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post #1 of 209 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
Main Motorcycle: My 09 Bonneville Black
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Interesting '09 efi model Bonnie battery problem

I happened to wear down my battery a few days ago and couldn't start the bike, my buddy put a voltmeter on it and said that it had 12.4 volts so it shouldn't be the battery preventing the bike from starting. As it turns out we put the charger on it for a half hour and she started right up. A couple of days later I happened across this post below by a very pissed Aussie concerning his '09 efi Bonnie and it's apparent battery snafu/problem.
Hope the sun shines for ya.

Some members of this forum might remember i purchased a new 09 Triumph Bonneville a few months ago. With the recent cool change, a problem has come to light.

It seems that some ‘engineer’ at the triumph factory decided it would be a good idea to set the computer to not allow the bike to start if the battery voltage falls below 12.5 volts. A fully charged battery is just over 13v, so it only has to drop half a volt and it won't go. It only affects the new fuel injected twins (2009), alternator output is fine.

Consequently, if the bike is left unridden for a few days, or you do a lot of short runs in the city, it will not start. This problem affects all the new injected bonnevilles and i assume the Americas.

Triumph Australia don’t want to know about it, they have released a statement to dealers advising them to tell customers to put the bike on a charger when they come home from a ride.

Great, every time you ride it, you have to remove the seat, attach a battery charger and let it stay on charge until you want to ride it again. Even with a fully charged battery if you do too many stop/starts in a day it will not start. Even with a freshly fitted yuasa battery.

(A short term solution is to remove the left sidecover and bridge the solenoid terminals with a coin. Much like i used to do with my old holden in the eighties.....)

The whole reason I, and many others, have purchased a new Bonny is to have old school looks with modern reliability. This problem makes a Joke of that.

I wouldn’t mind so much if triumph were interested in fixing it, but they don’t want to know.

I was just about to order a new thunderbird, but if this is how triumph treat their customers, i won’t bother.


The local bike shop has been in touch with triumph australia's warranty department and i am taking the bike down shortly to have some testing done.
This would appear to be a smokescreen, as triumph are well aware of the problem.

I received a couple of emails from alaska and the states re: same problems. seems a couple of local triumph clubs are considering starting a class action over there.

I don't really mind the actual problem, but the fact they don't want to know about it.

Further info:

I have just taken my bike to the local triumph agent where, at the request of triumph australia’s warranty department, he has undertaken the following tests:

Clutch switch operation, earth strap continuity test, charge test, battery condition test.
All passed....

Next we drained the battery to 12.4v and connected a laboratory standard regulated dc power supply and tested the starting:

12.4v – no start
12.5v – no start
12.55v – no start
12.6v – start

This would seem to prove that the ecu is set to disable starting at a battery voltage less than 12.6v.

Pretty much the industry standard ecu voltage cut off for cars, trucks and bikes is 11.5v.

With a fully charged battery topping out at around 13v, it doesn't take much to drop the initial .5v.

I have just spoken to triumph Australia's warranty agent, who was very evasive and said 'yours is the first one we have heard of with this problem'.....

Typical, won't admit anything. Promised to contact triumph england and get back to me.__________________
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post #2 of 209 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 01:56 PM
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Sounds ludicrous. 12.6 volts (2.1 volts per cell) is the normal reading for a fully charged lead-acid battery. At 12.5 the battery is still over 80%; charged, more than able to start an engine.
I was wondering why their accessory battery tender/charger has such a high profile in their OE catalogue...

It really helps then that the headlamp comes on automatically when you turn on the ignition then, if you take too long to put your gloves on...

Last edited by Forchetto; 06-27-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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post #3 of 209 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 02:27 PM
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Easy Rider

Get a "battery tender", they come with a little pigtail which you attach to the battery terminals, run it out between the frame and the side cover secure with a tie wrap.
When you park the bike at home, attach the charger to the pigtail provided and walk away.
No need to pull seat or anything.

Works for me, same battery for two years never a problem.

Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come!
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post #4 of 209 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 02:47 PM
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This tiny charger is available from It fits permanently on the bike and it's slightly cheaper than the Battery tender.
Measures 3.25×.75"×1". I don't know wether it's available in other than 110 volt mains though.

I can't help thinking "why do we put up with this nonsense?". My car has far more sophisticated electronics but can be left in a cold airport carpark for two weeks and it'll start straight away on my return. The battery is 4 years old...

Last edited by Forchetto; 06-27-2009 at 03:00 PM.
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post #5 of 209 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 04:13 PM
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I have a new '09 EFI bonnie and I haven't had the battery tendered in a couple of months now. The bike has never failed to start and I have also had it apart several times which involved running down the battery a bit...testing different lights etc. I haven't checked to see if the battery has dropped below 12.5 V but I am quite certain it has.
I would be incredulous if the ECM does cut off start below 12.5V. Only my armchair opinion. One plausible explanation for creating a low threshold for start is poor running with low voltage but to preclude start as such a high voltage seems outlandish to me.
Perhaps others can weigh in with their findings. Where I store my bike presently, there is no power for a tender and I only ride it about once a week and again, my bike has always spun the starter hard even after prolonged periods with the battery uncharged with headlight and turnsignals on.

Last edited by biker7; 06-27-2009 at 04:19 PM.
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post #6 of 209 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 07:39 AM
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About a week ago I was putting on a new seat but got called way to a crying baby, lights were on for about half an hour I guess. Wednesday when I tried to start it I heard the pump prime, lights on but when I press the starter nothing happened. Checked fuses, kill switch, tried a push start, but in the end I had to jump start it.

Normally I ride at least five out of seven days a week, so it shouldn't cause me any grief, but it pisses me off to know the tolerance is so low!
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post #7 of 209 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 09:16 AM
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My bike hasn't done it...I don't ride much and currently don't trickle charge the battery. If anybody thinks its a problem, rather than living with it...simply rewire the bike to take the ECM out of the equation from keeping the starter relay from engaging when pressing the start button. Likely a 1 or 2 wire change...what I will do if I believe this to ever be an issue.

Last edited by biker7; 07-03-2009 at 11:34 AM.
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post #8 of 209 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 12:13 PM
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This is not a problem on just newer models. My 05 speedy was having stator problems so I was charging and riding waiting for a new stator. At 12.5 she would NOT start. I carried a screwdriver to jump the solenoid, pain in the azz. I for one would be interested in info to bypass this safety? feature.
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post #9 of 209 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 01:02 PM
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Is it possible to change the setting on the ecu to a slightly lower setting?
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post #10 of 209 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 02:13 PM
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I thought I had the same problem with my '09 fi but found out that I had wired my after market tach to an 'always hot' lead. Moved it and no more problem. It will now sit for over a week and fire right off. When I was having initial problem, it seemed to be cutting off at abouit 11.5v, not 12.5. May not be a universal problem....

Black '09 Bonneville, AI and 'grab strap' removed, tach, gators, high compression valve stems with chrome caps, modified battery hold-down, tennis racket grips.
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