Tuesday 24 May 2016

Triumph TT 600

Well, it had to happen eventually. Trawling eBay late one evening I came across a nice little  Triumph TT 600. It was sitting at no bids with an extremely tempting starting price, and the listing was due to expire soon. On impulse I made a bid, closed the computer down for the night, and expected to hear nothing more about it.

When I received an email the following morning telling me I was the winning bidder it was a with a mix of joy and consternation. I had just agreed to buy a new bike, which is always good, which I didn't really have the room for, I could just squeeze everything up a bit I suppose, and the missus was likely to kill me. Oops!

Okay, now all I had to do was arrange to collect it from outside Birmingham, a round trip of about 600 miles. My first idea was to simply go down and ride it back, but the weather was looking a bit ropey, and I hadn't actually been on a bike for over a year due to a back injury. 

I decided that my best bet was to collect it in a van and play it safe. This turned out to be relatively straightforward, if time-consuming, and I was really glad that I'd not chosen to ride it back as the weather for much of the trip was horrible.

"Oh, to be in England in the summertime"
First sight of the bike was favourable. It's not always possible to tell from photographs posted online. It was clean, and appeared well looked after. It was one of the last ones made with a black frame and Diablo Red paint. Mileage was a little over 30k, which is not bad for a 13 year-old machine, and it started up and ran fine. The owner had just bought a bigger bike and didn't have the room to keep both. So, his loss was my gain. Money changed hands, paper was signed, and the bike was loaded into the van for the trip back home.

safely aboard
 So, what's it like to ride then?

Well, it's physically smaller than anything I've ridden in recent years, but compact rather than cramped. It puts me in mind of a smaller version of my old Sprint ST, but the engine characteristics are nothing similar. Throttle response is extremely quick and it feels quite 'twitchy', some air in the tyres helped a little, but it still doesn't feel as 'planted' as most of my recent machines. The engine redlines at 14k and feels a bit lumpen up until about 3k. Definitely not one I'd use around town every day. I'm told that this will be familiar to those of you who ride 'proper' sports bikes, but I've never owned one before and it's all a bit new to me.

As you can see, it has been fitted with an aftermarket screen, a Triumph race-can and racing style seat-hump. This is just a plastic unit which bolts straight on, the seat is still under there. The mirrors are pretty useless, and the footpegs almost non-existent, but the double-bubble screen is brilliant. I've managed motorway-plus speeds in an old open-face helmet without tearing up.

The rear pillion pegs and hangers had been removed at some point and were supposed to be part of the sale but, to be honest, I forgot to ask for them. I don't intend carrying a pillion so it's no great loss, and I can always put my hands on some should the need arise.

It's also fitted with heated grips. Who fits heated grips to a sports bike? Some people, I know, love them. Personally, I can't really be bothered. I've never had a set work properly, and they make the actual grip much fatter than I personally like. Almost invariably there's a lot of additional wiring which gets in the way and buggers up the wiring schematic, which I have enough trouble understanding when all the wires go where they are supposed to.

Finally, it is fitted with a DataTool alarm. My insurance company loves these useless things, and I got a hefty discount because it's fitted. However, my feelings on them haven't changed one bit (see here). As far as I am concerned they are more nuisance than deterrent. Case in point, the alarm went off on no fewer than three occasions on the day I brought the bike home, and it's extremely loud and annoying. Response from my neighbours? Nothing. Not a thing. No response whatsoever. I'll probably remove it in the not too distant future.

However, one thing in particular had to get changed right away. Much better!

Also, I managed to fit my TomTom sat-nav behind the screen, so I should be able to work out where I'm going, which is handy as I'm planning on a trip to Ireland this weekend.

It was a tight squeeze but I did manage to fit the Sat-Nav in there
I guess I'll see how the bike handles on longer trips sooner rather than later. Good job I'm not planning on camping, though, as there isn't really enough room on the bike to tote any camping gear. I'll be lucky if I can pack a change of clothes and a toothbrush.

On The Warpath

Indian Motorcycles - Old and New

Spotted at MCN Festival of Motorcycling