2011 Triumph Sprint GT

Text: Florian Neuhauser • Photography: James T. Parks, Christa Neuhauser

The Sprint, one of the most popular and enduring models in Triumph's lineup, got a successful makeover that will no doubt please most riders. Although still sporty, this touring king offers comfort for both rider and passenger, along with luggage capacity fit for royalty.

What’s New?

Compared to the ST, the GT is all new from behind the fuel tank. The most noticeable changes include the exhaust, a lower seat, and integrated luggage racks. Instead of an under-seat exhaust system, the new GT places a triangular section muffler on the right side. It’s shorter so as not to interfere with the side case, which brings about more horsepower while still allowing for an accessory U-lock. The seat is lower than on the ST, placing the rider more into the motorcycle for enhanced control. And although the foot pegs have also been lowered, I found the legroom to be on the shorter side for my 6’3” long-legged frame. The shape of the seat reduces any potentially uncomfortable pressure points, so that touring on this steed for many days in a row shouldn’t be a problem. The integrated luggage racks complement the GT’s styling and offer the passenger plenty of grab handles, which will be needed on such a fun machine.

Engine, Brakes, and Chassis

The engine, an updated version of the 1050cc triple, puts out 130bhp, and offers on-street real-world performance with its power delivery in the mid-range. I rode the GT through tight and technical twisties as well as long open sweepers. The smoothness, stability, and packed power kept a smile on my face. The thing I miss most, though, is a cool sound. The Sprint GT is relatively quiet with a metallic hum. Up front, twin 320mm floating discs are grabbed by powerful four-piston calipers, with a single 255mm disc at the rear.

Triumph’s ABS, an option on the outgoing Sprint ST, has been updated and comes standard on the Sprint GT – a welcome adoption. The front brake lever is sensitive enough that only one finger is needed for braking. Having such control really makes riding hard through the mountains that much more enjoyable. It’s always an advantage when the rider can trust the motorcycle’s brakes. As a European manufacturer, all Triumph’s new models come with standard ABS. The American market still prefers ABS as an option, but that will surely change over time as more riders experience the importance of such a safety feature.

The main twin-spar aluminum beam frame is the same as on the ST, but the front fork received new internal components. Riding through tight curves, I immediately noticed the extreme lean-angle the bike handles comfortably.  I didn’t even have to slide off the seat much to tighten my line. And even with full side cases, the GT rolled through the curves smooth and stable, almost scratching the cases.

The triple dial display features analog speedometer and tachometer, and the onboard computer displays fuel consumption, range-to-empty, journey time, average speed, fuel and temperature gauge, two trip odometers, and a clock.

Luggage and Accessories

Most tourers know the importance of luggage capacity, and will they ever be pleased by the GT’s solutions. The bike comes with standard 31-liter hard cases on both sides, as well as an optional top case with a capacity for 55 liters. That’s a total of 117 liters of storage space! The powered optional top box can hold two full-face helmets, while each side case can hold one. The mounting system connects the side cases with a rod underneath that allows a slight degree of movement relative to the bike, keeping the loaded bike stable at higher speeds. The GT offers additional accessories including heated handlebar grips, a taller windscreen, optional gel comfort seat, and high quality magnetic tankbags that can increase the Sprint GT’s luggage capacity by a further 30 liters. The standard centerstand makes cleaning and servicing easier.

In Conclusion

The Sprint GT incorporates many features a sport tourer looks for. A relaxed, yet sporty riding position, enough luggage capacity to hit the road for a few days — even two-up— excellent handling and braking, and lots of power with the twist of the throttle make this a truly enjoyable motorcycle for any type of road. The one flaw, if that’s even an accurate term, is that when I tried to adjust the mirrors, the right one broke out of its housing. At first the mirror didn’t move at all, then I used too much force and the bracket snapped. Press bikes get played with a lot and a bit abused at times, so I’m not sure if this is a problem or normal wear-and-tear.

The Bridgestone BT-023 tires are a good fit. They have good traction in both in cold, rainy conditions and on hot summer days. At times it was difficult for me to hold back, especially on Skyline Drive. In any event, Triumph’s updates to the Sprint turned out to be great changes, for sure.