Having owned a Trek 1130 for nigh on six months now I feel confident I may be able to articulate why I bought such a thing. For the uninitiated the Trek is a Benelli, oh, and Benelli are Italian motorcycle manufacturers, since 1911 apparently, who knew!
After owning a VFR for 16 years finding a replacement has been a tall order and taken around 5 years since I first started looking/riding a few different things. I have been totally spoilt by my first choice for returning to road riding way back in 2001 as the VFR is truly a one size fits all motorcycle, touring 2 up? sure, scratching solo? why not, trackday? let’s go scare some sports bikes.
It quickly became apparent that nothing was going to be forthcoming from Honda with the given requirement of 20-25HP more, but still as versatile, Honda have been asleep at the wheel for a decade now, clearly evidenced by the bike no one wanted (VFR1200) and then the VFR800 “Facelift” which didn’t even include USD forks.
Why more Horsepower you ask? Because it’s fun! Sure you don’t need it 95% of the time, but it’s great to have it the other 5%, or whenever the mood takes you. So, now I am riding things like the Ninja SX1000 and GSXR-1000F and liking them, but both have their challenges, no luggage for the suzuki, and a barely there pillion seat, and STILL no ability to simultaneously mount a Top Box and Panniers on the Ninja, seriously Kawasaki, nice bike, now get your shit together on the accessories. At $13K the Suzuki is a steal, and a fun bike if your a Solo rider, highly recommended!
The search continued, with no rush, given the VFR was clearly going to last forever. The brain started ticking over about returning to an inline 4 though, and thinking, became researching. No, there are no V4’s on the horizon, at least there wasn’t at the time, damn you Ducati! What is a triple like? Mmm, good reports lead to riding a F3800 and a Veloccete Turismo, both fun bikes and the F3 was seriously tempting but that gnawing feeling of “it will blow up” wasn’t letting me throw down 20K on a new one.
Then the random thought process remembered Benelli, having seen a Tornado once at the Snowy Ride, they were big into triples were they not? A quick flick through bike sales and sure enough, lots of triples, at stupidly reasonable prices too? A phonecall to a (EX) Benelli dealer reveals he has a TreK 1130 demo, with 150K on the clock, so I lined up for a test ride one saturday. The fact it took them all of friday and half of saturday to coax it into life was mildly disturbing, but then I heard a sound like three alleycats fighting from the workshop and it was on like donkey kong!
A quick fang up the hill and back sans trade plate as they forgot to put it on, and I was in love, instantly. Still, at that point they wanted 15K for it and it seemed expensive for something with zero local support, so I left it there and kept hitting Bikesales regularly. A friend rode one from Garage Motorcycles in SA but again price became a sticking point, so more waiting. Then one came up for 8K at Peter Stevens Ringwood, after talking them into $7,650 it was money down and catch a plane, train and then bus to buy it sight unseen and ride it home.
Benelli were flush with Chinese cash when they first designed these back in 2006 and it shows as it’s widely known as the best bike they ever made, which is kind of funny given it practically invented the Sports Adventure Tourer bracket back then. Mine is the 2013 100th anniversary model which got a mechanical refresh with updated internals in the engine, forks, comfort seat and a few other odds and sods. It really does pack a lot of value for the price, the trellis frame is amazeballs as it is comfy at any speed and tracks like it’s on steroids, I still have no idea how it’s stable at speed and quick steering at the same time, some sort of italian trickery I guess. Then there is that engine, which is where words fail me but lets just say stump pulling torque that seems endless and a fantastic cacophony of sound to boot, it really only needs 2 gears, one to get moving and around town, and one for out of town!
Anyhow, that was the thought process behind how I took a gamble on a completely unknown motorcycle, with zero local support. Basically I’m a tight ass and couldn’t go past the value involved, and the fact that it is truly a thing of beauty to ride was the clincher. 🙂
PS: I have since found a source of parts, still hunting a good mechanic 😉