TRIUMPH SPRINT ST (1998-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Pipped Honda's VFR800 simply by using a straight bat when the VFR tried all kinds of tricks"

Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding

"Pipped Honda's VFR800 simply by using a straight bat when the VFR tried all kinds of tricks"

  • At a glance
  • 955cc  -  118 bhp
  • 43 mpg  -  185 miles range
  • Medium seat height (805mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Superb British all rounder Triumph Sprint ST pipped Honda’s VFR800 simply by using a straight bat when the VFR tried all kinds of trick but ultimately unnecessary technology. Plus the Triumph Sprint ST undercuts the VFR on price too. Superb all-round sports tourer with a grunty three cylinder engine that makes it anything but bland.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Triumph Sprint ST is great at the role it’s intended for. Stable, neutral and relaxed on any road. Push really hard and you’ll discover the suspension’s not intended for sports riding and it somewhat undersprung and underdamped. The Triumph Sprint ST's forks are only adjustable for preload so if you really find it a problem a rebuild with thicker oil is the answer. Excellent brakes.

Engine 4 out of 5

Three cylinders gives the Triumph Sprint ST the character and low rev torque of a twin with the high rev power and smoothness of a four. A key ingredient in late 90s Triumphs and this one’s a gem. Always more than enough poke and a lively character too. Early Triumph Sprint ST models (pre 2002) had a lower state of tune and only made a claimed 108bhp.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Triumph Sprint ST is a solid motorcycle with few glitches. Plenty run to 50,000 miles and a few to more than twice that with minimal grief. Finish is better than most but once it starts to go, it flakes off fast. Triumph Sprint ST chain adjusters can seize, as can brakes, causing discs to warp so check both before handing cash over.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The sports tourer class is quite a pricy one with Honda’s VFR always commanding top money. The Triumph Sprint ST’s arguably a better bike and costs less. The 2005 onwards Triumph Sprint ST was highly revised and an extremely capable machine – which kept the prices of this early model surprisingly affordable. The RS version can be an even bigger bargain. Find a Triumph Sprint ST for sale

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

Pretty good – except the standard Triumph Sprint ST headlights are pants. Wiring both together (needs an extra relay) or better still a HID conversion helps. Riding position is comfy and the clocks are clear and comprehensive. The Triumph Sprint ST's silencer hinges out of the way for easy wheel removal and adjusts position for ground clearance or luggage space.

Owners' Reviews

16 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH SPRINT ST (1998-2004) 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 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
5 out of 5

ST 955I

11 October 2014 by BANKSFIELD

DOING THE REVIEW FOR MY DAD HAS HE DOES NOT HAVE THE INTERNET.HE SAYS A GREAT ALL BIKE WITH THE GREAT 3 CYCLINDER TRIUMPH ENGINE VERY COMFORTABLE TO RIDE HE HAS DONE 4000 MILES ON IT JUST HAD IT A YEAR HAD NO FAULTS WITH IT HE HAS HAD A VFR AND... Read more SAYS ST IS A FAR BETTER BIKE AND WELL MADE. I HAVE A ST1050 MY SELF HE HAS RODE MINE BUT LIKES THE 955I OVER MINE THAT SAYS IT ALL A GREAT ALL ROUND BIKE AT A GOOD PRICE .

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Can't find better

01 January 2014 by garybari

Had my '99 Sprint for nearly two years and covered 14k commuting to work in all weathers and it still looks as good as the day I bought it. Other than regular servicing, usual consumables and a clutch cable it hasn't missed a beat. I can't recommend... Read more it highly enough. Maybe it can't compete with some of today's exotica but nothing gives you as much bang for the buck. Engine and brakes are excellent, my only criticism would be the lights but I could probably sort those with an upgrade. If you want a reliable commuter/tourer with a 200+ mile range that puts a smile on your face then don't hesitate, doubt you'll get anything better for your money.

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
4 out of 5

The best allrounder.

20 October 2013 by markis42

Just completed a year with my 2003 St and I love it! Fast ,frugal and reliable are just some of its many qualities. Only problem I have is my wrists and that's me not the bike. This will be sorted soon with some bar risers I hope. The triple... Read more sounds fantastic at all speeds and there is enough power to please even the most throttle hungry rider. Two up loaded with gear still handles well and gives 52mpg every time. I tried a 1050 but it just was not the same. If you need a good used sports tourer I cant think of anything that compares.

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
4 out of 5

The best sports/tourer for a long time

19 June 2013 by troispattes

My tornado red from 99 has now covered over 50K (06/13) without missing a beat. Just regular service and the usual parts needing replacement. Since 99, I have tried every single sports/tourer out there and, for a long, long time, could not find... Read more anything better in that particular class (even the 1050 ST that followed) until I tried the 2009 BMW K1300S. For someone on a budget, a second-hand 955i Sprint ST remains one of the best all-rounders money can buy. Nearly 15 years after its introduction, that is saying something!

Overall Rating 4 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
4 out of 5

best owned

14 May 2009 by grapple

I bought this 2003 model in oct 08 it had done 19000 miles & came with full luggage in caspian blue to date ive added 7000 miles to it,fitted new tyres/brake-pads/had 25000 mile service. Just returned from thundersprint 09 it did not miss a beat,im... Read more looking for a differnt bike but cant find one to match it...

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

Best value bike of 09?

