The Anne Bonnie is my personal bike… People will often see me on a number of different bikes. I have access to the best of the best of all things Two Wheels, and can take home a different bike every night. But the Anne Bonnie is my bike. And there is nothing else out there like her. Continue reading The Anne Bonnie, A Triumph Bonneville
One of my favorite bikes in the world is the Triumph Scrambler. I love the classic good looks and rugged nature. And I love the way it fits me. I love the way I feel on one. It just works… Very well. Now, I’m talking about the Scrambler that’s based on the T100 Bonneville, with that 865cc Oil-Aircooled engine. Such a great machine!
Unfortunately, Triumph killed it in 2016. After Eons of service, the Scrambler is dead… Long live the Scrambler. Triumph also killed everything with that 865cc engine. (Small violins playing)
The reason for that is the Euro 4 Emissions standards which took effect Jan 4th 2017. So Triumph had to empty the pipeline. This also meant the death of the Speedmaster through 2017.
Continue reading Triumph Street Scrambler
Talk about “Two Peas in a Pod”. No two motorcycles are as similar, yet as different as these two. On one hand, we have the classic Harley Davidson 1200cc V-Twin Sporter Forty-Eight. Simple. Burly. Cool. It’s been around for ages.
On the other hand is the new Triumph Bobber which came out in March of 2017. It’s a 1200cc Parallel Twin that looks simple, burly and cool… yet hides a lot of technology inside. Where the Harley has electric turn signals and fuel injection, the Triumph has a Ride by Wire throttle, Traction Control, switchable ride modes, and ABS. It’s an actual modern motorcycle and not any ancient agricultural hold-over from the days of horse-drawn plowing.
Continue reading Harley Sportster or Triumph Bobber?
Bar none, the Triumph Thruxton R is my favorite Sport Bike on the planet. First off, let’s talk about the Looks. This bike is drop dead gorgeous. It looks like what a motorcycle should look like. This is the modern quintessential Cafe Racer, from the company that pretty much invented the Cafe Racer. This is a two-wheeled Audrey Hepburn… always good looking, never goes out of style, and will still be good looking 200 years from now. But under that classic good looking exterior, this bike is truly a modern machine.
The 1200cc Parallel Twin is a pleasure at every position of the Rev Meter… it has plenty of usable power, and I’ve never felt the bike lacking in Pull.
Continue reading My favorite Sport Bike: The Thruxton R.
The new 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS is going to turn out to be the Bike of Choice for the Rider Aficionado. It will be one of the best new motorcycles of the year, and it’s going to be… already is… a huge Home Run for Triumph Motorcycles. Now, let’s look at the numbers a bit… This bike has 123 horsepower, which is a big increase for the Street Triple… and it’s 5 pounds lighter than the outgoing bike. Lighter, with gobs more power. But at what expense? Continue reading Triumph Street Triple 765 RS
Triumph Motorcycles had a nice event planned for it’s Triumph Champions, and I was invited to go to represent Motorcycles of Charlotte. I happily agreed to attend. The event started in the Florida Keys, all the way down in Key West. “Key” is evidently Floridian for Island. Key also means critically important, so it’s a little self aggrandizing for them to call their islands keys.
That’s the aircraft I flew in on. It’s made in Brazil. So it’s basically a Taurus of the Sky. Half of them have to go back to the factory for a Fluff and Buff, under warranty. But they have great customer service. And no resell value to speak of. But I did land safely. So I go that going for me. Which is nice.
Just rode this one… It’s a 2016 model with the well known and battle proven 865cc Oil-Air Cooled engine. This engine produces as modest 58 horses and 68nm of torque moving a 500 pound bike… so that sounds like it’s not enough. Sounds as if it’s going to be a dog. But this is one of those bikes where Numbers don’t Matter.
One thing that stands out to everyone looking at the Triumph Scrambler is the Pipes. No, they wont burn you. Yes, you will feel the warmth from them on a hot day if you are not moving. This is like any Air Cooled twin… You are going to feel the engine heat no matter what. These pipes have two layers of Heat Shielding over them. The first plate is angled to funnel air under the heat shields to keep them cool. I’ve ridden these enough to where I know that if it could burn you, it would have burnt me. I don’t even know anyone that has had a burnt leg because of the pipes. I do know one guy that fried his hand when he grabbed the pipe in front of the heat shield… because he wanted to know if it was hot. Turns out, yeah. It was. Don’t do that, and you’ll be fine.
