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Two-wheeled limo a Triumph of design

Published Feb 28, 2013


The Triumph Trophy SE feels so big you could just about land a small aircraft on it. At 2235mm long and weighing 300kg it’s a colossal hunk of bike, and it’s further festooned with super-sized luggage panniers and a giant hadeda-swatting windscreen.

Built to comfortably schlep a rider and passenger across continents, Hinckley’s latest heavyweight is Triumph’s new foray into the touring league, the British firm’s answer to mega-tourers such as the BMW K1600 GTL and Honda Gold Wing.

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Launched in South Africa this week, it’s Triumph’s most high-tech motorcycle ever, and to make it gulp vast distances in better comfort it has features such as electronic suspension, cruise control, an electrically-adjustable screen, traction control, and a radio/MP3 audio system. To make it an all-season ride you can fit options such as heated seats (for rider and passenger) and heated grips.

The Trophy SE comes standard with a 31-litre pannier on each side, and an optional 55-litre top box with a 12-volt socket inside to charge cameras and cellphones. There’s an additional power socket in the (standard) glove compartment, which also has a USB port so you can play your own music through the speakers.

1215cc TRIPLE

As per Triumph convention the 1215cc engine has three cylinders; it sends 99kW and 120Nm of torque to the rear wheel via a maintenance-free shaft drive.

It’s a smooth and fairly hearty power delivery suited to effortless cruising, I discovered when taking the Trophy SE for a spin on the weekend. While it’s not superbike fast, the Triumph accelerates to 180km/h briskly for a heffalump, and it’ll sail along happily at that speed all day with a fair amount still in reserve.

The enormous screen very effectively keeps the wind at bay, helping to reduce rider fatigue over the extended high-speed rides for which this bike is designed. Set in its uppermost position, the electric windscreen places you in a relatively calm and quiet bubble.

The large, well-padded seat and comfy upright riding position also help to make this a two-wheeled limousine that you’ll be happy to ride for hours at a time while you wait for it to run out of fuel (it has a 500km-plus range, based on the 26-litre fuel tank and the five litres per 100km consumption I averaged).


An urban plod around Johannesburg confirmed the obvious: the Trophy SE is not a happy commuter. Around town it feels like a whale in a swimming pool; it’s too wide to zip between traffic like an ordinary bike. You basically have to treat it like a two-wheeled car and patiently stay in your lane.

With no reverse gear and a fairly high saddle, it’s also not very user-friendly to manhandle in a car park.

This is a bike that likes to stretch its legs, and the titanic Triumph comes into its own with a long, preferably empty road stretching to the distant horizon.

With the big triple humming away merrily and the electronic suspension set to Comfort (Sport and Normal are the other two modes), the big bike floats along like an ocean liner.


The Trophy SE feels settled and stable at high speed, helped along by Triumph’s dynamic luggage system, which allows each pannier to shift through a five-degree arc while the bike’s moving, to optimise stability.

The ABS-assisted brakes are sharp too and do a fine job of bringing this behemoth to a swift halt.

The suspension loading, at a click of a button on the handlebars, can be set for solo or two-up riding, and also for riding with or without luggage.

The mode you’re in is displayed on the Trophy SE’s very comprehensive digital dash, which also gives you instant and average fuel consumption, average speed, and tyre pressure monitoring among other info.

The Triumph Trophy SE is yours for R169 500, which includes a two-year unlimited mileage warranty. - Star Motoring


Engine: 1215cc liquid-cooled transverse triple.

Bore x stroke: 85 x 71.4mm.

Valvegear: DOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.

Power: 99kW at 8900rpm.

Torque: 120Nm at 6450.

Induction: Electronic fuel-injection with three 46mm throttle bodies and fly-by-wire throttle.

Ignition: Digital electronic.

Starting: Electric.

Clutch: Hydraulically-actuated multiplate wet clutch.

Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by shaft.

Front Suspension: WP 43mm inverted cartridge forks with electronically adjustable rebound damping.

Rear suspension: WP monoshock with remote oil reservoir, electronically adjustable for preload and rebound damping.

Front brake: Dual 320mm floating discs with Nissin four-pot opposed piston calliper, ABS and partial linkage.

Rear brake: 282mm disc with Nissin dual-piston floating calliper and ABS.

Front tyre: 120/70 - ZR17 tubeless.

Rear tyre: 190/55 - ZR17 tubeless.

Wheelbase: 1542mm.

Seat height: 800-820mm.

Kerb weight: 301kg.

Fuel tank: 26 litres.

Price: R169 500.

Bike from: Kawasaki Motors SA

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