In physics, a fundamental aspect in defining the passage of time is heat exchange. When this exchange does not take place, future and past are identical and therefore indistinguishable, a simple but interesting principle illustrated together with many others in an exquisitely clear way by Professor Carlo Rovelli, in his Seven Short Physics Lessons.
In the world we are all most familiar with, that of motorcycles, extricating oneself between past and present is intuitive even without scientific basis.
Basically, the more current a proposal is, the more interesting it is in terms of power and content. The day before yesterday, entry level nudes were easy and a little flimsy. The next day they became easy and cute and fun. Today they are also gritty and technological. It is no coincidence that the two “freshest” models in this panorama are distinguished from the others exactly in the terms just described. In 2021, the Triumph Trident raised the bar with a 79hp engine (detected at the tree), with the ride by wire accelerator and with a series of premium options such as a bluetooth module to control the GoPro from the instrument cluster and have navigation indications, two-way electronic gearbox and tire pressure sensors. A few months ago, the Honda Hornet pushed even harder on the accelerator. It has a good 92 “real” HP and through a beautiful 5″ TFT display it offers the possibility of regulating delivery, traction control, engine braking.
In short, the direction is traced, there is no turning back and the manufacturers that want to keep up will have to adapt. Suzuki will be the first to comply and will do so in the coming months with the GSX-8S, completely new naked entry advanced in terms of technology (ride by wire, two-way electronic gearbox, more delivery mappings, adjustable traction control, etc.) and brilliant in numbers (83 HP declared). Equally significant is that Yamaha, despite having the MT-07 in its price list which is by a wide margin the best seller in the segment (excluding the more classic Moto Guzzi V7), has felt the need to move in the direction of technology and performance, equipping it with TFT display and predisposition for electronic shifting. We will organize a category comparison as soon as all the news is available. Since this won’t happen very soon, in the meantime we have chosen to compare the two protagonists of the article.
Stylish one, athletic the other
Having verified what has been said up to now, the desire to shorten the distance with the “medium” bare bikes (the various Ducati Monsters, KTM 890 Dukes, BMW F 900 Rs, etc.) is manifested by Trident and Hornet in a slightly different way.
English is more visually compelling. You may like the design or not, we are not discussing this. What we are talking about are the finishes. Note, for example, the care with which the headlight and front mudguard, tank and swingarm are made. In general, it conveys an idea of attention and superior quality and the fact that it is equipped with a three-cylinder engine should be taken into consideration which, if nothing else on a technical level, differentiates it in the panorama.
The Japanese focuses a lot on performance, Instead. In terms of hp, it is closer to a BMW F 900 R (107 hp measured at the shaft) than it is to a Yamaha MT-07 (75 hp measured at the shaft). This makes it the most brilliant – and engaging – acceleration proposition in the category. It reaches 100 km/h from standing start in 3.8″ and, above all, it is the only one to cover 400 m from standing start in less than 12″ (11.9″). Trident and MT-07, up to to date the most gritty of the “entries”, take 12.5″ and 12.2″ respectively. In fact, the comparison between the power and torque curves leaves no room for interpretation, and the results are not so brilliant in the shooting tests (4.9″ to go from 90 to 130 km/h in sixth against the excellent 4.0″ of the Triumph) are due to a much longer ratio (4,800 rpm at 130 km/h in sixth against 5,800 rpm of the English) which benefits consumption (19.9 km/l on the motorway against 19.1 km/l of the rival). The Hornet is also quite light: 180.4 kg (measured empty) is, by far, a good result. Let’s talk in detail about a 5 kg advantage over the Trident (however equipped with accessories that add weight such as passenger handles and protective sliders) and a 7 kg disadvantage on the featherweight Yamaha MT-07 category (tested in 2020).
Where the newborn “jap” doesn’t shine is in the braking tests. The combination of a rather powerful front braking system and a somewhat soft setting of the fork results in vigorous deceleration and good ride comfort under normal riding conditions; while in the case of a “panic stop”, or rather the situation that we simulate during the measurements by activating the brakes suddenly and with the maximum possible force, the front suspension quickly reaches the end of its travel, triggering the intervention of the ABS. The result is that it takes 35.1 m to stop from 90 km/h. At the Trident, equipped with a less incisive braking system and a moderately more sustained calibration, 33.7 are enough.
