TRIUMPH BOBBER TESTED
Stunning new bike will blow away rivals with substance and style
You’re looking at one of the most eagerly anticipated Triumphs ever. The new £10,500 Bonneville Bobber was only unveiled in October, but deposits are already gushing into dealers – double the amount placed for the Thruxton R last year.
And after riding the Bobber at its world launch in Madrid it’s safe to say that each and every one of those new owners is in for a treat.
Styled to mimic those pared-to-thebone 1940s-style custom bobbers, the new Triumph looks the part with its single seat, cut-down front mudguard, flat bars and hardtail-style rear end. There’s a riot of classy detail touches everywhere you look, from the adjustable floating seat pan and clocks, to the battery box, rear mudguard loop and hand-painted tank coach line on our green and silver test bike.
But let’s forget about the way it looks for a moment, because the Bobber actually goes, corners and steers like a sweet-handling roadster. It’s hard not to be in a constant state of disbelief that something that looks so bobbersome can perform so well.
There’s nothing difficult about riding the Bobber. The slip-assist clutch is light and accurate, the throttle response flawless and the gears slip effortlessly through the six-speed box.
Shorter riders will love the low 690mm seat, but taller ones like me will still enjoy all-day comfort. Everyone will appreciate the plush ride quality, the uncluttered view in the snazzy bar-end mirrors and the neatly hidden electronics. Two riding modes (Rain and Road), traction control and ABS offer a fat slice of 21st century safety to this Dad’s Army poster bike.
Cruise control and super-hot heated grips are available as accessories.
Traditional bobbers were cut-andshut customs, but the Triumph isn’t a hacked T120. The Bobber has a new tubular steel cradle frame, bespoke KYB suspension and, although the motor is the same 1200cc parallel twin-cylinder High Torque motor lifted from the Bonneville T120 (with it’s 10,000-mile service intervals), it makes 10% more power and torque at 4500pm.
The tweaked motor is more flexible and urgent on the throttle than the T120, but still unthreatening and smooth. It purrs around town, is almost silent off the throttle and cruises at just 3500rpm at 70mph. It might only have a 9.1-litre fuel tank, but Triumph claim 69mpg, which should give a range of 138 miles, although the fuel light will come on at around 100 miles.
But the Bobber reveals a tougher side when you poke it as it drives out of corners with such unfettered urgency you’re glad it has traction control when conditions are tricky. With more revs comes a harder, deeper engine note and a rumble from the slash cut exhausts.
A bike with a 100-section spoked 19in wheel up front and a 16-incher at the rear simply shouldn’t handle this well. But it does. It may look unbalanced with all its bulk ahead of the rider and the rear wheel somewhere in another county, but it feels short and squat. It steers lightly and carves through corners and over bumps with the precision and easy poise of a Thruxton R. It’s more funthan it has any right to be.
You need a hard dose of back brake to complement the single disc twinpiston front when you’re pushing on, but dabbing the rear keeps the Bobber more settled mid-bend and the antisquat effect improves ground clearance.
You can get your off-the-peg bobber kicks for less from Harley, Moto Guzzi, Yamaha and Indian, but put simply, the new Triumph is the slickest bobber ever built.
‘You poke it and it drives out of corners with unfettered urgency’