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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking at a replacement for my stolen SVS and have pretty much narrowed it down to a Yamaha YZF-600r (97-current) or Triumph Sprint ST (99-current). Here's what I've come up with so far as being each bike's advantages...any comments? Any ST owners want to weigh in about what you love and hate? I will be using whatever I get for daily commuting, medium-to-long-distance touring (I'd like to be able to do an 800-ish mile day without thinking too hard about it).

The one big question I have is about reliability and maintenance costs / schedule for the ST...how demanding is it? If something goes wrong, are Triumph shops excessively expensive? Also, what are the changes from 99-current? The only major one I can seem to find is that the engine gained about 10hp in 2002.

Advantage Yamaha:
-Probably a better track bike
-More reliable?
-Cheaper
-Fully adjustable (better?) suspension
-Lighter
-Cheaper tires (160/60 17 rear vs. 180/55)
-Better gas mileage

Advantage Triumph:
-Probably more comfy for touring (I haven't sat on one yet though and the Yamaha is pretty comfortable, so this may be a wash).
-More powerful and better power / weight ratio
-Coolness factor of the brand, triple-cylinder engine and single-sided swingarm (I just love that!)
-Hard bags
-Nicer colors
-Bigger tank
-Better gauge package
-Fuel injected
-Cheaper insurance
-Centerstand

What should be added/removed for consideration from each list? I'm also tangentially thinking about a Honda VFR800...any ideas on that?

Thanks all.
 

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On a whole Triumphs are no less reliable than any other bike on the market these days. Service costs depend on the labor rate at the dealer you take it too, if you take it too one. Triumphs are no more complicated than Japanese bikes, so the shop times to do things are very similar to Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, etc. Dealer availability is, saddly, not as common as Yamaha, so you may need to look around before buying one. Though there are a number of online places you can buy parts from at reasonable rates, Jack Lilley Ltd being one of the better ones. Parts costs might be a touch more expensive than some Japanese brands, but not quite the heart stopper that some BMW and Ducati parts can be.

Service intervals are 6,000 miles for basic oil/filter change & service checks, and every 12,000 for valve adjustments. With decent mechanical knowledge, and the Triumph service manual(which you CAN buy from Triumph), and the Triumph valve adjustment tool, many people have been able to do the valves themselves. It's no more greedy for tires, chains, or sprockets than any other bike. Some people will point out the gas gauge flaw. It shows full for about half a tank than drops quickly. This is due to the float being straight verticle and the tank is very tappered from 1/2 down. But the low fuel light is consistant at about 1-.8 a gallon left, betwee 30 and 40 miles depending on how you ride. Headlights need to be adjusted too. They arn't bad, but if left how they come from the factory, they are practically pointed at the front tire.

The only real change in the line, so far, was in '02, it got the uprated motor. 10 more HP, and improved shifting. 99-01 models are notorious for having tight transmissions for the first few thousand miles of their life, but they break in eventually, you just have to be positive with them. But the '02 also got a new gas tank and airbox, which took .4 gallon away from the fuel tank. Triumph really isn't in the habit of changing or "updating" a bike every year. And really the Sprint didn't need it for many years. Word has it that '05 might be a redesign/update year for the Sprint, but I've heard this kind of internet rumor before.

Personal experience:
I've owned 2 Sprint ST's. The 1999 I owned from new(April '99) put 45,155 miles on it, and had only one major issue, I was on tour and the bike wouldn't start right without actually twisting the throttle a bit. This was cured by my dealer by reloading the FI tune and zeroing the throttle position sensor, not a common problem with these bikes. Oh, and the OEM battery went almost flat on me in NC, after 2 years and 30k miles. The '02 I now own I traded the '99 in on in Feb '02. It currently has 39,000 miles on it. It recently went through a bad throttle position sensor. But otherwise these bikes were solid, reliable, and fun for me. I've gotten 50mpg at a constant 80mph down the interstate, and I've gotten around 40mpg backroad twisty carving. I've commuted, toured, and done trackdays on this bike. I feel it's a great all around package. I'm notoriously bad at maintaining a clean and adjusted drive chain and I can still get 16-18k miles from them. A great thing about the single sided swingarm, chain adjustments are VERY easy. You don't have to worry about the wheel getting out of line, unless something is really, really wrong with the ecentric adjuster hub.

If service costs are a big concern do NOT go for a V-TEC VFR. Valve adjustments may be at 16k or something longer, but there is alot of labor time involved in doing them, and they are not simple to do at home. Other generation VFRs are easier, but you still have to escavate alot of stuff to get at the valves for adjusting.

