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Speed Triple, taxis, comedy cops

2012-02-25 21:36

NICE COLOUR - BUT YOU DON'T NEED A GOLD CARD: Triumph's Speed Triple is remarkably modest in price, considering what you get for the cash.


High-powered motorcycles, say those bigger than 650cc, usually come out of the factory with beautifully sculptured, streamlined fairings painted with bold colours to complement the black or silver framework and gleaming metal engine covers - brand clearly emblazoned.

The owner would wash and polish the bike once a week before taking it for a breakfast run with his mates on similar machinery. He would then get home about lunchtime, leaving the bike parked on his driveway for all his neighbours to see.


Then the unthinkable would happen: the bike would roll forward on the side stand (most machines don’t have centre stands anymore, but that’s another story) and the bike would crash down on its side, scratched to blazes and totally destroyed – or so you would have thought once the insurance man had inspected the bike and declared:

“That’s about R30 000 to replace the fairing. I’ll check the value of the bike seeing it’s now a couple of years old and consider writing-off the machine.”

That scenario actually happened to a friend of mine a while back. The bike brand I won’t mention to prevent embarrassment – OK, OK, it was a green one! The outcome was the irate owner refused to have the expensive panels repaired, opting instead to toss them into a corner of his garage forever, and from that moment on riding the bike “naked” – no not him – the bike!

TAKES A BOLD GUY TO RIDE A GOLD BIKE: But then people who ride naked do tend to be rather extreme.

Seriously, I firmly believe that’s one of the reasons motorcycle manufacturers of late are producing bikes that offer such straight-line power and not having to pay so much attention to the streamlining side of the business. That and the fact that fairings cost a small fortune to produce and bolt together – as alluded to above.

Triumph Motorcycles has such a beast once again in their 2012 line-up - and it goes by the name Speed Triple – and it’s actually rather good. From the front it looks low, mean and in your face. Factor in a three-cylinder, 1050cc, DOHC, fuel-injected motor and you have all the makings of a street-fighter – with or without the bike.

Since hitting the streets back in 1994 this model has proved something of a legend for the brand.

Deciding to use a similar bike for a Sunday morning bike run recently to get some breakfast in the Boland, I elected to ride “up” on the motorway and “back” on the quieter roads. An interesting decision, as it happened...


A pair of traffic cops decided to stop me en route... and I wasn’t sure why. They didn’t ask for my driving licence, they didn’t even check the licence disc – they seemed more interested in the rear number plate and the height of the digits printed on it.

“How old is this bike?” one of them asked. Informing him it was the latest model to come out of the Triumph factory in the UK, they seemed puzzled by the unfinished looks of the bike.

NO-NONSENSE BRAKES: And no nonsense from the 1050cc, three-cylinder engine. Just a whole lot of raw power.

How much does it cost?” was the next question – and I had been expecting that one. "R90 995... not a lot of money if you say it quickly,” I quipped. A moment later an overloaded taxi squeezed dangerously close to the bike though it was parked well inside the yellow line.

A dodgy position to be in, don’t you think? Did the traffic cops give chase to the taxi?

Nah, ot a bit of it... along came more motorcycle riders, only to be pulled over and likewise interrogated, as I found out later. Meanwhile, I was free to proceed.

After about five minutes I caught up with the errant taxi that was once again snaking its way through the traffic while breaking just about every rule in the book. A quick head-count as I went past revealed 19 passengers, the driver making it a nice round 20.

Zero tolerance on our roads, Mr Carlisle?

What a joke! More like the powers that be once again taking the easy way out.

• Triumph’s latest Speed Triple is available from dealers in many towns and cities. The taxi problem, unfortunately, is to be found everywhere – 24/7.

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