It came down to a choice between the Kawasaki VN 900 custom and the Triumph America. I chose the Triumph, the major factor being the looks. The VN 900 rode well, had good features the Triumph did not; like fuel injection and belt drive, it was even cheaper on road. In the end, the attitude of the Trumpy won m...
It came down to a choice between the Kawasaki VN 900 custom and the Triumph America. I chose the Triumph, the major factor being the looks. The VN 900 rode well, had good features the Triumph did not; like fuel injection and belt drive, it was even cheaper on road. In the end, the attitude of the Trumpy won me over with hot rod looks and retro styling. I am forty years old, and like most people buying mid size cruisers, riding again after about a twenty year break. Therefore, I am no expert but give my impression so far. The America handles well and it did not take long for me to get confidence. The brakes seem adequate, although I seem to give myself much more time to brake than I did twenty years ago. The bike has more than enough power for my needs. I travel on the freeway to work, sitting on 100kph/63mph speed limit, if I want to pass traffic, I just twist the throttle and the bike will have me at 120/75 in a few seconds. When doing this I have to hang on for dear life or be blown of the back, which brings me to my next observation, the sail effect. With wide bars and upright seating your body catches the wind, so I decided to get a Triumph Summer screen. I did not like it, the small screen caused too much buffeting around my head, drummed on my helmet and made me nauseous, so I removed the screen and have not regretted the decision. I accept meeting the wind head on is part of the experience for cruisers and now enjoy the feel. The windblast is comfortable to about 90kph/56 mph, although, going on a long tour I would consider using a full-length screen. The bike does respond slower with a pillion but still has no problem pulling away from traffic. My wife complains of a numb bum after half an hour on the back, but I would not use this as a judge for the comfort of the seat as it seems well padded. Originally, when purchasing the bike I was not going to change the exhaust because I wanted to be a good neighbour. After riding with the stock system, I realised it sounded like a scooter, so I fitted Triumph long slash-cuts. The bike sounds a lot better, has more midrange power and if I gradually idle away from the neighbourhood, not too noisy. My wife says I love my bike more than her, which I swear is not true, but I must admit I do love my Triumph. When parked it at the shops, I cannot resist looking back, admiring it until out of sight. I've had it for about a month and I think I've ridden it every day and cleaned it every second day. There were times prior to the purchase that I was getting a little anal about which bike I wanted, going over every online and magazine review. Comparing all the features, this bike has alloys, that bike has tubeless, fuel injection shaft drive, belt drive, corners better, accelerates better, will be superseded soon. Talk about confusing, so in the end I decided to buy the America and modify to suit my wants with after market parts, shocks, belt-drive etc. However, after riding my Triumph all that confusion has gone, I realise all those differences don't matter and add to the bikes character. The important thing was just getting a bike and enjoying the ride. Making those modifications are not as important anymore, maybe I will do them, maybe not. One thing certain, I have no regrets with this bike and never wonder if I have made the right choice.