The 2008 Triumph Urban Sport Models

Text: Chris Myers • Photography: Tom Riles, Brian Nelson

It's not often that motorcycle manufacturers choose to debut their latest models on the east coast. So when Triumph asked if we'd be interested in joining the coming-out party for their latest Urban Sports models in the Great Smoky Mountains, our response was immediately affirmative.

Anyone who has been to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains knows that locating a straight road nearby is a tall order indeed. A riders' wonderland, the region is just the place for Triumph to be sweeping the sheets off the 2008 Urban Sports roster. Presto! Change-o! There they are - now let's go riding…

Don't be put off by that "Urban" tag either. It isn't significant. These aren't the sort of bikes meant for city riding; but as Triumph says, they're "designed for riders who demand real world performance" which certainly must encompass a good deal of Urban attitude blasting away down rural roads.

The lineup on hand this cloudy morning includes the street-fighter Speed Triple, the do-it-all (except for dirt) Tiger, and that sport-touring icon, the Sprint ST. And although they may appear to be somewhat unrelated, they do share one powerful commonality: Triumph's wickedly fun 1050cc, inline three-cylinder engine. A bevy of awesome roads and the brand-new bikes awaiting us are more than enough to carry the day in great style, even if the weather doesn't cooperate. No one's going to allow a little rain to spoil the fun anyway. And if it does come, I suppose we'll be finding out how "waterproof" our Triumph Accessories riding gear really is. So, let's hit the road already!

Tiger 1050

Many riders still think of the Tiger as a dual-sport machine, but that's no longer the case. In 2007, the bike's intended use shifted to street-only. However, the Tiger's multitasking capabilities haven't fallen by the wayside; it still retains a taste for asphalt of any flavor. Impressed, after taking my first shift of the day aboard a Caspian Blue beauty, I got off the bike feeling that the ride was all too brief. The upright seating position and wide handlebars feel right at home to this "naked" fan, and due to its tallish 32.8-inch seat height, my 5'10" 33-inch inseam frame has ample legroom yet comfortable contact with the ground. The wide, firm seat garners my approval as well. On the road, the longer travel (5.9-inch front and rear) suspension feels firm and planted and yet supple enough that passage over smaller road imperfections is barely discernible.

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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the July/August 2008 back issue.