Monday, 17 August 2015

Scrambler Urban Enduro

I have seen them all, but I must confess the Scrambler Urban Enduro is my pick of the bunch. Just like the rest of the Scrambler family you are getting the same 803cc L-Twin making 75hp, Brembo ABS brakes, headlight that includes a LED ring, even a USB port under the seat. The Urban Enduro is tricked out specifically to suit its unique style including nice touches like the skid plate and headlight grill. All-in-all a really fun piece of kit.


Scrambler Urban Enduro with most of its extras on show

There is the headlight grill and brace bar

The Scrambler Land of Joy!
Obviously the other members of the family are equally as fun to ride, I just prefer the look and styling of the Urban Enduro and it would be the one I would go after. The Land of Joy is now set up in Rosso Ducati with lots of Scrambler goodness on display.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Triumph Tiger 800 XRt

A Triumph Tiger 800 XRt was getting collected from Dublin Triumph Ireland yesterday by one very lucky owner. This bike was in the new 'Intense Orange' colour and you can have a proper look in the pictures below.

The XRt is the top-of-the-range Tiger 800 XR which as standard includes ABS, traction control, rider modes, throttle maps, adjustable screen, LED fog lights, heated grips, rider and pillion heated seats, radiator guard, pannier mounts, handguards, centre stand, 650W alternator, 3 accessory sockets, cruise control, auto cancel indicators... you get the idea. It is a lot of bike. And for €15,150 that's not bad.

The new Triumph Tiger 800 XCa variant is also on the way into the store.


Triumph Tiger 800 XRt complete with Expedition luggage

An amazing looking bike, especially in the 'intense orange'

Close up of the Triumph Expedition luggage

Nice details all over

Side view of the cases with Triumph logo

Peace and keep the rubber side down.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Bringing the Cub Home

"Thou shalt be free
As mountain winds: but then exactly do
All points of my command."
~ W. Shakespeare

After homes, motor vehicles tend to the next biggest expense we put our money down on. I have never owned a home, so that says something about my priorities. In this case I have signed the papers on the Triumph Tiger XRx, and for the first time in in 12 years I have gone back to black.


I get to ride many different motorcycles from an assortment of manufactures virtually every day, it is not a bad situation to be in. I have even had the chance to ride some electric motorcycles in the last few weeks, but obviously for me two particular brands have a very special place in my heart and of those two I picked the Tiger. I test rode the previous Tiger 800 model a number of years ago while I still had the Buell Ulysses XB12XT, but for various reasons we did not click and subsequently settled on the NC700X. Now a few years down the road I get to ride the newly revamped Tiger 800 XRx and it was a perfect match.

"What's Past is Prologue" ~W. Shakespeare

The new Tiger 800 family starts at just €12,375 (Tiger XR) and stretches to €15,825 (Tiger XCa) and obviously available here from Dublin Triumph Ireland. All models get the over 160 changes over the previous Tiger including revised engine, 17% better fuel economy, ABS/traction control as standard, and then the feature list keeps getting longer as you move through the family. Now the model range is basically two different versions, XR (cross roads) and XC (cross country), and in those you get different spec and accessories with each variant. The variants go from the XR -> XRx -> XRt and the XC -> XCx -> XCa. The XR made better sense due to me being 'funsized' as the XR's are not as tall. The XC's have an off-road bias which adds larger wheels and WP suspension. Since the only time I go off-road is usually to a campsite or Irish Photo Rally location I was not concerned about the off-road aspect, but I have to admit the WP suspension is very good and provides a plusher ride. The XRx also adds extra accessories, cruise control, and rider modes over the standard XR which sealed the deal for me. The XRt adds a mountain of extra specification, but I just could not stretch that far.



Enough of the broad strokes. For me the XRx provides an economical, light, cruise control equipped bike that lets me make very short work of the daily commute. But provides more then enough ability to haul me fully loaded, two-up, on future adventures. The fly-by-wire throttle took a little getting used to, you do not need to treat it like a cable system, more like a control pad on a computer game. Light inputs reap the most rewards I find from the new system, no need to whind on hard as you pull off, just nice and light. Once you get used to it the whole thing feels effortless and hugely rewarding.



