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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Very good review for the Bonnie range from the Daily Telegraph, which will be a big boost for sales. It mentions ABS as an option at the bottom - that is a new one on me. Telegraph has reviewed the Bonnie and Thruxton before but it is always good to see the latest thoughts from a top journalist.
Triumph Bonneville review

If you're after a relaxed ride, the Bonneville still offers great value for money.



By Kevin Ash
Last Updated: 3:09PM GMT 19 Mar 2009

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Triumph’s Bonneville has always been one of the more convincing retro motorcycles, in the way it looks at least. It might bear the name of the definitive sports bike from the Sixties, but if any modern machine carries on the spirit of the original, it wears the GSX-R tag of Suzuki. Instead, the new Hinckley Bonneville is these days a gentle machine suited to relaxed riding and those new to big bikes.


The first Hinckley-produced Bonneville was if anything too gentle, its 790cc, parallel-twin motor feeling unenthusiastic to the point of lethargy. That was in 2001. For this year, the 50th anniversary of the first Bonnie, the engine has grown to 865cc and, with some gentle development over the years, has a more satisfying, relaxed yet muscular feel.
It’s still no ferocious road-burner, but it’s not meant to be. This is a bike aimed at those more interested in style and an easy ride. It has modern traits such as an immediate response to the twistgrip, a mellow purr from the reverse-cone megaphone exhaust and pleasingly strong acceleration even in higher gears. A neat retro touch is the fuel-injection system designed to look like a pair of carburettors, as you can see from side-on pictures of the bike – it certainly fooled me on the launch.
Triumph claims that 90 per cent of the maximum torque is on tap from only 2,500rpm up to the red line, although there’s no rev counter on the base model so you won’t know exactly where that is. Not that it matters, the engine works well and only feels weak where you’d expect, such as passing the 90mph mark or when revving it too hard. It certainly doesn’t vibrate like an old Triumph parallel twin, its pair of balance shafts reducing the configuration’s inherent shakes to a few tingles here and there.
The handling is benign, too, with neutral steering at low speeds that makes life simple for the inexperienced rider and provides good stability when going faster. It doesn’t change direction especially rapidly, and the suspension can get a little out of shape when pushed hard on poor surfaces, but overall it’s a stable, confidence-inspiring platform. The ride is on the firm side and more suspension travel would improve comfort, but this is quibbling. It really doesn’t matter on a bike of this nature and I’d argue that it lends a more convincing retro feel.
The brakes have improved since the first model and now demand less of a squeeze of the lever. The feel is not bad and the single disc offers sufficient power. In fact, it’s an ideal set-up for many of the Bonnie’s potential riders. I’d like to see more tank capacity, however. At 3.5 gallons it is adequate for the 50mpg you get in gentle use, but harder riding will increase consumption to the low 40s, in which case the fuel light comes on at 100 miles with a gallon remaining.
There are four Bonnevilles available from Triumph this year. The basic one I rode and the SE (which has a rev counter, as well as a chromed tank badge and polished engine casings) have a Seventies look, with alloy wheels and those megaphone-style silencers. Alternatively there’s the T100, which has wire wheels and “peashooter” silencers in the Sixties style; or the 50th Anniversary, essentially a T100 with orange and blue paint similar to the ’59 original’s and a numbered brass plate on the handlebar clamp.
The detailing is thoughtful on all versions: it is pleasing to see a traditional trip meter with numbers turning on their barrels rather than the ubiquitous LCD display. I also like the warning lights in chrome surrounds, and the chunky footrest rubbers with big Triumph logos, while the base model’s exhaust follows a smoother line than the T100’s kinked pipes. Engine strength aside, the most noticeable changes over previous models are the inch-lower seat and handlebars pulled back about the same distance, making the riding position more upright and comfortable without the penalty of increased wind blast.
The oil-cooler is well hidden behind the frame tubes – take note Harley-Davidson – although the SE and T100’s shiny engine casings are preferable to the very non-period matt black of the base Bonnie. All but the base model are available with two-tone paint schemes, too.
This is a bike which has matured well over the last eight years and it’s still good value, as long as you have the right expectations. Think of it as a cruiser – after all, most of its competition comes from this class – and it’s an exceptionally good machine that looks great, is satisfying to ride and will happily and dependably commute as well as cruise or even tour.
TECH SPEC
Price/availability: from £5,439 on the road (+£350 for ABS). On sale now. Contact Triumph UK (01455 251700; www.triumph.co.uk).
Engine/transmission: 865cc, twin-cylinder four-stroke with eight valves; 67bhp at 7,500rpm, 51lb ft of torque at 5,800rpm. Six-speed gearbox, chain final drive.
Performance: top speed 110mph, average fuel consumption 48mpg.
We like: Engine feel, styling, quality, detailing.
We don't like: All-black engine in base model, smallish tank capacity.
Alternatives: Ducati Monster 696, £5,750. Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster, £5,190. Kawasaki VN900 Classic, £5,830. Moto Guzzi V7 Classic, £5,629.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motorbikes/5017032/Triumph-Bonneville-review.html
 

