TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE RS
A couple of years back, your writer took the Triumph Speed Triple, from Delhi to Uttarakhand and back. It was a 1,500-kilometre ride that encompassed literally every possible terrain a motorcycle might encounter in India. There were hot and dusty highways in the plains, gorgeous wide hill roads in lower Kumaon, and unpaved forest tracks meant for horses rather than a heavy street motorcycle.
The only trouble I faced was not being able to feel my fingertips for a couple of days after I got back—a result of not being able to maintain my posture on extended downhill sections. Other than that, the motorcycle proved its credentials as a capable sports tourer for a country like India.
Irrespective of riding styles, bigger engines and heft are attributes that work well for touring; you don’t get buffeted by winds as much, and typically peak torque kicks in a less manic zone that makes cruising an absolute delight. The point of this long preface is just that—if you’re taken with the Triple, and can’t make up your mind which one to get—and there are a few models to choose from—then consider what you’re planning to do on it. If you’re planning to ride long and hard, and can handle the extra heft, then just wait it out for the new Speed Triple.
Now, that leaves those who, still besotted with the Triple, want a lighter motorcycle that’s as fast, comfortable on the tush and significantly less dearer on the pocket. They will love the Street Triple S—the temptation of the RS is significant, but only as much as the trade-off with riding comfort. That leaves the track fiends—people whose notions of Sunday rides involve putting their knee down on a track. For people like that, the bridge between a track-ready machine and one that’s usable on the street has always been a tough one to cross. Most will end up with a motorcycle that sparkles on track but is hugely impractical off it.
If that conundrum rings a bell, then feel free to rejoice because there has never been a motorcycle that has managed to balance track duty so well with the demands of being perfectly usable on the street as the Street Triple RS.
It’s not just about the amped up power or the remapped power delivery, the RS comes generously kitted for the purpose—you get a fully adjustable suspension and massive Brembo brakes coupled with the super-sticky Pirelli Supercorsa tyres, which you’ll only see on committed racing motorcycles. On the street, the slipper clutch makes the action smoother than the Triple S and there’s the cool-looking flyscreen, which let’s face it, is there just to look good—a purpose it fulfils admirably.
Yes, the suspension is wound up a bit, but you’d only notice that if you’ve ridden the Triple S, and it’s ability to soak up the bumps is surprisingly evolved. Where the racing pedigree gives the RS an edge is the superior handling, courtesy a sharper rake angle compared to its other siblings. And that’s why I found it exceptionally difficult to ride the RS in a manner that befits the street. You could, technically, growl down the boulevard, sedately enough to make an impression, but I’d bet against anyone who’d be able to resist pulling the throttle for that high-pitched scream of the RS.
Triumph Speed Triple RS
Engine 765cc; inline triple
Power 148 bhp
Price ₹10.55 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
INDIAN SCOUT BOBBER
Riding the Indian Scout Bobber is a bit like dating the town belle. And if you happen to own one, then it’s a bit like moving in with her, and living in Soho, or the equivalent of the hip London suburb in your town. You get the drift—don’t even think of taking a walk together in your pyjamas. Riding this motorcycle, and not looking the part is, well, a fashion faux pas at the very least.
Which is not to say that the Bobber is merely a fashion accessory (although if you had to pick a motorcycle as one, then this aces that criterion). But it’s certainly got its own style guide, the bywords for which are grungy, stubble, torn denim, abraded leather boots, and, not that you can engineer it, rough-hewn good looks. This motorcycle is intimidatingly good-looking, not in a drop-dead sort of way, but rather in the minimalist, tonnes-of-attitude, devil-may-care kind-of-way. If you’ve got chocolate-boy looks then consider the relatively affable Scout instead. This last bit is important, because it is nigh impossible to fake the sort of personality that would meld organically with the Bobber.
That short rear fender wrapped above the oversized chunky tread below makes the Bobber’s rear a think of beauty—further embellished by that little luggage rack mounted on top. Scrape the paint off this motorcycle, let some rust build up and it would make Mad Max proud. The authoritative stance of the handlebars, the unabashed solo saddle, badass vented exhaust shields on the headers, the chic blacked-out instrument panel and gorgeous vertical shotgun exhausts all come together to make the Scout Bobber a thing of exquisite badness.
This overpowering presence is then completely justified by the Bobber’s performance—no surprise at all, given all that we know of the Scout’s gusto. There really is no other motorcycle that looks this retro, and runs this wild, especially on the curves where the aggressive stance that the Bobber enforces really makes sense. Except when you start scraping the pegs—the flip side of that gorgeous low stance is the motorcycle’s limited ability to lean beyond a point. There’s another bugbear—the headlight cowl screams to be pulled off, or just simply replaced with the Scout’s round lamp. It’s the only dissonance in the Bobber’s otherwise faultless appearance.
Still, at the end of the day, it’s hard to keep up with the Bobber’s badness. Assuming you are a bonafide cad, (don’t flatter yourself, just take your girlfriend’s word for it), then you probably know that you can be a pain to live with. By the same yardstick, it’s hard to judge the Bobber for not being more sensitive, especially if you take it on a bumpy ride. Why on Earth should it absorb the knocks the road you inflict on it? No sir, the Bobber is not going to punish itself to save your backside. No one can accuse the Bobber of being nice.
Indian Scout Bobber
Engine 1133 cc; V-Twin
Power 100 bhp
Torque 97.7Nm@6000 rpm
Price ₹11.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
BMW G 310 R / BMW G 310 GS
Developed in Munich by BMW Motorrad and to be produced locally in Hosur by co-operation partner TVS Motor Company, BMW G 310 R and BMW G 310 GS are the twin motorcycles that give you sporty fun anywhere you choose to ride. Both in the sub 500cc segment, they bring a sense of fun and dare devilry even in a cityscape.
BMW G 310 R offers performance and comfort and lends itself well for the everyday urban commute, navigating gullies and tights streets with agility and ease. BMW G 310 GS, additionally, suggests an added sense of fun and takes an adventurous tone even on rough terrain.
BMW G 310 R / BMW G 310 GS
Engine 313 cc; water-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke 4-valves
Power 25 kW(34hp) @9,500rpm
Price ₹2,99 lakh / BMW G 310 R; ₹3.49 lakh / BMW G 310 GS (ex-showroom)