Superb old school tourer.

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  • Build quality

  • Reliability

  • Value For Money

BrinnyBiker's review of Triumph Trophy 1200


“Superb old school tourer.”

Written on: 30/10/2016 by BrinnyBiker (22 reviews written)

I picked up my well cared for 1997 Triumph Trophy 1200 for peanuts on e-bay. In terms of smiles per pound spent this bike is a once in a lifetime bargain. Bought as a winter bike to ride while my other bike hides away from the salt and crud of a British winter.

I also own a cam head BMW 1200 RT which I used as a yardstick when evaluating this bike. Taken in the round, I think I like the Triumph better. Now where to start.

The engine is a beast. You can choose to use the gears and all the torque and it will go like a rocket. It is remarkably easy to get into banning territory in the blink of an eye. Three figures is effortless. Alternatively you can be lazy, leave it in top gear and surf the wave of torque the engine generates. Fuel consumption when riding in a more relaxed style is low to mid forties to a UK gallon. Ride it like a sports bike and it will quickly slurp a tank full of juice. No surprise really. It's an old fashioned carburettor engine without any of the electronic trickery that sees a BMW 1200 RT return 50+ to the gallon when ridden in the same way.

Roll on torque can only be described as phenomenal and the engine is smooth all the way from just above tickover to the red line at 10,000 RPM.

Comfort, yes it's all day comfortable though the Stock Triumph seat could use an upgrade. The fairing is a bit on the sporty side of sport's tourer so weather protection is not as good as the barn door of full dress tourers like the BMW RT. My only real criticism is the screen does give me some buffeting at motorway speeds which I suppose could be fixed with an aftermarket screen.

The instruments are clear and going off the GPS, the speedo is fairly accurate. The fuel gauge is very good if not linear in operation. That said you soon learn to work out what you really have in the tank from the gauge. Once it gets down to the red, look for fuel. The clock is on bobbins but at nearly 20 years old it's the only thing on the bike that is.

Brakes. They're pretty good on the whole, hauling the bike down from whatever speed. There are no rider aids so judicious use of the levers is necessary but I've not managed to lock the brakes up yet. The calipers need fairly regular attention to stop them siezing up. The back brake being particularly prone to it.

The handling is nice and predictable. It's a bit too top heavy at low speeds but once rolling that effect disappears and it's an easy bike to ride and easy to go scraping the footpegs on.

The electrical system has proved reasonably reliable and the alternator seems capable of keeping up with the additional load from heated jackets and the like. The only thing it's needed was a new battery, again fair wear and tear and a good battery is a must if the starter sprag clutch is to survive.

Tyre life. Hmm, ride hard and it will chew rear tyres up as well as any sports bike. I destroyed an 023 Bridgestone with about 5mm on it over 1 winter and a couple of thousand miles. I suspect that ridden with a little less gusto some 6000 miles is attainable from a rear new tyre. The chain is fed by a Scott oiler and has not needed adjusting so far despite some occasional enthusiastic riding.

Reliability has been pretty good for a twenty year old bike with a few easily fixed issues, including sticking calipers. I have pencilled in a carb overhaul next summer with the annual cleaning session as the rubber seals and o-rings must be getting done for by now.

Overall, I really like this bike and will keep it as long as it keeps going. Would I recommend one, hell yes!

  • 1997

    Year Manufactured

  • 18 Months

    Length of ownership

  • Build quality

  • Reliability

  • Value For Money

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