TRIUMPH SPRINT RS (1999 - 2004) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£190|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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 vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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
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.
|Engine type||12v in-line triple, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium beam|
|Fuel capacity||21 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£190|
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How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||118 bhp|
|Max torque||71 ft-lb|
|Top speed||154 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11 secs|
|Tank range||190 miles|
Model history & versions
1999: Original Triumph Sprint RS launched.
2002: Triumph Sprint RS power increased from 108 to 118bhp.
Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH SPRINT RS (1999 - 2004)
34 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£190|
Far better than a VFR in my opinion (I've owned the original VFR750FG and pre VTec VFR800). Mine is the update 2002 model with improved engine and I've not had any issues of note. The bike has low down grunt by the bucket-load in comparison to most other bikes and will pull cleanly (and quickly) from 2500rpm in top gear without grumbles. It's somewhat heavier than a full on race replica but lighter (sometimes far lighter) than dedicated sports tourers from other manufacturer. High 40mpg on short runs is normal with 50mpg+ easily achievable on longer journeys. 150mph all rounder for relatively little money with good MPG that's easy on consumables.
OEM brakes are good with good feel however the original calipers used uncoated pistons that over time develop stiction (stripping and re-greasing the caliper pistons helps but doesn't stop the issue from coming back). This can mean the lever travel can be a bit excessive before the calipers really grip after a while. Some people fit 16mm master cylinders for improved brake pressure. I've uprated the entire front brake system with 16mm master, braised brake lines, GSXR750 SRAD twin opposed front brake calipers and HH pads. The rear brake is strong with no problems
Strong engine with loads of low to mid range stomp. The gearbox can be a little bit notchy but at the same time you don't hear of these engines jumping out of gear much (you sometimes find more sports developed bikes with supposedly slicker gearboxes have a habit of jumping out of second gear when on the power, particularly as they get older).
Not had any reliability issues with mine which I use most days for commuting. Finish on the bike is good with thick coatings on engine cases, wheels etc. Bottom yoke showing some discolouration but that's about it. Mine came with adjustable aftermarket levers/ centrestand and I've since bought a Triumph Carbon race can, Sprint ST handlebars, Nissin front brake calipers/ master cylinder, and braided brake lines. Bike is relatively narrow so filtering isn't too difficult and it generally out drags most other bikes up to the speed limit.
Seems to be easy on consumables and not had to replace anything yet (around 3500 miles covered). Fuel economy is good and 50mpg+ is easily achievable on longer runs
It's an early 2000's sports tourer bike and equipment is generally par for the course for such. It could do with a clock but other then that it has similar equipment to other bikes of a similar nature.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer via a trade in on a CBR600F. The Sprint is slightly heavier but has so much more low down stomp that commuting is easier/ quicker than previous.
Version: Yellow with passenger seat cover
Annual servicing cost: £200
To start this review the RS is my eighth Triumph and I am not a stranger to some very fast track experiences. The RS runs rings around my 955 ST and my 1050 ST and can still top 50mpg.
The ride is smooth and as it’s a big yellow bike the road presence is awesome. I dare you to try to out accelerate me! Comfortable for a day in the saddle if needed and can scratch till the foot pegs scrape the road.
Evocative triple with torque everywhere. Can trickle on part throttle taking in the countryside or she can rip-it-up and howl like a banshee.
This is my second RS and other than routine maintenance it’s been totally reliable. The motor is awesome on a Triumph after market system.
Tyres are Bridgestone and grip massively. Running costs are low and I’ve not used any oil between services.
Equipment. What equipment. I got a car 🚙 too...
Great bike for the price in the used market. Great engine, easy to service yourself, plenty parts availability.
Great on highways, ok in stop and go traffic, clutch is very heavy, stock non-adjustable clutch leaver is designed for very large hands (upgrade to adjustable ones from later 1050 models). Front brake is spongy even after proper bleed and new fluid. Rear brake feels under powered. Front suspension is very soft, however does absorb harsh bumps well.
Fantastic engine, runs smooth and stable, great sound.
