Fun with Triumph R/S

My superfantabulous friend Jenny is donating three of her bikes to The Rhino for Flaming Iguanas, but she had no way of getting them all up there. So, I met Jenny and our fellow Wind Dancer Jodie this afternoon to form a mini-caravan up to San Francisco.

The donated bikes include Jenny’s beautiful yellow late-model Magna, her beautiful yellow Triumph R/S, and her friend Diane’s older, purple, Magna. Since Jodie’s a cruiser gal and I’m a sportsbiker, she took the yellow Magna and I took the Triumph.

I wasn’t expecting to like the Triumph as much as I did, but a mere two cities up the peninsula, I was wondering if Jenny was still planning on selling it. By the time we got to San Francisco, I was whispering sweet nothings into its mirrors and promising that we’ll always have northbound 101.

Don’t get me wrong; the SVS is still my Victor Laszlo, to stretch a metaphor. But I really was surprised by how much I enjoyed riding the R/S.

First of all, Jenny lowered it, so I was practically flatfooting. I’ve never considered lowering any of my bikes, but considering I was riding this bike through Menlo Park, onto the freeway, and then through San Francisco, I was grateful for the extra stability. Second, it was thin! I’m used to thin twins, or wide fours — I guess I’d assumed that a triple would be more on the “wide” end of the spectrum. But no! It really was thin and comfortable. The only ergonomic complaint I had was that the levers were tilted down too far for my liking, but that would have been easily remedied with 30 seconds and a screwdriver.

Normally, I find liter bikes intimidating, but this one was really accomodating. Maybe the difference is in the aforementioned ergonomics; I felt like it just fit well. Whatever it was, I felt comfortable with the powerband and with the additional displacement. City streets were no problem at all, whether they were the flat and residential Menlo Park streets or the roller-coaster commerical zones in SF. There were no wheelie scares, no lurching from a stop, no addition or lack of power in unexpected places.

Shifting was smooth, and I could happily cruise along at around 6k RPM. I doubt I got above fourth gear; I wasn’t paying attention, really, but I know I didn’t get out of 1st until we got onto Hwy 101. Even while staying in (relatively) low gears, there was no lugging or engine whining. I don’t know where the R/S redlines, but I know I never got anywhere near it. That might not be a good thing; I’ve never ridden a triple before, so I couldn’t tell you where the powerband peaks. *shrug* I rode it like I ride my SVS, and we both seemed happy, so there ya go.

I’m really intrigued now. After the play is over, I may have to bother Jenny to let me take the R/S out for a day trip sometime. I’m curious as to how it plays on the backroads. I know a couple of people who have had R/Ss now, and I’ve always dismissed them as being overpowered liter bikes (yeah, yeah, I know, I know). And, sure, they probably are. 🙂 But this is the first liter bike I’ve ridden that I’ve really felt something for; the first one that I could see myself riding on a regular basis.

I’m really in trouble if Jenny ever does decide to sell this bike.

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