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Remember Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible II?
Caught the three second clip of Carrie Anne Moss in The Matrix.
Got an eye for the Triumph Speed Triple?
Something about this particular bike just grabs me.
Everybody remembers when this bike first exploded on to the
market. What is that? Man, that thing looks pretty odd.
Bugeye? It's been said that with the Speed Triple, you either like it
or you don't. That simple. But you have to admit it is
And for some of us, that is a draw.
Note the exhaust & turn signals
No, I don't know where they got this exhaust,
try one of the Triumph Message Boards.
I admit I wasn't too inclined towards the Speed Triple when it first came
out. And it is rather
Then I rode it.
What a blast! What an absolute joy
ride! Wheelie monster? Face in the wind? 108 Horsepower?
we got that.
Note the fairing
When given the opportunity to ride the Speed Triple, I
jumped at the chance. I walked around it as if circling my latest
prey chomping at the bit and salivating all over myself. The look is
unlike any bike ever produced.
The streetfighter design just looks mean. Aggressive. Raw.
And naked. The twin chrome headlights are the most striking feature
and certainly distinguished the bike when it first came out. In some
sort of twisted way, they work. The single sided swingarm exposed
the naked meaty 50 series rear tire screaming of superbike inspired
The mirrors are available from Skyking
Products for $160 a pair. How many other add-ons do you see?
Carbon Fiber anyone?
Sitting on this muscular hooligan, I immediately felt the handlebars, wide
and flat. The stretch wasn't all that far and the position was
comfortable. Two big round dials for the tach and speedometer sat
poised ready to spring to life. No choke required. The bike
has the Sagem MC1000 electronic engine management with compensation for
automatic cold starts. There's even a self-diagnostic capability in
there. Sarah hopped onto the bike behind me and dug her knees
into my thighs. Yeah, I think this'll work.
I hit the starter and those three cylinders fired up
into a low growl. I felt bad. I felt cool. I felt the
eyes of passerby's. The black coated 955cc 12 valve stressed member engine
is mounted into that striking rigid tubular aluminum trellis frame.
The fuel injected motor immediately settled into
a steady drone with little or no vibration coming up from the motor.
I cinched up my helmet, pulled up the zipper on my
Teknic jacket and kicked it into gear. Sarah's legs tightened in
anticipation and I could feel her hands gripping my sides. The motor
sprang to life in a melodious song as I let off the clutch. We
Fingering the throttle, I eased the bike out
onto the road and hit the gas swinging the tach needle past 5000 rpm. Woe Nelly!! The front wheel came off
the ground and Sarah squealed behind me in glee. At the same time she
squeezed the bejeezers oughta my waist. Yeah, we got torque.
The dual over head cams pounded, the motor roared
and 72 foot pounds of torque hit the ground and felt steady as the tach
needle swung near redline at 9,500 rpm. The rear tire clawed at the
ground and the front tire came back to earth. Horsepower?
Yeah, we got that too.
The bike rocketed forward into the wind and then settled down as I
clicked up through the six speed gearbox. The sound of the exhaust was
a steady din but not excessive with the stock can.
The Triumph engine
has the capability of being reprogrammed for injection mapping when new
exhaust systems are added for better performance.
motor, however, is tuned for midrange and the engine doesn't really get
cookin' until the revs hit 5000.
Speed Triple on the now defunct
TwistGrip Magazine, Spring '99
The wind flowed over the tiny fairing and I leaned into
it feeling relaxed while poising two fingers at the ready over
each lever. Sarah felt me settle in and relaxed her grip a bit as we
coasted down the road on this beautiful sunny day.
were riding the Triumph Speed Triple T509.
flipped up the dark smoke shield on my HJC helmet and asked over my
shoulder, "Whaddya think?"
Sarah put her hands up on my thick armored shoulders and
replied grinning, "Can we take it home?"
I flipped back down the shield as if I were shutting the
cockpit on my jet fighter as some twisties approached low on the
horizon. I downshifted gaining some revs and hurtled into the
abyss. The Speed Triple is very similar to the full-faired Triumph Daytona T595 in shared components. Most of the bikes in the Triumph line up
share pieces and parts- even the in-line three cylinder engines are almost all the same in various states
The corner grew larger and I grabbed a fistful of front brake.
calipers crunched down on twin 320mm floating discs while the rear 220mm
disc with a 2 piston caliper did the same. All those calipers grabbed hold and
slowed the bike down as I rounded the apex and rolled on the gas leaning
into it downshifting once more to amp the revs.
