The Triumph Speed Triple compared to (many) BMWs

Triumph Speed Triple compared to a few dozen BMWs.  Part II

Having commuted to work (most days) on a BMW motorcycle for the past three years, it’s an interesting experience to transition back to my own Triumph Speed Triple. Although I’ll be working full time until the end of next month, I thought it prudent and professional and all of that adult type stuff to turn in my “company” 2013 BMW R 1200 R last week, and ride it only when needed to do my job.  I’ll still use the BMW for leading customer rides and other duties, or a different BMW if that one happens to get sold.

Thus, on great days like this it’s back to my beloved 2006 Speed Triple.

My first impression mirrored my experience every time I have ridden the Triumph for the past few years. My rides have been separated by months, and getting reacquainted always make me feel like a ham-handed oaf, so immediate are the responses of the Speed Triple compared to most all other bikes.  That statement has appeared here several times previously, but bears repeating because in the years prior I put over 5,000 miles a year on the bike and felt totally comfy on it whether commuting, touring, or riding in a “sporting” manner. At ease on the bike for several full days at a time back then, I’m always surprised at how difficult it is to get back to my comfort zone.

A short ride yesterday on my day off allowed me to lose the awkwardness so I could turn my attention to other differences this morning. Such as:

1.         No matter how many times I reach for it, there is no heated grip switch!

2.         I also can’t find the gear indicator or the ambient temp gauge – because they’re not there.

3.         I leave the turn signals on all the time. Self-cancelling turn signals are another “luxury” of BMWs that becomes imprinted on the brain as standard.

But golly Bob Howdy – it is fast!

I thought I’d be a bit chilled this morning, opting for no liner in my Rev’It! jacket, but not so. The use of a lightweight fabric neck tube I won as a door prize at an event this summer makes more of a difference than I would bave believed. (I have to plan my wardrobe for the day more carefully now, as luggage capacity has been reduced from my choice of two different size tank bags, panniers, and a luggage rack to… one tank bag.)  For longer trips, bolting the Ventura Rack System I own back on the bike will provide enough room for multi-day and week trips, as long as I don’t plan to camp.

The other surprise was the difference in heat!  I’ve had 4 different BMW models assigned to me by Ride West BMW in the past three years. The first two were a 2010 and 2011 BMW K 1300S – sort of the thinking man’s hyperbike. With over 160hp, you’d expect these across the frame 4 cylinder models to kick out a lot of heat, but those clever BMW engineers canted the cylinder bank forward to a fair degree and placed the radiator underneath, so heat is directed downward rather than roasting the rider’s tender bits as on many other such bikes. In 2012 I enjoyed a BMW F 800 R, which has two cylinders placed vertically. The relatively small size of the engine and the lack of bodywork means that this bike also did not general a lot of heat. On the R 1200R just turned in, the “boxer” engines hangs two opposed cylinders horizontally out in the breeze for air cooling for the engine and a corresponding lack of heat being transferred to the rider.

It was quite a surprise, therefore, to notice that in stop and go traffic on a 65 degree morning, the three almost upright cylinders across the frame of the Triumph sent waves of heat up to greet me. I’d never noticed this before, so perhaps I merely expected it previously. With the weather rapidly cooling  (although not much this week) this won’t be a problem for long.

When hot weather returns next summer I will be retired, and stop and go commute traffic should be one of the many joys of the working world relegated to my past.

It’s all good!


Copyright 2013                                               David Preston

About david

I am a 69 year old motorsports nut who lives in Bothell, Washington. After a 31 year career as an English teacher, I segued into a self-created job in the motorsports business. Now retired, I was involved in customer relations for Ride West BMW in Seattle, after almost 10 years of similar work for the Cycle Barn MotorSports Group. I have been married forever and have two grown children. I own, at the current time, a Triumph Bonneville T 120 , a Triumph Thruxton, a Fiat 500S and a VW Tiguan. What else would you like to know?
This entry was posted in Motorcycles. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply