A classic facelift
There’s something for purists and modern riders in Triumph’s new Bonneville, writes CRAIG DUFF
ASMALLER front wheel has transformed Triumph’s Bonneville, with cruiser-like handling dropped in favour of a nimbler, more modern ride.
It’s a huge difference for the 1960s-styled bike and one bound to upset traditionalists who preferred the spoked rims.
Triumph is ensuring it doesn’t alienate purists by offering its top-ofthe-range T100 model with spokes and a 19-inch front rim. Those looking for a more up-to-date experience will opt for the ‘‘modern’’ Bonneville with 17-inch front rim.
The other obvious difference on the cut-down Bonneville is the shorter front and rear guards and the scalloped seat, which lowers the seat height from 775mm to 751mm. That change will appeal to smaller riders and those who prefer to put both feet flat on the ground when stopping.
All bikes in the range are powered by Triumph’s 865cc air-cooled parallel twin engine with 49kW and 69Nm.
In keeping with the philosophy of a modern bike in a retro package the engine is fuel injected, the injectors housed inside what appears to be the carburettor body. Similarly the ‘‘choke’’ is a fast-idle feature.
It’s the torque that’s the key to the Bonneville’s performance and makes riding it such fuss-free fun.
There’s enough power at launch to jump the traffic without having to worry about lifting the front wheel. The engine quickly climbs into the mid-range, which is where it works best and it will then keep pace with most mid-sized sports tourers.
The only downside to the drop in diameter is the ride: the 17-inch front doesn’t handle bumps and corrugations as smoothly as the T100.
The range starts with the $12,490 Bonneville and climbs $1000 for the SE, which brings a tachometer, chunky tank decals, chrome engine covers and the option of two-tone paintwork. The T100 has the same features as the SE (plus the spoked wheels) and costs $13,990.
The exhausts are one of the few items on the Bonneville that need attention if you really want to hear that flat-blat exhaust note. Triumph has two Arrows systems for the bike and, though optional, they’re recom- mended if you’re a fan of the twin. The typically extensive range of accessories includes quick-release summer and winter windscreens, panniers and a chrome luggage rack.
On the Triumph website you can add and remove accessories from the bikes and see how much visual (and financial) impact it has.