I have a longtime friend, Richard Acosta, MSgt, USAF Ret., who is now a Maintenance Analyst military contractor. I presided over his last re-enlistment ceremony at Nellis AFB, NV. Recently he said he has two friends, SSgt Samuel Gasperin de Dios, 455 ELRS and Bradly Moore a military contractor Maintenance Analyst, who both showed an interest in the Triumph Street Triple. All three are working at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. Richard knows I conduct road tests and he asked for my opinion. So I am dedicating this Quick Look Road Test to them. This test covers the 2014-2013 Street Triple as it is the same model.
BMW had a 15.2% increase in sales last year with a record of 123,000 motorcycles sold worldwide. They added new motorcycle models and increased their target market coverage. One key addition was the BMW R nineT. The BMW air cooled boxer engine has been upgraded for the R 1200 GS, the R 1200 RT and the R 1200 R. But this air/oil cooled boxer engine is still very viable in its present configuration. The low center of gravity provides great stability in winds and the air/oil cooled system is a simple, proven design. So why use this for the BMW R nineT? Simplicity, low weight and a proven platform form the basis for this new format “naked” bike. There has been a resurgence of nostalgia for aesthetics of retro-designs. But going out and finding an older bike and restoring it can be a long painstaking process which could cost more than a new bike. So BMW created the retro-design R nineT, featuring simplicity of design, modern reliability and handling, a bike that attracts due to its pure styling. You can have your old school to look at and new school to live with. The best of both worlds.
Honda has had a great success at building multiple platforms over a base engine format. In STAReview 3104 I talked about my road test on the Honda ST1300, a stick to the basics sport tourer. The ST1300 lacked the new technologies but still performed extremely well against its newer competition. The Honda’s CTX1300 takes the ST1300 basic engine concept and wraps it in a whole new platform. The profile is lower, stretched out and more edgy. The CTX format can be linked to the DN-01 and CTX700/N platforms. I tested the CTX700/N in STAReview 3303 and found it to be a good commuter and when you utilized the scooter like transmission properly and could perform well in the sub 75 mph environment. The CTX acronym is for “Comfort, Technology and the riding eXperience.” For many riders the cruiser format can yield many levels of travel comfort or lack of comfort. For riders drawn to the Honda brand comfort is a primary consideration. For those drawn to the cruiser, motorcycle style and seat height are important.
The lure of a lightweight, naked bike is unmistakable in the motorcycle arena. Naked bikes or street fighters are highly popular for their minimalistic open architecture and fit well into the younger demographics or those who are still young at heart. Triumph’s entry into this area is with two of the most playful motorcycles in the market. They are the Speed Triple and the Speed Triple R. Each has similar roots but different and distinct personalities. The one featured is this article is the Speed Triple R ABS.
The Speed Triple R (STR) sets itself apart as the purest, hard performing naked bike on the market. Its base engine is the Speed Triple three-cylinder. The STR is upgraded with Ohlins suspension, Pirelli tires, Brembo brakes, belly pan, and seat cowl, along with carbon fiber radiator shrouds trimmed in Diablo Red.
The Suzuki V-Strom been around since Suzuki used the old Suzuki TL1000S series as a base in 2002 with the original V-Strom 1000. They were great road bikes and could pass for a weekend adventure bike, but upgrades in the competition significantly diminished sales. Suzuki decided instead of stopping production they would upgrade this platform with the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS. This platform has many upgrades to almost new status. Even though the 1037cc engine is based on the DOHC 996, 90-degree V-Twin predecessor they upgraded it with increases in bore, dual-plug heads, 10-hole fuel injectors, upgraded radiator redesign ( and removed oil cooler) , a slipper clutch, new exhaust, along with a more powerful alternator and heavier flywheel. The frame is 13% lighter, has a fully adjustable KYB 43mm inverted fork, adjustable rear shock and radial-mounted monoblock front brakes tied to a refined ABS and traction control system. There is also a 12VC DC outlet for your navigation devices. Tie that to the $12,699 MSRP and it is a motorcycle to consider for the rider who wants an “adventure” bike but is not scheduling a serious worldwide trip into the wilds.
Eric Buell is a legend in the American motorcycle community. He started out in 1983 when he built the RW750, a race bike for the AMA Formula One series. He is best known for his work with Harley-Davidson (H-D) to create the S2 Thunderbolt in 1994 and subsequent S1 Lightning, Firebolt XB9R, and 1125 R. The Buell 1125R was used for professional racing. He lost H-D support in 2009. But Eric Buell was always a racer first and went into high gear to prove he could produce a world class sport motorcycle. In June 2011 Eric Buell Racing unveiled their first production motorcycle, the 1190S. Production was limited to 100 units, with a 2012 release date. The price tag was $43,000. It was created to showcase his talent and to create a homologated special so he could race. His team has competed in the AMA Superbike Championship since 2011 with the 1190RR and 1190RS. The well known racers on his team are Aaron Yates, Mike Baldwin, Larry Pegram, Cory West, Danny Eslick and Geoff May. EBR’s Larry Pegram became the first American OEM racer to earn World Superbike (WSBK) points at Laguna Seca. EBR’s string of track successes, in the American OEM category, reinforced Eric Buell’s credentials and worldwide credibility. India’s Hero Motors entered the picture with 25 million in cash to purchase a 49.2% stake in EBR. The EBR1190RS was at an upper echelon price point but Eric Buell wanted a sport bike for the masses, so he tasked Tony Stefanelli, Product Development Director to run with it. On October 17, 2013, Eric Buell unveiled the EBR 1190RX, his mainstream affordable sport bike.