For over seven years Triumph's 955cc Sprint ST sports tourer proved more than a match for the opposition.
Its three cylinder fuel-injected engine delivered lots of mid-range torque, with 88 kW of power.
However, for 2005 there's an all-new 1 050cc, designed on a clean sheet designed to blur the line between true sports machines and sports tourers more than ever before.
The Sprint ST had to handle like a superbike, get off the line like a street-fighter and yet be capable of cruising two-up all day with both rider and passenger arriving at their destination feeling like they could ride another 800 km.
Key to the development team?s success is the brilliant new 1 050cc three cylinder Triumph engine.
Retaining the same 79mm bore as its predecessor, the all-new engine?s 6.4 mm longer stroke of 71.4mm lifts power to 92 kW at 9 250, r/min while torque is lifted from 100 Nm at 5 100 r/min to 104 Nm at 5 000.
The multipoint sequential fuel injection system?s electronic control unit is sourced from Keihin for 2005, and throttle response is now instantaneous.
On the road the changes translates to a much healthier performance gain than the figures would suggest.
The Triumph Sprint ST?s new aluminium beam frame and single-sided swing-arm give the bike a wheelbase of 1 457 mm - 13 mm shorter than that of the older model - and this translates into livelier handling.
The bike steers quicker than the old one did, but has lost none of the straight-line stability for which Triumphs are renowned.
The Showa high-quality 43 mm cartridge-style telescopic forks - adjustable for preload - offer revised damping and spring rates to cope with the harder riding the new machine is likely to be subjected to, and the refined rear shock allows preload and rebound damping to be set up to suit the riding style and weight of the rider and passenger.
Brakes see twin 320 mm floating discs up front with four-piston calipers, while a two-piston caliper grabs the 255 mm rear disc.
ABS brakes will be available shortly, with the front brakes remaining totally independent of the rear - a feature that experienced riders demand.
The Triumph Sprint ST is well finished and well equipped.
An example of the attention to detail is that every bike comes with a spare set of locks, all using the same key as the ignition switch.
Should a Triumph owner buy a set of the optional panniers available from Triumph dealers he can then fit his own locks and not need to carry a huge bunch of keys around with him.
The bike also comes standard with a fuel gauge, a temperature gauge and a clock, and an onboard computer that reflects maximum and average speeds, journey time, average and instant fuel consumption and remaining tank range.
Triumph offers a wide range of accessories for their latest sports tourer, including a luxurious gel seat, a taller windscreen, hard and soft luggage, a great sounding performance-enhancing exhaust system, and a multi-language Garmin GPS navigation system.
This comes with a mounting for the bike?s top yoke, and plugs directly into the machine?s wiring harness, but can also be rapidly dismounted and transferred to another vehicle when required. It?s supplied with an earpiece for audible directions should the rider so require.
The Triumph Sprint ST retails at R94 995, with a two year unlimited distance warranty