The good news for you, if your really interested in a Sprint, is that the used market is very soft. Bad for sellers, great for buyers. MCN(USA) recent did a used bike price survery and their research shows "...full retail value of a clean, undamaged and well-maintained vehicle read to be sold publicly by a dealer or privately between individuals" are as follows:
1999 $4970
2000 $5750
2001 $6940
2002 $7965
2003 $9235
Now compare this to brand new '03 and '04 models being sold, with bags, at retail price of $9999, it's hard to go wrong for this niche of the market.

BTW, I wouldn't knock the YZF600R, I've seen more than a few folks putting some good miles on them. Another great bike!
 

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I would guesstimate that the fuel mileage for the Sprint ST vs the YZF600R are either equal or better for the Sprint.

If you want to compare the engines, the 955i i-3 will kick ass on the 599 i-4 every day of the week and three or four times on Sunday.

The Yamaha is a nice bike, but it's also an economy bike compared to the Sprint ST. You'll find nicer componentry used on the Triumph. The ergos are roughly the same on both bikes.

Besides, on the Sprint ST, you can get an underseat exhaust for cheap money. :D

 

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Ditto to SprintST. I had a 99 bot sold it to buy my Daytona. A lot of times I wish I still had it because it is a great one bike owner bike. Great versatility, but I think sprintST covered that already Good luck on your purchase. One word of advise shy away from bikes that have been layed down on the left side. If it was done while running the no. one cylinder can fill with oil and cause the engine to hydrolock and cause stress on the no. one connecting rod and posiibly failure. I know this because it happened to me and at least one other person I've met.
Don't let this scare you though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
!!!!
How much is one of those underseat exhausts? The way that highlights the single-sided swingarm...ooohhh, just makes me grin.


SilverSurfer said:
I would guesstimate that the fuel mileage for the Sprint ST vs the YZF600R are either equal or better for the Sprint.

If you want to compare the engines, the 955i i-3 will kick ass on the 599 i-4 every day of the week and three or four times on Sunday.

The Yamaha is a nice bike, but it's also an economy bike compared to the Sprint ST. You'll find nicer componentry used on the Triumph. The ergos are roughly the same on both bikes.

Besides, on the Sprint ST, you can get an underseat exhaust for cheap money. :D

 

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Go with the Sprint!. I wish I would have gotten the Sprint ST instead of the Speed Tiple. It seems to be a great all around bike.
 

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The biggest difference between them is four 150 cc cylinders vs. three 318 cc cylinders. Torque off the line through the midrange and the sound of a triple on the boil are all HUGE advantages over the 600R in my opinion. The Triumphs tend to fit taller folks better (as evidenced by the height of the population around here) -- how big are you?

The underseat exhaust for the Sprint ST is about $500 through Pipeline, which is RIDICULOUSLY cheap compared to most other underseat systems. Here is a picture of mine:
 

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If you have narrowed your search down to these two bikes, do yourself a huge favor and get the Sprint. The 955 triple is absolute magic. I spent many years on I-4's and the moment I test rode a triple, everything changed. The YZF is a very nice bike but the motor is quite lacking compared to the 955.
 

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I wish I had silver wheels for it (it would look better, I think). In reality, the YZF600R and the Sprint should be worlds apart in price (Japanese 600 sport-tourer and British liter class tourer), but as mentioned by SprintST above, the reality is that a good used example of both shouldn't be far apart in price. That makes it a no brainer, in my opinion.

I don't think the suspension on the 600R is better than the Sprint. The brakes on the Sprint are, on the other hand, superior to the brakes on the 600R -- period -- and that's despite having more mass to slow down.

Here is another picture of my daily driver (to show off the underseat exhaust):
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm about 6'1" 180lbs. I had a chance to sit on a new ST today and it felt great. A little wide between the legs compared to my SV but not bad at all. My gear is at a friend's place who is out of town so I couldn't test ride it, but I'll be doing that shortly. I also have a line on a nice-looking 2000 ST but it's in North Carolina and I'm in Seattle. If the seller will do escrow I'll probably buy it, but what should I tell a mechanic to look for? I mean, I would hope a Triumph mechanic would know any common trouble spots in the bike but just in case...


What is this pipeline place for exhausts? Are they a distributor or manufacturer? The only underseat exhaust I've found on the web for this thing is a $1200 one from powermax which is more in line with what an underseat system would normally cost on other bikes.

By the way, how hard / expensive was it to paint your bike that color? The one I'm looking at is blue which is nice enough but one of those British Racing / Aston Martin green colors really does it for me, so I'd look at having it repainted after the winter if it's not too terribly expensive.

Thanks again.

Effing Limey said:
The biggest difference between them is four 150 cc cylinders vs. three 318 cc cylinders. Torque off the line through the midrange and the sound of a triple on the boil are all HUGE advantages over the 600R in my opinion. The Triumphs tend to fit taller folks better (as evidenced by the height of the population around here) -- how big are you?

