Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Anglophile's Dream Garage

I wasn't aware of Triumph motorcycles during the first portion of my life where I rode motorcycles, from 1988 to 1993. Triumph as a new bike manufacturer was in recovery from a near-death experience in the early 80s and just starting to introduce their new line of machines when I was getting away from motorcycling.

When I started riding again in 2007, Triumph was in full resurgence and I encountered many rave reviews for their bikes in researching what bike to buy. A test ride on a 1050 Speed Triple floored me with its capable handling, power and the way that it seemed to distill all the fun in the world into one amazing machine. That first Speed Triple provided the key to many amazing adventures, until it was totaled by falling rocks North of Nelson, BC.

I replaced the Speed Triple with a later version of the same bike in 2010 and have already taken her on a 1500 mile ride through BC and the Canadian Rockies. But during my trips to Canada, I have sometimes encountered beat up backroads or gravel stretches and I know that pushing North towards Alaska is only going to present more challenges. Thus, I've been looking at various options for a second bike with more offroad capability. I've had a DRZ400 for a while but while it would be great for any offroad riding I'll want to do, it's not powerful enough for covering long stretches or a long freeway commute.

Luckily, Triumph stepped up to help me out again by creating the Tiger 800 bikes, similar (except for having superior build quality and being more fun) to BMW's F800 GS. I chose the XC version, whose 21" front tire and other features will make it a terrific ride for roads up to and including fire roads and moderate two track. Two days ago, this Tiger XC came home with me and made my garage a two Triumph dream garage. I know that these two bikes will provide me all the choices I need, for warp speed deviltry or capable backroads exploration.

My Tiger and Speed Triple, side-by-side.

Meridien Triumph's predecessors for these two bikes were hugely popular in the US and Canada, throughout the 1900s.

A couple shots of my new Tiger.

My current Speed Triple in Canada, two years ago.

And finally, a salute to my previous Speed Triple and our travels together.

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