The bargain alternative to a... Triumph Sprint 1050
First rides & tests
31 July 2009 12:12
Since 2005 Triumph’s Sprint 1050 has probably had the best torque curve of any roadbike. A classic sports tourer, it’s squashy, grunty, decent-handling, full of character and (as long as you’re not too leggy) comfy for hours. But what if you haven’t got the five grand plus you still need to get one in your garage?
Why not consider... a Suzuki SV1000S?
The SV lacks the Triumph’s bulk, luxury spec and sheer heft. But if you can’t have the Sprint’s incredible, charisma-loaded engine, the Suzuki’s eight-valve V-twin is, in its own way, just as good. It’s like the biggest elastic band in the world thwanging your forwards every time you ease it open out of a 30 limit.
You’ll find models registered between 2003 and 2008, but don’t confuse it with the unfaired SV1000 version, which is considerably less capable. The fairing ensures the bike can handle life as a sporty all-rounder. You can go motorway bashing on an SV-S if you like, or razz around A roads. Even in town it’s pretty capable, thanks to a civilised low-speed manners and a sensible riding position.
There are deficiencies, however. If you’re a hard rider you’ll find the SV’s steering and corner exits falls short of sportsbike stability and precision. And on most SVs we’ve ridden the suspension rarely responds to adjustment. On top of that, passengers are unlikely to be impressed by the perched-up seat.
High quality tyres help it a lot. And you can always bung on an aftermarket sport shock such as a £300 Nitron to improve the way the bike feels, steers, and deals with bumps.
But that’s it. The brakes are smashing, the tank range is on the lower end of bearable (115 miles plus) and, for a big bike, the whole thing feels slim and flickable. Just ignore the ordinary looks, and try that engine. It’s a peach.
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