TRIUMPH SPRINT RS (1999-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

Sporty sports tourer with Triumph's powerful three cylinder engine

TRIUMPH SPRINT RS  (1999-2004)

Sporty sports tourer with Triumph's powerful three cylinder engine

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 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. 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 (but not legal either!). The Sprint RS has mediocre mirrors and decent comfort as befits a distance-capable machine. No centre stand but was available as a Triumph optional extra when new along with hard luggage, race exhausts and more.

Owners' Reviews

31 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.

Review your TRIUMPH SPRINT RS (1999-2004)
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

A great bike for its time

31 August 2016 by Audiolad

I road mine in the USA for 12 years, and it proved to be the greatest bike I've ever owned. They make the best three cylinder engine in the world, with torque comparable to a v-twin and the smoothness of an inline 4. I used up several sets of tires... Read more because the motorcycle made you ride it. It handled very well, and I never felt it wasn't competent on any road I chose to ride. I don't have it now, but it will always be in my heart.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
You really have to be careful grabbing a handful of front brake or you could stand the bike up, but it was so smooth it made learning how much very easy.
Engine
5 out of 5
Best damn engine ever made!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It always brought me home, no matter how far I rode.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I added a belly pan which closed the bottom of the bike to make it look much like the super bikes of today. A new chain, tires, and oil was my only cost.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The bike deserved to have full fairings. The clip on grips were excessively low, so I bought risers to make them more comfortable.
Buying experience

Good bike, horrible dealer who eventually closed.

4 out of 5

Triumph Sprint RS - shame they stopped making them...

19 January 2016 by Alec

I'm on my second one - first was stolen :-( - loved it so much had to get another! Best: engine - joy to ride. Price - a whole lot of bike for not a lot of money. Total all-rounder: commute, tour, thrash, two-up. Worst: brakes - upgrade master... Read more cylinder to 16mm - what a difference! Have recommended to few people. While it is an easy bike to ride for the most part, I would say to get the most out of it, you need a few years riding experience under your belt. I've had a couple of people say the clutch is too heavy, as is the bike - but I don't find this at all. I can throw it around like the CBR/VFR400s I used to ride and fly through London rush hour like it's a scooter! For a big bike, it has a narrow profile, you will be amazed at the gaps you can get through!

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
I found brakes bad on both my bikes. I upgraded the master cylinder to 16mm which made a massive difference (one finger operating). Riding position improved with handlebar risers, which I felt sharpened handling, can throw it around more easily - especially with pillion. Comfort is good (would happily ride all day) would be even better with refurbished seat, riding position perfect for me and pillions love it. Engine is a joy, handling/suspension may not be 'polished' but with a decent set of tyres you can throw it around with ease. I've owned at lot of bikes (customs, sports, v-twins, nakeds) but I can't think of anything I would replace this with.
Engine
5 out of 5
Excellent, responsive, all the power where you need it and some. It's an easy bike to ride, 'sensibly' but turn it up and it'll reward you - a 'proper' bike you have to 'ride' - with no 'aids!'
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
One had throttle position sensor failure, also ECU needed replacing. Corrosion not bad considering it had been stood outside, uncovered for 5 years before I bought it. Corrosion on second minimal, commensurate with age. Seats on both wore away where touches tank. Needs a decent battery, doesn't like damp, especially when covered and moisture collects. Best I found (and cheapest) was by Powerline.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Little thirsty round town; commuting/thrashing in London but fine motorways/distance. These bikes are superb value for money. Well worth it.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Unfortunately, this is what lets the bike down - you have to add a fair few things: Belly pan, double-bubble, centre-stand, luggage rack. Lack of fuel guage on a sports tourer is just dumb. Always use Bridgestone Battlax 023 good all rounders.
Buying experience

Both from dealers: First 2002 (30,000 miles) £2400 (overpriced as had probs). Second 2001 (25,000) £1650 - bargain!

5 out of 5

02 January 2016 by The Twin

I have owned my 15,000 mile 2003 Sprint for over two years and just can't part with it because it really is so good. I own other bikes but the Triumph is without doubt the best all-rounder. The fuelling is pretty much perfect and far better than some... Read more of Triumph's later offerings. I owned a VFR800 of the same year, and although it had a classier finish, I was always wanting a bit more power. The Sprint has more than enough and the engine is beautifully smooth. A great choice and in the real world, as good as anything else - regardless of price!

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
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

An under-rated gem of a bike!

30 August 2015 by The Toon Loony

Fast, Comfortable and reliable! Absolute gem!! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes are a tad severe until you get used to them, forks also a bit soft, a bit of thicker oil sorts it out!
Engine
5 out of 5
Just awesome, beautiful, tractable, smooth and powerful!!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Just did 1300 miles in 5 days around France and didn't miss a beat! Comfortable and fun.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
including rear tyre!!
Equipment
3 out of 5
Comes with very little as standard
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.

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.

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

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!

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...

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

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
-
Read all 31 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Used price £1,000 to £2,700
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £180
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  (1999-2004)
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  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Triumph Sprint RS motorcycle review
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  • 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
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  • 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
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