|The dash is so cool.|
The luggage, by the way, amounts to 117 litres of storage and has a special mounting system that allows the panniers and top box to move slightly. Apparently, that helps reduce the negative effects of getting hit by a sudden gust of wind. Like I say, clever.
All of this spun in my mind as I sat chatting about the bike. I thought about how valuable the fairing and heated grips are to me on my existing bike, about how I prefer the security and ease of hard luggage, and how my whole modus operundi toward a motorcycle these days is to use it to travel the sort of distances that demand luggage. I thought about how good the pillion accommodation is on the Sprint GT, and how the power of the bike would be more than enough for hauling two people and all their stuff. And I thought of how it is just barely –– with financing –– a bike I could actually afford to get right now. Whereas machines like the Honda VFR1200F or BMW R1200R are realistically at least five years away. Especially if I want them equipped with features like those that come standard on the Sprint GT.
A beautiful machine like the Indian Chief Classic, meanwhile, is a good decade (or two!) away; a touring bike like the Chieftain or Roadmaster even more assuredly so. Meanwhile, I don’t have the space for any of those machines and my experience has shown me their dealer network in the UK is piss poor. They are bikes for a different time, a different place and different conditions.
In the right now, in the reality that exists, a Sprint GT SE –– a British bike in Britain (b) –– is one of the best machines I could hope for. So, I have told myself that I will think about it seriously: I’ll weigh everything in my mind and take the time to test ride the bike. If my love for this bike is just as strong (or stronger) in a month or so when my birthday rolls around, I will look into the possibility of actually getting one.
Having said all that…
Although £9,000 is an unquestionably good deal for such a bike, it is still a whole lot of money. All of my savings and a fair bit of good luck on the trade-in value of my Honda will be necessary to make a deposit sizeable enough to to ensure that the monthly repayment is truly manageable. And then there’s the whole philosophical question of finance. You chain yourself with such deals –– chain yourself to a bank and to the 9-to-5 working drudgery needed to sustain the whole devil’s deal.
Not to mention that it’s a devil’s deal that inherently demands paying for full comprehensive insurance. Look at all that fairing, yo. You don’t want to risk being stuck paying for repairs to that stuff on your own. And if you have a bike via Triumph’s TriStar Finance scheme you will want to make sure it spends the next three years being kept in good condition.
That’s something to think about when you’re sitting astride a 130-hp beast. All that power increases your chances of overcooking acceleration on a slippery surface and having the thing kick out from under you. Especially considering that the Sprint GT lacks traction control and much of the other electronic wizardry to be found on more expensive machines (although, it does have anti-lock brakes).
It also lacks their ease of maintenance. The Sprint GT is a chain-driven bike and, although it’s not impossible, getting access to said chain for regular cleaning looks challenging.
To that end, the Sprint GT is a bike that feels a little long in the tooth. Although far, far more attractive in person, its styling is still just a bit outdated. And its engine is basically the same as was being used in the Sprint ST more than a decade ago.
If I were to sign an agreement on this bike, my plan would be to ride it for three years (the length of a TriStar Finance agreement) then use it as a deposit on a different bike –– perhaps entering a new 3-year financing cycle with that new machine, or perhaps having saved up enough money by then to buy it outright. Is the Sprint GT SE the sort of bike that I will be able to love for three years?
And lastly, there’s the question Jenn asked when I told her I was thinking about all this: “What about the Thruxton?”
I haven’t got any idea when the new Triumph Thruxton will be released, or even if it will, in fact, be a Thruxton. Most of the spy photos have referred to it as the Triumph Street Tracker. Equally, I have no idea how much it will cost, nor whether it will be available for financing via TriStar. I do know it won’t have hard luggage and spacious passenger accommodation; I do know that it won’t have fairing.
But I also know that Jenn has never expressed such interest in a motorcycle as she has for the Triumph Thruxton. It looks like the bikes she used to collect pictures of when she was a little girl, like the bike that was her dad’s favourite. And I know that’s important to me.
The Sprint GT SE is a Triumph, though –– made in the UK –– so it has a connection to that heritage and spirit. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe it isn’t.
Maybe. Maybe. We’ll see…
(b) Whereas there is only one Indian dealership within 100 miles of Cardiff, there are 15 Triumph dealerships.