A Sad Case

So after the test ride earlier this week, I have been doing more digging. When I dropped it off, Jack Lilley noted that the Adventure luggage was lower so maybe that was an option? Sadly looking at the Triumph accessories online I see that whilst the luggage looks like it would fit better, it would mean a further drop in capacity, from the Expedition’s 116L (already -1L from the Sprint GT) to 97L.

You can see the difference in position of the panniers between the two sets and also the way the top box – which is bizarrely canted forward – encroaches more into the pillion space the Expedition luggage. So to stay Triumph-branded luggage, the Adventure set would be the answer, but you lose nearly 20L of luggage space from the Sprint.

Over on Givi’s website, their solution looks much better with the same size (or larger) panniers – they’re actually the same ones made for Triumph anyway – and a better rack system that puts the top box up higher, further back and straight up (and again, there’s a much larger top box on offer too).

So maybe the answer is to go for the Triumph panniers (to keep the branding side-on), a set of Givi pannier frames to mount them further back and lower as shown in this video and a ‘matching’ Givi top box in the larger size, plus asking Jack Lilley very nicely to order me another lock barrel so one key fits the lot.

The Test Ride

Today was cold and bright: ideal to test the Tiger and its heated seats.

I picked it up from Jack Lilley and headed back home to pick up my wife.  They’d fitted the accessory Expedition panniers and top box as requested (more on this later).

As it’s not my bike, I couldn’t wire in the Garmin so instead I just mounted a Quadlock mount and my iPhone XS for navigation duties and then we set off for the South Coast and a mix of roads.

211 miles later and we’re home – too late to return it today, so it goes back tomorrow as agreed.

So then, is it a new Tiger ahoy! Well, if it were just me riding it then yes, in a heartbeat. It’s fabulous. But as we do like to ride together, i.e. with a pillion, it’s a no from me at present? Why?

Pros

  • Seating position means little weight on the wrists – mine are bad – so all the weight on your num instead.
  • Cruise control is excellent. A little savage when you turn it off (either by rolling the throttle forward (best) or braking (worst).
  • Quickshifter is excellent (although my Sprint’s gearbox is silky smooth for clutch-less up changes).
  • Power is better than the Sprint: it just takes off over 5,000rpm
  • Heated grips are very good
  • Heated seat is even better
  • TFT dash is fabulous
  • Electrically-operated screen works well on the move, but there’s some buffeting
  • Shaft drive is great

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Range was worse than expected, coming in under 180 miles
  • Clutch bit very late in the lever range
  • No-hands riding showed a bias towards the left for some reason
  • Luggage seemed very small, although allegedly only one litre smaller than the Sprint’s. You can only get one full-face helmet in the luggage.
  • Clasps on the luggage were very fiddly.
  • Panniers were way too high and forward which meant that it was difficult for me to get on an off and even worse for pillions. Also that meant that her legs were uncomfortable and my body forced her legs wide into the panniers.
  • Top box too high and canted forward into the pillion space, so that was uncomfortable too. There’s no reason for it to lean into the pillion seat space and lose space for the rider and pillion together.

Given the luggage is Triumph-branded Givi luggage, it’s unforgivable that the Givi frames are lower and further back, exactly what’s needed! And why should you pay an extra £152 to get the frames after you’ve spent £820 on the panniers themselves (unforgivable on a touring bike)?

Here’s a video of someone showing the before and after fix for the panniers:

Now, what about that mounting plate for the top box? Another Givi one maybe?

But as it is, the Tiger 1200 is not good enough for me.

Henty Wingman Backpack

This morning was my first commute into the office on the Brompton.

I dressed as normal in a suit, shirt and tie (but still wore my Nike walking/running shoes as I keep formal shoes at the office) and then rode in. The weather forecast was for showers and indeed a little over halfway there the drizzle started, enough to leave a trace on my Garmin and to feel it, but not really enough to make me wet, fortunately.

But that does raise the question of what to wear as winter draws in: when I run, I wear clothes including waterproofs/water resistant jackets that are fine for warm, cool or cold weather. I wear a different suit every day for work, so simply leaving one at the office won’t work for me. So my choices are either to wear the suit into the office and risk getting it wet or carry one in every day and change when I get in. But how to carry the suit? I looked at some of Brompton’s luggage that clips to the block on the frame of the bike, but none really looked right as a suit bag.  I already have a number of suit carriers but none would be suitable to sling over my shoulder without them falling off again or they’d be flapping in the breeze. No, a better alternative was needed, so off I went to the Internet.

The first decent one – according to all the reviews I read – was the Henty Wingman Backpack which rolls the suit to prevent creases rather than the normal folding suit bags.  In addition, some stiffeners in the bag prevent it from folding and hopefully leave the suit and shirt crease-free.  The garment bag takes a suit and a couple of shirts max and is zipped up and a second roll bag then clips in front of it, intended to take your shoes and toiletries, etc. before the whole lot gets rolled up.  I preferred the backpack design to the messenger bag version.  I’ll probably just use the roll bag for waterproofs and additional layers, I expect, plus my wallet, although that can go in the outside pocket. So I’ve ordered one to pick up today and try out tomorrow.

Wingman Backpack Final 20161223 1080p from Henty on Vimeo.

And here’s today’s ride. I forgot to set the Garmin off early enough so it took a few metres until it had located me, so it was actually slightly longer.