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British beef / Triumph T120 Bonneville test ride
« Last post by elessimo on Today at 12:44:15 AM »
Working late shift at the factory has one bonus: I can ride into Gloucester, take a different bike back home on a test ride, return the long way, get a couple of part-exchange quotations on my current bike and still get into work on time.

The ride to Thunder Road Motorcycles on the Explorer was somewhat eventful with cloud still wreathing Ruardean and clinging to the top of Plump Hill; an emergency braking incident at Little London somehow resulted in no deaths but left two streaks of rubber as a semi-permanent reminder on the well-patched tarmac. Yet more thanks were given to my guardian angel.

Greg at TRM had the black T120 Bonneville filled up and waiting, so I set off into the morning traffic back to the Forest. First impressions: good looks, great sound, minimal technology. Although weighing in at 224kg this bike feels really small: easy to swing even my short leg over. There are two riding modes, Road and Rain, swapped over by one button press. Perfect! With admirable simplicity the starter is also the kill switch and the ‘i’ button scrolls through the trip and economy options in a linear fashion; this really is technology made easy.  The hazard light switch is located well away from the headlight switch unlike on the Explorer, so no more switching hazard lights on instead of high beam in heavy rain at midnight.


The black option

The deep sound of the twin, firing at 270 degrees rather than the traditional 180, is audible from start-up to journey’s end; it’s like riding a bass speaker on wheels though the only vibration is from sound waves beating on my ribcage – none through bars or pegs. Takes me back to my first real (working) bike in my teens, the venerable 350cc Triumph 3TA. Except this one doesn’t require a well-judged kick to start, nor does it drip oil or lose rocker caps.


My favourite bike so far: the 3TA

The riding position is quite tucked up, presumably as a result of the low 785mm seat height, but comfortable – no strain on the wrists after 90 minutes riding bumpy Gloucestershire and Herefordshire highways and byways. This bike wouldn’t require my usual mandatory Rox Risers: the handlebars are relatively narrow but the lack of mass at the front means that manoeuvring the bike at low speeds is a doddle while the naked-induced air-pressure on my chest keeps my hands light on the bars at faster rates. The six-speed box engages smoothly through a silky light clutch but the rear brake pedal is a bit low for emergency stops.

At higher speeds the steering is just a little lazy compared with the razor-sharp Explorer but once the mental calibration is made this aspect recedes – it just needs slightly earlier input or a little extra body movement. In fact this could be my exercise for the day, hanging my arse off the seat as the twisties unfold ahead. I learnt to ride the old 3TA by hanging my whole body off it as it weaved around bends, so this is a kind of coming back to my roots. But with a somewhat more powerful and smooth steed.


New Bonnie, old styling

Following a line of traffic uphill from Huntley to Longhope in fourth gear, I only needed to open the throttle a little to shoot past them – this bike is the HT (High Torque) version of the 1200cc engine: it only makes 79bhp but the 77.5 ft-lb torque maxes at 3,100 revs, which is a blast. The gearing is quite high, so 3rd and 4th gears were used for most of the ride to Lydbrook, where my steep driveway was negotiated with no problem. Debs got on the back and proclaimed it less comfy than my current bike, but much easier to mount. The excellent level of finish was noticed: great paint job, excellent welding, and quality touches such as Triumph logos on various parts – Triumph have upped their game on this new generation of Bonnies.


Small and torquey  ;D

After the photo-shoot it was onto the A40 dual carriageway to Ross, just to see if I could stretch my arms a bit. Well, it cruises quite happily at 70 – 80, with nice clean airflow giving an even pressure on the chest; the mandatory ton was achieved quickly without resorting to lying on the tank but top speed is not the point of this bike. I’m sure it could attain its advertised 130mph on the autobahn but I won’t be attempting it. This is a naked retro cruiser which handles fine; in a group ride I would probably be one of the back markers, but it would be with a smile on my face and not a shit given.


Black heart, black bike

As mentioned, it’s not as quick as the Explorer nor as sharp handling so most adventure- and sports-bike riders would probably find it lacking, but for me this is a return to what biking is about: the gorgeous sound, great looks and the deep blackness…

In the light of my long-held intention (thus far not achieved) to ride slower as I attempt to keep my licence and reduce the incident of near misses, I arranged to part-ex my well-loved Explorer for a black 2016 Triumph T120 before going into work that afternoon. I love shift-work.


