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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

Looking to purchase a new bike for occasional commuting to work (15 miles mostly highway) and weekend rides in the canyons and back roads of San Diego. I am currently debating between a Bonneville SE and an '08 Sprint ST that I can get for almost the same price as the Bonnie. Since I would like to take my wife along on some of these rides, one of my concerns is of course pillion comfort. Another concern is highway rideability since getting anywhere in SoCal requires one to jump on the highway.

Just looking for input on what direction to go, Sprint vs Bonnie. I realize both are polar opposites but...
 

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Ride 'em both, taking the SO along and ask which she likes better.

They really are not such polar opposites as you might think although, I would tend to favor the Sprint as HP and handling are a wonderful thing. The Bonnie probably doesn' t handle badly but it is aimed more at putting around while the Sprint is a true Sport Touring bike.

Take the bags off the Sprint, or for that matter, leave 'em on, and you have a really, pretty competent back road scratcher that will double nicely for longer tours. The only caveat might be the seat for long distance 2-up tours and that can be fixed for as little as $50 for a sheepskin or up to $500 or so for a custom seat. I opted for the $50 solution and can do easy 600 mile days on mine.

If you can get the test ride for long enough, a trip up Palomar will give you the answer you seek.
 

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I have an 07 Bonnie T100 (carbs and 19" front wheel that is different from the SE), and a new 08 ST with close to a 1,000 miles. If the SE is similar to my T100, the seat is painful for operator and passenger. The Triumph king and queen aftermarket seat could seriously help that. Canyon and local riding, one up or two, in my opinion, is major fun on the Bonnie, especially when you run better silencers and other aftermarket things (suspension upgrades, etc.)

However, if you want to rack up serious highway speeds, especially for commuting, one up or two, in my opinion, the ST is the way to go. If you swap out the handlebars on the SE for a more lean forward, less of the windblast, at 70+ mph, that will help. But, 70+ mph on the ST is a walk in the park with the full fairing and rock solid balance of the sport touring machine.

The bottom line? Ride both under the conditions that you will be experiencing before you buy, if you can.

Good luck!
 

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Triumph got the SE's fuel injection right. The Bonnie is a great great bike that will put a smile on your face each and every time you ride it. I will say that you will have to do some work to it right away.

-Exhaust is atrocious, it sounds like a bloody Singer sewing machine.

-Front shocks are made to wallow - not good. Its not crucial but front springs should be on the list of things to do.

-The new rims on the SE allow for a way bigger option on tires which is a huge bonus.

-You have 67hp on tap to move a 450lbs bike. It's quick and nimble and loads of fun but its nothing like a sport bike.

-Complete lack of storage.

The Sprint:
-Fast and you have 125hp to move a 450lb bike

-Looks good but doesnt get the looks the Bonnie gets

-No real mods needed, just get on and ride

-Saddle bags for any long touring.

-360kms to a tank on the highway, 400 if you push it

In the end I had a Bonnie and a Sprint ST. Despite all the bonuses of the Sprint, the Bonnie stayed and the Sprint was sold.

I just fell in love with the character of the Bonnie.

Bonnie with lots of little touches done:


Sprint:


Loved the Sprint but like I said, the Bonnie ended up staying.
 

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Thank you, that Bonnie was my winter project and was nothing but a frame and a motor for most of the winter. It has performance exhaust, airbox removed and a host of other little things like handbars, seat cowl, single seat, headlight cowl, powder coated badges, pinstriped to match the tank on and on and on but I love that bike and riding it is a joy.

I am putting together matching hard bags for the Bonnie right now so that I have some storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How difficult is it to put on some touring bags and maintain enough room to carry a pillion on the bonnie?
 

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Soft bags, no problem at all. I am making some custom mounts for hardbags so I'll have to post a reply when I have them done. The hard bags should be here tomorrow if the Fed Ex website is correct.

You can use any number of soft bags on the market and NewBonneville.com sells the rails to keep them from sitting funny.
 

