This is one of those bikes that manages to be all things to all people – it’s agile, punchy, entertaining and has character in spades. It’s British too, and it’s the best naked middleweight money can buy.
This is the ‘inbetween’ model, a final runout of the bike which featured the neat, twin, underseat silencers but ditched the trademark bug headlights for some equally distinctive Dame Edna-esque units, which were cracked. I’ve ridden four of these bikes now, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 (all press bikes admittedly) and they were all cracked. Not good enough.
The 675cc powerplant is the star here, its 105bhp more than powerful enough for the road, but it’s torque not power which is key here, offering a wide, silky smooth and elastic spread of drive out of corners in any gear.
It’s this performance, which combined with the rorty burble from the engine, that will have you smiling with every gear change and roll of the throttle. Marry this with a brilliantly agile chassis, and Triumph has created a real road rider’s bike, one which is sharper to ride and even better than before, with a plush feel from the rear end. Yet it will still feel edgy if you want it to, and when you start to throw the bike around it feels taut and controlled.
Would I buy one? Yes. Purely for the way it handles. This is a bike that feels alive, one which puts the rider firmly on control and rewards confident, hard riding. It feels pinpoint accurate, allowing you to choose lines with the lightest flick on the bars. It’s a bike which is so engaging and so composed, inspiring confidence and encouraging you to carry more speed through the corners with each pass, pegs touching down as you begin to explore bigger angles of lean.
The brakes are good too. Granted, they’re not as ferocious as modern items, but they’re powerful and have loads of feel without ever being intimidating.
I spent a week on the bike, covering 1200 miles doing everything from the daily commute to stolen evening rides down my favourite back road, with a trip to the coast thrown in for good measure. And it excelled at every task. It’s very comfortable, with the tank offering plenty for you to grip on, and the bars and pegs feel ideally placed. It’s ridiculously easy to ride too, and is one of those rare bikes that is perfect for new and experienced riders alike – it has impeccable town manners, it’s agile and has enough performance to entertain when required, being more than capable of causing a few surprises on a track. It’s the consummate all-rounder. Chuck a flyscreen on, add a tailpack and it’ll even let you grind out some big miles.
The only downside is the toytown clocks, and, like the headlamps, they polarise opinion. It’s underwhelming. It’s the one area of the bike which looks unfinished, as if Triumph either gave up, or ran out of money. Yes, there’s a trip computer, lap timer, gear position indicator, clock and programmable LED shift lights, but it’s plasticky and the big expanse of white makes them look cheap. You pay your money, you make your choice.