Distance no object for the new Trophy
Saturday 20 April 1996
Triumph's first bike back in 1991 was a sports tourer called the Trophy, and it's a sign of the firm's policy of steady development that this year's most significant new machines have the same name. One criticism of early Triumphs was that the different models, all built using an innovative modular concept by which many components were shared to reduce costs, were too similar. Triumph is nothing if not receptive to criticism, and has since introduced modifications to make each machine more specialised.
In the case of the Trophy, available in 900cc three-cylinder and 1200cc four-cylinder form, this has meant moving further towards the touring side of the spectrum, with added comfort, weather- protection and luggage- carrying ability. The latest 900cc model's water-cooled, twin-cam engine is unchanged, putting out a maximum of 94bhp through its six-speed gearbox. So, too, are many other components, including the frame, which is based around a large-diameter steel spine beneath the petrol tank.
Many other parts are new and designed for touring, most noticeably the Trophy's large plastic fairing with its distinctive pair of chrome-rimmed headlamps. The swept-back windscreen is broader than before; the fairing contains a couple of lockable glove compartments; a fuel gauge and clock are included in the instruments; and the Triumph has a pair of large, colour-matched luggage panniers, each capable of swallowing a full-face helmet. All of these are useful features for the long-distance rider.
The added weather protection certainly makes the Trophy better suited to chilly British weather, as I discovered on a trip from the Midlands to London via Wales. Heated handlebar grips will be available as an option in time for next winter, and I was wishing the 900 had them fitted as I headed down the M5 on a bitterly cold day. At speed, the big fairing kept off most of the wind, but turbulence from the screen created a roar that rapidly became tiring. Some rival tourers have a height-adjustable screen, a feature the Trophy could usefully incorporate.
Triumph's supremely smooth three-cylinder engine is well-suited to a touring bike, and helped the miles slip past almost unnoticed. This Trophy has a top speed of about 140mph, but the most impressive aspect of its performance is the strong delivery at low and medium revs. The Trophy always had instant acceleration on tap, from 2,000rpm to the 9,500rpm redline. Only the three-cylinder engine's thirst failed to impress. The Trophy's 25-litre fuel tank is generous, but brisk riding brought consumption tumbling to below 40mpg.
For a big machine the Trophy handled very well, remaining stable at speed in all but the fiercest cross-winds. At 220kg, it's reasonably light by touring-bike standards, and was agile enough to be enjoyable when the motorway ended and I began exploring the narrower, twistier roads of south Wales. The front forks are fairly soft, and tended to dive when the twin front-disc brakes were used hard, but suspension at both ends generally worked well. And the compliant ride, in conjunction with a reshaped dual- seat and revised, slightly raised handlebars, allowed several hours' riding in comfort.
On a long trip a motorcyclist has plenty of time to notice the smallest detail, and the Trophy gets better the more closely it is examined. Its distinctive twin headlamps are bright, the mirrors remain clear, the paint finish - complete with discreet Union Jack logos - is rich. The dual-seat incorporates retractable hooks to hold luggage, plus solid grab-handles for a pillion. Despite their size, the colour-matched panniers are neatly styled and also narrower than the handlebars, a bonus when filtering through traffic.
Competition in the touring bike market has never been fiercer, with Honda's highly competent ST1100 four having recently been joined by BMW's new R1100RT boxer twin, but at pounds 8,889 the Triumph more than holds its own. This reshaped Trophy is a sophisticated and well-equipped touring machine, and it retains the performance and handling ability that made the original model such fun to ride. Triumph has come a long way in the past five years. The Trophy 900 provides further proof that the British motorcycle industry is thriving once again.
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 6S price: new handset to remain as expensive, Apple unlikely to increase phones' storage
A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
New Apple TV release date and price: streaming box and games console will launch in October
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
- 3 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 5 New Apple TV release date and price: streaming box and games console will launch in October
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...
£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...
£30 - 40k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is the single governing and regul...