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I have a 2004 Thruxton with a lot of mods including 17" custom rims, and a 1995 Speed Triple also well modified with suspension, exhaust, both have Corbins, etc... I have also ridden multiple generations of the Sprint. I really like the current Sprint and my Speed Triple, the triples are more powerful, very smooth, sound good, and are a bit more stable on the highway and hauling extra weight like a passenger and/or luggage. So, if you want practical, get the Sprint and maybe a seat and possibly an exhaust and call it good, the luggage looks decent and roomy to me too. However, if you want a bike that you will love to tweak, improve, modify, show off, take down the backroads on non-work days, and ride a lot farther because it's just damn fun, get the SE. I think this is the best iteration so far of the twin series, with the 17" mags, upswept exhaust, etc... it is probably the bike I would buy though the Sprint always tempts me. You can get hard bags for the regular Bonnie and probably soon the SE if not already, and that little twin is a very fun engine (aftermarket or Triumph offroad exhaust is mandatory for character). There are tons of aftermarket parts for the twins out there, and you will want to forever tweak this or that and ride it. Plus, probably nobody will talk to you about the Sprint, but people will always strike up a converstation on the Bonnie. So, the choice is, practical, powerful, functional, good handling vs. FUN, tweakable, full of potential, loads of character and cool. Tough choice. If you can, buy both like 3moons, but you may find that you end up taking the Bonnie to work more even though the Sprint is the better tool for the job, if the job involves a lot of slabbing. You at least want to START work with a smile! For the price difference, you can buy a lot of farkles for your Bonnie to make it uniquely yours. Oh yeah, the twins are a LOT easier to work on yourself if you are that type.
Larry
 

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I recently went through a similar decision - Thruxton or Sprint ST. After test riding them back to back, I just loved the sound and character and fun factor of the twin more than the power of the triple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I just got back from the dealership a little while ago and tested both the Bonneville and Sprint and I think the Bonneville is the one for me. The Sprint was just wayy to huge and clunky for my tastes. I already own a Daytona 675 (track bike) and if I want to sport it up I can convert it to street. The Bonnie was just so much more accessible and comfortable.

Thank you all for your feedback!
 

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Funny thread, I had a similar issue, but different order. I was at first dead set on a blue 09 SE Bonneville. Then somehow I got set on a Street Triple. And after seeing what all the plastic bits added to the cost, I ended up deciding on an 09 Pacific Blue Sprint since it added up to the same dang price. Dream bike would have been a leftover 2004 Caspian Blue RS with the hard bags and SSSA, but good luck finding one of those. What I would have really liked to see though is a Bonneville with a 675 triple, which would of course be a Trident.
 

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i had the same dilemma
but my last bike was a bandit 1200, the bonny felt like a penny farthing.
bonnie seat felt like a skateboard deck too.
the sprint pillion seat was like a slippery dip forwards for my co pilot until i had it redone.
it was the sprint for me.
 

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My 2007 T100 is the second Bonnie I've owned and the Bonnies are my favorite all time bike. Not fast, don't have supersport handling, but just are so easy to ride with tons of character. Great all round bikes. Fun in the twisties, decent for touring, great looking.

I've owned a Thunderbird, a Sprint RS, and Speed Triple also. I sold my Ducati ST3 when I got the Bonnie and I've also recently had a Victory and now own a Star Stratoliner also.

So anyway....I'm thinking of trading in the Strat and picking up a Sprint ST. The Strat is an awesome cruiser, 1854CC and very well balanced with nice bags. I ride it a lot, but realize that when I'm in the mood for cruising I way prefer the Bonnie. I just don't really like heavy bikes. I would use the Sprint for long solo jaunts. The problem is I'm not sure If I would prefer to ride it very much over the Bonnie.

Decisions....
 

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My 2007 T100 is the second Bonnie I've owned and the Bonnies are my favorite all time bike. Not fast, don't have supersport handling, but just are so easy to ride with tons of character. Great all round bikes. Fun in the twisties, decent for touring, great looking.

I've owned a Thunderbird, a Sprint RS, and Speed Triple also. I sold my Ducati ST3 when I got the Bonnie and I've also recently had a Victory and now own a Star Stratoliner also.

So anyway....I'm thinking of trading in the Strat and picking up a Sprint ST. The Strat is an awesome cruiser, 1854CC and very well balanced with nice bags. I ride it a lot, but realize that when I'm in the mood for cruising I way prefer the Bonnie. I just don't really like heavy bikes. I would use the Sprint for long solo jaunts. The problem is I'm not sure If I would prefer to ride it very much over the Bonnie.

