Review: Triumph Trident 660

“Ah, there you’ll have it.” That’s what crossed my mind when Triumph announced the new Trident. Because isn’t it logical that Triumph, with its rich triple history, also offers a more “classic” three-cylinder naked in the current range?

The new Triumph Trident 660 is the third Trident generation. From 1968 to the mid-1970s and well into the 1990s, Triumph built its first two generations. The new one received a 660 cc engine, as its name suggests.

That engine is very different from the one in the Street Triple S, which also has a 660 cc heart. Of course the Trident takes over some parts from the Street, but just under 70 new components provide a different engine character. While the Street’s three-cylinder mainly emphasizes sporty top end power, the Trident aims at the lower and middle revs. You can also see it in the Continue reading

Review: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

Last year we said farewell to the Triumph Tiger 800 because Triumph unveiled a completely new Tiger 900. Completely new indeed, because there’s a new engine, a new frame, new brakes and suspension, and a new dashboard …

When the press release came in I must say it wasn’t love at first sight. The 800 looked good with its double headlights but the 900 tried something else which I didn’t fancy right away. But hey, a test could maybe change my mind. So I decided to head out on the Tiger 900 Rally Pro, five days in the Moselle region (of which you can find the travel report right here).

Love at second sight?

Pictures don’t always tell the whole story so I was curious to see if sparks would fly on our first real life meeting. Unfortunately, they didn’t. Something about the proportions. The headlight seems a little small and looks less ballsy than the previous model. The rear light is okay, but is mounted into a plump construction. And even though the fuel tank with its sloping frontside doesn’t deviate that much from its predecessor’s looks and the finish is right up to Triumph’s standards (read: very high), the 900 just doesn’t do the trick for me design-wise. A shame, because the 800 was one of the best looking adventure bikes if you ask me.

In our last Tiger 800 review (the XCa in 2018) we suggested a few improvements. We missed a quick shifter in the options list, the tire choice was dated, it was impossible to mount tubeless tires and wasn’t it time for lean-angle technology to make its way onto this bike? Triumph went to work and added all of it to the new Tiger, or at least Continue reading

Review: Triumph Speed Twin

In 1937, Triumph launched the Speed Twin 5T, the first series-produced 500 cc parallel twin. It would become an example for many other twins that followed. And now Triumph reintroduces one of the most glorious names of its history, with the 2019 Speed Twin.

On Triumph’s list of modern classics, the “new” Speed Twin sits nicely between the Street Twin and the Thruxton. Its looks are clearly copied from the Street Twin while the Thruxton set the standard for its performance level. The result of this combination had to be a retro-styled motorcycle with modern technology and the handling qualities of a naked. So did Triumph achieve this?

The design is more than good. What a beauty! The Speed Twin looks as classic as the Street Twin but can’t hide its sporty ambitions: weight on the nose, the tank tilted slightly forward, the rear set high. I hope you don’t mind I’m drooling a bit.

The beautiful engine, with the cylinders nicely visible from all sides, the uninterrupted exhausts, the brushed aluminum parts, and that paint job! Continue reading

Review: Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

When Triumph announced the new Bonneville T120 and the new Thruxton at the end of 2015, that was just the beginning of the story of their all-new 1200 cc twin engine. In 2017 they introduced the Bobber, in 2018 the Speedmaster, and in 2019 they even released two new models with the parallel two-cylinder: the Scrambler 1200 and the Speed Twin. You can’t ignore that Triumph aims at a lot of different types of riders.

I was most curious about the Scrambler 1200. I had already met its smaller brother, the Street Scrambler, during an off-road training. A good-looking bike, but it had a hard time to convince me on unpaved tracks, which the “Street” in its name predicted. The Scrambler 1200 doesn’t have any “Street” in its name. Sounds promising.

So let’s hop on that seat of the Scrambler 1200 XE. With a height of 870 mm it’s even heigher than the Tiger 800 XCa. Not exactly the most exciting news for the short-legged.

Swag & high tech

Once you sit on the seat, the dashboard and the controls on the handlebars will make you realize very quickly that this isn’t a back-to-basics scrambler. The 1200 has a modern TFT display and lots of buttons.

Not only is this scrambler packed with technology, it doesn’t lack swag either. The classic look and the finish of the entire bike, including the engine, are topnotch: very detailed and stylish. At the same time, the Scrambler 1200 XE has a Continue reading

Photo special: Matchlight Motorcycle Show 2019

Yesterday the second edition of the Matchlight Motorcycle Show took place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. As the organizers describe it: “a carefully curated collection or hand-picked vintage and custom motorcycles by some of Europe’s best builders”. A few pics I took:

Very impressive, supercharged 1975 Ironhead by Kruyswater Motorfietsen:

Descendant Of A Weapon by Simon’s Custom:

1970 Shovelhead by Pancake Customs:

Piss Yellow Panhead by James Bull:

Continue reading

Review: BMW F 850 GS versus Triumph Tiger 800 XCa

This is Team Throttle’s very first comparison test and we couldn’t have picked a more appropriate duo than the Triumph Tiger 800 XCa and the BMW F 850 GS. Because both Jean and Jan F have a past with the predecessors of these two newcomers.