The motor came to life and the torque pulled
Sarah and I back in the saddle. The bike pulsed forward into the next curve as I
flicked back effortlessly the other way. I could feel her
Shoei helmet looking over my shoulder into the turn. I thought I
could feel her grinning too- loving it, absorbing the feel.
The handling was superb with the low flat bars which have
been modified from the original low clip-on style & rearset
footpegs. (Many of the Europe spec bikes were standard with this
isn't a superbike like a 996, it's a much different feel than that.
The bike was comfortable for a standard and you could feel both the
sporting aspect of the design and the practical side of just tooling down
the road on a Sunday ride.
Brilliant Roulette Green Color
Riding past a front yard full of kids,
they all stopped and stared at us as we rode by on our brilliant green
bike. The bold
color makes the bike positively glow. They all pointed and waved feverishly. We
waved back and I beeped the horn grinning inside my helmet. Yeah,
this'll do just fine.
We rode on letting the bike seep into our pores.
All too soon, it was time to return the bike. I rolled into the parking lot to our grinning host.
Well? He said. I'll take six, I replied smiling back. If
Sometimes a ride like that makes such an
impression, it never leaves you. The feel of the bars, the sound of
the motor beneath you- that look. And that's when the fascination
starts. Meanwhile, that ride slowly smolders away
within the furthest recesses of your mind.
The bike isn't perfect. Few are. The tank
isn't steel so forget the magnetic tankbag. The gas mileage for a
fuel injected bike isn't that great- about 35 mpg with a estimated range of 166
miles, and the dyno'd
horsepower and torque according to the March '98 issue of Rider Magazine is
actually 86 & 54 respectively. But ya know what? Who
cares. This muscular streetfighter is one of the most distinguished hooligan bikes ever produced. Pliable for city commuting, sport
riding, or tooling down the road- the Triple combines all these into a
wondrous naked package. And as for me, I like the headlights.
Triumph Speed Triple
T509 Features & Specs
- Lightweight 955cc, liquid-cooled, multipoint electronic fuel-injected
- In-line 3-cylinder engine with DOHC, 12 valves
- Bore/Stroke: 79 x 65mm
- Compression Ratio: 11.2:1
- Maximum power output 108 hp (110PS) at 9,200rpm
- Peak torque: 72lb.ft (97Nm) at 6,200rpm,
- Lotus-designed cylinder head ports for optimum efficiency
- Liquid cooled with oil cooler
- Spin-on oil filter for easy maintenance
- Magnesium cam, clutch, water pump and outlet covers
- Lightweight polymer sprocket cover
- Cable operated clutch for additional weight saving
- Sagem MC1000 electronic engine management
- Automatic cold start
compensation and self-diagnostic capability
- Reprogrammable injection mapping to match accessory performance silencer
- Closed loop catalytic converter (depending on the market)
- Individual plug top coils for stronger sparks and reduced weight
- Precise 6-speed transmission
- Durable stainless steel exhaust headers with balancer
- Wet multi-plate clutch into X ring chain final drive
- Fuel Tank Capacity 4.8 gal (18 liters)
- Seat Height 31.5 inches
- Wheelbase 56.7 inches
- Rake / Trail 24* / 86mm
- Weight 432 lb (196 kg) Dry, 477 lb wet
- Lightweight 26lb (12kg) oval section, fabricated perimeter
tubular aluminum frame
- Single-sided aluminum alloy swing-arm with eccentric chain adjuster
- Showa rising rate monoshock rear suspension
- Remote preload
adjustment, compression and rebound damping
- Showa 45mm cartridge forks with dual rate springs,
- Forks adjustable for
preload, compression and rebound damping
- Ultra low profile Bridgestone BT56 radial tires
Brembo 3-spoke cast aluminum wheels
- Stainless steel braided front brake lines
- Powerful frame-mounted twin headlights
- Sports style instrumentation including: speedometer with odometer and
trip meter, tachometer and temperature gauge, warning lights for engine management, turn signals, main beam, oil pressure, low fuel and neutral
- 4.8 gallon (18 liter) polymer fuel tank
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR 17 - Alloy 3 spoke, 17 x 3.5in
Front Brake- Twin 320mm floating discs, 4 piston calipers
Rear Tire: 190/50 ZR 17 - Alloy 3 spoke, 17 x 6.0in
Rear Brake: Single 220mm disc, 2 piston caliper
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