I know, I know, I swore I was going to do better this winter. I promised I’d still be riding (that wasn’t a lie), and I promised vintage bike updates (that did turn out to be a lie), but I failed to keep you all up to date with what was going on, and for that, I apologize!
So, to get you up to speed, winter sucked, we rode a couple of times each month, but nothing worth writing about really. We also took our new (to us) Toyota FJ Cruiser out for a few adventures. We both got the Flu which put us out for a couple of weeks, and then two weeks after that we both got a stomach bug, so we lost nearly a month due to illnesses, which only added to the already depressing nature of this winter.
BUT, the weather is finally trending up, we’ve been riding more often, and the winter blues are quickly slipping away. So of course, now is the perfect time to have to take the Tigers both in for maintenance, right?! Just another thing we put off to the last minute, and now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. We got Tigger (Dwayne’s Tiger) back from our local dealer quickly, but mine had to go to Knoxville where we purchased them because it needed possible warranty work. It needs a new cam chain tensioner, a known issue with Tiger’s, but I’m still waiting to find out if they will cover it under my extended warranty or not. If not, I’m going to put a manual tensioner on it instead of another stock tensioner, which is supposed to be a better fix anyway.
When we took Tora down to Knoxville to drop her off, we went in to see our friend Curtis and check out their current stock of new Triumph’s, including the new Scrambler 1200 and the new Speed Twin. We made sure to bring our gear with us in case we were able to talk Curtis into letting us take the Scrambler 1200 for a spin, and he was more than happy to oblige. He had two blue XE’s and a white XE, so he let us take one of each and told us to just be back before closing time, which was in 4 hours.
Being that I had no way to mount my phone for GPS and we aren’t super familiar with the area, we just took off riding. We weren’t able to find any dirt or gravel, but we did find some nice curvy backroads. We only took them for about a 30 mile loop because we still had a 4.5 hour drive home and we were both getting hungry for lunch, so we didn’t really have time to get too far away. When we got back to the dealership Curtis asked us what we wanted to take out next, and insisted that we take as many bikes as we wanted to, and that we could ride them to go get lunch if we wanted. Dwayne chose a T-120, which is a bike he has lusted over and dreamed of having in our garage, and I chose the new Speed Twin.
I’ll be honest, I chose the Speed Twin purely for the fact that I think it’s a gorgeous bike. They had just sold their red one, which is the color I like the best, and all they had left was an all black model, which is my least favorite of the three colors offered (the third color is grey), but it was still gorgeous. I had no expectations of falling in love with that bike, I haven’t desired a street-only bike since I bought the Tiger, and I assumed it wouldn’t suit me.
Boy, was I wrong. I’ve been thinking about that bike ever since. I expected the riding position to feel uncomfortable, but it didn’t, it actually felt pretty natural, even with my bulky Sidi Adventure boots on. The engine is torquey and grin inducing, and the gearbox is silky smooth. It’s so effortless to ride, but thrilling at the same time. If money weren’t an issue, I can promise you I would already have one in my garage. I even went so far as to torture myself by going on the Triumph website and building my own with all of the sexy upgrades, which definitely didn’t make me want one any less.
We ended up having a quick sandwich at a Hardees for lunch just so we could have more time to ride the bikes than we would have if we went to a restaurant. Priorities, you know. We followed close to the same route we had taken the Scramblers on, and we swapped bikes halfway through, although I was hesitant to give up the Speed Twin. On the way back I asked Dwayne which bike he would choose if he were going to buy one. Originally, his answer was the T-120, as he has lusted after those for quite some time, but after he got a chance to really twist the throttle on the Speed Twin he remarked, “I think I’d like to change my answer.” He couldn’t deny how fun that bike is, although he did end up changing his answer again when he decided that the Speed Twin would end up getting him in trouble. Personally, that’s a risk I’d be willing to take.
I was underwhelmed by the T-120 having just ridden the Speed Twin. It’s an unfair comparison, they are two very different motorcycles, and I am certain I would have liked the T-120 much more if I had ridden it prior to the Speed Twin.
As for the Scrambler 1200, I fell pretty hard for it too. The problem for me is that it doesn’t make as much sense for me as the Tiger does. It wouldn’t be as good for long distance touring with the lack of wind protection and luggage options. Yes, it absolutely could be used for touring, most bikes can be if you’re willing to sacrifice certain comforts, but the fact is I already have a Tiger that handles the job quite comfortably, and I would definitely notice the difference in comfort levels on those 600+ mile days. When riding above 55mph, there is quite a bit of wind resistance on your upper body. Dwayne noticed a lot of resistance on his head from the peak on his Shoei Hornet X2 helmet, but I did not notice that to be an issue with my Arai XD-4. I actually felt like I had less resistance on my head than I usually do on the Tiger, except when I turned my head to the side, which is always an issue with the peak regardless.
With that said, I would love to have the Scrambler in addition to my Tiger. It is a beautifully built motorcycle, and so much fun to ride. I would love to find out for myself how it handles off-road, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that sometime. The other drawback for me is that because it is such a beautiful motorcycle, I would probably be gun-shy to take it too far off-road, though. I would be pretty devastated if I dented that gorgeous blue tank (mine would have to be a blue XE).
As much as I love the Scrambler though, I honestly think if I were able to purchase another new bike right now, it would still be that Speed Twin. Everyone knows how much I love my Tiger, so I really don’t need another ADV bike, and the Scrambler is essentially a retro styled, naked ADV bike.
Hopefully Tora will be ready to go by next week and we can go pick her up and spend a few days riding down in Tennessee, and you can bet I’ll be taking another rip on that Speed Twin if it’s still there, too!
I’m going to leave you with some pictures from our rides/drives over the last few months since I didn’t get around to writing about any of it.