battle of the triples - an ongoing review - MVAgusta.net
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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battle of the triples - an ongoing review

For some reason the mods decided that my other rolling review thread belonged in the "group rides" section so I'll take another angle.

I know that before I bought my TV I was looking for as much info and comparisons that I could find since they aren't particularly easy to get a test ride on, at least here in the states. Since the TV was added to the garage next to a 2015 Tiger XRx, I've actually got a pretty good A/B comparison of two bikes that might seem to be similar on paper but in reality, are very different beasts.

Background - I've been on two-wheels (on and off) since I was about 8 years old. Started on dirt bikes in the desert, broke my foot on a Yamaha 360 enduro when I was 18 (1979 - ahh, my misspent youth), then got back into riding regularly back around '04. Since then I've owned Triumph, Aprilia, Ducs (a few different ones), and prior to the XRx, 7 years with an R1200GS. Most of my riding is 2-up as my wife loves riding pillion. I'm 6'1", 185lbs.

The Players

2015 Triumph XRx. While the Xcx has gotten most of the attention, the XRx is a great sleeper bike if you're planning on staying on the pavement most of the time. 19" front, 17" rear, 800cc triple, throttle-by-wire with different maps. Coming from the GS, it was familiar but with substantial weight loss. The 800 triple isn't as torquey as the 1200 twin, but it is smoother down low and screams nicely up top. The bike was too short for me, but swapping to a Touratech tall saddle cured that (more legroom and about 1" higher seating position).



2016 Turisimo Veloce. Not much needs to be said for those that own one. Comparing to the XRx, you've also got an 800cc triple, 17" front and rear wheels, throttle-by-wire. I could use the seat a little higher to be honest, but I'm also a tight fit with the knee cutouts on the fairing, so not clear I can go much higher without messing with that.

Engines - should be the same, right? Um...no. They are different beasts, tuned in different ways for different purposes. The XRx has a fairly heavy flywheel and is very well behaved at slow 1st gear speeds. The TV - it doesn't like to crawl around in 1st gear unless you're feathering the clutch all the time. The XRx has a bit of a dead spot around 5.5K, and it will run out of steam 2-up when you're pushing closer to red line (this is in touring mode). The TV has no dead spot that I have found yet (but I haven't hit redline yet). It pulls nicely from low revs and gets more manic as you climb above 6K. It also revs more quickly and engines brakes more heavily than the XRx (touring mode on the TV as well).

The XRx is great around town, in stop and go traffic, and is well behaved on the open road. The TV wants to open up - it finds stop lights highly annoying

Clutch and transmission - the XRx has about 7K miles on it, and the transmission has worn in perfectly. Clutch action is feather light, and gear shifting is ridiculously smooth. As in as good/better than a Japanese bike. By contrast the TV only has 650 miles on it, and the transmission still is a tad notchy. The clutch lever was originally all the way out and felt a bit stiff. At the 600 mile service they readjusted and brought the lever in - now it is light and fast. I'm betting the transmission will smooth with time as well.

The TV has the speed shifting. That is really odd to get used to after clutching for 45 years, but it is pretty damn slick.

Riding position - after swapping the seat, the XRx is damn near perfect. Good visibility, mirrors work, pillion is happy (though sits fairly low - rear seat is the same height as the front). Also have a top box which makes for a much happier pillion. I put a 20mm riser on the bars and that made it very neutral. The TV is a bit tighter in the legs, and I barely fit under the knee cutouts. In fact when I shift I usually kick my leg out as the angle requires my knee to rise too high. I'll mess with the shift lever position but if you have longer legs, it is what it is. In typical riding position, my legs fit like a glove. The bars are actually higher than the XRx, and also are closer to me. In a perfect world I'd probably like the bars about 1 or 2cm lower and more towards the front but I might try a slight rotation of the bars. Pillion on the TV actually isn't bad - sits high for good visibility and the seat is very comfortable - better than the XRx. Only downside is no top box yet.

more later...

