Wheel alignment

Thursday, 20 October 2011

2 years with the Street Triple

It's almost 2 years to the day since I bought the Street Triple and the comprehensive reviews earlier in this blog (HERE and HERE ) still stand good - it's a peach of a bike and I've loved every minute of owning it.  Today was its 20,000 km service so I knew that my wallet would get a lot lighter but hey; it was a sunny, warm day and the 320 km round trip to the dealer down mainly country lanes should take away some of the sting!

I love visiting Hamilton Motorcycle Centre as Heath, the dealer Principal and his team are more like friends than a business entity and it's that high quality personal service delivered with a smile and accompanying leg-pulling which puts them at the very top of the tree.

Whilst Matt, the Chief Technician started tearing the bike down for the major service, I wandered into the parts and showroom area to grab a coffee and look at the bikes as there's always something new and interesting.

Some serious dismantling at 20,000 km

Mighty big holes for 3 - 225cc cylinders!

Let me share some of the nice stuff which the dealership currently has on the floor......

The first bike inside the door is a BSA trials bike, probably from the mid 60's.  Compared with modern bikes, they look so elegantly simple, almost flimsy.  I didn't bother to photograph the whole bike but was rather taken with the simple little muffler.  It was one of those designs which just felt and looked "right", if you know what I mean.

What a neat bit of engineering

The next bike to catch my eye was the touring version of the Triumph Rocket 3.  This was the first one I'd ever seen and it looked far more integrated than the roadster versions - I really liked it.  Woe betide  anyone who mistakes it for a conventional cruiser and tries to show it up on the road - there could be some red faces!

A wolf in sheep's clothing

Next bike to interest me was a new T100 Bonneville.  Bonnies have always had that iconic aura but the paint job on this one was very similar indeed to the early Bonnies when they were arguably the fastest thing on the road.  Triumph play the nostalgia card very well indeed.

Beautiful standard of finish

The Ducati brand really is sex on wheels and a row of them always makes a nice composition, as do the carbon Termignoni carbon end cans.

These get the hormones sloshing about!

..... and so do these, sigh.......

The next bike to catch my eye was the Triumph 800 adventure bike.  The attention to detail is superb with more than a little artistry about the design.  If I was being practical about replacing the Street Triple right now with something else, I think it would be one of these.  It gave me that hard-to-describe emotional connection inside which a lot of other bikes don't, despite them being excellent bikes in their own right.

Horny triple pipes on the 800

Pilot's eye view on the 800
Elegant simplicity

A customer's Kawasaki H1 500 triple was on display.  These bikes had a wicked reputation with the narrow powerband meaning that an incautious and heavy-handed rider was likely to need dental surgery when the front end came up and smacked him in the face.  Comparing it with modern bikes, the forks are ludicrously skinny and no doubt contributed to poor handling.  The narrow drum brake looks scarily inefficient!

Mountain bikes have stiffer forks than these!

Voted one of the top 10 motorcycle engines
of all time in an international poll

The Triumph Tiger is a bike which has been around for some time and for some unexplainable reason, I really didn't pay a lot of attention to it.  That certainly changed seeing the one below.  In hot orange with a deeply-sculpted seat and some of the nicest panniers I've ever seen on a bike, it looked simply stunning.  Nicely done, Mr Triumph!

 This is a seriously good-looking bike

That was the last of the photos I took in the shop but one of Heath's regular customers turned up on his Beemer R1200 and sidecar combination - something you don't see every day!  With the 2 big alloy side cases, an alloy top box and space inside the sidecar, it looked like you could tour with self-sufficiency for a fair length of time.

For the serious enthusiast!

Whilst I was waiting for the Triple to be finished, Heath wandered over and said, "Would you like to take the Ducati Streetfighter for a spin?"  This is the bike I showed in the 3rd and 4th photos of THIS recent post.  Would I what!!!!  However, experimentally cocking my leg over it, I was right on tip-toe and a nightmare vision of dropping an expensive piece of art at the traffic lights outside flashed before my eyes.  Sadly, I thought it was better to decline..... at least until I've mentally prepared myself for it!  Heath's generosity shows why he's so highly regarded in the industry.

Just before I left for home, I was having a chat with 2 biker gang members who proved to be really interesting as well as entertaining.  One of them uttered a sentence I thought I'd never hear, "Man, Harleys are sh*t, don't know why we had them".  They both had Rocket 3's; more effective for doing a runner on, that's for sure!