Mirrors could be better (1/3 of the mirror can only see your arms) Also the turn signal could snap and fall off very easily due to inferior rubber materials used in them (change to aftermarket signlas).
Luggage mounting and many touring options not standard, and pretty hard to find in today's used market.
Annual servicing cost: £150
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 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.
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.
Best damn engine ever made!
It always brought me home, no matter how far I rode.
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.
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.
Annual servicing cost: £150
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 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!
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.
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!'
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.
Little thirsty round town; commuting/thrashing in London but fine motorways/distance. These bikes are superb value for money. Well worth it.
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!
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 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!
Annual servicing cost: £250
Fast, Comfortable and reliable! Absolute gem!!
Brakes are a tad severe until you get used to them, forks also a bit soft, a bit of thicker oil sorts it out!
Just awesome, beautiful, tractable, smooth and powerful!!
Just did 1300 miles in 5 days around France and didn't miss a beat! Comfortable and fun.
including rear tyre!!
Comes with very little as standard
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 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.
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 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.
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!
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 its predessor, the build quality is no where near as good. In a nutshell, you get what you pay for!
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 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...
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 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
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 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!!
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 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.
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, 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.
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.
This is the best bike I have owned. Purchased recently for my 150 mile daily commute. Am amazed to be getting over 64 mpg! Is excellent on motorway and country lanes. Very comfortable and mirrors are fine. Not lightening fast but still a very rapid form of transport. Lovely engine! Strengths: Economy, comfort, cheap to buy. Weaknesses: First to second needs a good prod. Unsure how these Triumphs handle high mileage??
This bike suited my tastes from the start. I happen to like to see the heart of a bike (the motor) but found from previous experience that some weather protection is a must for my trips. Add to this that Triumph Australia was selling them off for a lower price than the 600s and my mind was made up. 18,000 kms on its 2nd birthday and not one fault. Strengths: Fuel consumption and tank range (250 miles on a trip) between re-fills. Performance is very strong . My bike has a Staintune can and an 18T front sprocket for a just sub 11 quarter. Addition of Michelin Pilot Powers made it just that much better. I'm over 50 and had no trouble doing 600 miles in a touring day with soft bags and a Ventura rack. It tours like the ST but is sportier with lower bars, a bit less weight and a bit less rake... just a bit sharper all round. A keeper! Weaknesses: Front suspension is basic, a bit soft, but probably the best compromise for the road. Some people have been very happy with a different grade of fork oil, others heavier springs.
I bought mine new in 2000, trading in a ?95 Speed Triple with 38,000 mile on the clock. I also had a Honda 929 at the time. I liked the Triumph from the start, but it needed a bit more suspension, so I opted for Race Tech front and Ohlins rear. I also went for a carbon fiber Triumph can and a few other minor changes, belly pan, turn signals, etc. The only thing it has been in the shop for other than routine maintenance is the leaking fuel fittings, twice. It started with Bridgestone 020s, then I went to Dunlop 207s, the Bridgestone 012s, then back to 207s, then, doing less canyon carving, went to Dunlop 220s (wrong!!), then to Avon 45/46s. I liked the Dunlops for sport tires, and the Avons for sport/touring. The original chain lasted 11,000 miles. Triumph chains suck, the Speed Triple chain made it to 8500. I replaced the RS chain with an RK and it is still going strong The bike now has 43,000 miles on it and gets mileage in the high 40 on the freeway and about 44 in town, dropping to 40 in the canyons. It has turned into probably my second favorite motorcycles out of the near 50 that I have owned over the last 45 years. Number one is the ThunderAce. The Honda was sold a couple of years ago when the insurance bill made it too expensive to keep. Strengths: The handling is decent enough to go quite quickly. The engine is great. Sounds good, pulls good, and it?s economical, I like the styling. Weaknesses: It's a bit top heavy and I have dropped it on several occasions, but I'm a squatty body. Some of the OEM equipment leaves a bit to be desired. Somewhat expensive to maintain.
Bought a 2001 model a year ago. The power is not uncontrollable around London town and the weight balance really helps when filtering and scratching on round-abouts. Triumph's trademark brake power brings the bike to a quick stop but the slope on the seat can lead to some plum-crunching moments. This bike isnt really a tourer as motorway driving can be a bit uncomfortable even with a double-bubble and your head down. Best buy a ST for motorways. Had to buy spares/ repairs including a new fuel sensor (that is apparently quite common), a new radiator, and a new battery: just waiting for something else to go now. Strengths: Excellent brakes, very very well balanced, comfortable especially 2-up. Lovely sound especially with the triumph carbon can. A very easy bike to ride= hard to make mistakes. Weaknesses: Poor finish on many of the components, expensive services, the mirrors are ugly & totally USELESS, the fuel sensor breaks quite easily and the battery drains quickly. A little too easy to ride = boring.
Bought the bike a year ago as my first big bike, dropped it in the first week, too much trottle not enough experience at a junction. Not the bikes fault but god is it heavy to pick up. I have ridden the CBR600RR, ZX636, R6 and a GSXR 750, only the 750 comes close in terms of torque, it makes the bike so easy to ride, you just get linear torque, no kicks in the arse or back wheel spins (except in the wet when provoked). It has been completely reliable, although the £450 service at 12k was a bit much. It has been out in all weathers and there is no sign of corrosion anywhere. Strengths: Torque, stability, tank range. Weaknesses: Top heavy in town, slow corners.
Ok for 400ml run great for scratching over alston moors. Brakes great for late cornering don't grab.. Powder coating poor on rear flaking an bubbling.
Great bike, I love it tons of torque, lots of positive comments, even from the Harley types; turns the heads of pretty girls and little kids. Made my butt sore as hell after 800 miles in two days. Cramped my legs a bit as well. Zero proplems in the year I have owned it. Previous owner reports same.<br>
Love the engine & handling at higher speeds find it a bit top heavy at very slow tight turns, build quality good in general, comfotrable two up, gearbox can be a bit notchy & difficult to find neutral on times.<br>
Only had the bike 2 weeks, & only ridden in the wet so far. Good perfomance, dire mirrors, finish seems ok, but I've noticed peeling paint on rear peg hangers. Gearbox needs a good 'prod' compared to previous Suzi. Why is the centre-stand not standard ???<br><br>
Brilliant - handling, performance (particuarly mid-range), comfort, economy. Perhaps a little heavy but this probably helps stability. <br>
Handles much better than my VFR, love the tyres and the way it goes round roundabouts. Its a bit different from the masses and looks handsome in dark blue. comfortable two up. Gearbox is not the best, and silly headlamp arrangement is a pain, both lights on at once please Brussels!
Great handling, beautiful looking. Sharp but not violent brakes. Can be used for touring, commutting and Sunday scratching. Lovely noise. Very good performance, can keep up with most race reps - and even outcorner a lot of them. I wish they would sort out the gearbox. Notchy and often going into false neutrals when worked hard.<br>
Very difficult to find fault-brilliant engine, brakes, handling, fuel economy, tank range, bags of character minus points: - small and dim idiot lights - mirrors not brilliant at higher speeds.<br>
The RS handles very well and is rock solid in bends 'hard on'. The engine pulls like a train and it's still not fully loosened up. I can't find any faults with it at all, it is a great scratcher with potential for longer touring. Whips the ass of the Jap tourer (VFR) for charecter and engine performance, the build quality is also nearly as good.<br><br>
The mirrors are useless. The handling is v.good. The engine just stuffs out power from zero. The gearbox is no problem as long as the chain is kept in adjustment. Two-up comfort was good for a 600 mile ride - although an optional flip screen would be useful. The dealer and aftersales service has been first class.<br>
Fuel tank leak,fuel sender unit replaced,new wiring loom, drive chain replaced under warranty, rider and pillion foot peg hangers replaced because of peeling of the plastic coating and a slightly dented front wheel thanks to the pot-holed roads of Crewe. Even so the engine, handling, brakes make up for the above.<br>
I love the bike, it's the best I have owned. The mirrors are not much use & I have trouble selecting neutral sometimes but it is not fully run in yet so time will tell. It is very heavy to get up stairs to bed each night!!!!<br><br>