Tag Archives: Triumph

Triumph Rocket III Roadster

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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.
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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.  20161029_123656

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.

Getting Started in Motorcycling.

triumphstreetwin1A great question came in:

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

Continue reading Getting Started in Motorcycling.

BMW vs Triumph

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.

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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.

20161026_115350Now, 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.

20161026_115359BMW 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.

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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.

2016 Triumph Thruxton R 1200

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride a brand new Triumph Thruxton R 1200.
This bike was absolutely amazing in it’s composure and balance. It didn’t care what gear I was in… you could lug it… you could wind it out. Six speed transmission and the engine couldn’t care less…. Riding position is a bit leaned forward, but not enough that your holding yourself up by the wrists… It’s almost a Standard. Very comfortable.
It’s so much better than the old Bonny engine, which was an 865… and fine for… the 80’s… I guess.  It was fine before… but somehow just a little lacking.  Now, the new 1200 engine – which looks and feels weight wise like the same engine as before… is just so much BETTER at everything.  Better top end.  Better torque.  Better power delivery from idle to redline… it’s just all completely better.

Having not ridden in some time, I was kinda nervous. But once I threw a leg over and grabbed those Clip Ons… it just felt RIGHT.
The bike didn’t feel like it was in a hurry to go fast – but it was. It cornered easily like you had already done that a thousand times.  The handling was very neutral, with no drama.  It turned in well, with no feeling of sluggishness or twitchiness.  It stayed remarkably stable through the curve and powering out passed the apex.
The suspension was a very nice balance between comfort and road feel… You felt everything, but nothing hurt your spine or your gentleman’s nuggets.  The seat feels both firm and comfortable as well, and you could easily spend enough time in the saddle to run from a full tank to vapor.
The bike was just a very pleasant, willing, and spirited companion.

EDIT:  About a Month Later:
It’s been awhile since I rode it about a month ago now… And I’ve ridden pretty much everything else in between then and now. So I wanted to revisit the “Thruster”.

I am pleased to say that the Thruxton R has remained my favorite Sport Bike. The Bike is just hands down a pleasurable experience. The big bore engine makes effortless power, which translates into effortless motion. For a Twin, the Thruster is exceptionally smooth. And it’s extremely well behaved. In Rain Mode and Road Mode, the Thruster is the perfect gentleman. In Sport Mode, it gets straight up Dashing.  It can keep up with most every other sport bike on the market save for the 200 horse power Ground Rockets. But it’s not trying to be a Race Replica… It’s only trying to be just what it is… a well built classic sport bike that can have fun carving canyons, and while doing so, it will be more relaxed, comfortable, and composed… It’s the Nicest of Sporting Motorbikes you will ever throw a leg over.
I just love this thing. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing to do to it to make it better.

Monday’s Motorcycle: ICON

This is how you sell your company’s brand:

I know M is already thinking about an Adventure Bike. And I’ve been thinking going that round too. My Enduro just gave me a taste, and I want more… I want the whole buffet. But that’s for another post. This wasn’t a post about the bikes… but about the Gear.
I dig the Icon brand stuff. It’s good stuff and not nearly as expensive as some of the other options out there. These Dual Sport helmets are what’s interesting me. Full face protection, dirt bike aggression. I like to look. I want one.

Monday’s Motorcycle: Triumph Bonneville

The Saturday evening friends gathered to watch some awesome Motorcycle Racing.  Before the races, we sat around a table and talked bikes and riding and all of us have some different points of view… but we all agreed on one thing.  Triumph.  No matter what kind of Biker you are… you have to nod that Triumph owns Cool.  So in honor of The Triumph Accord, Monday’s Motorcycle will be the coolest of all Triumph Motorcycles.  The Steve McQueen Edition Bonneville.

Continue reading Monday’s Motorcycle: Triumph Bonneville

Chevy Volt

I read that GM is forcing employees to drive the Volt.  Some employees are opting to pay for their own cars in order to avoid the Volt.  GM is offering to pay for public and home charging and doing everything they can to get people into the Volt cars… and employees are not pleased about it.  The stunning thing about the report is that after all the reinbursments for charging and everything, GM is chest pounding that they will save millions of dollars.

How?  If GM is paying for everything, it’s spending an awful lot of money to get people into a car that people are not wanting to get in.

Here’s an idea for GM.  Build a car that people actually want.  I don’t want a Volt.  I would never buy one.  Ever.  Here’s a promise.  I promise that I will never in my life buy a Volt.  Or a Prius.  Wait, maybe I would if I could get one for less than a pound of Tannerite.  I do like reactive targets.  But I would never buy one to drive.  Pretty much very few people want a Volt.  GM has made a car that only Metrosexual Hipsters want, because they don’t really want a car.  They want a political statement.  I want a car.  A real car.  Not a rolling iPod dock, not an Entertainment Center, not an “experience” or a rolling billboard for the Leftist’s Agenda.    No computers.  No BS frills.  A simple car that is fun to drive.

GM needs to build the Triumph TR6.

Think about it.  People would want it… they would buy them and GM wouldn’t have to pay out anything.  Sporty engine, light weight simple car with good handling, engine up front driving the wheels in the back…  People would enjoy driving and would be texting less and paying attention to the road more because they would realize that actual driving the car is more fun than the distraction devices in the car.  The car with an efficient little spirited 4 banger would get great mileage and would still be fun to drive.  I’d buy one of them!