The ride home was glorious with warm temperatures and sparkling seas on the coast road.  In the town of Thames, a Triumph 675 Daytona and what was possibly a Triumph Bonneville America pulled out of a gas station  and followed me north up the twisty coast road.  I wasn't going to get sucked into a dick-waving contest so more or less stuck to the speed limit and maintained high cornering speeds to see what happened.  The Daytona rider stuck with me but made no attempt to pass and the guy on the cruiser got dropped off a bit.  The convoy re-grouped when I got baulked by a car in the twisties for a few moments which I then overtook down a straight bit.  The Daytona rider was content to sit on my tail at a sensible distance but the cruiser was hell-bent on getting past.  Unfortunately, it took him most of the straight to do it and he entered the next bend far too hot for his ground clearance and basic suspension, dancing all over the road with sparks coming off his stand or footpegs - quite a sight!   He must have been really close to filling his underpants as he slowed right up and waved me past.... what a hoot, but the consequences could have been much, much worse for him.  Would imagine that he felt a complete dick.

All in all, one of those days which makes the soul sing and most car drivers simply couldn't begin to understand.  Oh, and considering that I had a new air filter, oil and filter, new plugs, cam shim check, full diagnostics and a thorough check including a test ride; I thought that the charge of just over NZ$500 (US$400) was extremely reasonable!


  1. I always enjoy your posts about the trips to the Hamilton Motorcycle Centre, but I have to say that today's post, (with its awesome photos and humorous, insightful and downright brilliant descriptions of your day out on two wheels) is an absolute cracker!

    Once again you have my admiration and respect and two big thumbs up. Well done mate.

  2. Geoff

    I absolutely and positively refuse to take out an XC800 on a test ride..... I might fall in love.

    Best from A+++ rated Britain, N

  3. Anthony:
    You're far too kind but thank you so much anyway as it was indeed a cracker of a day. I forgot to mention that on the way to Hamilton, everyone on the road I was taking was stopped any breathalyzed by the law! Ten am and they had several people pulled aside for further tests whilst I was there. You've got to wonder what state they were in the previous evening!!!



    You may well indeed - light, cleverly designed and very appealing. Come to the Dark Side Luke.... err, I mean Nikos!

  4. Geoff, a great read. Not taking that Duke for a ride is inexcusable though!

    I used to ride a mates Mach III reasonably often. It was an unrefined brute and if I recall correctly it had neutral at the bottom and all gears up - so a fair bit of care was needed coming down through the gears so as not to pick up that neutral where every other bike had 1st gear.

    Cheers Jules.

  5. What a great day. Beautiful ride, tune up for the triple, and ex-Harley riders admitting Triumphs are the way to go.

    Hard to believe you've had the Striple for 2 years now. Glad you are still in love with it.

    Good job on being prudent on not taking the Ducati for a ride if it wasn't a good fit on height. As tempting as it was, it seems your self preservation took over.

  6. I like the look of the exposed frame of the Streetfighter but they all seem too complex compared to something like the trials bike in your third photo. Very nice looking bikes in your photos and fortunately, I'm not really in the market for anything. Then you had to include the shot of the hack rig at the end. That got me thinking again.

    Nice post.


  7. I suppose Jennie is content that your wandering admirations are just nowdays aimed at boys toys with two wheels! I was quite gobsmacked that it is two years ago that you sold the Bird......that age and time thing. Good posting...as per usual.

  8. Jules:
    Cheers mate! Yeah, I was a bit of a chicken but the consequences of putting it down were overwhelming and I'd been taken by surprise by the offer. If there's a next time, I'll be up for it!

    Wow! My admiration for you knows no bounds, noy only having ridden a Mach 3 but having ridden it several times! Wonder what you'd think of it if you rode one now?

    Thank you! Some days just click into place, don't they? I really enjoyed the gang guys. First and foremost, they were bike nuts and as enthusiastic as heck. The might have shady business dealings but that puts them in company with an awful lots of stock exchange-listed CEO's!!!

  9. Richard:
    I totally agree and unless you buy something like a single cylinder trail bike, the average person is completely stuffed for maintaining a modern bike. The dealer was telling me that they have NZ$50,000 - worth of diagnostic gear for BMW's!

    I'm under no illusion about appreciation of the female form. If I'm silly enough to make a remark within Jennie's earshot, I just get raised eyebrows and a withering "Dream on, boy". Bikes are much safer :-).

    Yep, time has gone past in a heartbeat eh? Memories of good times on the 'bird are as still as strong as ever.