Decisions....
My 07 T100 has such a different personality than my 08 ST. Holligan vs gentleman. My Bonnie's acceleration via Norman Hyde togas and lower bars (etc.etc) from 5 grand up, is a joyful rumble through the frame and my bones that must be felt to be realized. My ST's acceleration, via the TOR muffler and EFI and full fairing, from 5 grand up, is a smooth, linear burst that cuts through air and space. The Bonnie delivers me with gusto. The ST, especially on 80 + high speed freeways, delivers me with rail sure stability.

That's why I own both. It does take me about 10 minutes to adjust to the personality, balance and acceleration characteristics when I switch over from one bike to the other. That's way I own both. :)
 

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Further on my take on the two bikes. I am gradually converting my Sprint into a long distance sport tourer with emphasis on the long distance and tour. I do a lot of 1500 mile 3 day weekend jaunts on it carrying way more than just a couple of days worth of clothing.
The Sprint is perfect in that role for its effortless mile eating capability, especially now that I got rid of the lumpy, defective BT-020 rim protectors that came on it and fitted it with a new set of PR2 tires. I can still pull the bags and go apex strafing any time I want.

However, set up this way, it is a bit of a beast around town, where I spend about 20% of my time. Enter what will probably be for me, a Thruxton. I love the look and the seating position and will certainly convert the exhaust to as close to a set of Dunstalls as I can find along with a couple of other mods. The great thing about the twins is that you can flog the snot out of them and still not attract much attention from the law. At least not the double the speed limit attention the Sprint will get you. The more leisurely power delivery means no more spinning up the rear at sane lean angles, no more blast through 2nd and third getting you up to felony speeds on the local tarmac either. Perfect hooligan bike for an aging hoon (I'll hit 67 in July). Set of soft bags and its good for a weekend tour as well.

Speaking of which, since there are more than a couple Florida guys here, I'm thinking about organizing another of the Great She Crab Soup runs. Some time in early September, probably. Depart Palm Beach County on Saturday AM and ride to Amelia Island. Mostly slab but a dinner to include She Crab Soup there, followed by beer and jazz or early rock and Irish Music, all within walking distance of the pub. Sunday breakfast nearby and then a ride up to Savannah along hwy 17 for lunch. From there, another stretch of 17 up to Charleston for a dinner at Landries Steak House where She Crab Soup is a feature on the menu as are some great steaks. This is a cab ride from the hotel. Sunday morning a 600 mile run back to Palm Beach. A bit tough that last but some folks do have to work.

What say you?
 

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I have an '01 Bonneville purchased new and an '01 Sprint ST that I bought about a year ago. As mentioned, the Bonnie gets all the looks (especially when they first came out). The Bonneville handles the twisties quite well except for some minor clearance issues. The best money spent will be on fork springs, shocks, new mufflers, center stand, and maybe a seat upgrade. Throw-over soft bags work for long weekends like the upcoming British in the Blue Ridge in North Georgia. There is a group of Bonnie riders that frequent the RAT site and also on Delphi's New Triumph Bonneville Forum with longtime members on both coasts. The Bonneville is my choice for relaxing evening rides, blasts around our local backroads, and get-togethers with other Bonneville riders I've met in the last few years..........The Sprint is the bike that brings out the Hooligan. A rocket ship that handles (my first sportbike). It's hard to be civil on an ST, but I'm trying real hard.. The hardbags and fairing make a big difference in comfort for distance riding.

I have to admit that when I go to the basement to get on a bike, the Sprint is the one that my leg wants to swing over first, but I love my Bonnie too...............Ya just gotta have both!

Mike O'Keefe
 

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Shovel,
You are right about flogging the twins. Get rid of the airbox and put a set of breathing exhaust on the bike and they spin up fast.

I can direct you to where to get Dunstall replicas when the time is right. They are not expensive and come in 2 lengths I believe as well.
 

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I have an 06 Sprint and have just bought an EFI Thruxton as a second bike. Wanted to be able to "flog the snot out of it" without being immediately targeted as a criminal. This has proven to be partly correct. All I have fitted to the Thruxton at the moment are Staintune pipes. When 'flogging' the thing it isn't exactly quiet but it is damn good fun. Whilst it doesn't accelerate as fast as the Sprint it isn't that much slower in the twisties as I tend to ride it much smoother. As far as I can determine so far it seems to lean more and hence get around corners a bit quicker than the Sprint, not real safe on the skinny tyres though. As I said it is damn good fun.
Cheers, Simmo
 
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