Last edited by nostatic; 02-19-2016 at 08:52 PM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 04:34 PM
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I have 3500ish miles on mine now, the clutch and gearbox improve, as you'd expect. I guess I've gotten used to the clutch; it was bad at first but now feels fine. I also had that same experience with the quickshifter and haven't been riding as long as you. Now, I love it. :-)

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 05:04 PM
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I like it when I get use to the clutch then switch gloves which gives me a completely different feel and the clutch feel's alien again, it keeps me alert.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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This past weekend we rode the TV on Saturday up in Malibu Hills, then Sunday through Mulholland and various spots in the Hollywood Hills. Funny that I've lived here since '87 and had never been to see Mulholland Dam (as my wife pointed out).

Saturday was mostly twisties including Yerba Buena which is in *terrible* condition. Not the TV's favorite environment, though the extra travel relative to a typical sport or naked bike certainly helped. We stopped at one of the usual haunts and there were not bikes there - guess 71 degree is too chilly. One other bike pulled up and oddly enough it was a Brutale. Talked with the owner awhile then more riding. We passed a certain milestone - my wife fell asleep on the back, even without the top box. She's gotten used to it and is comfortable enough to doze off so that says something.

Sunday was on the Tiger and it was a reminder of the differences. Riding position is a bit more stretched out (due to the bar risers and the higher seat) and it is more of a carver than a dancer. We got to a stopping point overlooking Lake Hollywood and there was one other bike parked there - a Triumph Daytona. Kind of an odd coincidence that we'd happen on an MV rider when we're on the MV and a Triumph rider when we're on the Triumph.

So back to the comparo: Instrumentation

The Triumph is actually pretty good - analog tach (which I prefer), and digital with a very large speed and reasonably large gear indicator. The variable info (I typically have ambient temperature up) is large enough to see as well. The digital clock in the upper left - meh, I can't read it without reading glasses. No any colors, but the system works really well day or night.

The TV - well, let's just say that 2003 called and they want their Palm Pilot back. Ok, maybe not that bad but the information display is pretty much a mess. I can read the speed, the tach is easy to see, and the gear position is ok (note to MV: DON'T USE ITALIC FONTS - sorry for yelling). The rest I can barely make out without reading glasses. I'm not that old (54), and I can use the dash in my car or the Tiger just fine. Luckily I have most things memorized with the TV and there isn't that much that I change. Basically it is toggling cruise control on/off. Everything else stays put. I find the night mode (white on black) a bit easier to read than daytime mode but ymmv. Also, the screen scratches easily. I had some dust on it, made the mistake of wiping it with my glove and now have some fine scratches. Not the end of the world, but it could be tougher.

Electronics/Ease of Use:

The Tiger is a mixed bag. For instance to change maps you have to not only change maps for the rider (in the main section) but also change the overall mode (which is a totally different button). Things aren't totally intuitive, but luckily there isn't too much you need to be digging into much. The cruise control is a pita as you have to use your right hand, and the button is just far enough reach that you have to remove your hand from the throttle - which of course kills your speed. Once it is on it is fine, and you can adjust speed easily. The heated grips are a separate button that is mounted on the bar (very much like a 3rd party solution), but it works fine and doesn't get in the way. Has two settings and the button is colored red (hot) or yellow (not so hot). Usually keep it on yellow as red is pretty damn hot. Reach to the other controls is fine - clutch lever can be adjusted way in and is very light touch. Brake lever and feel is ok, but you really notice a difference here. The Tiger brakes are nowhere near as good as the TV.

With the TV, as long as you can read the dash, you can usually figure out what to do although it seems like the long push that is required to enter menus can be variable or finicky. At least everything is done with the left hand. Certainly is cleaner to have the heated grips controlled through the dash but isn't as dead-simple and of course I don't really know since my heated grips haven't been activated yet since the shop doesn't have the right software module. While you can blame the shop (or MV...or both), some things are frankly just easier to do the old way. This is one reason I went with the base suspension rather than electronic, though I recently have been having second thoughts as it would have been quicker to get working grips and side cases

Fun Factor:

The Triumph is a fun bike, in that it gets you there in some degree of style and uniqueness and usually with very little drama. It is an entertaining ride, especially solo, and you can load it up with a bunch of crap and head off down the road. Since everything is so smooth/easy (clutch, low-speed engine behavior, stability, etc), it is fun and also nice at the end of a long day. Plus aftermarket parts are plentiful. You can farkle to your heart's delight, and if you need a certain widget, it probably already exists.

The TV is much more hot-blooded temptress. The bike doesn't like puttering around in 1st gear, and if you think about leaning left, you're leaning left. The more miles I put on it I keep coming back to the "feels like dancing" description. I've ridden it in high winds and it does ok considering the profile and short wheelbase relative to a typical tourer or the Tiger. It has an immediacy that is intoxicating and the Italian character comes through with every rev and corner.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 02:47 AM
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Great write up,I did really love the ride on the TV.And as said before this bike checked all the boxes for me,light ,nibble and comfy.It was the best ride on any Mv at the promotional ride held in Brisbane approx 6 months ago.You can ride this bike and do 500 km to 1000 km if you wanted to a day, and still feel in great condition when you stop.The handling was very impressive.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-29-2016, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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This weekend was another good back-to-back affair. Saturday was the Tiger 2-up, headed east to Angeles Crest, then Upper Big Tujunga, then Angeles Forest out to the 14 fwy. At that point my wife reminved me that the CA poppy reserve may be around there (Lancaster), so we looked it up and headed out. Not many poppies, but some damn stiff winds. We headed back to LA via the 14, 5, and 405 freeways, getting back to Santa Monica right around dark. The Tiger is a decent freeway flyer, and it was pretty drama free the whole time, other than me being overly paranoid about running out of fuel into a crosswind (long story).

Sunday it was 2-up on the TV, heading east to Angeles Crest, a stop at Newcombes, then down Upper Big Tujunga to Angeles Forest, but this time turning left, heading back up to ACH. Came down off the hill, had some Korean food for lunch, then headed back in time to make laps at the YMCA pool.

Longer miles on Sat, make easier with the top box for stashing water, food, clothes, etc. A bit shorter ride on Sun, with the only stashing some water and a clif bar in a fanny pack for the wife, then my warm shirt tucked into the back of my jacket. I think these types of rides will become much more pleasant when the panniers show up. Just having different gloves and a warm shirt, plus a multitool and some other bits makes for a much more calm (mentally) ride.

At 7K miles in, The tiger is perfectly broken in. Shifting is like butter, handling is smooth as long as you don't push it too hard, and sport mode feels like touring mode on the MV. THe TV is now 1K in, is still working things in and I"m figuring out the subtleties of the transmission (when to QS, when to not, whether it likes revs up or down during the shift, etc),

They really are very different tools to cover different itches. Truth be told the TIger is the perfect 2-up bike - well mannered, frisky enough to not be boring, and can carry what you need. The TV is much more the solo machine. 2-up actually is fine - plenty of power and the suspension handles it fine. Just that quarters are a bit more tight so it take more work and coordination. For instance, after 6 hours on the TIger we were a little tired. After 3 hours on the TB, we where pretty whipped. A lot more work on both of our parts. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is a thing.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Just finished a 300+ mile one-night "tour" on the TV. Loaded the panniers with clothes and minimal essentials and headed from Santa Monica up to Ventura via the scenic route. Stayed the night in Ventura. View from the hotel



and sunset at the beach



In the morning we loaded up and headed into the hills. Up Hwy 33 to Ojai, then continued on 33 down into Lockwood Valley, taking Lockwood Valley road to the 5, then a quick spin up to Lebec to see the wild poppied, then back to hwy 138 to the Old Ridge Route (the original road from LA to Bakersfield, built in 1915) to Pine Canyon, ended up coming back on Boquet Canyon Rd.