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Yeah, nice write up - and pretty accurate too. But he ends with suggesting a Bonneville is more of a cruiser...screwed up semantics there. Yeah, you may "cruise" about on it, but a cruiser it ain't!
 

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Good review - the ABS option is puzzling - haven't seen that mentioned anywhere before, but they seem pretty certain about it. :confused:

I wonder if the writer meant "SE" and some intern thought that was a misspelling. Don't know. I think the SE is more than 350 quid extra anyway, right?
 

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Engine/transmission: 865cc, twin-cylinder four-stroke with eight valves; 67bhp at 7,500rpm, 51lb ft of torque at 5,800rpm. Six-speed gearbox, chain final drive.
Six speed gear box?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Six speed gear box?
Well spotted did not see that one either.
RE ABS - they have a good line into Triumph so perhaps this is a new development that is in the pipeline but really should not have been allowed to slip out..:)
 

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Yeah, nice write up - and pretty accurate too. But he ends with suggesting a Bonneville is more of a cruiser...screwed up semantics there. Yeah, you may "cruise" about on it, but a cruiser it ain't!
You have to admit there's something of a cruiser feel to that riding position. Although I suspect we don't have the really hardcore cruiser market the US has; so anything that isn't Japanese and fared and ridden with your butt in the air is regarded with suspicion by a huge slice of the market and most of the magazines.
 

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Cruiser riding position?

There's nothing "cruiser" about it. My legs are not splayed out in front of me. That position looks ridiculous, and I hear it's not comfortable either.
 

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Cruiser riding position

There's nothing "cruiser" about it. My legs are not splayed out in front of me. That position looks ridiculous, and I hear it's not comfortable either.
Having had a couple of that sort of thing, there are two basic cruiser foot options:
1. Foot pegs or floor boards slightly ahead of a vertical line drawn through your knee cap.
2. (Usually) foot pegs on mounts as far forward as the front down tubes on the frame, or even a bit beyond. Hope you have REALLY long legs! :)
Add to that, "ape hanger" handlebars and an extremely low seat, the combination of which renders you JUST able to reach the hand grips.
If you analyze the body position of the rider on this bike, you will see why the "outlaws" feel so comfortable in it: "All right, lean over the hood of my patrol car, spread your legs"....:)
Now, throw in an emergency situation on the street which forces you to maneuver quickly and decisively.
OOPS! :-(
Growing up on the seat of an enduro, hare scrambles or flat track bike, I became used to having foot pegs under, or slightly behind the knee position.
Slightly forward mounted foot boards, combined with a driver's backrest, CAN feel pretty good on some bikes, however (Think Harley Road King, etc.)
One of the other problems with the cruiser riding position is that it puts ALL of your weight on whatever excuse for a seat that your tail bone is being punished with.
BUT, whatever rings the cash register will continue to be produced.
Bob
 

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Yes, I like the controls under my feet, not in front of them.

Last summer, I was taking my European sister-in-law for a ride, and we passed a huge Harley cruiser with the rider spread out all over it and she started laughing. I don't think that she'd ever seen anything like that. :LaughAtYou:
 
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