Fast rhymes with easy
It is legitimate and often correct to imagine a direct proportionality between performance and driving effort. In this specific case, things go differently with the Honda which, all in all, stands out for its ease. However, we want it to be clear that in both cases we are talking about motorcycles capable of sincere friendliness, always intuitive to manage and simple to drive even in the worst of city traffic jams.
The Trident stands out in particular for the smoothness of the throttle response (using Rain mapping) and the gearbox grafts, and for the elasticity of the supply: its engine picks up from idle smoothly and decisively. Both are light to manoeuvre, have correctly modulated braking systems and electronic driving support systems that are attentive to the right.
The Honda has moderately tighter gear shifts and an engine that is physiologically less inclined to pick up from idle speed – which it still does, even if less fluidly than its three-cylinder rival. Overall, it is preferred by virtue of the clutch which requires less effort on the lever (the Triumph one is “soft”, but not like the Honda one), a better steering angle (it reverses in 5.3 m against 5, 8 m, surveyed) and a lower saddle (800 mm against the 810 of Triumph; both have a slim waist in favor of the possibility of touching the ground). It’s also more welcoming to tall people. Up to 1.80 m in height, the triangulation of the two, although different (we will see it shortly), is equally hospitable. Besides, that of Hornet is preferred above all because it allows greater freedom of longitudinal movement.
The vibrations are practically absent on the Triumph and perceptible and never annoying on the Honda. It should be noted that the Trident transmits a noticeable amount of heat to the pilot and above average, like its sister Tiger 660 (here in the video comparison between “entry” crossovers). A feature that certainly has an effect on driving pleasure on hot days.
Accuracy versus wriggle
The sensations that the two offer between the curves are also very different. In some ways, the Hinckley’s proposal can be defined as sportier. You have a “firm” and reassuring front end both when cornering in and on the road, where it is pleasantly precise thanks also to a balanced set-up and a bit more sustained than that of its rival. It also has a triangulation that invites you to stretch out your torso moderately, reinforcing the good feeling with the front wheel. This makes it particularly pleasant on the flowing paths on which one dances from one fold to another with the relaxed yet dynamic cadence of a Viennese waltz. That said, imagining her as a feisty little Street Triple is misleading – not that she’s subtly trying to suggest that, by the way.
The front brake has little bite and to get incisive decelerations it is necessary to pull the lever more than one would like. Above all, the engine has very little sporty delivery. The good vigor it has is concentrated in the central area of the rev counter, so that “pulling” the gears is not very useful or fun. It’s a nice bike, the Trident, and it can keep up a good pace on any course. Simply, it satisfies much more if driven in a rounded way and without wanting to overdo it: one eye on the road, one on the landscape and the very pleasant music of the triple in your ears.
On the Hornet, a greater difference in height between the seat surface and the handlebar means that the torso is almost perpendicular to the ground, and the suspensions have, as mentioned, a pleasantly comfortable setting. Steering is half as hard as the Trident and any input – enter the curve! change direction! – Transforms into action twice as fast. We believe it is superfluous to specify that we have not measured torque applied to the handlebar and reaction times, and that it is instead a useful way of saying to get an idea of how different the two are. Such svelte chassis and such light steering sometimes pay off in speed with a delicate if not precarious stability. It is in fact true that the Honda is not the same as the Triumph in terms of (feeling of) rigor in corner entry and mileage. Equally, however, it is indisputable that it approaches it in an appreciable way and that, overall, it offers a excellent balance between responsiveness and precision. In straits it’s super fast and on fast it’s neutral and satisfying. And it’s undoubtedly ahead of the Tiger in terms of brakes and performance. With the same modularity, the front system is much more effective and offers incisive decelerations by applying a moderate force to the lever. For its part, the twin-cylinder is appreciated both when the driving mood is contemplative and when one is chasing one bend after another at full throttle. It offers a generous boost in the lows and mids. At the high end, for the parameters of the category, it is surprising. The grit of which he is capable is remarkable and the delivery has something sporty with a decisive progression up to the intervention of the limiter. As we wrote on the occasion of its test, it even rears up to third gear: so much for the entry!