TRIUMPH SPRINT RS (1999-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Sporty sports tourer with Triumph's powerful, mellifluous three cylinder engine"

Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding

"Sporty sports tourer with Triumph's powerful, mellifluous three cylinder engine"

  • At a glance
  • 955cc  -  118 bhp
  • 42 mpg  -  190 miles range
  • Medium seat height (805mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Never a big seller when new but the Triumph Sprint RS can be a real bargain on the used market. Sporty sports tourer with Triumph’s powerful, mellifluous three cylinder engine. The Triumph Sprint RS is similar to the better selling Sprint ST but with a cheaper and lighter conventional swingarm, less plastic, firmer suspension, sharper geometry and a different exhaust. The Triumph Sprint RS is a great buy if you don’t mind it looking like a SV650S.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Firmer than the ST with less weight so the Triumph Sprint RS handles better – but it’s still no sports machine. Cost conscious forks only have preload adjustment so the only way to up the damping is change the oil – most Triumph Sprint RSs could do with it replacing anyway so it’s an ideal opportunity to go for heavier oil.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Triumph Sprint RS has loads of personality, plenty of torque and more than enough power for a medium-distance all-rounder. The Triumph Sprint RS's three cylinders give that Triumph growl. Can be confusing at first for those used to four cylinder bikes – you can find yourself in a gear or even two too low and even hit the rev limiter accidentally.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Triumph Sprint RS's quality is better than many motorcycles. Reliability is broadly good with the odd electrical or engine problem. Finish is tough – Triumph understand the UK winter better than most. But when the coatings fail, they flake off very quickly. Most Triumph Sprint RSs are well cared for machines.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

It may not be as polished or handle as well as a VFR800 – but the Triumph Sprint RS has a much better engine and it’s a real bargain on the used market. Year 2000 can be had for under £2500. Late Triumph Sprint RS models with the more powerful engine are rarely more than £4K. Few machines match it for value for money. Find a Triumph Sprint RS for sale

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Triumph Sprint RS's basic clocks work fine. Headlights are very poor – only one works on dip beam. You can make both work with an extra relay but it’s not legal. HID conversion’s the best answer. The Triumph Sprint RS has mediocre mirrors and decent comfort as befits a distance-capable machine. Enough wind protection. No centre stand but one is available as a Triumph extra along with hard luggage, race exhausts and more.

Owners' Reviews

27 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH SPRINT RS (1999-2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

Trusty Triumph

02 April 2010 by tim2304

I bought my Sprint RS in June 2008 as a replacement for my workhorse Honda, which I crashed. Although about eight years old the RS only had about 7000 miles on the clock (& original front tyre). Since then I have comuted all year, used it for ride... Read more outs & taken it to France & Spain. It now has another 20k on the clock. So far it has been reliable, I did a 3500 mile trip to Spain and back four weeks after buying it (having put on a new front tyre all I did was give it an oil and filter change). I use it for work and ride outs and so it has been ridden through plenty of salt and rain and the build has coped really well with the conditions; it still cleans up pretty close to new. I service it myself and it gets oil and filter every 4000 miles (never uses oil between changes). I've had Jap bikes before & would consider one again but I really like the fact I can commute on a reliable and cheap to run (about 50 mpg & 9000 from a back tyre) British machine. In my view the title Trusty Triumph has been re-earned for Triumph by the Hinckley factory.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Sprint RS 2000

13 March 2008 by macbean

Bought this to replace my VFR750. What a difference! The Triumph engine is much smoother and has better torque. Motorway riding is a lot easier and it is sporty enough to have fun on. Good economy, comfortable (I can do lots more miles on this... Read more than with the VFR) and not expensive to maintain. The finish is good, an 8 year old bike looks almost new, bodywork is very good, engine cases not quite as good as the VFR for quality of finish, but not far off. For me, the Triumph has the edge on the VFR for comfort, economy and for power. It pulls better from any revs and although it might be a tad slower on corners, is still enormous fun to ride.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Little Gem

20 February 2008 by swg2000

Bought a used 02 RS in 05 and just love this bike! Been all over the western USA together,putting on 15k trouble free miles. Competent handling,reasonable brakes and wonderful engine add up to a love affair that I hope will last! Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

Its ok

18 December 2007 by evansive

I had one of these back in 2002. A good motorcycle spoiled by a lack of finished quality. The bike rides well and is comfortable; but due to a lack of fairing trim lots of exposed componants. Whilst I realise that this bike is much lighter than... Read more its predessor, the build quality is no where near as good. In a nutshell, you get what you pay for!

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

1050 version please!

