The Triumph Sprint GT SE is a bargain touring bike and a model that has flown underneath the radar, demanding more attention than it gets.
While Triumph trumpeted about its Trophy with all the latest electronic gizmos, it introduced this special edition of the GT in June without any fanfare.
But it really does deserve some attention.
The Sprint GT 1050 was launched in 2010 as a touring version of the Sprint ST at $15,990 without on-road costs or panniers. Then Triumph included on-road costs and panniers, making it the cheapest of the over-litre touring bikes on the showroom floor.
However, it remained overlooked and undervalued.
Without fanfare, this year Triumph added a bubble touring screen, gel seat, heated grips, top box and panniers for $15,990 plus on-road costs, so it’s still a bargain but now even more comfortable on the long haul.
With the addition of the top box, it now has 117 litres of luggage space which is 7 litres more than the Victory Vision and 9 litres less than the Gold Wing.
Riders should be careful in tight spaces as the massive panniers sit out about 7cm wider than the handlebars.
The top box will take two full-face helmets and the panniers will each take a full-face helmet, plus there are two helmet hooks on the rear subframe, so you could act as a “hat hanger” for all your riding mates.
The top box also has a 12V outlet to charge your phone or music player and storage is bolstered by a glove and mobile phone compartment in right fairing.
The SE comes with a few cosmetic touches such as more stylish Triumph badges on the panniers, a sleek side panel duct finisher and an SE badge on the top yoke, and is available in either “Cranberry Red” or the more sombre “Champagne”. I attended the launch of the GT and road-tested one some months later.
It is designed for long distances so the ergonomics are comfortable with a slight lean to the bars and a protective full fairing. I found you get a fair bit of heat out of the right fairing on to your shins, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you wear long boots.
However, the original windscreen was on the “sporty” side. The new touring screen, which was an option before, should provide less wind noise and buffeting.
The rider and pillion seat were lowered for the GT and now they come standard with the gel seat, which can get hot in summer.
Pillion comfort was improved with a lower seat, bigger grab rails and a longer reach to the pegs, although they are a little close to the rider’s pegs.
The powerplant is a 1050cc triple with 96kW and 108Nm achieved at 1200 revs lower than before for a better spread of grunt through the low and midrange. It pulls strongly from under 2000 revs even with a pillion and loaded panniers.
Performance improvements, as well as a slight fuel economy improvement, have been achieved by new cams, mapping and a new exhaust system.
The trusty brakes are 320mm front discs and have ABS as standard.
Night riding is aided by two lights at low beam with a good spread.
Comfort and endurance riding are the focus of this bike, not nippy handling and sprightly performance. Still, it leans neatly into corners.
On the highway, where it will spend much of its life, it’s very stable thanks to the extended swing arm. However, it does get tossed around by cross winds.
The gearbox is now less clunky and noisy, with ratios well spread for touring duties.
Neutral is easy to find, but I remember catching a few false neutrals between fourth, fifth and sixth.