Mine broke a while ago. I was not sure how long it was broken, but replaced it anyways. I don't really know why I replaced it as I could have spent that $5 on something else, but I guess I reasoned to myself that it was only $5? Maybe I just fell into a trap.
There certainly would be. I noticed that my airbox wouldn't seat completely on top of the throttle bodies. At first, I though that maybe something had shifted, but then noticed the lower portion of the strap and saw how it's used to hold down the back of the airbox against the throttle bodies, using the front two "fingers" as a leverage.
I believe that it's the same as the battery strap.
Both straps broke on my S4 (I'm not sure where Triumph bought its rubber parts in 2003--all I know is that a lot of them suck). It's a minor pain, but I'd definitely get the strap to ensure a proper seal on the airbox--the strap holds the thing down pretty snug.
Rideteamtriumph.com is my back-up for stuff like this when the local Triumph shops a) don't have the parts in stock or b) try to rip me off. Don't even get me started on b)...
My airbox strap on the TT went missing several years ago when the dealer forgot to put it back on. When I finally got the bike apart and noticed it they said they would have to charge me. I told them to stuff it. If you get the airbox on the throttle bodies properly it doesn't really need the strap. The tank holds it on fairly well once you get it seated properly.
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