Home and fairly beat. The TV is work riding 2-up especially with rough roads and stiff winds. Had one throttle stumble climbing out of Ojai Valley - I think it was adjusting to the altitude change. Was fine after that. That work is pretty rewarding though. You can lope along if you want, but much more fun to crack the throttle when the road permits. Part of the challenge was the road often didn't permit - lots of loose dirt and sand washed across the road. Constant vigil to check the corners.

I've got a couple of longer (700 mile round trip) rides coming up soon. Trying to decide which bike to take. I'll be riding solo on one and maybe both, so the TV probably will get the nod but also depends on how adventurous I'm feeling. Bottom line is I have no regrets buying the TV. Spectacular bike with tons of character. And the world needs more character...




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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2016, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Passed 2K miles on the TV recently, and have been doing some rides where half the day we're on the Triumph, then we swap to the TV. Just reinforces the difference between the two bikes. Since there is still no top box for the TV, I bought a somewhat dorky set of handles for the wife to use (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...0H96XZNJKESDR4). We were both skeptical, but she really likes it. I barely notice I have it, and she doesn't have to struggle with finding grip on my jacket or use the somewhat awkward handles. I was able to crack the throttle at will with no worries.

I put a Madstad screen on the Triumph. Everyone raves about them and now I understand why. It took a turbulent/loud ride at freeway speeds and made is smooth and quiet. That bike is now a great longer-distance ride. I experimented with the TV screen and have found that lower is better for me. It is much more turbulent on a higher setting.

The next change comes tomorrow as I'm riding up to Bill Mayer Saddles and having Rocky redo my main saddle. The goal is to add about 1" in height so I get a bit more legroom, and hopefully that will also change my angle a bit and help (or at least not make worse) knee room on the cutouts. When I went to a 1" taller saddle on the Triumph it made a huge difference in comfort. Hoping for the same here, and I figure the bike is upright enough that it won't throw off the handling much raising the c/g a bit.

Only other issue is that my rear brake does nothing - as in nothing. I suspect there is air in the line so I need to sort that out. That said, I know that Italian rear brakes have a history of not exactly being the most robust stoppers out there.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2016, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
Only other issue is that my rear brake does nothing - as in nothing. I suspect there is air in the line so I need to sort that out. That said, I know that Italian rear brakes have a history of not exactly being the most robust stoppers out there.
It's the same problem that Ducati has, the master is above the caliper so, air will tend to rise to the master and cause issues. Only thing I've found that actually helps is to use a bungie cord/octopus strap or whatever these are called: http://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-6230-Bu...N%3DB000NY4TNW
Hold your rear brake pedal down with that by hooking it over the brake pedal, under the bike and back to something else. Also, get a brake bleeder kit.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Brake bleeder kit should be here this week. Didn't end up getting the saddle done as Friday we had nasty winds and I *hate* having to get from point A to point B in high/gusty winds. I did end up doing some canyons until I almost got blown off the road and decided it was time to head home.

Saturday we did another 7+ hours of riding on the TV 2-up. Got home and we where both whipped. Very fun (and winds were still up but manageable), but I will say that spending the day 2-up on that bike is a workout for both of us. I also came to the conclusion that I'm going to hold off on the seat. I didn't have any knee aches (new pants that fit better helped) and the handling is spot-on so no reason to mess with it.

Sunday we did a much shorter stint on the Tiger - freeway blast, up into the mountains for a bit, then back before traffic got insane. Reinforced the inherent differences between the two bikes. I've got a trip up north next month, solo going up, then my wife is flying up and we'll ride back down. I think the Triumph will get the call, especially since I have a gig the night we get back and I need to not be totally exhausted. Amazing what a bigger screen and 4" longer wheelbase does for long-distance comfort.
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