Triumph Trophy 900


Make Model

Triumph Trophy 900


1993 - 95


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


885 cc / 54 cu in
Bore x Stroke 76 x 55 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 10.6:1
Lubrication Wet sump
Engine Oil 10W/40


3 x 36 mm Mikuni carburetors


TCI (Transistor Controlled Ignition)
Starting Electric
Spark Plug NGK, DPR8EA-9

Max Power

71.4 kW / 98 hp @ 9000 rpm

Max Power Rear Wheel

68.1 kW / 91.3 hp @ 9000 rpm

Max Torque

83 Nm / 8.46 kgf-m / 61.2 ft/lb @ 6500 rpm
Clutch Wet, cable operated


6 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Steel, trellis frame

Front Suspension

43 mm Telescopic forks

Rear Suspension

Tri-link rising rate with adjustable preload.

Front Brakes

2 x 296 mm Floating discs, 4 piston Nissin calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 255 mm disc, 2 piston Nissincaliper

Front Tyre

120/70 VR17

Rear Tyre

160/60 VR18
Rake 27o
Trail 4.1 in
Wheelbase 1490 mm / 58.7 in
Seat Height 780 mm / 30.7 in

Dry Weight

217 kg / 478.4 lbs
Wet Weight 250 kg / 551 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

25 Litres / 6.6 US gal / 5.5 Imp gal

Consumption Average

6.8 L/100 km / 14.8 km/l / 34.8 US mpg / 41.8 Imp mpg

Braking 60 km/h - 0

14.5 m / 47.6 ft

Braking 100 km/h - 0

41.4 m / 135.8 ft

Standing ¼ Mile  

12.4 sec / 176.0 km/h / 109 mph

Top Speed

212.5 km/h / 132 mph

Honda's VFR750 vs Triumph's 900 Trophy

A VFR motor is unique. If ever an engine could be described as sexy, or sensual, this would be it. From the moment you give it some throttle the V4 delivers power in creamy-smooth waves of deliciousness. The way it shudders slightly at really low revs, and the guttural snarl it produces when given a big fistful, are the only indicators that it's not some sort of turbine.

It'd be easy to mistake the VFR for being a torquey engine. You've only got to ride the 900 Trophy 100 yards to realise the Honda isn't exceptionally torquey, or even more flexible. A fairer comparison would be with any other 750. Journey for journey a GSX-R750 rider would probably execute twice as many gear changes as the VFR, and have to concentrate a whole heap harder for the same speed. While the VFR rider busies himself reading the road, Mr GSX-R's foot, hand and brain are a blur of frenzied gear-change actions. Quicker round Mallory Park but from, say, Box Hill to Matlock Bath the VFR would get you there faster with less effort.

I'm not saying you can't thrash the VFR to the redline in every gear, stand it on its nose braking into turns and gas it so hard coming out that the back tyre is fighting for grip. You can if you want to. It's just that there's little point. You'll cover 200 miles quicker just riding fast and smoothly, using the wide spread of midrange torque and the bike's momentum.

Wide spread of midrange torque. I'll say it again. Wide spread of midrange torque. The VFR's got it by the  bucketful, strong enough to slide you up the seat when you're wearing waterproof nylon trousers, without going above 8,000rpm. Corner exit speeds suddenly improve without the rider (or passenger) really noticing. It's easy-peasy for anyone to ride the VFR fast and smoothly.

And smoothly is how the VFR likes it. It'll take cack-handed abuse — thru'penny bitting round corners or merciless downshifts — better than most of its 750 competition, but it's far from ideal. Like any softly-sprung and damped bike, it prefers being coaxed into a bend; a smooth progression from upright to full bank. A ZXR750 is quite happy being hurled by the scruff of the neck into a corner; do this on a VFR and you'll wish you hadn't. But it doesn't matter because the way the engine makes its power suits the chassis to a T. Apexes suddenly become things to power through rather than brake past. The brakes are hardly impressive. A slightly spongey lever feel inspires little coincidence and you need two, sometimes three Angers to pull up in a hurry. I used the back brake more than normal to compensatt for the lack of bite at the front. The VFR's a bit of a fatty, so it deserves brakes about 20% better than the six pot calipers on Yamaha YZF.

VFR gearboxes can be notchy and irksome. On our bike fifth to sixth was the most awkward, warranting a very determined prod on the gear lever, with or without the clutch. Sixth is a motorway overdrive, giving a lazy 5,200rpm at 90mph in top.

Apart from this minor gripe there are no transmission problems. There's very little primary drive backlash, so on-off throttle control is relatively smooth. It's the sort of seat-of-the-pants feeling you appreciate when it's raining and dark, and you're on crap tyres and in a hurry.

Crap tyres they certainly are: Bridgestone Cyrox radials which, God willing, will be the first things to wear out if you buy a VFR. Even that may take some time, though. After half an hour of bezerko riding they remain almost cool to the touch. I've tried Michelin Hi-Sports on a VFR and they really suited it. Instead Honda have chosen tyres that wear well at the price of grip and stability. In the damp they broke loose on the motorway as I crossed the white lines to change lanes! In the dry they made the bike reluctant to travel in a straight line at high speed.

On a bike so adept at travelling long distances extremely quickly, the VFR's 120 mile tank range is laughable. Fast A-road thrashes get that figure below 100 miles which really is abysmal. This isn't a reflection of the VFR's appetite for unleaded (40.8mpg) but the pathetic 19 litre tank volume: clearly not enough. There's an easily-reached fuel switch and a reasonably accurate gauge but you soon grow tired of stopping for fuel. The seat and riding position scream out for a 200 mile fuel range, maybe more.