It is such a great bike. There’s something about the classic Triumph Scrambler that really speaks to me. See, the engine is not all that powerful. The bike isn’t really light at all. It even has far too much chrome on it for my personal tastes… and the suspension really isn’t even all that great. But the bike is more than the sum of it’s parts. Everything about it FEELS RIGHT when you ride it. Not looking at it, or sitting on it in a showroom… It Feels Right when RIDING. It feels like this is what Motorcycling should be. What it’s all about.
The bars are at a good height and it gives you a very Fists in the Wind positioning, but with good width for leverage. This makes the bike feel very agile for it’s size and weight. Low speed maneuvers is easy and the bike’s good sense of balance helps that. For going where the pavement ends, standing up on the pegs feels almost as good as on a BMW GS. The bars have enough height, even for a Six Footer like myself, and the big fat rubber sleeved pegs give you plenty to anchor on. The big rubber welcome mats on the sides of the tank give you even more to grip on with your legs… so standing is easy. Which is good. Because I love standing up on a bike.
The engine has enough torque to get you moving… it’s no Rocket III, but it’s more than enough to get the job done. One of the things that helps with this is the ease of shifting. The Shifter feels very good, and communicates well. Unlike on any given Ducati, this one never gives you a false neutral. The shifter it’s self also doesn’t tear up my boot leather. It’s just “Nice”.
I do wish it had better brakes up front. It’s only sporting a single rotor up front, and I would be happier with two. However I do not feel like the bike is really lacking in actual stopping ability. And of course, this model doesn’t have ABS or any Traction Control… this is the last of the Caveman Simple motorcycles from Europe. And I think that’s one of the reasons I really dig it.
When you ride these Scramblers, you get a sense of understated competence from the bike. It’s ruggedly handsome, but not flashy. It’s just simply able to do everything you want it to do… and it does so without any undue drama. It doesn’t cry out for attention. It doesn’t need screaming exhausts, or blistering acceleration or Buck Rogers Fairings… It’s just a good solid motorcycle. And I LOVE THAT. Because after all… It’s a TRIUMPH.
Now I’ve heard some people say that they just “Don’t get the point of a Scrambler”. I feel sorry for those people… The Scrambler, more so than any other type of Motorcycle is a Jack of All Trades type of bike. Meaning it can do anything that you want to do on a bike. It’s a both a great City Bike, Urban Explorer, and it’s also a great Adventure Bike. I’ve seen them in the Uintah and Rocky Mountains, high up on single track trails. I’ve seen them cruising down city streets at night. You do not need a specialized machine for each task… and really the Scrambler is competent at both in the same way that a specialized machine sacrifices one type of riding to better at the other. The Scrambler lets you have your cake, and lets you eat it.
Triumph’s Scrambler is not a perfect motorcycle… and at the same time, it is the Perfect Motorcycle.
The British love to find humor in playing with the line between social norms and absurdity. The Triumph Rocket III Roadster is very British in this regard. This bike is huge. This bike is heavy. This bike has a crazy 2.3L triple coffee can sized engine. This bike is a Hawker Typhoon on two wheels. Everything else on the bike is also huge. The extra wide bars, the extra wide levers… It’s just an awesomely large bike.
At the same time… The bike is dang good looking. It’s not out of proportion in any part. It’s that tall dark and handsome thing. Muscular, not fat. Rugged, not girly. It has a good sound too. It’s a mellow, low rumble and not that loud burbling of certain American twins. Because this bike doesn’t need to be overly and artificially loud. It has nothing to prove to anyone. It’s a fact that it’s the biggest production motorcycle engine in the world.
Riding this thing for the first time, a certain specific song popped into my head. Sitting on the bike, I felt just like what that song is like. The upside, is that this thing was super smooth and strong in the brake department. The bike is very stable. But that engine… MAN! This engine is right out of a Hot Rod. It feels like a hot rod, it shifts like a hot rod… and when you get on the gas… it’s a total hot rod. And that’s the whole point of the Rocket III. It is a two wheeled Hot Rod and it makes no apologies for that.
A lot of guys look at the Rocket III, grin at it, and wish. Because it’s just awesome… Some shake their heads. It’s not for everyone. Hot Rods are not for everyone. The Rocket is not for the timid. It’s a ride apart… And that’s what makes this bike so great.
Could I own a Rocket III? Yes. Yes I could. It couldn’t be my One and Only bike… but yeah, I could have a Rocket. See, I’m glad that we have gonzo bikes like this, just because they are excessive to the point they border on being absurd. This is why we have Dodge Power Wagon trucks, and Animal Style Burgers at In and Out, and music by AC/DC. Because we can. And I respect that.
