Friday, December 17, 2010

Monster Triple

When it comes upgrading my ride, I believe I finally have it narrowed down to two bikes....

The Triumph Street Triple (pic is of an R)....

Or the Ducati Monster 696......

Oh sure, there are more bikes on the short list such as a Suzuki Gladius (yes I like it, because it is different)....

BMW G650GS......

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic.......

and Triumph Bonneville SE........

....... but I think the Monster and Triple are my favorites followed by the Gladius in third place.

When it comes to looking at bikes, I do have one advantage over a lot of lady riders and that is my height. I am just a 1/4 inch shy of 5'8" with a 32 inch inseam.

I have sat on the Street Triple several times at the Triumph Dealer in Eugene. At one point he had a demo model. I'm not sure if he still has it, but I know he'd let me take it out if he does. I have heard good things about the Triple and you can't beat the sound of that engine. What I don't like is the location of the foot pegs when your feet are on the ground. They seem to be in the exact location of my calf muscle or shins depending on if I put my foot in front of or behind it. Troubadour tells me I'd get used to that and not even notice it after a while.

I want to be able to flat foot the bike when maneuvering out of the garage or parking. I know there are a lot of people that can lean to one side, but the falling over sensation is just not for me. I don't even like my office chair to be able to lean back. Again, Troubadour says it is something that I would get used to, but I dunno. The seat height on the Monster is 30.3" and the seat height on the Triple is 31.3" on the regular and 31.7" on the R. Doesn't seem like a big difference but your legs aren't straight down when stopped, they have to bend to straddle the seat, which takes away some length.

I have always admired the look of the Ducati Monsters, yet hadn't sat on one until the show on the weekend. The only way I can think of to describe it is that it felt comfortable. I didn't get to sit on it long, but I can tell you I can flat foot it and I don't remember the foot pegs jamming me in the legs.

We have a Ducati dealer just down the street from the Triumph dealer in Eugene. I am not sure if they have a demo to ride but I plan to check it out. At any rate, I want to be able to sit on it some more and give it the once over without all the people milling around waiting to have their turn at the show. I want to make an educated and informed decision.

Another factor to consider is cost and maintenance. Monsters are a lot easier than a Triple to find used which is a plus, but how expensive is the maintenance? Someone mentioned to me that the Ducati's expensive valve checks can now go twice as long before needing service. Not sure if this is true or not. I don't put a huge amount of mileage on in a year so how long would it take to really need maintenance besides oil changes. The other side of the coin is that when it comes to Triumph I have a very patient in house mechanic to teach me the ropes and we have an established relationship with our local dealer. No other owners of dealerships give me hugs when I visit.

I've had the TU since the end of March and have 2,000 miles on it and have done one oil change. I would have liked to put more miles on it this last summer, but was not able to go on some group rides due to the terrain and passes that were en route. No matter if we go east or west we have some sort of a pass to go over and some rides include some freeway, which the TU will do, but just barely. If I had a slightly larger more capable bike I think I would put more miles on it. Heck it even might be worth suiting up for my 3 miles commute. Something I don't do now. I ride ATGATT so it is not worth it for the 3 mile ride through town.

Another consideration for me is the weight of the bike. One of the problems I had with the Ninja is that it felt top heavy to me. When it accidentally took a nap on Troubadour, he said that it went over pretty easy and really fast as well as unexpected. The Street Triple has a wet weight of 416 lbs and the Monster's wet weight is 404 lbs. Pretty close I'd say. Makes the Bonneville seem heavy at 495 lbs, but the center of gravity on that bike is pretty low.

A 'tres cool' site to check out when looking at bikes is (<-- click to take you there) It is a website where you can enter your height and inseam length by clicking the + and - signs and then click the Make and Model to see how you would fit on a certain bike. Here is one I entered with my height and inseam for the Street Triple....

And for the Monster......

And even the Gladius.....

It doesn't have every make, model or year but it gives a person the general idea of degree of knee bend and forward lean angle. Another cool feature is the box you can check to put your feet down. It will show you with seat height how your feet will touch the ground and there is even a box to account for bar risers and such. It shows a line where the ground is and whether or not you can touch it or are flat footed with room.

It is a great site to play with and even have fun putting yourself on bikes you know you'd never buy. Good way to waste 10 minutes or so. It is amazing how much research you can do on the internet. It helps to narrow down options, but I don't think there is any substitute for sitting on bikes and kicking tires. Speaking of research, Geoff over at Confessions of an Ageing Motorcyclist linked me to his reviews of his Street Triple. Thank you Geoff, you are a wealth of information. Keep those updates coming.

I am not in a hurry due to the time of year and how much I like to research before I can actually make a decision. For now I shall scour the net to see what I can see and, oh darn, we'll just have to visit lots of motorcycle dealers on the weekends. Somehow I think Troubadour will be good with that. We happen to have a few days or more off over the holidays and have no plans since we don't celebrate the holidays (freethinkers that we are). Maybe we'll go window shopping and see what we can drool over.

