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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone tell me what I could expect from a cast wheeled Bonnie? I just test rode on Monday a few year old model and the one thing that struck me was how heavy/ponderous the bike felt - I'm wondering if those cruiser hoops were big part? Do the 17" wheels add a noticeable amount of nimbleness?

I don't want to waste my time/dealer's time test riding an '09 if it won't feel much different. If that is the case I may just pick up a decent used one.
 

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I have heard from a man that I trust with such matters that the 17" front wheeled Bonnies are much sharper handling, and great fun in the twisties. He also says the suspension and brakes feel better than the T100s and older Bonnies. I'd say you're onto a good thing.

Haven't tested one myself yet.
 

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I have heard from a man that I trust with such matters that the 17" front wheeled Bonnies are much sharper handling, and great fun in the twisties. He also says the suspension and brakes feel better than the T100s and older Bonnies. I'd say you're onto a good thing.

Haven't tested one myself yet.
+1 to that!
 

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reading the specs they appear to have a shorter wheelbase and a trail more like the thruxtons...probably more an influence than a smaller wheel
 

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reading the specs they appear to have a shorter wheelbase and a trail more like the thruxtons...probably more an influence than a smaller wheel
true, but the new setup has less unsprung weight and rotational inertia. They both contribute to an overall quicker handling package. I know when I put the 17" mags on my bike it handled much much better, no doubt due to losing almost 20lbs of unsprung weight and lowering the front end a bit (rake/trail changed slightly).
 

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Last year my two rides were a ’78 r100 Bmw for longer excursions and for inner city commuting, a 2006 Ninja 250. You cannot get much more opposites. My sole ride this year, both those bike are gone, is my new ’09 Bonneville Black with the cast wheels. I find the bonnie to be a perfect blend of both . The low end power and smoothness of the beemer, with the quick handling and flix’ability of the ninja. I cannot compare my bike’s handling with a T100, however compared to my Ninja's quick steering response, the new bonnie feels very similar even though it is a much heavier bike.
 

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As a new T-100 owner...would say it handles very nicely but it just makes technical sense that the reg. Bonny will handle better. The 19" front wheel on the T-100 is a clear slave to fashion with a further upside of straight line stability which makes it natively harder to turn...but I feel like I am riding a Ninja compared the 600# cruiser I came off of which was like riding a tank.
George
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm, it does sound like I should see if I can test ride a 17"er then. I just felt with my level of experience and primarily city use right now that the Bonnie was just too heavy/slow feeling. Of course A LOT of that is since I'm riding a 220lb 12" wheeled scoot which is like riding a bicycle.
 

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They did change the rear suspension, and I noticed that the front brake system looks different, so apparently so. My feedback is it is all for the better.
 

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Well, like I say I have not tried it myself, I am going off the feedback of someone that really knows his stuff when it comes to bikes, these ones in particular. He didn't comment along those lines, only that the handling is superior to the T100, and that suspension is improved, as is the braking. I am sure that even then, the suspension and braking can be improved yet further with additional upgrades.
 

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09 bonneville

Totally recomend test riding Bonneville 09. The bike feels totally different to earlier models: it really feels like a completly different bike [a better ride]. The earlier models look great, but for me felt light on the front end and top heavy.Dont get me wrong they are great fun bikes and rightly very popular. I test rode 09 model as soon as the dealer managed to get his hands on one. Result- collected my dream Bonnie SE blue/white last week. Still grinning now. Bike rides like a dream. Handling is nice and tight. 09 has a shorter wheelbase,a steeper rake and combined with the new 17 inch wheels this gives a very responsive and nimble ride. The bike also feels really well balanced when riding or at rest. The weight is much lower down and you hardly feel it. By the way theres also plenty of power there. One thing I will change though -the shocks. Bit harsh on rougher roads. AWESOME BIKE.
 

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Here's the company line .....

http://www.ridermagazine.com/

This link will take you to "Rider 360". Select the latest date (end of April). There's a conversation between Rider Mag and the Triumph USA Product Mgr, discussing the diff between the T100 with 19" front wheel and the new Bonnie with 17" cast mag wheel.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great link, thanks! I'll definitely need to try an '09 out, I loved the older model I tried but was looking for a little bit lighter feel at the helm. Sounds like this might be the ticket.
 

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I had a chance to sit on the 09 cast wheel Bonnie at the dealer the other day. And I immediately felt the difference with the seat height and handle bar reach. I have to say the 09 cast wheel felt ALOT more nimble. Definitely felt like a fun bike.
 

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The cast wheel Bonnie feels about 50lb lighter than the old T100... I don't believe it is but that's how it feel riding it. Think it's a combination of the dropped seat height, changed handlebar angle, smaller front wheel and slightly different raking to the forks (at least I think it's different).

I was surprised by how much tighter the new bike feels though the corners, although I would still recommend replacing the shocks and front springs as soon as you can afford to do it. A combination of ikon springs and the new wheels has the bike leaning in and out of corners far faster than before.:D
 

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Moto-USA review

To the OP.

Not sure if you read this yet, but here is a review by Motorcycle-USA.com

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/259/2984/Motorcycle-Article/2009-Triumph-Bonneville-SE-First-Ride.aspx


"The new Bonnies change tack in two significant ways, wheel size and riding position.

Seven-spoke 17-inch wheels replace the more traditional looking 19-inch wire-spoke rims. Aiding in the handling department, the smaller hoops also offer a much wider tire selection - our test units sporting Metzeler ME24 rubber (110/70 front, 130/80 rear)."

"...the first impression of the new Bonneville is how light and small it is – confirming Triumph’s claim that the new wheels and fenders contribute a 19-lb weight loss. The sensation makes it quite easy it is to ride, at lower speeds in particular."
 

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Regarding the handling of the spoked wheel T100, I just went through and checked and tightened all my spokes after 5000 miles and the difference in handling was amazing. And they weren't all that bad, just one broken and several loose.

No doubt the cast wheels are better riding but they give me unpleasant 80s flashbacks. Next thing I'll be putting Keyston Classics and Radial TA's on my Firebird and driving down to Jersey to see Duran Duran.:)
 
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