  10. Two years with the Triple. Doesn't time fly when you are having fun. I just looked back at the first few posts on your blog and I must say those early photos of you are very fetching! The 800 does look nice - wouldn't it be great to get a new bike every two years, providing of course we could keep the existing ones and have much bigger garages. Just think of the wide range of different types of bike it would be possible to have....

  11. Gary:
    Sure does! Interesting how a radically different bike from the previous one can sometimes set you on a different course and different type of enjoyment. I'm guessing you'll have been the same having come from the sport bike options a few years back.

    I wince when I see those early photos! I even have a hard time looking at our wedding photos. Jennie looks a million dollars and there's a pillock next to her with longish hair, sideburns and a brown suit with flared trousers. Sigh.....

    The 800 road version looks particularly nice with the tank and plastic trim in white pearl metallic paint. It would be a hugely versatile machine too. Good job we're limited for garage space living on the side of a steep hill or temptation might be too great!!

  12. Geoff:

    I have a rule about riding "other" bikes. I have been tempted many times to take bikes out for a test ride but I never do, without the expectation of purchasing it. Never for a joy ride. If I were looking for another bike and it was on my short-list, then I would.

    but this doesn't mean that I wouldn't look and caress one in the showroom, this goes for bikes too

    Riding the Wet Coast

  13. Hello Bob, O Wise One!

    I've ridden friends bikes which have been on offer and enjoyed them, not without a certain amount of trepidation. There's always the unspoken "You bend, you mend" which goes with every ride.

    Hahaha - stick to bikes. If I caressed other models, it would end up with a carving knife in the eye :-).

  14. Mark [Marcus Argentus of MV]21 October 2011 at 12:37

    Afternoon Geoff, there is something about wandering round a bike shop, just make sure you have a towel to mop up the dribble... The Triumph Tiger in orange is ... had to look up another site to check it out. The orange suits it very well. Went to Red Baron the other day with my nephew to help him collect a Yamaha TRX that came in several pieces and a box and wandered past a Moto Guzzi which was simply stunning [can't remember the model - slap on wrist for that] but was metallic khaki and brushed aluminium. You just have to stand and admire the beauty of it and so many bikes are like that, especially those 'beyond the price range Italian jobbies'. As for caressing other models, what about another MX5? - sure you'd get away with that! Or the elegant lines of a Citroen DS! There you are, a Japanese geisha and French stunner and you'd still have 20/20 vision! Enjoy the weekend, weather looks good for some riding.
    Cheers, Mark

  15. Gidday Mark!
    I just drool into my neck tube - I think there are things breeding in it and it badly needs a wash :-)

    I know the model Guzzi you refer to. I think if their marketing people heard the word "khaki", they'd string you up by your ears down at the Viaduct as a warning to others! Mind you, your description was more accurate than "Antique Gold" or some similar meaningless drivel they put in their catalogues. All Guzzis sound like a clapped-out road drill, but that's part of their charm.

    As long as I clean and polish Jennie's MX, I'm allowed the occasional supervised drive so that's ok :-). Thinking of Citroens, someone down the Thames Coast has a 1960's ID 19 or DS21 parked outside. I thought it would have rotted away decades ago!

    Hope you and Ken have a great weekend too. No riding for me, family visit impending!

  16. Two years with the same motorcycle? Not sure that could happen to me. The longest relationship I had so far (with a bike) was 18 months. Now with your showroom pics, I badly want a Bonneville, stat. I know I am unfaithful but there are just too many... bikes, and so little time.

  17. Sonja:
    I don't farkelize my bikes all at once, so I'm sort of tinkering with it over time and when I've got it just how I want, I tend to hang on to them!

    That particular Bonneville with its retro paint job is absolutely stunning. I'd happily own one (subject to Executive Permission of course)!

  18. Mark [Marcus Argentus of MV]21 October 2011 at 16:46

    Geoff, found out what model Guzzi - Griso 1200 8V. To heck with the marketing people, what would they know about colours? It's plum or maroon or nipple pink or grass green [these from the navy expert sitting opposite slurping coffee, 'blood and custard' if BR, BRG is a standard colour... as for Red Lead...
    Cheers, enjoy the family visitation.

  19. Mark:
    That's it! I used to have a sailing dinghy many moons ago and the official colour was "Be Cerise". My god - I'd have died with embarrassment telling anyone that. Simply called it purple!

