Hi Dave, I'm glad to hear you like the changes Triumph have made in upgrades between the ST and GT, although I didn't think the GT's had a rear hugger accessory and, also read that the swingarm isn't drilled/tapped for the mounting of one? I have purchased a 2012 GT which hopefully arrives before Christmas Day; and, like you previously had a 955 ST, which I loved. Be good if I can fit a rear hugger though as the rear shock area was one of the worst places to keep clean IMO. Can you post a closeup of the hugger? Cheers.2011 Sprint GT Review
I picked up my new Silver Sprint GT this Thursday, just a couple of days ago.
For new folks or visitors reading here that do not know me, I have owned an “04 Sprint ST 955 from new since March 2005, I also have a very tasty “04 Daytona 955.
I have been very happy with the Sprint ST it has been pretty much trouble free. I have just traded the ST in on the new 2011 Sprint GT.
After roughly 500kms of solo and two up riding I thought I would write what I think so far about the GT, things I have noticed and experienced.
My riding has been mostly in the hills on some very different winding roads from single lane steep goat tracks to beautifully banked 20- 40kph hair pins and nice long sweepers. I have done a little on the motorway and a little in downtown traffic and the suburbs but mostly out on country roads or class 2 or 3 type roads.
GT engine and g’box ;
A few more gee gees beneath the now 20 litres fuel tank and a bit more torque than the ST. I imagine with the extra weight etc of the GT the end result is probably they are very similar in performance.
The engine is naturally very smooth and nice and grunty from lower than the ST I think. The gearbox is very smooth and direct, with what I think is an improved shifter arrangement.
No need to waffle on about the engine because all Sprint riders know these engines are just a gem.
The top gear is a lot higher than before and makes highway or long straights riding in 6th to be using a lot less rpms than previously.
Triumph have done something I think with the front brake pads or something, I am not sure what is changed exactly, but the brakes are very firm and very strong on initial bite (I like this) and then are less powerful in bite as the braking carries on. The lever is rock solid, the feel is good. I like this a lot.
The bike is equipped with ABS front and rear, I already unintentionally tested the front ABS which came on when I came over a crest that dropped away and steeply down into a turn, (but the surface had some road damage and loose stuff I was not aware of).
I knew the road well enough but had a tad too much speed on so grabbed the front a bit hard as I reached the crest, as soon as the front wheel hit the uneven broken bitumen surface and because I was a bit ambitious with the brake lever the ABS kicked in and all was good, no problems. The bike tracked on line with a few ABS shudders and carried on as though nothing happened.
I was impressed with that even though it took me a couple of minutes to work out what actually happened. Yes it does have better brakes than an ST and it does need them because it is a but heftier too.
The rear brake has a nice feel to it and can be used to good effect on a road with good clean grippy surface to tighten the turn of the now elongated bike (swing arm grown by 75mm over the ST). It has good feel and is very effective being used as a trail brake in this fashion to “steer the ship” so to speak.
The front end is compliant and is more firm in feel than the ST, I have not checked but suspect it may have either different valving or a heavier spring rate than the ST or both.
Whatever has been done this is surely quite an improvement up front. Handling is solid, it keeps a line really well as you would expect it is very, very stable (like battleship stable) in corners and every where else.
I am also not sure what has changed with the rear unit but it is not as firm as the front at factory settings which is what I am using at present.
It works well but is a tad soft so maybe I need to wind in some preload, as I am a 100kg lad and that is without all my Kangaroo and cow hide clothing!
It was ok solo but felt like it was softish with my excellent pillion Liz. I never had any problems with it and I can probably get it feeling better with adjustment.
Overall handling compared with a Sprint ST;
To me it handles very well and steers pretty quickly for its length, it tips into corners even on the stock round profile rubber very quickly and is as one write up said “uber stable”. That sums it up pretty well.
It steers a tad slower than an ST does but it is undoubtedly better equipped in the fork department and also in braking up front where it matters.
My guess is there is a not a lot between the ST and GT on a windy road although a GT rider will have to work harder either moving his weight or pushing the bars to hustle through any esses where the ST would have a distinct advantage because it is shorter and lighter.
On less tight and technical stuff the GT is definitely more stable than an ST is, and gets less upset by road bumps and potholes which the GT just seems to gobble up.
So I think the GT is ok but you will have to use a bit more muscle in esses and the tightest and most technical stuff, but the GT is not slow to turn or hard to handle and I think the suspension and brakes package is better than the ST. On the negative side it is just a bit bigger and lardier than an ST.
Ok the GT is a Grand tourer so it is no surprise it is very comfortable to ride nonstop for hours, and it is too.
The seat is flatter and a lot wider, it does not do a number on a man’s crown jewels when you brake hard. The seat I think is also taller or maybe it is just my short legs and the wide seat, I don’t know.
Bum rot seems to take quite a while to set in as a solid 2 hours of back road bliss and my petite derriere is still ok for more miles.
The pegs for both rider and pillion are lower than the ST and the bars are yet even higher I think, anyway the bars are pretty high. High as they are you still have enough weight on the bars to be able to use a bit of muscle on them through the corners especially when two up at flank speed (that’s battleship speak for quick), they are quite wide which is also good.
For the pillion they get lower legs with less knee bend (as does the rider) and now they also get nice rubbers on them so vibration etc is considerably less for your pillions dainty tootsies.
What about the exhaust cannon?
Well I have it on very good authority from someone I know in Naval Command that it is actually a cut down 15” main gun from a WW2 Heavy cruiser. Well not quite.
Does it have a note? Well I wear ear protection and to me it is pretty stealthy although it does have the traditional Triumph triple burble on the overrun even if it is a soft burble.
I think I see a nice Remus Hexicone in Titanium with black ends will fall from the sky and land on my GT sometime in the next 12 months.
It is very quiet and the can is a big mother but looks ok especially with the bags on. Of course it is nowhere near as sexy or racy looking as the 1050 ST tail ender, but then your pillion isn’t getting turned into a roast duck either!
It does seem in keeping with the other Sports Tourers of similar and larger capacity, they all have big dustbins for an exhaust nowadays! I am not overly fussed on it and like the look of Mr Remus’s one instead. The Remus shaves 3 kilos off the exhaust weight so will be worth doing for that alone IMHO.
Chain guard and rear hugger:
Yes the GT has a combined guard and hugger and guess what it seems to keep crud off that shock…..nice and about time thank you Mr Bloor.
The chain guard now goes further over the end of the chain reducing that ugly fling. Another nice little touch.
All I can say hear is Triumph had this right with the 955’s and got it wrong on the 1050 ST, now with the GT you get the keyed seat back, nice one Mr Bloor.
Yes the GT has them, they are big, easy to take on and off with the key and have a waterproof seal on the like a fridge. That is all I can say at this stage, that and they look pretty good to my untrained beak and the exhaust all lines up cleverly at the rear view of all this stuff.
Can’t say a lot as I have only ridden at dusk but it appears to be a big improvement and that is what the Triumph bods are telling us. They heard they listened they fixed it.
Bridgestone BT 021, not my favourite and will probably be changed for Pilot Road 3’s or if sliphorn pesters me enough a pair of Conti’s.
That is it for the moment.
It solves the problem for my wife of being much more comfy over a 6 hour ride than my ST which is very important to both of us. It is a very comfy machine with lots of nice little well thought out bits.
I will post some photos shortly.
Thanks Steve; I couldn't tell looking at the sellers photos and haven't asked him, but will be wrapped if it does. Thanks for your advice!Mine came with a hugger, yours should have one stock as well.