I’ve been wanting to get in to motorcycle riding for a while now and considering your recent shift , I thought this would be a perfect time to ask. Where do I get started? How do I choose a bike? What should I consider before going full bore in to this? If you feel like this is too much to respond to in line. Thanks! – Snallygaster
This is the battle of the ages. Or more specifically, the battle of the adventures. Adventure Motorcycles has grown from about 4% of the market about 5 years ago, to a full 10% of the market today. This makes ADV bikes, the fastest growing segment. Since the genesis of Adventure bikes, BMW has been leader. They practically invented it.
The king of the Adventure Bikes is the R1200GS.
As of this moment, I’m riding a white 2015 GS with the new liquid cooled engine, which is the same exact mill that is in the R1200R that I recently tested. This is a great engine. World Class. And honestly, one of the best engines in Motorbikes – period. It has plenty of power, plenty of torque, and is very compliant and composed. The blue GS in the photo above is a 2012 model, which is using the tried and true old Air Cooled version, which is the same as what you would get in the R Nine T bike… which people are loving.
Now, the #1 Contender to the King of Adventure is the Triumph Explorer. There are others out there that want that title, namely the KTM Adventure, Ducati’s Multistrada, Harley’s… no… Not Harley. Harley doesn’t have anything in this segment. But pretty much everyone else does, and they all want a piece of this action. But for Full Sized, Full Power Adventure, in my humble opinion, the Triumph Explorer is the only real challenger for the Crown.
The Explorer is powered by Triumphs 1200 Triple. This gives the Explorer 1/3 more pistons… but really what it gives you is a much smoother power delivery. From a rolling start to a pinned throttle, the Triumph surges forward with a sense of power and speed of biblical proportions. In just the span of a few heart beats, you are absolutely flying.
BMW owners always speak of the lower center of gravity thanks to that boxer engine. And that’s true. But this really only matters at crawling speeds. Once you are rolling and you have your landing gear up and locked on the pegs, this doesn’t matter at all, and the Explorer feels just as composed. I think the Explorer handles beautifully and turns in like a dream. Every bit as good as the GS. In fact, I liked the way the Explorer handled long sweeps and transitions to opposite lean angles better than the BMW. But that’s just my opinion, and could very well be my impression based on difference the tires could be giving instead of just the bikes. Well… Whatever the Explorer is rolling on, is the tire every bike of this sort should be working with. Because it’s fantastic.
The Triumph’s power plant stomps a mudhole in the BMW’s. It just does. It feels far more energetic and willing to be naughty than the more librarian BMW. But where the BMW shines is in the avionics. The Electronic Sorcery in the BMW is more sorted, better layed out and executed. With the BMW I was able to play with the system and quickly came to an understanding of how it all worked. With the Triumphs’s package, I had to RTFM and asked to be shown how to do it. This wasn’t Ogre being a knuckle dragger… this is the Triumph’s system being flat out poorly designed and executed.
Example 1: Traction Control. On the BMW, you select Rain Mode, Road Mode, Dynamic Mode, or your own User Defined Modes. Done. Easy as that. Find the mode you want, select it, and it will be in that mode until you decide you need something different. On the Triumph, you have Mode 1. Mode 2… WTF? Where’s the TTC Decoder Ring? What’s Mode 1 do? What’s Mode 2? What’s TTC? What is all this?
Example 2: You finally set it to the mode you want, after consulting a Customer Service Department in India, and you go for a little ride. You stop for a gas up or a cool beverage and go to turn the bike on again. All the sudden that Traction Control Mode has gone back to Default Settings and all that previous effort has been lost.
Example 3: Keyless Ignition can be found on the BMW GS series. This is not found on the Triumph. This is 2016, and soon to be 2017… and Triumph still hasn’t given us Keyless Ignition. Keyless is the future. Keep the Key Fob in your pocket, and your fine. This is a small detail no one cares about – until you’ve used it. And it’s like the first time you got to use Blu-Tooth. You don’t want to go back to anything else.
Because of these 3 examples, it’s easy to conclude that the BMW might be the winner. And for some… it is. But for me… the Bike its self is what’s important and I think the Triumph, though simple and less high tech…. has the much better engine. It’s the engine that pulls you out of the danger zone and forward unto dawn… not the Menu Layout. Between riding the two bikes, I had a much better experience on the Triumph. I really liked both, don’t get me wrong. Both bikes are truly World Beaters… I just liked the Explorer better.
For me, the winner is the Triumph Explorer.