As we set out early Sunday morning, the temperature is lower than expected; 31* says my iPhone.   The big Sprint is instantly comfortable for the first 75 mile stretch. The frigid weather however, is only amplified by the three or so inch too short windscreen that comes standard on the Sprint GT.   The big Triumph’s ergonomics are what I consider a perfect blend between sporty and comfortable for long distances. Blasting down LA18 the bike was amazingly confidence inspiring even given the horrible century old pavement. The telescopic forks may not be high tech, but they are certainly sprung and damped very well and do an excellent job of disguising the 550 plus pounders’ weight. Same goes for the new GT’s brakes.   ABS gives you a great mental safety net, but considering their axial mounting I was truly stunned by their power and feel. The levers for both clutch and brake are 4 point adjustable, and even with my XXL hands, they had to be adjusted  to their closest position for my fingers to even reach.   While the rearsets are in great position for athletic, yet relaxed riding, the passenger pegs seemed to want the same real estate my heels did.

The grand tourer’s power plant is relatively unchanged. The 1050cc triple is the most tractable powerplant this side of a diesel. The gears are relatively long and well spaced making for seem-less acceleration. Perhaps being brand new contributed to this, but the gearbox was unexpectedly harsh and clunky. When shifted between 4 and 5 thousand RPM the box was smooth and quiet. However if short shifted much sooner than that, whether selecting a lower or higher gear, the transmission fusses and responds with harsh engagement. Luckily, curves averaging between 60 and 90mph, leaving the bike in 5th gear meant easily powering out of corners without revving the engine to death. While it most definitely makes power all the way to its 10,000rpm redline, the rider is rewarded best when riding the torque band from 3500-8000rpm. 

Arriving at LA22 I had an hour and a half and 75miles of getting to know the GT. The much tighter corners of this little highway meant more use of lower gears and brakes. The long Triumph remained unbelievably stable even when flicking from left to right, keeping pace with the shorter, much lighter sportbikes on the ride. Getting back to the long sweepers, the Sprint was clearly more in its element, utilizing its long gears and rock solid midcorner stability to keep even the superbikes at bay. The much warmer, straighter ride home was relatively event free other than the previously mentioned windscreen being a little short. The last stretch of our 200 mile ride allowed the Sprints ergos to really shine again, namely the seat. The side is wide at the rear, supporting your weight as it should, but narrower at the front allowing you to move around with ease. After returning to the garage, the with the tripometer clicking 206miles, I realized, even with spirited riding, the bike averaged 43mpg and didn’t need to refuel the entire trip. 

High Points :   *Tractor of an engine,  *Great feel from brakes and front end,   *Amazing all around

Low Points: *Clunky gearbox, *Poorly laid out gauges,  *Windscreen too short

- Rob Evans