TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE R
Wrist: Ari Henning
MSRP (2013): $15,999
Mods: SW-Motech mirror extenders
In my last update, I left more than 1,000 miles unaccounted for after my ride to Monterey with Marc and Zack for the Laguna Seca MotoGP. I added another 300 miles on race day alone—moments after the checkered flag dropped for young Marc Marquez, I sprinted to the parking lot at turn five, hopped on the Speed, and sped toward Highway 101 ahead of the post-race rush.
After 5,000 miles, the Michelin Pilot Power 3s are wearing down. The rear has a flat spot,
What was my hurry? It was already 2:30 in the afternoon, and I still had a long way to go before day's end. But I wasn't headed south to Los Angeles. Rather, I was riding north to Anderson at the northern end of California's Central Valley for another couple days of gallivanting. It's hard to get out of the office, so when I'm away, I try to make it last!
Previously, I'd mentioned a desire to wander among the redwoods of Northern California. I finally got the chance to do it, but it wasn't on my Triumph. When I arrived in Anderson, just south of Redding, I met up with Kevin Nixon of Twisted Throttle. Kev was headed home after attending the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America rally in Salem, Oregon, and had a trailer full of ultra-farkled showbikes to play with. We rolled a Triumph Street Triple R and a new BMW R1200GS out of the trailer and headed for the coast. But that's another story, one you can read about in the Megaphone column.
SW-Motech’s mirror wideners are the cure for a crummy rear view. They’re available for a v
After an awesome two-day loop ride with Kevin, it was time to get back to the office. But before I left, we swapped the SW-Motech mirror wideners (twistedthrottle.com; $70.99) from Twisted's Street Triple to my Speed Triple. I complimented the parts enough during our ride that Kevin offered them to me for the Speed. The little machined-aluminum brackets move the mirrors out about an inch and a half, making them significantly more effective, and they haven't affected my ability to split lanes in LA traffic. They're a great mod for riders tired of staring at their elbows.
With midday temperatures expected to exceed 100 degrees, I opted to leave Anderson before dawn in an attempt to knock out part of the 650-mile freeway slog south before it got too hot. Kevin had another item to help on the ride home: a dry cooling vest from Macna that Twisted Throttle had just introduced to the public at the MOA rally. The water-filled vest uses evaporative cooling to keep your body temperature in check, and it made a noticeable difference in the midday heat. It's a passive system so the effect isn't dramatic, but it definitely elevated my tolerable temperature threshold. It's an expensive item at $166—especially when you can soak a T-shirt for free—but the Macna vest's vapor-permeable membrane means your skin doesn't get wet and the garment remained effective all day.
I met a Japanese man at a gas station who was taking his KLR from Alaska to Mexico, but other than that the ride back to LA was entirely uneventful. The Speed is happy to lope along at 80 mph and will cover 150 miles between fill-ups, but I couldn't last that long. The unabated windblast put constant pressure on my neck and shoulders, while my knees longed for more legroom and the stiff suspension jostled my stiff muscles. The fork is harsher than my previous bike, despite what should have been identical settings, so I'm wondering if the fork legs are misaligned and binding. I'll check when I put fresh tires on.
In total I rode about 1,800 miles over the long weekend—more than 1,300 miles on my Speed Triple and another 500 miles on the Twisted Throttle bikes.
Considering all the touring I've done on the Triumph, maybe I should have asked for a Tiger instead. This freeway time isn't in line with how I like to travel, though, and the Speed is perfect for the city streets and twisty back roads on which I do most of my riding. Even after such a long highway stint, I have no regrets.