BOB’S YOUR UNCLE
THE TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER TEST
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber Test
We were invited by the folks at Triumph USA to wing on over to Madrid, Spain, and ride the all-new Triumph Bonneville Bobber. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very enthused by just hearing the name, but I am not one to judge a book by its cover or a bike by its focus group-induced name.
Hours after landing in the land of the Spaniards I threw a leg over the Bobber and peeled off a couple hundred kilometers on it. Over the Spanish village cobblestones the 41mm KYB front shocks and a single activated KYB link-assisted rear shock soaked up all the highfrequency road bumps. When it came time to hit some of the twisties the Madrid countryside had to offer, the suspension was plush over big bumps, potholes, and ruts, yet the Bobber was still very responsive in even the tightest of curves.
The Triumph Bobber’s peppy 1,200cc, water- cooled, eight-valve, parallel-twin motor puts out 77 hp and 78.2 poundfeet of torque. The engine was tame when cruising through the villas but churned out some great grunting power when the throttle was twisted in any sort of aggressive matter. The Bobber’s engine sucks air through a set of multipoint sequential electronic fuel-injection units, which are meant to look like vintage Amal carburetors. It exits its spent gasses through a set of stainless headers coupled to a pair of slash- cut mufflers, which have a great tone right from the factory. As far as the drivetrain was concerned I was really impressed by how well the clutch and transmission engaged and shifted through its six speeds. And the fact that the bike has a final drive chain I feel is a very good thing. It also adds a lot to the Bobber’s classic good looks.
The 19-/16-spoked wheels shod in Avon Cobra rubber stayed planted on the Spanish pavement even when wet. The bobber had ample braking in the forms of a front single 310mm disc, two-piston Nissin floating caliper plus a rear single 255mm disc, single-piston Nissin floating caliper.
All the aforementioned is well and good, but I believe the nimble handing of the Triumph comes from a twin cradle frame with a rake of 25.8 degrees and a trail of 3.5 inches. Coupled with its “hardtail” appearing swingarm the Bobber has a very maneuverable 59.4-inch wheelbase in total.
The looks of the Triumph Bobber is where many people will fall in love, and the drag bars start the looks off right. The 2.4-gallon Bobber-specific tank fits perfectly on this
bike and does a great job of harking back to Triumph motorcycles of the past.
The ribbed front fender is a nod to the famed Wassel fenders of the early 1950s, whereas the rear “bobbed” fender setup is the epicenter of this bike’s styling and the essence of this bike’s name. I can attest that Triumph did a great job in making this rear portion of the bike do everything modern yet look like it was born in the late 1940s.
The only real gimmicky thing on the bike is an adjustable seat where the seat height can be slid around from its starting position of 27.2 inches. I am sure it will actually be a great selling point of the bike, but being 5-foot-10 in height and feeling that the bike’s ergonomics fit me very well in the stock position is one I am personally lukewarm about. If you are taller than me (or have longer legs), you just may well find this a very handy thing indeed.
Yes, the Triumph Bobber looks very vintage or “retro” (pick a designation of your choice), but it is chock-full of standard features such as an assortment of riding modes, ABS, switchable traction control, a torqueassist clutch, LED rear light, indicators and number plate light, and theft ignition immobilizer.
The fit and finish of the Triumph Bobber is remarkable, and the amount of designing it must have taken to hide all the ugly lines, reservoirs, and wires common to a production bike made in 2017 is a feat in and of itself.
We all know what a pre- and post-war Bobber was. And we all know that moniker has been watered down so much over the past decade that who even knows what the hell a Bobber-style motorcycle is in the present tense. What’s in a name anyway, right? Because this bike’s strongest suit is the way it rides not the way it looks. If you are looking for a racy little bike with “all mod cons” in a vintage-looking package, this bike should be at the top of your test-ride list, as I would place the Triumph Bobber at the top of the 1,200cc motorcycles I have ridden in 2016. SC