It is super comfy, not in the Gold Wing sense, but more luxurious than it has any right to be. Even the tank sides are padded to encourage that Mike Hailwood rider posture. Squeezing a squidgy petrol tank between your knees is a very strange feeling.

The only other squidgy bit on the VFR is the shock absorber, and it squidges when it shouldn't. Several riders complained of the bouncy back end but it's hardly a critical problem. You notice it more with a passenger. Come to think of it, the passenger notices it more than the rider.

Finish is where the Honda really shines. You're really aware of it, especially when riding. An amazing amount of effort has been put into the finer details. Some manufacturers whack a fairing on, leaving all the ugliness of electrical connectors and wiring in open view. Honda panel it all in, using colour-matched ABS. The single-sided swingarm is the ultimate in show-off-for-the-sake-of-it engineering. OK, so the rear wheel's easier to remove, but you need a hinged exhaust to allow you to do it and what about the extra weight and cost? It's not as if Honda plan to run the VFR at the Suzuka 8 Hour or the TT is it? It does look good, though.

No one who rode the Honda wanted to give it back. Compared with most bikes, of any price, it has an undeniable touch of the exotic. Most of all it feels more expensive than it really is, which is always a pleasure. I was sorry to see it go. There are a good few years left in VFR yet.


It's true the 900 Trophy, like all Triumphs, is bigger than it need be. It feels absolutely bloody massive when you sit on it, even bigger when you get it off its centrestand and turn it round in a cluttered garage, and positively ginormous with a tankful of fuel on board. It makes the VFR feel like a race-prepared RGV250.

But that's a personal view from a shortarse. Big bikes don't suit me. If your bathroom scales nudge 200 lbs and you keep bashing your head on door lintels, the VFR will feel too small and the Trophy will fit like the finest RS Taichi glove.

Once the Trophy's rolling its weight ceases to be a problem. If anything the vastness of the seat, fairing and fuel tank make it even more comfortable than the VFR. The riding position is roomier and you sit behind the screen more. Given 200 motorway miles and the choice of both bikes I'd plump for the Trophy.

It's a big old engine. VFR750 motors are hardly dwarfish but the 900 Trophy's is a whopper. You can never forget it's there; it dominates the appearance, the feel and the performance of the bike. And hoooee, what a powerplant. An engine not merely with balls, but knackers the size of watermelons.

I must admit, my eyebrows raised the first moment I opened the Trophy up. It took me by surprise. Response from the lowest revs is almost instant: it just lights up and goes. No drama or fuss, just instant power the moment the tacho needle starts to move. You'd expect a two litre bike to have this kind of low-down torque. The fact that it will happily out-grunt the VFR, for me, puts the Trophy engine on a pedestal. It changed my mind about the whole bike.

Other than it's physical size (a different frame would disguise this a bit) the engine is just perfect. The way the clutch takes up, and the way the gears just snick home so quietly and precisely, makes the VFR look as though its gearbox was assembled by first year agricultural engineering students.

The sound of a triple, as any boring old fart will tell you, is a haunting, droning moan. If it was a little bit louder it'd probably make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. And the Trophy NEEDS a louder exhaust, even if only to drown the horrible K100-type gear whine at low revs. It's like a washing machine slowing down from its spin cycle.

On A roads the Trophy rider's left foot is almost redundant. On dual carriageways and motorways the storming throttle response is a formidable ally in the battle against the dithering brain-deads who populate the outer lanes. Wind on the throttle at 70 and acceleration is instant. It feels as though it's running out of breath at 110, and the ride quality gets a bit floaty, but boy is it strong from 50 to 100mph.

In top gear roll-ons the Trophy wastes the VFR up to 110-115mph, when the VFR gets in its stride and starts clearing off. So in real world terms the Trophy is faster than the VFR. It's also more flexible, pulling sixth down to 15mph when the Honda isn't happy in sixth below 30mph. The way the Triumph accelerates from 15 to 115mph in one gear really puts the VFR to shame.

But the VFR gets the last laugh when the corners appear. Just a quick look at the two bikes will tell you which the cumbersome, ponderous and sometimes uncommunicative one was. Yep, the Trophy. The fact that it felt like a taller, longer XJ900 through corners says it all. The Honda feels lithe, nimble and accurate; the Trophy just feels old.

We, erm, put both bikes back to back (oops, nearly said raced there) on plenty of different Lake District roads and the Triumph rider always dismounted looking more flustered and agitated. The Trophy could always stay with the VFR but while the Honda rider was thinking what he was having for tea, the Triumph rider was worrying what the tyres were up to. Part of this is down to the high c of g and plush suspension but the Dunlops as fitted to our bike were awful. Dry grip was acceptable but wet grip (it matters in October) was unbelievably bad. Everyone had at least one monumental slide on the Trophy.

So the VFR slays the Trophy through the twisties but the Trophy blitzes it again over long distance. Super comfort and a fuel range sometimes topping 200 miles puts it in a different league. Touring on a Trophy would be practical and fun.

More than the VFR, the Trophy manages to feel overweight and underbraked. But with that Dunlop, the last thing you want are six pot calipers. The back brake is too fierce and locks the 18in rear wheel all too easily. 18in rear wheels? Pardon? Triumph are going to 17in rears in '94.

The finish is good — well on par with anything Japan produces, except for Honda. The engine is a joy to behold with its satin sheen castings and immaculate fasteners. And it looks as though it'll keep that way for years to come. The fairing seems a bit of an afterthought (not like the new Sprint's), especially with all the electrical gubbins behind it and tacky, raised stickers. Mirrors are as bad as they usually are and switchgear as unremarkable as it should be.