Triumph oil runs in my blood  8)
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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by HippoDrones on April 18, 2019, 11:49:29 PM »
It is what endeared me to my Beta Alp 4.0 and also what appeals to me about the Beta Xtrainer. I wish they did a 4T version of the Xtrainer
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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by Radar on April 18, 2019, 11:19:59 PM »
the enduro is 3" taller still!

I wouldn't have a snowflake's chance in hell with that one! Dirt and adventure bikes have gone crazy tall in recent years and just can't get near some of them! The DT175MX, the first bike I ever rode was so low compared to what is about these days
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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by HippoDrones on April 18, 2019, 12:57:41 AM »
the enduro is 3" taller still!
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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by Radar on April 17, 2019, 11:48:03 PM »
Aye... the Fantic enduro is as tall as a house, think it is even taller than the KTMs!  :o

The Caballero was a little on the high side for a stumpy like me too...
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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by HippoDrones on April 15, 2019, 10:35:08 PM »
Aye... the Fantic enduro is as tall as a house, think it is even taller than the KTMs!  :o
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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by Radar on April 15, 2019, 09:37:34 PM »
was interested in the 500 when shopping for the Beta, I think I made the right choice at the time, but by heck... the 500 is a lovely looking bike! :-)

You certainly seem to be enjoying your Beta, there is a Fantic more in that style, but you're right the Caballero is a cracking looking bike
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Scooters / Vespa 300 GTS Super HPE - Ora ancora più nitido !!
« Last post by Radar on April 15, 2019, 09:09:47 PM »
I have always liked the Vespa 300 GTS Super, it has always been a capable piece of kit. Well built, efficient and a doddle to ride and it gets the balance between retro and modernity about spot on. However nothing in life is so good that it cannot stand a little improvement. In that vein the latest 2019 300 GTS Super now boasts the HPE badge which demotes an engine update with a focus on Euro IV compliance and while the ‘clever people’ had their lap tops out they tweaked the mapping to give the 300 and little more pep and throttle response. The looks have also been given a mild makeover with a new front panel, but the surgeon’s knife has been subtle and I would need to stand the old and new next to other to pick them apart. As the GTS looked good before, this isn’t really a problem


Beautiful day for a ride


Look closely

To ride all the good stuff remains in place…comfort, brakes and surprisingly stable handling, but the improved powertrain is really obvious…much more so that I had anticipated. I rode the GTS along one of my favourite local routes, away from the Stourport on Severn base of the Vespa dealer Readspeed out through picturesque Bewdley and over towards the famous Hill Climb track at Shelsley Walsh. Perhaps not the natural environment for a scooter but the GTS lapped up the twisting and undulating A and B roads with dismissive ease. The throttle response and pick up is now really sharp and you can punt the thing along at a very respectable pace. 70 mph comes up quickly and is held with ease and with a sizeable amount of speed still in hand.


Cool, capable

The exhaust is very…how can I put this? Polite, that’s the word. This combines with the creamy smoothness of the rest of the ride to conjure up images in my head of wandering through the landscape to the strains of Matt Monroe, or perhaps early an early Style Council track, whereas the more traditional 2 strokes Vespas are perhaps more sparky and edgy, more early Jam!
So in conclusion the engineers and stylists at Vespa have tweaked an already impressive package and made that bit better. I can see the 300 GTS as the ideal companion to a classic scooter in your garage, or perhaps as cool, stylish way of getting about and taking those longer runs in its stride too. An impressive piece of kit, and if you are more Jam than Style Council, buy an Akrapovic exhaust!

https://www.readspeedscooters.com/

The standard model

http://bikemeet.net/index.php?topic=8288.0

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Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by HippoDrones on April 15, 2019, 01:44:40 AM »
 was interested in the 500 when shopping for the Beta, I think I made the right choice at the time, but by heck... the 500 is a lovely looking bike! :-)
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Members' bikes / Re: quick update, first one in a few years
« Last post by Radar on April 14, 2019, 11:46:22 PM »
I prefer the forum layout to FB too Ben
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