Triumph’s questionable marketing campaign…
Thought I talk about the broader picture now painted about the new Street Twin in anticipation of the T120 and new Thruxton and R model which has created quite a stir, some positive and some negative.
To me, Triumph screwed the pooch a bit how they have rolled out their first new Bonneville with the languishing release of 1200cc bikes in tow. Make no mistake, this is a contrived strategy…perhaps partly based upon ramping up distribution but largely crafted from an elaborate marketing campaign of waiting and anticipation of the 1200cc bikes based upon limited information building anticipation which has fomented and given way to speculation.
So what has occurred based upon this protracted and some would say transparent rollout including careful control of marketing fodder with very few specs including hp of the 1200cc bikes? An inevitable and misguided comparison to the new Street Twin, not to the base alloy wheeled current bonnie, but rather comparison with current T100 and Thruxton models. Why are these bikes being compared? Price.
But now the picture is a bit more clear and to me, the comparison of the new Street Twin and current Bonneville line is ill fated. Plain truth is the Street Twin is postured as a starter bike. It is no T100 or Thruxton even though you can throw a blanket over their price tags. So basically Triumph is now selling a starter bike for the price of a current T100 and Thruxton and hence the inevitable comparison.
Here is a question that a member posted who is considering a new Bonneville who stated this dilemma perfectly:
I am close to buying a Triumph and before the announcement of the new Street Twin I was looking at a new Bonneville or T100. Over the last few weeks I have been reviewing videos of the last generation vs the Street Twin and am still not sure. Being an older guy and having gotten used to abs on my current bike that is one of the things drawing me towards the new generation but then........I still love the look of the current Bonneville and T100. Oh and I really do not want to spend the money on a T120 despite it also being an attractive bike. I will keep reading stuff on here from my home about 100 miles from the Triumph factory in Thailand.
Uptake? Not everybody is in love with look of the new Street Twin compared to the current bikes, particular if the comparison is drawn to a current T100 or Thruxton at about the same price point.
Then there is the issue of horsepower…the new engine being ‘marketed’ as higher torque. Motorcycle guys know the tell of the tape. Those that own the current Bonneville believe the torque is just fine and in fact a perfect back drop to ride the bike smoothly seeking greater hp at higher RPM where the lower performance Street Twin engine runs out of air. So the Street Twin with its increase in displacement and being liquid cooled is a bitter pill in the context of 20% less hp compared to current Bonneville’s.
I believe this comparison can be summed up best by current owners who have considered trading. The vast majority haven’t that have ridden both. The new Street Twin just isn’t enough of an improvement compared to the current bikes and of course the engine doesn’t have the same performance orientation and little is known about its mod-ability moving forward in terms of extracting more hp to even bring it up the current bikes considering it’s a walk in the park to get 75hp out of the current bikes and perhaps a hint more with simple ECM tuning, pipes and slight opening of the airbox.
Which comes full circle back to marketing. Has Triumph employed the right strategy? After all they have forced this comparison…partly promoted by similar engine size…865cc versus 900cc…at similar price points and so the inevitable comparison follows. But many here would not consider so called upgrading because in some ways, trading for the new Street Twins…is a regression…in styling, riding position and of course engine performance. Many will prefer in fact a current T100 or Thruxton to a Street Twin purely based upon styling elements as of course the Street Twin has a different look and not all will prefer the ST including the new headlight bracket, coffee can speedo with no tach, abbreviated rear fender etc.
What’s in it for Triumph? Anticipation of the new 1200cc bikes and profit of course.
Where is therefore the true comparison moving forward? It isn’t the now understood entry level Street Twin comparison to current bonneville line at the current price point but rather the pending release of the new 1200cc bikes. That is comparison with current bikes that should be drawn. However this comparison has been thwarted by the staggered release of the new bikes starting with the Street Twin. This comparison has been somewhat lost or blurred due to how Triumph has elected to release their new bikes. Will the new 1200cc bikes be preferred to the current T100 and Thruxton in spite of widely speculated low hp based upon torque numbers out of 1200cc’s. Absolutely. The new bikes will definitely be upgraded to because the new bikes will offer perhaps a better riding experience…or should. Triumph did some really nice things with the new 1200cc range in spite of likely not extracting the hp many believe should from this engine size…again based upon cost and profit. But the new bikes yes will have more torque but will also have more hp based upon much larger displacement and ergonomics and even styling are considered an upgrade from the current bikes. So where is the rub moving forward? This harkens back to something I have written here before. What does the consumer want and in particular a knowledgably consumer who owns a current bonneville? When it comes to motorcycles it always comes down to value aka cost/benefit or most of us would be riding Ducatis. What did I hope for? An improved bonneville at the same price point or perhaps a hint more MSRP based upon the inclusion of ABS which I believe to be a very good thing. What did we get? No question an improved bike with the new 1200cc bikes…but grab your ankles….about $3K more…excluding the more exotic and expensive Thruxton R sharing space with more exotic Ducatis.
So no, Triumph didn’t recreate the new bonneville without consequences. They didn’t create a better motorcycle at a similar price point. If you want to ride a finer motorcycle, you are going to have to pay for it. And of course at a $12K price point, the world has just opened up to the competition in terms of what is available. For some, this will be ok. For others, they will stick with their current bonnies and personalize them how they like ‘em.
Last edited by Britfan; 02-23-2016 at 07:01 AM.