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Triumph Sprint RS

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Make Model

Triumph Sprint RS

Year

2002

Engine

Four stroke, transverse three cylinder. DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

Capacity

955 cc / 58.3 cu in
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Bore x Stroke 79 x 65 mm
Lubrication Wet sump
Compression Ratio 12.0:1

Induction

Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Engine Oil Synthetic, 10W/40

Ignition 

Digital CDI
Spark Plug NGK, CR9EK
Starting Electric

Max Power

87.5 kW / 120 hp @ 9100 rpm

Max Torque

100 Nm / 10.2 kg-m 73.8 lb-ft  @ 5100 rpm
Clutch Wet, multiple discs, cable operated

Transmission 

6 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Aluminium, twin spar

Front Suspension

45 mm Forks with dual rate springs and adjustable preload

Rear Suspension

Monoshock with adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping

Front Brakes

2 x 320 mm Discs, 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 255 mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Wheels Front Alloy 3 spoke, 17 x 3.5in
Wheels Rear Alloy 3 spoke, 17 x 5.5in

Front Tyre

120/70-17

Rear Tyre

180/55-17
Rake 24.5ļ
Trail 80 mm / 3.1 in
Dimensions Length 2120 mm / 83.5 in
Width 735 mm / 28.9 in (handlebars)
Height 1170 mm / 46.1 in
Wheelbase 1470 mm / 57.9 in
Seat Height 805 mm / 31.7 in

Dry Weight

199 kg / 438 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

19.5 Litres / 5.2 US gal / 4.3 Imp gal

Consumption Average

19.8 km

Standing ľ Mile  

11.2 sec

Top Speed

238.3 km/h

The Sprint RS Is a half-faired variant of the Sprint ST sports tourer. Cheaper than the ST, it is aimed at riders who want a sportier ride than the ST, but with the good road manners of the Sprint chassis and engine. The chassis is largely the same as the ST, with the exception of the swingarm: the RS wears a cheaper, lighter double-sided swingarm rather than the ST's single-sided item. This change, and with less bodywork, gives the RS a hefty 8kg (181b) weight advantage over its sibling. Suspension and brakes are unchanged from the ST. The latest 2002 version of the RS is fitted with the same 955cc engine as the Speed Triple and the ST. The three-cylinder engine is a refined, well-developed powerplant with plenty of power and torque.

Review

In Triumph nomenclature, Sprint denotes an all-rounder, not a short-range hooligan tool Ė or it did until now. The latest edition of Hinckleyís everybike has an aggressive half fairing, sportier seating and steeper steering geometry, making it the most flickable triple yet.

The Sprint ST is retained in the Triumph line-up for the more civilised among us but, if you want real edge, hereís the RS.

The familiar 955cc triple is unchanged; itís way oversquare at 79 x 65mm bore and stroke, and kicks out 80.5kW at 9200rpm, which is no more than respectable for a near-litre motor but it has seriously muscular torque of 97Nm at six-two, with most of it available anywhere above 4000rpm  The familiar 955cc triple is unchanged - way oversquare and it kicks out 80.5kW. Torque is the tripleís strong suit and the RS will pull, growling quietly in complaint but with no jerking, from 1900rpm in top gear to just shy of the red line at 9500. Itís a supremely usable engine, with no dips or bumps in the power delivery to catch you unawares.

You can stick it in third or fourth (depending on how ballsy you feel at the time) around your favourite set of twisties and just ride it on the throttle, concentrating on line and lean the way itís meant to be done.

Much of the motorís user-friendly demeanour is derived from the Sagem fuel-injection system. Itís by far the best-damped spritzer set-up Iíve tried, better than a lot of CVís and nearly as good as the best slide carbs. The RS is the first injected bike Iíve ridden that is completely at ease in heavy traffic and the only one that will go from a trailing throttle to power-on without a jerk  The twin-spar aluminium frame looks identical to its more civilised brother.