    A navy expert slurping coffee? I'd have thought anyone loosely connected with naval matters and would have taken a more liberal interpretation of "sun over the yard arm", especially over the long weekend and poured a stiff gin! I'm certainly about to :-)


  20. The Ducatais get my hormones workin to, some how I think I woud have enourmouse trouble explaining a third bike in the garage. I was thinking about you on thursday, with the sun shining as you rode (tirelessly sticking to the speed limit) to the tron!

    Such jaunts are marvellous for the soul.

  21. Hi Roger!
    A second bike in the shed would take me some explaining :-)

    I did use the phrase "more or less" regarding speed limits. I took a peep at the highest registered speed on my GPS on reaching home and all I can say is....... PRECISELY NOTHING.

    Have a glorious weekend mate!

  22. Geoff:

    a second bike is easy. I've upgraded numerous times (in the past). Just make sure it is the same colour, park it in the dark part of the shed and don't say a word. I went through 3 bikes before someone said it looked larger than she remembered

    Riding the Wet Coast

  23. Bob:
    You are clearly wise in that you don't have a joint bank account :-)

  24. $500 for the service sounds pretty damn good - may have to come up there for my next one.

    Great you're enjoying the bike. Just did 600 odd kms last night on the Connie to bring her over the 74k mark (in just over 4 years) and I'm still absolutely in love with it! What a bike!

    Gotta love those Italian v-twins too - but I'll make do with a Japanese one. It still has the soul and a lot cheaper. I must not look at loud pipes, I must not look at loud pipes, I must not look at loud pipes...

  25. Hi Andrew!

    Yep, was extremely pleased. The only thing they didn't do was a coolant and brake fluid change because they said that it makes the 20000 km service too dear compared with the following one which is minor, so they do it then to even things up a bit. Another sign that they're a great outfit to deal with.

    Excellent that you still love the Connie - those motors are unburstable. Hahaha - I've gone off super-loud pipes as I prefer not to draw attention to myself :-).

    Every good wish for the Grand Challenge next week and take good care of yourself!

  26. Had a good laugh about the bikies and their 'Harleys are sh*t' thing. I met an old bloke at the Bemboka bakery a few years back who said a very similar thing. It amused me so much I got him to say it twice ;-)

    Ahem, now I ride a Harley myself, though... I love it! Definitely not sh*t, it's just - different :-D Certainly makes you very conscious of the way you ride, and you DO ride it differently. It took some getting used to, that's for sure.

  27. Ducs are great to look at and for other people to own, I just don't have the funds to purchase or maintain them. I would have turned down the offer of a test ride too. A Ducati is a lot like a trophy wife, very expensive to keep them happy. (and you don't want to test ride them either).

    The Rocket III on the other hand....

  28. Sue:
    If non-Harley riders had suggested that proposition to gang riders, they would have earned a trip in an ambulance. Apparently, it's cool to diss them if you're a gang member and own a Rocket 3!

    Hope that you've acquired the appropriate tats now you're an H-D owner. Tats andd swearing in the classroom ought to help keep the little buggers in line :-)

    I share that sentiment about Ducs!

    With regard to trophy wives, I suspect you're stepping on thin ice if Trobairitz is having a bad day and sees your comments :-). How can I put this delicately....... my CEO is fairly expensive to keep happy too (not that I begrudge it for a minute, oh dearie me no).

  29. Wow. That is some serious dismantling for a 20K service. Awesome sight to see in side there, and so clean!

    I understand about the test ride. But definitely do it when you are feeling more confident. Just borrow some high heels and you will have nothing to worry about. Or...just don't stop. Then no need to put your feet down. And you are fine with the balancing part. :)

  30. Lori,
    Yep, that's the expensive biggie. The next few will be small by comparison. I was impressed with just how clean it was inside too!

    I'll be more relaxed next time. Pity Jennie has a different shoe size as she still has a pair of platform shoes (strictly nostalgia, not for wearing)from the 70's!! Those were the days, sigh...

  31. Just wanted to thank you for your detailed write-up(s) on the Street Triple. Very helpful (and reassuring) information to employ as I shop around for my own. Looking forward to hearing about your next one, too!


    Genghis John
    Athens, Georgia, USA

    1. Many thanks John. Although I've just bought the GSX-S, the Triple did everything I want. When Triumph pull finger and release the 800, I'll be able to make a more informed choice about going back to Triumph.


Hello! I love to hear your feedback as it often leads to other things. However, if your comments are blatant advertising, then they won't get published.