2012 Triumph Speed Triple R | Doin’ Time

Photography by Ari Henning

WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2012): $15,999
MILES: 6138
MPG: 43
MODS: Gerbing’s controller, Triumph fly screen, Maxima Extra4 oil, R&G frame sliders

Last month I prepped the big Speed Triple for another road trip, and what an awesome trip it was! Nearly 900 miles, and almost all of them on twisty two-lane, the majority of which I’d never explored. My buddy Jeremy joined me for the journey, and we encountered everything from a snow-blocked mountain pass to a 1963 Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw helicopter in the road—it was being used to haul telephone poles up the mountainside. Good luck finding that sort of excitement on the freeway!

My original 1500-mile, get-to-know-you ride on the Triumph (Doin’ Time, Mar.) left one distinct impression: The Triumph’s lack of wind protection will strain your neck, and chill you to the bone if it’s cold out. Setting out for the Sierra foothills on February 1st, I knew we’d encounter freezing temperatures, and so that I could use my trusty Gerbing’s heated jacket liner on the bike I installed one of the company’s temp controllers (www.gerbing.com; $99.95). In an effort to improve wind protection and aesthetics—I’m not a fan of the Speed’s slanted headlights, it looks like a sportbike with the bodywork crashed off—I also installed Triumph’s accessory fly screen (see your dealer; $279.99). The kit doesn’t come with instructions, but once I figured out that the instrument cover pulls free, it was a 10-minute install. The screen certainly makes the bike’s front end look more finished, and while there wasn’t much of an effect on wind protection, cockpit aerodynamics were greatly improved. The cowl slices through the atmosphere better than the headlights alone, so there’s less turbulence and helmet buffeting.

The trip was superb. We rode through epic scenery and assaulted an endless series of mountainous curves. I’m really pleased with the comfort and control of the softer shock spring I installed, and the Michelin Pilot Power 3s I put on are great. They have good grip in the wet and dry, plus smooth, neutral handling. But they look to be wearing quickly. After just 1200 miles, there’s already a ledge developing where the harder center compound meets the softer-compound shoulder strips.

When I got back to the office, the odometer had just rolled over 6000 miles, meaning it was time for an oil change. I spun on a new Triumph filter (see your dealer; $13.34) and poured about four quarts of Maxima Extra4 synthetic oil (www.maximausa.com; $16.50/liter) into the Speed’s crankcase. During the first 5000 miles (I got the bike with 1000 miles on it) maintenance has been limited to lubing the chain; I haven’t had to add any oil or even adjust the chain.

What’s next for the Triumph? More adventures, I hope. This is one powerful, versatile, engaging motorcycle, and it’s reignited my desire to just get out and go for a ride.

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