on it) is sensational. It's pretty quite for the most part but has a good bass, and comes out not like a Harley trombone but like a big bass tuba. There is also a delicious crackle when the revs come back down, which I think Triumph removed from off a prime Christmas pork roast. The injected triple engine is wonderful. Plenty of character, loads of power and torque which is totally linear and controllable. There is also plenty of smooth engine breaking which I really like - something totally missing on the FZ6. I have read that the brakes on the Sprint RS are “some of the best in the business†but I wasn’t thrilled. I found they bit too hard like a bondage queen and provided little feedback or progression. Still, there could be a number of things at play there since I’m no brake expert. I’m sure braided lines or even some adjustment would fix this. They were however very strong and with a bit of practise would provide excellent stopping power.

    So I finally make it to the freeway, but this time really comfortable and feeling well in control of this gentle giant. I roost it through the slip lane and up the ramp onto the Bolte and fly up past 100 in no time. Effortless! The thing doesn't even get past 5,000rpm and is still smooth as all the way. It’s like it’s not even trying. No high revving the guts out like the 600. Just for fun I try out a few gears and the bike is still happy to pull strongly from any gear, at any point in the rev range. The gearbox is very well slotted. It just slots in strongly but smoothly - exactly like it should. No clunk. I did have one cog-crunching experience when changing down just before the off-ramp but that could have been me or the bike... either way I'm sure it's not usual.

    When I took the bike back to the dealer, the guy asked me how it went. I tried to play it cool but he could tell I just had the time of my life (the huge woody may have given it away). Such a shame it's yellow, otherwise I might just have bought it on the spot.

    I still have an enormous grin on my face, and my colleagues are attempting to use me like a ping-pong sideshow clown - but there ain't no prize here! I'm seriously wondering if there are any other bikes out there that can compete with the Sprint RS. It seems like the absolute perfect all-rounder. And woah! That engine! I will have a hard time getting on an inline 4 after experiencing the glory of a triple any time soon. Also, no wonder no one likes the 1050 triple - this act would be hard to follow.

    So, planets being in alignment and all, I will be the proud owner of one of these spectacular bike by the end of the week. :grin:

    [Update] I have now purchased a Sprint RS and the brakes are far, far better than the test bike. Mine has new brake pads on it, and the bakes are really good. Lots of feel and progression but with very strong stopping power. Also, the back brake is particularly impressive and is able to balance the bike under hard braking so well that the bike stays level and the nose does not dive.
     
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  2. I actually like yellow - it stands out from the pack and is different, and it also boosts your visibility. And it looks hawt on the Trumpies.

    Nice writeup.
     
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  3. Glad to hear you've scored one and that the brakes are better than your first test bike was.
     
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  4. The Sprint RS would have to be THE best allround bike that I have ridden. Great in the twisties, fast as, comfortable for a few hours two up.

    I too have the carbon can (Triumph) with the off road map and it signs when you give it a fist full.

    Such an underrated bike.

    FWIW mine is yellow and I like it. :grin:

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  5. Love the trumpys mate, best bike ever made, can not wait till i get mine
     
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