The underseat exhaust for the Sprint ST is about $500 through Pipeline, which is RIDICULOUSLY cheap compared to most other underseat systems. Here is a picture of mine:
 

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How many Japanese engineers do you think are 6'1", 180 lbs?

As far as things to check out, be sure to check the fork seals (I've had to replace mine) and that all the electrical stuff and guages work. I suppose you'd do that on any bike, though...

Pipeline is a very small company in Australia. You need to contact Fred at [email protected] if/when you want one. The cost is $1000 AUD (Australian Dollars), which if you are a cheap bastard like me, you can wait until the US Dollar strengthens and save yourself a couple bucks.

Speaking of being a cheap bastard, although I've had my Sprint for a year and a half, I am quite proud of my total skinflint purchasing of it. I bought it off eBay with a salvage title from a guy in Lousiana (Dean) who specializes in rebuilding salvage bikes. I had it frankenstiened together (with parts that I supplied Dean off eBay and the SprintST list), so some parts were silver, some were red, and had him repaint the whole shooting match in a car color (supposedly Volvo's saffron pearl, but it doesn't look it at all). The paint was negotiated into the price of the bike (it was a color he had).

All told, even with the underseat exhaust, I have about four grand in that bike (it's a '99). There were a few glitches when I got it, but it was well worth it...
 

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OK, I'll do the write-up on the 600R. It's a bike that falls into the "wish I never sold category". Do a search in the Yamaha forum for the positives (which are many), but it's got a few downsides worth mentioning.

1st, as Effing Limey said the brakes are "OK". They're Brembo's, but you have to give them a good yank to slow the bike down. The clutch is "grabby". meaning as soon as you hit the friction point it's fully engaged. The tranny also takes some getting used to. :nono if you're the type of rider that rows down the gears without letting out the clutch each time when coming to a stop. You WILL miss many of the 1-2 shifts...though adjusting the shifter down helped. With a full tank of gas the bike is seriously topheavy. I once dropped the bike on its side only to lift it up and then drop it over to the OTHER side :clap :laughing Getting a new shock will take some time because they're a special order item from Fox. And if you decide to take it to the track you WILL need suspension work because the spring rates are for a ~150lbs. rider.

To me these were all "quirks"...aside from them it was the best all-around sportbike I've ever owned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Chetnik said:
1st, as Effing Limey said the brakes are "OK". They're Brembo's, but you have to give them a good yank to slow the bike down. The clutch is "grabby". meaning as soon as you hit the friction point it's fully engaged. The tranny also takes some getting used to. :nono if you're the type of rider that rows down the gears without letting out the clutch each time when coming to a stop. You WILL miss many of the 1-2 shifts...though adjusting the shifter down helped. With a full tank of gas the bike is seriously topheavy. I once dropped the bike on its side only to lift it up and then drop it over to the OTHER side :clap :laughing
:lol I bet that felt *really* cool...hope nobody else was around. :)

I've been thinking a lot about it over the last few days and I'm now leaning a little towards the Yamaha, only because money is a little tight at the moment and I have a feeling I'm going to end up owning both of these bikes before too long - I can always turn the 600r into a track bike if/after I get an ST for street riding. With the choice between paying ~$3000 for the 600r or $5000 for the ST I just can't help but feel that I'd be better off investing the extra money in leathers and track time.

I definitely want the ST too though...and I'm still planning to take a test ride on one before I commit to either bike, which I'm a little afraid of because I think I just may fall in love with the engine and have to buy it. The triple behaves a lot more like the V-twin I'm used to and loved, so we'll see.
 

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beni said:
but feel that I'd be better off investing the extra money in leathers and track time.
It's really tough to debate that logic -- you have an excellent point. Remember to add in the cost of modifications that you'll just HAVE to have in the first year or two and the cost of insurance on both. If it still comes out to $2000 (or more) difference, then even as much a Triumph fan as I am, I'd have to agree with your choice of the 600R.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well hmph. I took a 600r out today and although I'd ridden one before (several months ago), I had forgotten what it's like to use that powerband on the street. When 1st gear takes you past 60mph and you don't get much acceleration at all below 6000 rpm, I just don't know how much fun it'll be on some of the really tight (25-35mph speed limit) stuff that I ride around here. I guess I'll have to wait until I can take an ST out to see how it feels. I'm moving back towards the middle now though. This is a much tougher decision than I had bargained for. On the other hand, it's tough because they're both good bikes so I guess I win either way.
 

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I'd offer to let you ride mine if you were closer, it makes good (but not great) power from 3500 all the way to redline without any real "powerband" (why I say there is no "great" power anywhere). Think about this, the three cylinder motor has jugs about the same size as your SV had, just a whole OTHER one stuck on the side. Torque is directly porportional to the size of your cylinders...

SprintST -- let me ask you this, what's your NEXT bike going to be (after two ST's)?
 
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