Blog Search

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Taken by complete surprise!

Spring has sprung in NZ and a young man's thoughts turn to......  noooo - get a grip and tell the story!

Sometimes, near-serendipitous things occur which leaves one thinking, "How the heck did that happen?"  Well, a couple of events over the last week or so have ended up having that effect on me!

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love the Street Triple which was bought new in 2009 after having ridden a Honda Blackbird for the previous 8 years.  It's done everything well..... out for a "brisk" ride with the lads, touring, mentoring advanced riding classes and is the most comfortable bike I've ever done the Rusty Nuts 1000 miles (1600 km) in under 24 hours endurance ride on.  It's also been supremely reliable - a rectifier replaced as part of a world-wide recall and 2 mirror stalks replaced under warranty due to rusting - the sum total in 6 years of ownership. The original review is HERE

The intention has always been to replace it with another Street Triple, albeit a sports "R" or "RX" version when the time came.  The light weight at 170-odd kg plus a modest seat height are ideal for someone who turns 68 this month!  There was no real hurry to replace the current bike as it's still in excellent nick but then a couple of things happened.......

The awesome Street Triple RX

The first thing was that Executive Permission was granted to get another bike with no grovelling whatsoever (the quid pro quo has not yet been discussed though, haha).  We all know what it's like when that happens - instant perusing of the Triumph catalogue and a good deal of on-line reading about the sportier Street Triples!

The second thing that happened was reading about rumours that Triumph would be releasing an 800cc version of the Street Triple.  A few worries crept in. If I get a new 675 now, what will be the impact of the rumoured 800cc Street Triple?  If I wait for the 800, will I be waiting for a year or two and will I actually like it when it comes out?   Aargh!  The course to true love never runs smooth (errr....so they say).  The result?  Procrastination and not knowing what to do.

Now it so happens that I was at a gathering of Institute of Advanced Motoring riders and a fellow Observer turned up on a brand new fully-faired Suzuki and invited me to sit on it.  The big surprise was that as a relative shortarse at 5' 8", I could get both feet flat on the deck.  Whilst the bike itself didn't offer immediate emotional appeal as I'm more of a fan of naked bikes these days, it did open my consciousness to other options.

Fast forward to last weekend....... I was in Auckland to help run a training course and ended up sitting on the new non-faired Suzuki GSX-S 1000A in a Triumph/Suzuki dealer showroom - seat height was perfect!  Would Sir like to take it for a spin?  Just about bit his arm off!  It's quite a small bike but I was a bit nervous about the offer, particularly with the weight at 207 kg compared with 170-odd for the Triple and my knees not being in pristine condition.

About to take the Suzy for a test - massive grin concealed by helmet

The salesman appeared to be remarkably relaxed at the prospect of letting an old geezer take out a beast with close to 50 horses more than the Triple.  He quickly indicated the essential controls and rather pointedly said that he'd set the traction control (yep, 3 stage traction control!) in Granny Mode.  Actually, he didn't use those words but would lay money that was what he was getting at.  Incidentally, if you look at the photo above, there is a black mark on the plastic just below and forward of the "S" brand badge.  There is also a scuff on the muffler which doesn't show on the photo.  These were apparently incurred by someone turning off the traction control and giving it a handful.  Maybe the salesman had every right to be cautious!

Within moments of heading out of the showroom, I was amazed at how easy the transition from the Triple to the Suzuki was - it's incredibly similar in terms of general "feel". It carries its additional weight really low so the extra kilos aren't apparent. In fact, it was amazingly similar in terms of both nimbleness and ergonomics to the Triple and it was these features which made the transition from one to the other so easy. The engine is based on the 2005-2008 GSX-R 1000, which has more torque than later versions, but with modern engine management electronics and a brand new rolling chassis to carry it.  The engine produces about 145 ponies, traction control (4 including turning it off!) plus ABS to deliver power and braking in a relatively sane manner.   The term "sane" is relative as the first twist of the wrist up the motorway would have had the Long Arm of the Law doing more than frowning if one had been around.   The acceleration was absolutely ferocious.  Radial 4 piston Brembos brought a bit of sanity to scrubbing off speed though!  Filtering through traffic in urban areas was just like being on the Triple - no drama whatsoever.

To cut the tale short, I came back with a grin a mile wide and put a deposit on one.  Had the choice of electric blue (too much like the old Blackbird), red and black (does nothing for me) or matte metallic grey.  The latter was perfect - understated menace and unlikely to attract unwarranted attention!  Picking it up later this month when the new shipment arrives.

The beast in blue (Suzuki brochure photo)

The beastie from another angle (Suzuki brochure photo)

Must say that getting a new bike right now took me by surprise and buying a Suzuki was an even bigger surprise, but the test ride really was that good! . I think it will be the right choice for my current circumstances.  I'm certainly not discounting a return to a Triple if and when when Triumph release the 800 (rumour late 2016 or 2017) but the Suzuki should be fine for now.  I'll be putting the Triple up for private sale in the near future.

I found a review of the Suzuki from a UK rider on YouTube.  His language is pretty colourful but is in context with his surprise as to its performance and is relatively amusing.  I'd like to think that my riding standard is a sight better than his though!  Maybe the test got to him.  Maybe the test got to me, haha!



When I've had the Suzuki for a week or two, I might put a post together comparing it with the Triple and some overall impressions.

Oooohhhh......  can't wait!

26 comments:

  1. Thanks Nick, that's exactly the phrase that a mate said! As you're at the other end of the human height Pareto curve, you run the risk of being crippled on a test ride!

    Safe riding mate!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So Geoff your about to turn 68 and suddenly you've just found out your gay? Lol

    Suzuki, man how the mighty have fallen....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha! That from a Yamaha rider??? Pot > kettle > black? 😜

      Delete
  3. Great news Geoff! It reinforces my long held belief- never ride a new bike that you aren't prepared to buy! At best you will get 'new-bike-itis" and at worst, a new bike! I look forward to reading your review of said Suzi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave, it was the unexpectedness of it all which has caught me out as it usually takes weeks if not months of deliberation! Up until last weekend, I could have sworn it would be another Street Triple :-). You're spot on with your comments!

      Delete
  4. Congrats on ordering the new ride. I've never regretted getting my Suzuki over the coveted Striple. It's reliability is top notch.

    It looks like it fits you really well. I have been seeing the naked version online and they look like a great machine. Naked is always better isn't it?

    My Gladius 650 weighs 202 kg, not that much lighter for so many cc's and hp less.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Brandy,
    Despite loving Triumphs, I don't have a one-eyed brand allegiance if a bike makes the required emotional connection. My first bike was a Suzuki 50 and had a Suzuki trail bike too. Prefer naked these days, partially for looks but also keeps continuous high speeds in check too :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the clean wind of a naked bike. I find so many people complain of buffeting with a windscreen. Maybe the older we get the nakeder (not really a word) we like to be.

      Delete
    2. I've actually ordered a small screen but it's as much cosmetic as functional like the Triple. Nakeder is fine :-)

      Delete
  6. Congrats, Geoff. The bike is looking good on you. I have to admit that I still have a week spot for Triumph but like you I am waiting for the right stuff to be released ;-)

    I will certainly miss your Street Triple, though. I have fond memories of my albeit short time with it. If I only lived closer I'd buy your bike in an instant.

    68 and still riding strong... and not looking a day older than 67 ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Sonja, it feels "right" too. Yes, who knows what the future holds? As you have a bike in Canada, perhaps you'd like a Triple in NZ for your return too ;-). However, for your smart remark, immigration officers will be waiting with rubber gloves for that return :-). Loved your travel blog through Canada! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geoff, I briefly mentioned the option of having another bike on another continent to my hubby but he was not too excited about it. Don't know why...

      Rubber gloves, eh? Not my cup of tea, really ;-)

      Delete
  8. Finally bought a decent bike eh Geoff ;)

    I'm sure you'll love it. I loved my brief ride on a Gixxer thou a while ago and yeah, the motor blows you away! Goodbye licence in no time...

    Look out Coromandel locals...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hahahaha - what took you so long to say it Andrew? Oh yeah, you've been riding! Put the Street Triple on Trade Me today but not included is the radar detector :-) .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with that detector...

      Delete
    2. You know me - old and slow.... it'll be fine :-)

      Delete
  10. Hi, having ridden a street triple for some time, would you say it might not be suitable for a 6'2" tall rider? a lot of reviews talk about the being cramped especially for taller riders. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      It might be a little small but the "R" and "RX" versions have a greater seat height. Weight might be an equally big factor, at least with the stock suspension which is pretty budget. Anything over 100 kg may be an issue. Have a look at this post if you haven't already done so: http://geoffjames.blogspot.co.nz/2010/08/triumph-street-triple-review-revisited.html .

      Delete
  11. Many thanks. I weigh around 95kgs, but what I also should have mentioned that I am on learner license so can only purchase the street 660.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The LAMS 660 has significantly lower power output than the 675 and you may well be disappointed. I'd be more inclined to go for something a bit cheaper until you get your full licence and then you can make an informed choice about what to get. The 660 is relatively expensive for a learner bike and you may lose quite a bit of money on trade-in. If you haven't done so already, you'll find a list of LAMS-approved bikes here so that you can do price and specification comparisons: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/getting-a-licence/licences-by-vehicle-type/motorcycles/lams/lams-approved-and-prohibited-motorcycles/#approved-motorcycles . Whatever you decide, best wishes!

      Delete
  12. Thanks Geoff. I certainly haven't bought anything yet. I agree with you, it might be best to buy something that is less expensive until i get my full license and then have a wider choice. What do you think of the Duke 200 or 390. Again the reviews on those are mixed, and at the mean time I am not a young guy, I am 53 years old. I guess I will look odd riding what seems to be a young guy's bike.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The Duke 390 is an excellent bike and if I was allowed 2 bikes (grin), it would probably be my choice for local hooning about! As for your age, an American friend of mine has a 390 and he's 70! He loves it to bits and has had no problems other than the gear linkage falling off due to an untightened bolt. Range per tankful isn't as good as the Triple for example but that might not be particularly important to you. Performance is excellent and it would be a great urban bike as well as out in the twisties. Don't worry about your age!!!! I've just turned 68 and wear silver and black leathers in the summer, plus a flashy Shoei helmet with a reflective visor. I remarked to my wife that I was a "chick magnet" and without missing a beat, she said "Until you take your helmet off, maybe". That put me firmly in my place but growing older disgracefully is fun!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I lost my previous post for some reason. 390 it is :-))
    I would still have to try it out first to make sure that it is not too cramped for my height. Do you recommend any bike club that i can join? I live in east Auckland at the end of Tamaki drive.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yep, trying them out is important, not only for "feel", but also for emotional connection - a much underrated factor.

    Apart from the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists (which requires around 2 years post - full license experience before you can join), I'm not familiar with Auckland groups. However, I do know some IAM members who belong to North Harbour Ulysses and they have some good mentoring schemes. You don't have to live on the Shore to be a member. This is the link: http://www.ulyssesnorthharb

    ReplyDelete