Showing posts with label Sports Bikes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports Bikes. Show all posts

Triumph Speed Triple

Triumph Speed Triple 1990s British sports bike

In '83, Triumph looked dead in the water. Finally, the once-famous firm went into receivership. If it was to survive, it needed a saviour - and fast! Up to the plate strode multi-millionaire building magnate, John Bloor. A new HQ was set up in Hinckley, England. That was not a million miles away from the original Triumph factory - in Meriden, Birmingham. For the next eight years, Bloor and his colleagues planned a new range of Triumphs. One of them would be the Speed Triple. Throwing off the shackles of the wilderness years, the new bikes would be modern marvels of engineering. There would also, though, be design references to Triumph's glory days.

In '91, six new Triumphs rolled into the showrooms. The parallel twins of yore were no more. Now, three- and four-cylinder engines were the norm - complete with double overhead camshafts and water-cooling. Stylistically, a sea change had occurred. The new 'British' bikes were as futuristically slick as their Far Eastern counterparts. Indeed, their suspension and brakes had been made in Japan. Notwithstanding, they were clutched to the 'Brit Bike' bosom with eager arms. Whilst there were reservations amongst dyed-in-the-wool riders, a new breed of bikers was just glad to have a British brand-name back in motorcycling's mix.

The names of the new arrivals harked back to the past. Trident, Trophy, Thunderbird ... these were legendary labels! In '94, came the Speed Triple. For bikers of a certain age, that evoked memories of the Sixties' Speed Twin. Technically, though, it was state of the art. Saying that, Triumph had long turned out a tasty 'triple'. But, this was a three-cylinder machine with some major updates. As a result, it clocked up a top speed of 130mph. 97bhp was output from an 885cc motor. The bike's 'naked' look - devoid of a fairing - pared weight down to 460lb dry. It also lent itself to lean and aggressive styling. Road tests were positive. The Speed Triple was competent in every category. Unsightly oil stains were a thing of the past. A mighty marque was back on its feet. The Triumph Speed Triple - and its second-generation siblings - would take another tilt at the two-wheeled big time!

KTM Adventure 990

KTM Adventure 990 2000s Austrian sports bike

The KTM Adventure 990 was made in Austria. Produced between 2006-13, it was designed to be dual-purpose. The Adventure was equally at home both on and off road. At least, that is what the marketing men said! Its engine - the LC8 liquid-cooled 4-stroke 75° V-twin - was tailor-made for rough terrain. Power output was 105bhp. Capacity was 999cc - to be precise. With a dry weight of 461lb, the Adventure maxed out at 123mph - on flat tarmac!

R & D for the Adventure was the Paris-Dakar Rally. Lessons learned from that hotbed of competition trickled down to the roadster. Probably not too much pre-release testing was needed after that! The Adventure's long-travel suspension came courtesy of Dutch masters WP. The flexible tubular steel frame was almost identical to that on the 950 desert racer. So, indeed, were many other parts. Fabrizio Meoni sat tall in the saddle. He won two of the three Paris-Dakars preceding the Adventure's release. Not a bad sales pitch!

Styling-wise, the Adventure was supermodel svelte. But, a model that packed a punch! At 6,750 rpm, no less than 100 N-m of torque was on tap. And - thanks to its chromium-molybdenum trellis frame - the Adventure rolled with the punches, too. Anything that less than snooker-table smooth green lanes could throw at it, anyway! As far as all-round capabilities go, then, the KTM Adventure 990 was about as kitted-out as a motorbike gets!