08 April 2009 by Lostboysaint

£1500 got me a stunning condition, fsh, '99 bike with only a tiny bit of corrosion on the rear hangers to show it's age. Engine is SO tractable, you can woofle along on that torque mountain or scream if you must. It's narrow enough and balanced... Read more enough to filter (carefully) and comfortable enough for someone my height (6'4") to do several hours in the saddle. What a find!!! And there's a number of them out there, you have no reason NOT to have one!

Overall Rating 4 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
5 out of 5

The dogs best bits

25 January 2009 by Paul49

I bought my ST955 new in June 1999, it now has covered 54k miles & is still the dogs danglies. She's done 8 tours of Europe 2 up with camping kit (fully loaded 100lbs of luggage) without a hiccup. The panniers are nicely tucked inside the width of... Read more the mirrors so great when filtering in lane 2 1/2. Bad points are poor headlights & a 100 mile seat, I had a rebuilt one from Digger (Corbin copy)now 600 miles a day across france is no bother to me or 'er on't back. Last year I bought a ST1050 & because I couldn't get a decent trade in price (high mileage) I kept the 955 & am I glad I did, the 1050 must have been designed by somebody serving his notice! The panniers are useless, the engine shakes like a shi--ing dog, it feels like I'm sat on a camel, the mpg is down from 56 to 46 & its slower! Good bits: headlights are brill, handling is more refined (read boring). Every time I pull out the old 955i a gurt big grin comes with it. The Triumph ST 955i has got to be the best bike ever made by any manufacturer for its all round outstanding ability.

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 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Superb ST

03 November 2008 by used2bfast

Proper allrounder, can blast with the mates on a Sunday morning, tour with the missus. Have the proper luggage, so evn she can take enough stuff! Fitted Scott oiller, genmar bar raisers, double bubble screen, triumph carbon can, dropped the yokes... Read more half an inch to quicken the steering. Just bought a gel seat also. Fitted Oxford heated grips, so I can ride all year round. Just wash off after a ride, and although I,ve had it for 4 years, still no corrosion, looks like new.

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

Top all rounder

23 April 2008 by trixieyam

I bought my 2000 ST second had four years ago for a planned trip to Sweden, Finland and the Oland Islands. The bike performed faultlessly two up for the entire two week trip. The next year we took the bike to Germany and covered around 2500 miles in... Read more two weeks, again with no problems. I had planned to sell the bike after the Germany trip but I've hung on to it as it really is such a good all rounder. It handles pretty well, the engine is strong and it's built as well as most Yamaha's and Suzuki's if not a bit better. My bike is fitted with the Triumph panniers, top box, baglux, heated grips, scottoiler and double bubble. My only real complaint is the standard clutch lever is not span adjustable annd the reach on it must be set up for a giant. I bought a span adjustable one which is better but the clutch action is still very heavy and can get tiresome around town. Everything else is excellent.

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

The best used Sport-tourer?

03 February 2008 by Robbo523

I've had my '99 ST since early 2001 and still love it. It's had a few small mod's over the years and the sum of them is that, in value for money terms, there is nothing out there that comes close to achieving what I want from a bike in the same way... Read more as my trusty old Trumpet. In 2007 a party of five of us toured Northern Germany, taking in a day at the Nurburgring, and the true nature of my ST shone through; all day comfort, 50+ mpg, up to 200 miles from a tankfull and the ability to scratch with (and often beat) the sports bikes I was touring with. Here's a few mod's that have made a difference: Extended height touring screen - the standard one is c##p for fast distance stuff as was the d/bubble I tried. 'Genmar' bar-risers - adds greatly to the comfort, especialy at town speeds. Heated grips - essential if, like me, you prefer to wear lightweight gloves to retain feel. K & N Air filter. 'Splitfire' Spark plugs - even quicker pick-up from that wonderfull triple-pot motor. Triumph 'race' can and a session on a rolling road - it's improved the top-end performance considerably and on full chat it's the throatiest howl you'll hear this side of a Hammer horror flick, legal too. The early ST's i.e. mine, made a claimed 108bhp. The 'race' can was the first mod' fitted and the R/Road showed 112bhp at 8,200rpm at the end of the session. I reckon, based on many miles running with mates on more poweful and newer stuff, that with the other bits added, mine must now be around 115 bhp+. Yes, the styling may be questionable, the suspension isn't the absolute Dogs' and the engine likes it's 10/40 (about 0.5 litre per 1,000 miles if/when she's thrashed) but it boils down to this: Every time I get seduced into looking at some new shiny stuff, and even trying them out sometimes, this happens: Afterwards I have a coffee, then I think about it, work out the finances while drinking more coffee, then I think about it some more and then, on the way home on the Trumpet ..... 'What am I doing! The eight-and-a-half grand plus I'm gonna spend on that Yamasukihondaducatguzziumph buys me a lot of motorcycling holidays for a long time to come, using the bike I've already got. Which is pretty nigh perfect. So calm down, save your money, and run that Triumph until it doesn't tick the boxes anymore.' It could be a while yet.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 16 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
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 78 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 185 miles
Specification
Engine size 955cc
Engine type 12v in-line triple, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium beam
Fuel capacity 20 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

1998: Original Triumph Sprint ST launched.
2002: Triumph Sprint ST engine retuned, power up from 108 to 118bhp.
2004: Triumph Sprint ST discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Top view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Top view
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review
  • Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle review - Side view
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