I have mentioned how nimble that bike is, and to be fair more often than not most modern motorcycles have got their centre of balance sorted. It is only the top heavy examples that stand out from the pack. This bike will go were you look and has a fantastically small turning circle, coupled with the new fly-by-wire the whole thing makes for a bike that will make much better riders of all of us. A motorcycle instructor I know loves the auto-cancel indicators, it means one less thing for those taking their test to worry about. 

Farkle wise I have added the following accessories;

That really is everything I could want or need for the Tiger 800 XRx. Most of it is for a combination of practicality and making an already superb package a perfect fit for me and how I use the bike. The PDOiler is really a no-brainer, when you are doing at least 180KM every day then constant chain lubrication is a must-have. LED lights I used for the first time on Sprint GT when I upgraded the main lights, and I am never going back! The higher screen provides a useful amount of extra weather protection on those windy or wet days. But on hot sunny days on small country roads you can drop it down. The Adventure luggage is a better fit for me as I need to be able to store two helmets when I go somewhere with the better half, the standard comfort seats on the XRx helps keep everyone happy too.

Right now I have just come up to my first service on the Tempest (yes, that's her name and no surprises there...) and will give updates as the KM's rack up. First impressions of all the accessories are that they are top pieces of kit. As the weather starts to turn we will really see what they are made of though, but I don't have any doubts after my time with the Sprint GT.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.



Monday, 3 August 2015

Leaving Serenity - Final Thoughts on the Sprint GT

Well that was a short ride, relatively speaking. I was lucky enough to live with the Triumph Sprint GT over the last few months and have absolutely loved it. But alas my days with my favourite demo are up and she has found a new home where I wish her many happy miles. The following are my takeaways from living with the Sprint GT.

Performance

The 1050cc lump that beats in the Sprint GT is an amazing piece of machinery. Smooth, torquey and powerful. The engine never feels like it is trying until you start trying to get very silly. Fuel economy has proven to be better than expected, I have managed an average of 54mpg, this has been done mainly on the daily commute which mostly comprises motorway and filtering through heavy traffic. Off the motorways, the Sprint is tremendous fun, she does need to be pushed to get the most out of her through the bends. But that little bit of effort brings on massive rewards. She also likes to have everything sorted before you start changing direction, or so I find anyway. Having your gear and speed sorted as you enter the turn makes for a much smoother rider and adds to the composure of the bike.

Equipment

No we do not have linked brakes, traction control or rider modes. What you do have is a fantastic grand turismo motorcycle designed to haul you in comfort from place to place, with bucket loads of fun in between. For the money what you get is everything a GT needs. 55 litre top box with a power socket. 2 31 litre panniers that can each take a full face helmet. The entire luggage system is designed to move to increase stability in the twisties and when at high speeds. You are also getting a comfort seat, bubble screen, heated grips, a second power socket, and a nice little storage compartment in the front right fairing. There is even a nice bit of storage space under the seat. I normally get to between 290km - 305km before the fuel light pops on. This is an astonishingly well specified motorcycle which delivers on all the creature comforts a tourer needs, without things getting too big and heavy.

Farkles

Modifications I made were purely to help get me into my personal comfort zone. Being a fully faired motorcycle I was very aware of the cost of any silly slow speed drops. Hence I dug into R&G catalogue and covered the Sprint in various bits of protective kit. The next tweak was the front brake and clutch levers, I preferred the shorty versions as they suit me better. The other important tweak was a chain-oiler, I have tried several brands over the years and spoken about most of them on this blog but I recently discovered the PDoiler and I am a complete convert. Probably the best chain oiler I have ever used, and amazing value for money. I am recommending these to everyone I meet.

Moving On

I have said before, the Sprint is a model of motorcycle I have wanted since 1999. I have loved living with the Sprint, my only negative with the bike is the way she carries her weight. I just never got used to that over the period of having her. But that is it. It is a weight that does not ever really disappear, but it does add to the bikes stability and comfort when out on the road. The Sprint has always been an extremely comfortable place to be, even in the worst of weather ducking down a few cm's and you find yourself in a very calm bubble. Even the way the fairing deflects the wind means I barely use the heated grips. So while I will not be buying a Sprint GT just yet it really has nothing to do with the bike, just me wanting something that is a bit easier for me to live with.

So what comes next? We will see very soon, but right now I know if I had not been in a position that meant the Sprint GT could go then I probably would have gone on very happily for years to come. So next time I will be making sure that the bike can not slip away.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.