Comparison test Honda VFR against Triumph Sprint RS


Comparison test Honda VFR against Triumph Sprint RS

Sprint rating

Immediately named the star among sports tourers, the grim Triumph Sprint RS now faces the renovated, gentle Honda VFR. Which is the hotter tip?

Sports tourers are the all-rounders among road machines. In this case the names are Honda VFR and Triumph Sprint RS. Have four cylinders in a row or three cylinders in a row. Packed in sturdy bridge frames made of light metal profiles. You can travel or speed, stroll around comfortably or sharpen curves. Because the new Sprint RS had already turned out to be the best touring sports device when it first met the competition (issue 2/2000), better than anything that the Japanese and other European motorcycle manufacturers had to offer in this segment, Triumph was able to put its hands on its lap lay, wait and drink tea. While Honda was doing some rework on its successful VFR for the 2000 season. So as not to miss the connection. Whether it has brought anything?
It’s shabby cold in Germany. So Italy. Fully load the van? No, I’d rather go on the road. After all, the two mopeds have a fairing. And what are Gore-Tex suits for??
First incident: Inntal motorway. What were the gentlemen from the Austrian gendarmerie thinking? Sneak up on the test duo unnoticed. Common. But understandable. Because these thickly hooded bikers do it colorful. First they crawl along at 120, then suddenly they race off as if there was no tomorrow. Nothing like afterwards and the trowel out. Ouch, it’ll be expensive.
Dear gendarmes, we just wanted to try the passage. In sixth gear, you know. Which goes better, easy. You must understand that. Yes, the red one there, that’s the new three-cylinder from Triumph. Do not you know? But you should. The blue one, namely the Honda, does a pretty good job. In a few seconds this red lightning bolt will be 100 meters ahead, and even the radar gun will fail. Colleague, did you burn out in the fourth instead of the sixth? Not at all. It’s just a real burner, this Sprint. And the Honda still suffers from its performance gap between 4000 and 6000 tours. The uniformed men don’t want to know anything about it. Check the red license plate. Everything OK ?? in order to. There you are. And the thing with the speed sin? Great, lucky, it doesn’t cost anything. Continue.
The test duo weighs research in the long bends of the Brenner motorway. South Tyrol, here the law enforcement officers don’t watch the speed as closely as in Austria. Is it [called. So let it run a little. Both of them are directional and easy to use, and they are amazingly comfortable. Well, the Triumph is a bit tighter, but not uncomfortable. The bench could be a little softer. In contrast, the Honda turns out to be a real sedan. And the full fairing provides excellent protection from the wind because it is sufficiently wide and high. Behind the slightly narrower Triumph half-shell, you don’t feel quite as comfortable.
Holla, the Honda VFR swims quite nicely at tachometer 150. No, the Japanese engineers really can’t help that. Flat foot. Incident number two and a forced stop in Neumarkt. Now it’s getting even more expensive: 450 marks for the new Bridgestone BT 57 Battlax tire go into the pockets of the tire dealer. Speaking of Battlax: the Honda VFR is clearly the better choice than the Metzeler ME Z4 in the earlier comparison. Which is why the 2000 model does significantly better this time in terms of steering precision and tilt angle when braking.
Otherwise little has changed on the VFR chassis. Only for the sealing of the piston rod of the rear shock absorber did the Honda developers choose a different material and built in a different end stop. With the best will in the world, you can’t tell any difference when driving. But it doesn’t matter, because the VFR combines super maneuverability with precise steering behavior – since the Battlax was on it.
Well, the Triumph can achieve a small lead in the chassis on the sunlit alpine roads of the Trentino. It simply runs even more precisely in the desired direction, lies completely calmly even on bumps and can be steered extremely precisely into bends. Both the fork and the shock absorber are tightly damped, but not hard. Just great. The softer tuned Honda chassis could do with a little more damping, especially on the hindquarters. That is why the VFR drives slightly less precisely. In return, it swallows humps in the asphalt and cracks of tar more elegantly than that of Triumph.