I'm thinking Trobairitz on a Triple has a nice ring to it. I do believe that Troubadour would be a sad panda if I brought a Ducati home. His Tiger doesn't play well with ducks. She seems to tolerate the TU reasonably well though.

I would love to be able to find an amazing deal like what Troubadour found on his Tiger, but I won't hold my breathe. Maybe if the rain isn't too bad over our days off we'll ride to Eugene. It's best to sit on bikes you are thinking of purchasing while wearing full battle regalia. This will put some more miles on the TU and let us drool over bikes at the same time. Sounds like a pretty nice way to spend a few days off.

-Au Revoir

"The inability to make a decision has often been passed off as patience." ~ Author Unknown


  1. Trobairitz:
    Thanks for the nice words! Thank you too for sharing the ergo info, it's actually quantified a comment I made on the ST review about having to dip my head more than the ST when riding to see the Monster instruments. The forward lean is 25 deg on the Monster compared with 17 deg on the Triple, which puts your head further forward on the Duke. Hence the need to incline the head more to look down.

    Some people complain that the stock Triple seat is uncomfortable but I think it's equally to do with the shape and padding of a person's butt! I'm pretty average I guess but find it fine for 700 km days. For the recent 1000-mile in 21 hours ride, I used the smallest Airhawk pad available and it was superb. A sight cheaper than an aftermarket seat too!

    Finally, if there isn't much difference after clinical analysis and test riding both, go with your gut. The "emotional attachment" factor is rarely wrong!

    Good luck with your deliberations - what delicious anticipation!

  2. Two very nice first choices. Those are some downright sexy shots of those bikes. The look of the Ducati just reminds me of my BMW. But the Triple is intriguing.

    Thanks for the ergo's link. I really wish I had found that when I was looking around. I have to flat foot also. Just my way. Luckily I am tall, but I don't feel comfortable at all maneuvering my bike on loose or uneven surfaces while in the saddle. But there wasn't another bike out there at the time that would have fulfilled my requirements list better. :)

    Enjoy the time saddle shopping! Should be great fun kicking the tires and all that "new bike smell". :)


  3. I like th ergo site. Thanks for sharing.

    I am partial to the Monster. Let us know what you decide.

  4. Bravo! Except for the Duck you have exactly made the same choices that I was drooling over before going after the Beemer. The Gladius is certainly an economic decision, and you will want to upgrade again soon. The Striple and the Bonnie will have a special place in my heart, and one day I will get me one of those. Not sure about the dealer network for Ducati and Guzzi, but Italian bike are not known for fast and good service. They are sexy bikes though and Guzzi has the advantage of a shaft drive. Check out the Breva, you might like it, too.
    The F/G 650 GS is well balanced, can be lowered (I flatfoot mine), and get a tin butt award (over 600 painless km in one day), and oh my it is a forgiving bike, too. Not to forget it is fit for gravel and worse, if you want to try this.
    Too me the Striple is by far the most appealing. Good hunting! I am curious what you will come up with.

  5. Thank you. You guys and gals are providing such wonderful feedback and it is appreciated. After having gone to bike night in Eugene last night and hearing feedback about the local Ducati/BMW dealer it doesn't sound like a shop we would want to deal with on a regular basis so that might be out. Time will tell, Next closest Ducati dealer is Portland or Medford.

    I am partial to the Triple. I just love Triumphs. I wont make any decisions until more tire kicking.

    @ Geoff, I agree with that forward lean angle. It didn't seem like that much of a difference, but sitting on a bike at the show is not real world riding conditions.

    @ Sonja - I have seen the Breva 750 for sale in Seattle on Craigslist and love the look of it. That is where the V7 came from. There just is no place to check them out. (I think the 750 was discontinued to make way to the V7 Classic) Our local (Portland) Guzzi dealer doesn't have them, just the V7s, but we may be heading there today as it is their holiday open house and they are also a Triumph dealer.

    @Bobskoot - me too

    @ Lori & Motoroz - you are welcome for the site and have fun with it, and Motoroz, I like the Ducati too - that is the problem, I like more than one.

    Happy Saturday everyone...... hope you sneak in a ride. It is raining and 40˚ here in the soggy Willamette Valley.

  6. Ah yes, the short list that never stays short. Both are beautiful bikes. I'd have a hard time choosing between them.

    Per the footpegs issue, Troubadour is right. I had the same problem with footpegs and I don't even notice it anymore. You'll find the position that works for you and your bike.

    Trobairitz on a Triple. That has a very nice ring to it! :)

  7. Thanks for the ergo link! That is way fun to play with. Good thing it's a holiday week at work. ;-) Good luck with choosing your new bike. (I replied to your comment on my blog asking how I chose the 650GS.)