A Long Summer’s Ride: Getting to Know the 2018 Triumph Street Cup

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Back in May, I took my 2010 Triumph Thruxton in for new tires and a 42,000 mile valve job. I’d had her for six years, and a more reliable bike I hadn’t owned. Trixie was her name, and I’d ridden her as a loaner while my Street Triple was getting new tires. After a trip up the incredible Sandia Crest Road — 120 turns in 10 miles and a 4000 foot elevation change that takes you up to 10,650′ — a was hooked. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t the most light bike. It wasn’t the most maneuverable or comfortable (that was my 2008 Spreed Triple), but she had character and I could really ride it. I rode the hell out of it from the 1500 mile mark when I bought it. I rode it like a sportbike, and I often hung with much faster bikes in the twisties of the Crest road.

The new Triumph Albuquerque shop is excellent and owned by a pair of friends of my, the inimitable Scott Cloninger and Scott Metcalfe. Great guys. If you need stuff, call them! They loaned me a new Street Cup, knowing that I wanted one. What I didn’t know if they had special ordered one for me; on of the last to come into the country. (Supposedly, they are discontinued this year.) I was instructed to “go play.” I took it up the Crest, and it was everything I hoped Trixie could be: maneuverable, stable, and torquey as hell. Apparently, there had been an agreement between my wife, who had been helping them get the new shop of the ground, and the Scotts to give me a crack at the bike.

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What sold me was the commuting around town. The bike is squirty. The torque come on just a bit above idle, about 50 ft-lbs. of it, and holds until about 5,500 rpm (or 95 mph) at which point you’re on horsepower, and thanks to the moronic Euro4 & Euro5 standards Triumph is upholding, that means you’ve only got about 60hp. She’ll do 115ish at the top end and that’s with a few more turns before the redline at 6,500. That’s about the same as most of the air cooled Thruxtons, but the Cup gets there a lot faster. (Raisch is doing a $2000 kit that gets rid of the catalytic converter, adds a Power Commander, and a cam set that gets you back 20+ horsepower without hurting the torque.)

The weight is about 450 lbs. but its low and the bike feels a lot lighter than it is. It’s also got a much better turning radius than the old (or new) Thruxton, as there’s no restrictive steering lock to avoid hitting the tank. Riding position for a 5’8″ man like me is comfortable for a 300-400 mile day on the Alcantra-covered seat. Under the tail cowl, there’s more seat, should you want to carry a passenger. You are moderately forward, almost race bike but not quite, with arms down on the stock clubman bars. If you needed to, you could rotate them a bit and get about an inch or so’s relief. The instruments are gorgeous, with brushed aluminum around analog dials with LED odometer. It tracks mileage, time, miles traveled, miles to empty (or the metric equivalent), and estimated fuel mileage. I’ve been getting between 65-70mpg at an average altitude of 6,000′. I have noticed that she doesn’t like drag — in high winds, the mileage peels away to the mid 50s; I suspect it’s a function of horsepower. It’s a torquey bike, but she’s limited in power.

The other issue is that the mileage comes at a price. The 900s may be water-cooled, but they are running lean, and in a desert climate like New Mexico (or anywhere hot) the bike is uncomfortably hot at times. Nearly every ride I’ve taken sees the fans kicking on at some point, even at a good running speed. Some of this is the cat, which is right under the motor. Because of the Screaming Eagle decision in Europe and the execrable Euro4 bullshit, Triumph won’t do maps that are reasonably balanced so you don’t scorch your ankles. (My wife rode it a few weeks in 100F temperatures and her legs were red after a 25 minute commute.) There are aftermarket maps but some of the dealers don’t want to upset Triumph by installing them. De-cat X-pipes are running about $250 and don’t require remapping.