In 2015 Jan F bought a Tiger 800 XCa, which now has 37,000 km. The bike did an all-road trip to the Alps, a muddy weekend in the Ardennes and a week in the Sierra Nevada.

In 2016 Jean traded his BMW F 650 GS for a second-hand 800 GS. He added about 60,000 km to the odometer, during – amongst others, of course – that same dirty Ardennes weekend and more recently during Endurofun’s Midsummer Ride.

It’s safe to say that Jan and Jean are hands-on experts. So below you can not only read a comparison between the British and the German bike, we also looked at the progress that this duo makes on their predecessors.

Pain points

Jean: “BMW could certainly make progress. Don’t get me wrong. I like my 800 GS – I find it an excellent all-rounder – but it has some points that can be improved:

– Brakes: On uneven surfaces such as cobblestones they often don’t know whether they should bite or let the ABS do its thing.
– Suspension: Too soft overall. Especially hard braking leads to dramatic front-diving.
– Sound: Not exciting at all.
– Power: Okay-ish but you feel that it’s not a recently developed engine.
– Throttle response: Slight on-off effect. Combined with the suspension it results in a rather jumpy character.”

Jan: “The splendid engine, perfect gearbox and great WP suspension make my Tiger a wonderful bike. Only the wind protection has been annoying me for three years. Turbulence galore! An aftermarket solution helped a bit, but there’s still room for improvement. The brakes can also be enhanced, they are rather spongy. Some complained that in first gear the Tiger dares to stall, especially offroad. Isn’t it, Jean?

To discover if these pain points were gone, we took both new models on a trip to Luxembourg. There we were treated to a wide range of road and weather conditions. Sun and rain, boring highway and great curves. No offroad unfortunately, because one of the manufacturers said “nein”.

BMW gave us an almost full-option 850 GS, while from Triumph we got an XCa in standard fit.

Jan: “For those who are not familiar with the Tiger 800 range: it’s divided into two lines, the street-oriented XR models and the offroad oriented XC models. Each line has a number of equipment levels, of which the XCa has the highest (and the most expensive) level. In other words: with the XCa, the option list becomes pointless.”

Traffic light sprints

Jean: “While at first sight the Tiger barely changed, BMW clearly unveiled a completely new model. The design leaves no doubt about that.”

Jan: “But let’s focus on the engine first. The 850 GS has a brand new 853 cc two-cylinder engine. With 95 hp it has ten ponies more than the 800 GS. There’s also more torque: 92 Nm at 6.250 rpm. An increase of nine compared to its predecessor, but more importantly: the Tiger 800 peaks later and less high: 79 Nm at 8.050 rpm.”

Jean: “That difference doesn’t go unnoticed. The 850 GS is a lot snappier than the 800 GS. More vivid in low revs, stronger in the middle zone and more power in the higher rev range. As a result, it feels al lot less small GS than the 800. The Tiger too seems less energetic in comparison.”

Jan: “You probably need thorough Tiger knowledge to notice it, but the Tiger 800 has a new windshield, new lights, a new dashboard and control buttons, new mirrors and a new sound. As a result, to me the new Tiger seemed like a totally different bike than my own Tiger: if you ride it, everything you see and hear is different.”

Jean: “The engine also got an update. Triumph claims that it has a more responsive power delivery. Are they telling the truth, Jan?” Continue reading

Review: Triumph Street Cup

Triumph’s Modern Classics series grew to such proportions lately, that you’d almost stress out by the choice you have. Most definitely when you see the wide range of styling accessoiries. Broadly speaking, you can divide the classics into two groups: the 900 cc and the 1200 cc models. Triumph’s original classic, the Bonneville, can be found in both groups, while the Thruxton got a 1200 cc engine during its most recent update. You’re not particularly looking out for a more performance oriented bike (with a higher price tag) but you still prefer a sporty and at the same time classic looking Triumph? How about the Street Cup?

The Triumph Street Cup is the caféracer version of the Street Twin, which in turn is a Bonneville T100 in a more modern look. The Street Cup scores at the first glance, thanks to its beautiful finishing. Neat looking engine, well concealed cables, classy details such as logos, pinstriping and metal footpegs. Available from $10,500 in the US and the same amount in Euros in France, in two color combinations: adorable yellow-gray and somewhat dull gray-black. Although the dullness wasn’t that bad when I saw my test bike in the flesh. Especially the metallic gray sparkles beautifully.

The 900 cc parallel twin delivers 55 hp and 80 Nm. Numbers that won’t lead to astonished reactions when you pull up at your favorite pub. The torque, however, already peaks at 3,230 rpm, so the engine is spicier than you’d expect. With a good twist of the ride-by-wire throttle, you haste away. Experienced riders shouldn’t fear any lack of enthusiasm. At the same time, the power delivery is very smooth and friendly, easing newbies’ minds.

The display is classic: two analog meters for speed and revs. Each has a small digital display for, among other things, range, trip counter, selected gear and consumption.

With its dynamic appearance, the sloping handlebar and the forward bent sitting position you’d fancy to ride the Street Cup lively. To which it lends itself Continue reading