Why then, if Sagem did so well with this triple, did it make such an unholy mess of it on the TT600?

The rest of the powertrain is just as good; the cable-operated clutch is light and positive, with good feel for when itís about to hook up, and yes, Cyril, it did get a little sharper after a number of hot starts, but without juddering or other misbehaviour.

The six-speed gearshift is light, with a commendably short throw, although a little notchy at low revs. This could well be due to the test machineís extreme youth, since it improved noticeably during the test period, but the transmissionís other idiosyncrasy did not. Several times, when changing up into fourth or fifth, the dogs jumped out of engagement when power was applied.

This only happened during hurried changes; more deliberate cog-swopping delivered firm and positive results every time. Itís just something you have to learn and it might be confined to this particular bike Ė itís the only RS Iíve ridden, so I canít say. One thing I did learn to like was the absence of driveline lash, other than a faint but definite clonk from the rear hub when taking up power in first.

That - and the superb fuel-injection - makes the RS a pleasure to ride in traffic and there are not many big bikes you can say that about.

The twin-spar aluminium frame looks identical to its more civilised brother but has an unfashionable double-sided swingarm that, unless you plan to go endurance racing with your Trumpet, makes a whole lot more sense. Elf invented the thing for the Bol díOr, Ducati copied it and now every sport bike has to have a single-sided swingarm.

Get real, Cyril Ė a double-sided rear-suspension is both lighter and more rigid. The rear suspension has also been revised to allow the tailpipe to be tucked in for give more Ground Clearance, which also raises the rear ride height by 10mm. This has the effect of marginally steepening the Steering Head Angle and throwing a lot more weight on the front wheel, for very different handling.

The RS suspension shows some budget cuts: the 43mm conventional forks are adjustable only for preload, although dual-rate springs allow supple movement over small bumps while preventing excessive dive under braking. Little Yamaha-style plastic shields in front of the stanchions Ė much prettier than gaiters and nearly as effective Ė protect the forks.

The rear monoshock allows tuning for rebound damping and, set a little on the firm side, gives a superbly controlled ride, if a little harsh at very low speeds. Certainly it keeps the 180/55 rear gumball in contact with the tar at all times.

The RS shares its brakes with the rest of Triumphís sport tools: a Nissin master cylinder driving big four-pot calipers. The combination works; the front brakes are superbly powerful, with almost completely linear feedback. The harder you pull the harder you stop. The rear brake has a small twin-piston calliper on a 220mm rotor, with little power and not much feel, which is becoming the norm for sport bikes as their makers come to terms with the geometric reality that most braking is done with the front wheel.

The seating position is a good deal more forward than on the ST, throwing more weight on the wrists. Not as extreme as the Daytona or TT600 but it works well in canyon country while being livewithable in town; itís a compromise, but a workable one. The back of the fuel tank is pleasantly narrow and the saddle is broad, flat and well padded; it remained comfortable during the course of several two-hour rides.

The fascia is Spartan in its simplicity; all you get is a white-faced rev counter emblazoned with the RS logo, four little idiot lights and a small rectangular liquid crystal screen for speed, time and distance readouts. Itís on record that I donít like digital instrumentation but it must be said that LCD displays are cheaper, lighter and more accurate than ďclocksĒ. I can live with that.

The RS is a big bike, though at 199kg itís eight kilos lighter than the ST, and they share the same 1470mm wheelbase. Compared to the Honda Fire blade (171kg and 1410mm) itís a bus. Yet once on the move it handles like a bike half its size, turns in like a terrier after a rabbit and flicks from side to side like a rattlesnake striking.

Itís partly due to steering geometry but most of it comes from a low roll centre and superb balance. There is of course a trade-off: the front end is a little nervous on poor surfaces. Once I got on to a bumpy, curving on-ramp with the power really hard on and the RS let rip with a vicious headshake Ė but held its line.

Source Motoring.co.za