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The Street Cup (and the rest of the 900cc HT driven Bonneville series) come stock with Pirelli SportComp tires. They’re nice on dry pavement but in the damp or wet they’re near-deadly. I took a switchback on the Crest road (can you tell I ride it a lot) at speeds that were pretty standard for me and the back tire cut loose. I barely recovered the bike. The Pirellis are shit. Terrible. Really bad. It’s also the first time I’ve had a front die before a back tire. I got 3,000ish miles out of the front and the rear looked good for another thousand when I got a screw in it shortly after the above incident. Gone! (And they’re expensive: $230 for a rear, $150 for a front.) I replaced them with the same shoes I’d been using on the Thruxton — Shinko 712s. These are $150 a set. They’re good for about 6,000 miles of hard riding but they grip superbly in wet and dry. The downside is they are heavy and can be hard to balance well. There’s a lot of unsprung weight so the bike’s a bit more bouncy than she was, but it’s a small price to pay (literally) for the wear and performance. They also look much more aggressive. They are bias ply, but you’re not getting a Street Cup to “shit, I blew up my tires from heat” speeds.

Overall, the Street Cup has excellent build quality and the styling is tops. (I haven’t done any styling mods, so what you see is stock.) The only people doing retro better is Moto Guzzi. Is it worth the $10,500US out the door? I think that’s a bit high, but it’s in keeping with the ludicrous prices for similar bikes these days. Hell, even the Japanese stuff has gotten a bit pricey.

I’m planning on a decat and aftermarket map for this one to cool her off a bit. There’s some Triumph and aftermarket styling bits you can throw on to make it more your own, but we’re nowhere need the plethora of gear for the air-cooled Bonnevilles.

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Quote of the Day: Voltaire

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

— Voltaire

Just a little something for the Cheka-your-privilege commissars in the Antifa and the white power apfelstrudelfuhrers out there.

Against the Grain: Quit Bitching About 2016

“2016 is the worst year ever!” “Can we just get 2016 over with?” “Person of the year, 2016: The Grim Reaper”

STOP IT.

55.3 million people or so died this year. A few dozen happened to be celebrities. Some were people whose work I and others really liked, like Alan Rickman. Others played iconic characters, like Carrie Fisher; or were instrumental in musical trend like David Bowie or all? most? of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

But it’s highly unlikely most of you knew these people. Like the other 55.3 million, you never met them, or if you did, it was a singular encounter or two. You’re not mourning the other millions, nor should you mourn these folks, either.

Yes, some of them were good folks. Some were highly talented, creative, or prolific, and you still can enjoy their works. To paraphrase a character played by another dead celebrity, “They’re not really dead, so long as we remember them…”

This isn’t the worst year ever. We haven’t had the Soviet pogroms this year. Nor “the Final Solution” (and no, Trump isn’t bringing that back. But if he does, I’m sure he’ll tell us it’ll be big and beautiful; just ask everyone…) No Black Plague — hell, no polio. You can swim in most of the water in the US, despite the DAPL protesters. I remember when the creeks and rivers where I grew up were red and foamy with chemicals — thanks, Pfeizer! That’s pretty unusual today. The skies are not blackened from industry, unless you live in China.

The world’s poverty level is falling, even in crapholes like Africa and India. Many of us work less, have more, and are unlikely to be murdered by our government or neighbors than ever before.

Actually, 2016 — for many people outside of Hollywood — has trundling along about the same or a little better than past years.

El Empleo (Employment)

Here’s a neat little short out of Argentina:

Some Rational Discussions on Climate Change

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But If You Have Nothing to Hide…

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” — Cardinal Richelieu

“If you have nothing to hid, you have nothing to fear.” — UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) motto.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Vitamin N?

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How to keep your child from being a spoiled little shit…

Can’t Win an Argument? Shut Your Opponent Up!

This, by the way, was the video that YouTube tried to lock behind their “mature subject” wall. It’s not censorship, per se, but attempting to limit access to information or opinion is a questionable practice in a free society, and it shows the dangers of a infotainment industry that is highly partisan in nature.

Second point — Strassel has good points here, but I would also point out these tactics are not limited to the Progressives in America, we are seeing violence and intimidation from the Republican presidential campaign, as well.

Just Because People Vote For Something Doesn’t Make It “Good”

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Yes, Steven Crowder is a bit of a blowhard, and he’s only funny to some…but here, he’s not wrong.

Guardians of the Galaxy Part 2 Sneak Peek

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Why the #@!! am I not watching this right now?