06 October 2007 by daz955rs

Superb bike and excellent value secondhand. All it needs a styling update and maybe the 1050 engine and it would be perfect. I've toured Spain and France twice now on this bike has been faultless. The comfort is brilliant, the handling superb, even... Read more with hard luggage fitted, and that engine...stunning. My old bike was a ZX6R, and that was OK comfort-wise, just a bit weedy low down, and it wouldn't doo hard luggage. When I decided to change, I was looking at the older style STs til the RS came up. I'm glad I chose the RS; I like the fact that the bars a bit lower, and the handling a tad sharper. Would be nice to have a fuel gauge though. While I'm at it, a centre stand as standard, and better hard luggage support would be nice (I had to make up a fitting kit for a Givi system as the ST one wouldn't fit without a different footrest hanger) These are minor issues though. The engine and the perfect gearing more than make up for stuff like that. What we need now is Triumph to make a new version; a bit sportier than the ST, and with the 1050 engine, but still with proper hard luggage support, and it's own sharp styling. Then I think I'll be talking nicely to my bank manager...

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

monster, monster!!

23 August 2007 by littledaddy

I'm on my second RS now - both the older model (2001 & 2002)- the first was faultess for all our 17K mikes togehter (apart from me throwing it down the road one cold winters morning) and the second is still good after 6K. The bike has 3 faults, soft... Read more suspension, spongy brakes (in time) and a heavy gear change....and I've cured the first 2 (front; drop the yolk 12-15mm down the forks/Ohlin springs/480ml of 5W fork oil and no preload, rear; preload on max. and no damping, the brakes need the seals regreasing every 2 years, twin brakelines and a 5/8" mastercylinder) but the gearbox is still heavy...hey ho! Others wise it's a very, very, very good bike...fast(massives of low down pull), agile, involving and economical (DIY services aren't too bad for most jobs)and comfy - I had a slipped disc and couldn't walk for 2 months so I know a good 'un from a bad 'un...they are such an underestimated bike and a total bargain...recommended

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Suit me sir

10 March 2007 by KevsRS955

I spent four years deciding exactly what kind of bike would most suit me due to my last two bikes being disappointments. Eventually I narrowed my options to the smooth powerful all-round ability of Honda's Blackbird, the thumping soul of a Suzuki... Read more SV1000 or the Triumph RS. I found the Blackbird too constrained on UK roads and the SV lacked practicality and comfort for two up touring. The RS handles very well, it flicks from side to side with a nudge on the bars, holds a line and makes little drama of any slide if you push too hard. Pre-load is easy to get to at the back with an 8mm socket for two up mode. Comfort wise, it's easy to cover 300 miles with a few leg dangles and bum off seat moments. The fuelling is faultless, 200 motorway miles for £10 and power is a match for any car from 3000rpm on! The gear box isn't Suzuki slick, but it's not BMW stodgy either! The power and torque is perfect for the road and I don't need any more. In fact, I don't lust after any other bike any more!! It's that good :-) Fantastic sportstourer, more torque than the VFR, good for finding the edges of tyres solo, great sound and engine character, stops me wanting other bikes! Only complaints so far, the rear foot pegs are quite short and give my girlfriend leg cramp and the bike can't change our weather!!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

A fantastic bike for the price

26 September 2006 by azurian

Bought it 18months ago for £2600 at 21000 miles. Since then i've done 10000 on it including a 3000 mile tour of Spain 2 up with throwovers and its behaved perfectly. It tours well at 90 - 100 mph and even then returns around 50mpg.I've changed the... Read more rear footrest hangers for ST ones (they're about 3 inches longer) 'cos of complaints of knee ache from my wife. Strengths: Amazing engine - it pulls like a train in any gear and gives fantastic fuel economy even when thrashed. Weaknesses: The finish is beginning to go on some powder coated parts like heel gaurds. Some service items are a bit expensive.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best bike I've had (40+ at the last count)

21 September 2006 by stevesfzs

Triumphs best kept secret, when can we have a 1050 version? The best all rounder I've owned, good handling, brilliant motor, lost the top heavy feel of the old 900 Sprint. Comfortable for long distances, especialy if you fit ST bars which are higher,... Read more wider, pillion comfort ok too.  Strengths: Engine, pulls well from next to no revs, sounds good even with the standard can, fuel economy, never drops below 50 mpg during normal use.  Weaknesses: Mirrors could be better.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fast, torquey and economical medium distance bike

30 July 2006 by Paul318UK

Excellent bike with a fantastic engine. Sounds great and does over 50mpg ridden enthusiastically. Strengths: Fast, torquy and economical. Sounds great and rides well. Weaknesses: Riding position a little on the sporty side for slow town traffic. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 27 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 118 bhp
Max torque 71 ft-lb
Top speed 154 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 190 miles
Specification
Engine size 955cc
Engine type 12v in-line triple, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium beam
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 207kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 255mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1999: Original Triumph Sprint RS launched.
2002: Triumph Sprint RS power increased from 108 to 118bhp.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding