Author [NL] [FR] [ES] [DE] [SE] [IT] VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)  (Read 4196 times)

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  • Offline dsinned

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    Offline dsinned

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    VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    on: Sep 19, 2015, 04.27 am
    Sep 19, 2015, 04.27 am
    I still have not completed "breaking in" my new 2014 TTSE, but I took it for more than a few rides, including one 100 miles round trip this week.  I have enough familiarization and seat time now to add to my initial post (Part 1) a few weeks ago.

    Imho, the Trophy is very well designed and a high quality product of the Hinckley factory.  Although not perfect - what product is? - it does a lot of things well as a new entry into the field of sport touring motorcycles.

    By far, it is the most COMFORTABLE bike I have ever owned, which number close to 30 over 50 years.  All those other bikes were mostly high revving, Japanese street machines much lower in price (all purchased new). 

    But is the TTSE worth a sticker price of 19 grand compared to the competition's average selling prices of many thousands less?   In THIS category - sport touring - the price differential is not that much, but it really worth it to spend thousands more just to have more comfort for longer rides?  That is a hard question to answer, and fortunately for me, the actual selling price was considerably less than that lofty figure.  As a result I did not have to experience the financial pain of buying a bike for more than some new cars, just for a better mix of extra rider comfort features. 

    Compared to a top of the line BMW, I could have almost bought two Trophies for the same price as a K1600.  Here in the U.S. market - right now - there are so many prior year (leftover, but still new) TTSEs that dealers must be becoming desperate to sell them.  At a deep discount of $13.5K, even a 2 or 3 year old, but still new TTSE is one hell of a deal and a lot of bang for the buck!

    Moving on to the ergonomics of the bike, for a relatively "large" motorcycle, it is surprisingly easier to manage on and off the stand, more so than its 660 pound curb weight might suggest.   I was a little apprehensive at first, and still very careful, for someone 5'-11", but moving the bike or parking it in my garage is no problem at all.  Flat level ground is essential however!

    The Trophy is very smooth and effortless to ride.  The engine starts right up, first time, every time and quickly settles into a reasonably quite and rock solid idle of 1000 rpm.   
    As do all modern motorcycles, it has a safety feature built into the side stand that immediately kills the engine to prevent accidental clutch engagements under power.   With the clutch disengaged, it is easy to find neutral in the transmission, and there is a green, neutral indicator light on the tachometer face for added insurance.  The clutch operation and shifting gears are seemingly effortless; missed shifts non-existent!  The Trophy's transmission does a commendable job.

    However, as others here have said, sixth gear could be a tad bit taller, i.e. more of an overdrive gear.  There are times when I inadvertently try to up shift to an even higher gear. as the engine seems like it is revving too high at around 75 mph.  A taller high gear that lowers engine revs down to say around 4000 rpm, at the same speed - still sufficiently in the triple's torque band, could potentially increase fuel economy by +10%.   As is, fuel consumption on the freeway is close to 50 mpg, already quite good for such a heavy bike. 

    Triumph says fuel economy peaks at nearly 70 mpg at 57 mph, but they did not specify the weight of the rider.  Realistically, that figure is overly optimistic, but surely 55 to 60 mpg, under optimum conditions, is quite possible; excellent for a big, sport tourer.

    Under 55 mph, at a more leisurely pace, I leave the windscreen down to its lowest setting to keep my helmet in the air stream for a little cooler ride.   I also, keep it there before turning off the ignition, so that it does not automatically return to a higher setting unnecessarily.  Over the long run, this should help to keep the battery happier and avoid extra wear and tear on the windscreen's drive mechanism.

    WInd buffeting is all but non-existent with the screen up.  I have purchased the optional larger screen with the bike, but even adjusted to be 1/2 to 2/3 of its maximum upper height, there is adequate wind protection.  The alternative higher windscreen probably would be more appealing to taller riders, over six feet tall.  I'm 5'-11", so the standard windscreen probably would be just fine and saved me $250 for this accessory.

    Speaking of doing things to "save the" battery, I see an "audio low voltage" message occasionally upon engine start up.  This makes me think the stock battery rating of 18AH is perhaps not quite sufficient.   For this reason, I leave the radio off  and keep the battery on a maintenance charger in between rides.

    Another decent safety feature is the horn; it is quite loud and effective to get a cager's attention, however the horn actuator button is probably the hardest to remember where to find it.   A good practice, would be to quickly beep the horn when no other cars are around at the outset of each ride.  This will help you to remember how to use the horn instinctively.

    The rear view mirrors are easy to adjust for nearly a surprisingly perfect rear view.  The clutch and brake levers on the grips, do not block the rear view as might have been thought.  In fact, I found no intrusiveness to speak of at all.  Nevertheless, there is still an unavoidable "blind spot" directly adjacent to the bike, same as any other motor vehicle.  Therefore, you must remember to do a quick side glance by physically twisting your head "to look" before departing your lane to pass.  Staying aware of what may be approaching from the rear, can be easily done from either side rear view mirror when properly adjusted.  They work quite well.

    I leave the TES on COMFORT setting all the time as going over expansion joints can still be quite jarring on this bike.   In this setting, I think the default front suspension could be even more cushioned for a smoother ride.  The TES is probably the most costly, so-called comfort feature of the "SE" model.  Triumph probably could have made it an extra cost optional feature on such an otherwise expensive model.  If TES were more of a "safety feature", then I can see the reason for having it as a standard feature.  This would be especially true if it were dynamically adjustable by the system itself, on-the-fly, while riding.   As is, still a little harsh in the comfort setting - at least to me as a 260 pound rider - it seems of questionable value on such a relatively expensive touring machine.

    After about an hour in the saddle in the lowest seating position, I could start to feel it getting to my rump.  I'm tempted to try the slightly higher "comfort" seat (with built-in heating) to use for a more comfortable ride.  Are there any opinions from those members here that have tried this already?

    I plan to install heated grips with Grab Ons for more comfort as well.  However, there is minimal vibration buzz from either grip and with CC turned on, throttle grip wrist fatigue is barely an issue worth mentioning.  Step up or down adjustments to the CC requires the rider to almost "let go" of the throttle, which does substantiate criticism of the switch layout.  I find that while attempting incremental step changes to constant speed this often results in undesirable jerky behavior in the throttle control.  I can live with it, but relocating the stepper switch to the other (LHS) bar or better integration scheme next to the throttle,  might have been a way to eliminate this issue.

    Speaking of abruptness, coming to complete stop with too much front brake is a bit tricky.  This perhaps is something that can be addressed by the linked ABS.  For instance, the forward to rear brake bias could be linearly increased as speed drops from 5 to 0 mph, with perhaps an electronic adjustment range to dial in what works best for the rider.

    Obviously, I've been essentially nitpicking here.  The bike operates very well "as designed", but there is always room for improvements. 

    For example, it turns out the two side panniers do not really provide a whole lot of cargo space.  I may have almost preferred just having the much large storage capacity of the top box as standard, with the side cases the optional accessory.  For that matter, I may still add a top box, since it is easily mounted to (and detachable from) the back of the bike.  With just the top box, sans the side cases, the bike might even become a bit more stable; although certainly not as easy to mount or dismount.  With the side cases mounted, the same goes for them.  To keep the latter permanently mounted to the bike does have its advantages.  I find it nice to carry the liner to my riding jacket in one side, and it is certainly nice to be able to lock up my helmet and a few other incidental items (e.g. first aid kit, a small water bottle cooler, etc) as well.     

    Bottom line, I very happy with my 2014 TTSE.  It is a great motorcycle!  As my very first "big touring bike", it takes a some getting use to, and a bit more fore thought to get the most out of riding it for maximum enjoyment.  I think it should have been voted "best in class" in 2013 over its strongest rival, i.e. the BMW R1200RT.  The TTSE could also have been a very good candidate for MOTY!!!    :152:
    Last Edit: Sep 20, 2015, 06.08 pm by dsinned
    Original owner of 2014 Lunar Silver Trophy SE, and 2015 Custom Silver & Black Bonneville T100.

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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #1 on: Sep 19, 2015, 05.06 am
    Sep 19, 2015, 05.06 am
    Nice write up. You're correct VLP but thanks for taking the time to write it.
    Proudly Riding Triumph Since 1968
    2013 Triumph Trophy SE
    2001 Sprint 955 ST

  • Offline Stelyn   gb

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    Offline Stelyn

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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #2 on: Sep 19, 2015, 08.40 am
    Sep 19, 2015, 08.40 am

        +1 -  :460:
    `Only a Motorcyclist  knows why a dog rides with his head out of the car window '

  • Offline lemuriano   us

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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #3 on: Sep 19, 2015, 12.21 pm
    Sep 19, 2015, 12.21 pm
    Good right up! This is also my first big bike and it took me a good six months to really get use to it, know it's feel like an extension of me. But as I'm disable because of back issues, the first few months were difficult and when it wasn't completely straight up, I have to let it go and dropped a few times.

    About the low voltage message; Did it went away after you start to turn off the radio?

    The comfort seat is a winner for me, since is flatter and allow me to move a bit more. On long trips I use the comfort seat on the hight position, then add some beads for extra comfort and as a result my knee angle is change from +/- 82 to a bit over 90, in conclusion, the knees salute me every step of the way.  :152:

    As for locking the helmets, most of the time my wife and I, prefer to use the hooks located at each side of the rider seat, maximizing the storage capability of the TTSE. 

    The mirrors are quite good, but while riding two up, I don't feel comfortable in regards to vehicles right behind me, for that matter, a pair of extra mirrors, perhaps from the TEX may work, haven't search that yet.

    Few weeks ago, I went camping to the Dragon area. While riding with a friend who has a BMW1200GS Adventure, that appear to be more agile, because his bike is almost 100lbs lighter, (also, he is 100lbs lighter), I though that it wouldn't be easy to kept up with him in the twisties. To my surprise, but not without effort, I did kept up with him, and notice that I could exit the turns a bit faster and gain on the GS.

    Did I say that I love the TTSE?       

    An apprentice in life, perhaps with the spirit of an ADV Rider
    IBA #60953

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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #4 on: Sep 19, 2015, 02.29 pm
    Sep 19, 2015, 02.29 pm
    Great report.  I could see a problem with decreasing front brake pressure with speed in that under heavy braking the speed would fall quicker than the weight would return on the rear wheel just before stopping, hence NO braking effect from the light rear end in the last few feet where you may really need it.  YIKES!  :156:  Glad that you took the time to evaluate a great bike for all of us.  Hope Triumph is checking in on here for some insight on a few little improvements.
    Ride safe.
    One of the Founding Members of the Twisted Trophies

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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #5 on: Sep 20, 2015, 04.24 pm
    Sep 20, 2015, 04.24 pm
    Nice write up.  +1 on the top case.  I ride 95% of the time with top case only for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned.  On my other bikes with Givi top case, mount and dismount takes 5 secs.  I'm tempted to replace the OEM top case with a Give Monokey mount, just so I can swap between my V46 and E55 easily, depending on carrying needs du jour.

    As for the "audio low voltage" flashing on start up, I wouldn't worry.  Cranking on the starter motor sucks a boatload of amps and will draw down even the healthiest of batteries.  The voltage drop is temporary and may or may not trigger the warning display depending on how quick the engine fires up.  As long as you don't see that ever during normal riding, no need for concern.
    Converto, ergo sum.       '15 300RR, '15 250XCF-W, '14 K1600GT, '12 VFR1200, '05 GSXR600 (track).

  • Offline Studley   ca

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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #6 on: Sep 20, 2015, 06.15 pm
    Sep 20, 2015, 06.15 pm
    Hey dsinned, thanks for your review.

    Beg to differ on one issue. You comment >>>Another decent safety feature is the horn; it is quite effective, but the actuator button is probably the hardest to remember where to find it, whenever necessary to get someone's immediate attention.  A good practice, would be to actuate it when no other cars are around at the outset of a ride, just to help remember how to use the horn instinctively.<<< IMO the horn on the Trophy is a miserable fail and far from decent. It was one of the first things replaced on my bike.

    Nothing personal but I can't imagine having to remember where the horn button is. Riding in my locale it is always, use a lower gear, keep the front brake covered and, thumb on the Stebel. "New Canadians" and "The Entitled" present a real threat in my local riding area.

    Enjoyed the rest of your post and thanks again


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    Re: VLP (very long post) First Impressions (Part 2 of 2)
    Reply #7 on: Sep 20, 2015, 08.28 pm
    Sep 20, 2015, 08.28 pm
    Good post!  :062:
    Didn't seem to be a VLP to me, but then again, I type too quickly and talk too much to keep my own posts short.   :125:  True to form, I'll provide a VLR (very long reply)!

    Hadn't read about it much before, but I too notice a bit of harshness in the ride, even when set on comfort. Although truth be told, most of my miles are local, and Michigan roads generally S U C K. The Trophy is certainly no more rough than my last bike, a 97 Honda Magna VF750C. In the time I've owned the bike -- only about 3 mos. and 5k miles -- I don't stray much from the comfort setting because southeast Michigan roads most definitely S U C K. (Did I mention how poor the roads are here?)   :023:

    Another nitpick you mentioned is something I've experienced but haven't read much about: desiring a taller 6th. I also find myself sometimes wanting for another gear at 70+mph.

    I embarrassingly miss 2nd too frequently, but it's always when I'm pussy-footing it -- :112: -- which is a good reminder to take advantage of the Trophy's beastly power! When I'm paying more attention to my riding, I preload the shifter lever just a bit, don't pull in the clutch lever all the way and don't allow the rpms to drop much -- and when I do all this quickly, she shifts beautifully, perfectly, smoothly and quietly. My favorite shift is going into 5th -- not sure why, but that's my favorite jump, it gives me a thrill every time.  :046:

    When I'm taking my time or allow the rpms to drop, it's clunky. Downshifting is often clunky for me too -- again, I think I'm just riding it too lazily.  :180:  She prefers to be ridden sporty methinks.

    As for the low voltage / audio off warning, I've seen that several times, but it's never stayed on for more than a handful of seconds. I seriously wouldn't worry about, particularly if most nights you leave it on a tender.  :028:

    I didn't like the stock/standard "low" seat, so I bought the "comfort" seat off someone on this forum (and sold my low to someone else here), and I enjoy having the slightly higher but wider/broader feel of the comfort seat. I prefer it in the high setting -- even though I'm only 5'9", I don't like feeling like I'm sliding into the tank and with it in the higher setting it's just right.

    I'm with all you other Trophy lovers out there -- overall, an outstanding bike.  :020:
    I would ride it everywhere every day if I had my way.   :017: