Triumph's third-generation Sprint started with a 1050cc, 125-horse triple in place of the earlier 955cc version, bolted into a sportier aluminum chassis wrapped in more fashionable bodywork. Everything else between its rakish nose and under-seat exhaust was tweaked as well to make sure the 2005 Sprint wouldn't be mistaken for some 1985 throwback.
This Triumph won't let you forget it's a triple. If three headlights, three big bezels on the dash and three muffler tips aren't enough, the signature wail of those three 79mm pistons at 9000 rpm will convince anyone within earshot. Its tractable, flexible brand of power produces a bit more engine heat and vibration than we'd like, especially on earlier iterations. Otherwise, no worries.
Road manners skew toward the sporty side of the sport-touring gamut. The stock seat can be a sore spot, and the free-floating accessory saddlebags didn't close or seal that well on early models. The compact windscreen does a good job of deflecting wind around an average-sized sport-tourist, and accommodations are roomy enough to make the occasional 1000-mile weekend relatively painless, even if you're tall. At 518 lbs. with a full 5.5-gallon tank of gas, the Sprint undercuts its larger, more luxurious competitors by a solid margin. Admirable handling and thrust keep it a few corners ahead of the heavyweights through the twisty bits. Getting from a green light to 60 mph takes 3.3 seconds, and it covers a quarter-mile in 10.9 sec. at 127.4 mph. The Triumph more than holds its own when things get, um ... serious.
Plastic bits can turn flimsy with time and mileage. According to Mickey Cohen, head man at Mickey Cohen Motorsports (www.cohenmotorsports.com) in Placentia, California, loud or slow starting can mean the sprag clutch is somewhere between going and gone. Some '05 and '06 models burned a fair amount of oil. Heavy carbon deposits around the tailpipes can mean the rings and/or valve-guide seals are on the way out. But as long as the previous regime handled scheduled maintenance and pertinent recalls-the potentially weak lower coolant-return hose in '05, for instance-the ST has proven to be quite reliable as well as straightforward to work on. Resale value is characteristically lower than a comparable German or Japanese sport-tourer, but if you're in the market for a clean ST, that's just one more check in the Plus column.
Useable broadband power, humane ergonomics.
Sketchy saddlebags, excessive engine heat, mushy stock seat.
Excessive oil consumption, noisy/reluctant starting, spongy brakes, loose fasteners.
A quick British sport-tourer that leans toward the sporting side of its repertoire.
2005 | $5595
2009 | $9290 (w/ABS)
2005 | $6650
Okay, so the styling comes up short of a 996 and it's not quite
2005 | $5425
Angular looks and underseat ray-gun mufflers differentia
2004 | $4830
The long-range rapid-transit unit to have when you can't