Both braking systems work? as different as they are constructed? outstanding. While the Sprint RS has rather snappy front brakes and a harmless rear brake that requires a bit more experience from the driver when driving briskly, the Honda three-piston calipers work rather softly on semi-floating discs. These integral brakes can be adjusted wonderfully. It is the so-called dual CBS ?? Dual Caliper Brake System ??, in which the front and rear brakes are activated simultaneously. Regardless of whether it is by pulling the hand lever or stepping on the pedal. Whereby the foot brake ?? construction-related and clever way ?? the effect is gentler. Ideal for touring and all-round drivers. Traditionalists and racers in disguise favor the conventional solution: separation of foot and front brakes. Because that’s how they trained their brains in years of detailed work. There used to be nothing else.
But back to the sprint rating and the Triumph engine, which already impressed with its powerful pull-through on the journey. A bullish engine like the 955 cubic centimeter, water-cooled three-cylinder doesn’t get under your bum every day. It comes from the Daytona 955 i and is designed for 128 hp. Not so in the Sprint RS, where wise restriction to a nominal 103 horsepower (measured 108) only brings advantages. Namely torque, torque and more torque. In numbers: over 80 Newton meters from 2000 to the end of the flagpole at 9500 revolutions per minute. And the triple hisses from the three-in-one exhaust like a thousand Laverda from the 70s. The nice thing about it: You can enjoy the Triumph with a clear conscience. Because thanks to injection and a regulated catalytic converter, it meets the Euro1 emissions standard.
Just like the Honda, which also has a three-way catalytic converter and injection, whose 90-degree V4 engine, however, is not able to counter the torque of the three-cylinder. Despite the increase in output to officially 106 hp at 10500 revs for the Germany version. Thicker manifolds and a newly programmed ignition unit help. On this occasion, the VFR was also weaned from its undue thirst for petrol. In the test average, it has leveled off at under six liters of normal per 100 kilometers. Only the country road consumption got a bit high at 6.6 liters. With a brisk driving style, of course. While the Triumph is quite economical with fuel. At 5.7 liters, it consumes almost two beer bottles less than the Honda when it’s around Lake Idro.
In contrast to the Triumph driver, the Honda handlebars have to use the transmission, which can be shifted as smooth as butter, more often. The hydraulically operated clutch is now even easier to disengage. The number of clutch disks dropped from nine to eight, the spring rate and the piston diameter in the master cylinder were changed. Instead, the clutch of the Triumph requires significantly more manual power. In addition, the control box of the Sprint RS behaves damn stubborn. The gears lock into place precisely but with great force and a loud click. Fortunately, the bearish three-cylinder with fifth, often also sixth gear usually gets along easily.
When it comes to pure acceleration, the two candidates don’t give each other anything. Enough speed, then the Honda goes like a bullet out of the pipe. You could say that there was a tie. Top speed: also plenty, 242 the blue, 239 the red.
In the favor of the frequent driver, the passenger and the night driver, the VFR is clearly ahead. 15 years of continuous development are paying off. The light of the Honda shines brighter, your pillion sits comfortably, the luggage can be attached more easily thanks to hooks and the instruments with fuel gauge, clock and outside temperature gauge have more to offer. Wait, the Triumph also has a watch, but you have to bring it in first. And changing the rear tires, as we have known since Brenner, is child’s play with the VFR’s single-arm swing arm. It’s a shame that Triumph has abandoned the single-arm solution for the Sprint RS.
VFrom a well-ordered point of view, the Englishwoman comes much cheaper. But if you buy the main stand (329 marks), pillion passenger handle (229 marks) and front spoiler (459 marks), the price advantage is gone. It’s hard to say which of the two is ultimately the better choice. The Honda is really great. Well balanced and coherent and better suited for driving in pairs. But the Triumph has this gigantic three-cylinder. And that’s just more fun.

Conclusion: Triumph Sprint RS

Triumph Sprint RS

One has to win, and here it is the Triumph Sprint RS. Because she has such an incredibly tough three-cylinder that is unrivaled among sports tourers. But not just because of that. Also because the chassis fully meets sporting and tourist requirements. There is nothing to complain about in terms of workmanship and pricing, but the equipment and comfort for fellow travelers. But as I said, the engine towers over everything.

Conclusion: Honda VFR

The Honda is by no means second choice. Because it has the more balanced concept. More suitability for everyday use, a great integral brake, excellent seating and driving comfort even for two and the best workmanship. Still, the VFR is almost a bit boring. Also because the engine, which is in good shape, has a torque hole precisely where it is not needed. But all-rounders cannot be perfect in all disciplines.

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