TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 900 (2000-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"For a smooth, no hurries, no worries motorcycle the Triumph Bonneville is hard to beat"

Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Riding

"For a smooth, no hurries, no worries motorcycle the Triumph Bonneville is hard to beat"

  • At a glance
  • 790cc  -  61 bhp
  • 48 mpg  -  170 miles range
  • Low seat height (740mm)
  • £6,549

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Triumph aimed the Bonneville like an arrow straight at the heart of Harley’s 883 Sportster. With a heritage to rival the Yank’s and a better riding performance the Triumph Bonneville is unquestionably the better motorcycle. The handling is more than respectable, the brakes markedly better and, of course, it’s British.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

With its low seat, easy-to-reach bars and thoughtfully sited footpegs the Triumph Bonneville makes a pleasant motorcycle to ride for an hour or three. The handling ‘s sweet, with the 19-inch front wheel swinging nicely under your control. The brakes benefit from a good squeeze, but since you’re never going too fast, they’ll do.

Engine 4 out of 5

For a smooth, no hurries, no worries motorcycle the Triumph Bonneville is hard to beat. The parallel twin DOHC motor pulls nicely, though it’d be a crime not to fit the factory’s aftermarket noisier pipe as this nicely embellishes the whole Triumph Bonneville experience as well as giving a healthy 10 per cent boost to the mid-range. It's also a motorcycle that is easy on oil and easy to service at home. Nice.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The finish of the Triumph Bonneville can go off quickly if a rigorous cleaning schedule isn’t adhered to, especially with all that lovely brightwork. This is one motorcycle that benefits from cossetting.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Triumph Bonneville's motor’s low state of tune means chains go unstretched, oil goes unburned, tyres go unworn and insurance costs are unbelievably low. It’s also a cheap motorcycle to run and cheap to buy and Triumph Bonnevilles doesn’t lose much money past the original hit when bought new. Find a Triumph Bonneville for sale

Insurance group: 9 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

As stock the Triumph Bonneville's pretty bare. But that’s how owners like it so they can customise this motorcycle themselves. To that end Triumph will sell you everything from an alarm/immobiliser (useful) and chrome parts aplenty (cool) to leather panniers (er…).

Owners' Reviews

23 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 900 (2000-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.0 out of 5
Engine 4.0 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

12 months in

02 June 2014 by cy8rm4n

Please completely disregard my previous rose tinted I've just been converted to Triumph review. I'd remove it if I could. So after 12 months owning the engine is run in & sweet as a nut. It's surprisingly nippy considering the hp & will do ton up... Read more easily (not that I have of course). You get admiring glances & comments from white van man, road workers etc etc. That's the good bits over with. No locking fuel cap means you can't leave it anywhere & return in confidence your tank's not going to have been syphoned. Yeah I can buy a locking one for £50 but shouldn't have to, it should be standard. Seat removal is via 2 awkward alun bolts which are hard to line up & easy to drop. I have luggage panniers which means anyone with an alun key could undo the seat & remove the £350 bags. If they don't have an alun key there is one stored under the side panel which can easily be undone with a coin. Separate key for steering lock means it's easy to leave key in ignition & again fiddley to use. I have brushed aluminium engine casings which have started to corrode terribly. Nothing would work cleaning wise so I took it to Triumph to enquire about warranty claim. I'm advised that these are bare metal & there is nothing to protect them from the elements. Triumph say it's the owners responsibility & not covered under warranty (they apparently used to put laquer on but it cracked & resulted in warranty claims so their solution is not to protect it at all & as it's corrosion it's not covered under warranty). Having read the problems people have with the spoked wheels on here too Triumphs warranty doesn't sound worth diddly squat. I thought I was buying into a brand & getting a quality product but 12 months later my advice unless you want to clean it more than ride it & only want to take it out on nice days where your not going to park & leave it anywhere don't touch the bonneville with a long smelly stick!

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
5 out of 5

Route 66 to Shropshire

30 November 2013 by jenko1

Further to my previous review, I have indeed put my money where my mouth is. Having ridden a 2013 T100 Bonnie across Route 66 I came home to UK and looked for one. I bought a very low mileage 2009 SE 865. What a brilliant bike. It had been used for... Read more all year commuting in London, and the weather had taken a toll on the finish on the alloy wheels, but everything else was ok. I rode it standard for a bit, went 2-up touring in France, came home and decided that Bonnies should be messed with. So off came the Air Injection System, out came the airbox baffle, off came the airbox intake snorkel (replaced with a Triumph Twin Power TTP bellmouth), off came the exhaust and O2 sensors (replaced with an Arrow replica from ebay), out went the standard air filter (replaced with a Pipercross filter.) I also used the TuneECU program to re-map the ECU. What an amazing difference! It now sounds brilliant. Not in a mid-life crisis Harley kinda way, just sounds like a British twin should. The performance is so much better now that the EU emissions rubbish is ditched. Dyno shows it's kicking out just over 80hp at the wheel. Much more torque too. Vast improvement over the standard 65hp, for only a cost of £200 after I sold all the standard bits I took off. Highly recommended. I can't praise this bike enough. 7000 miles in 4 months, and I'm getting to know it better. If you've got one and want to improve it, speak to Triumph Twin Power. (Google it) They really know their stuff. Easy riding!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

865 not 800

12 November 2013 by cy8rm4n

About time the MCN review was updated as these bikes have been sporting a 865 engine for quite some time. Anyway, this bike gets 10 out of 10 for character, it just oozes it. Personally I'm unable to sit on it without the opening notes of Summertime... Read more Blues or C'mon Everybody going through my head. Okay so it's pretty basic on the equipment front. Fuel cap doesn't lock, allen bolts instead of a simple lock to remove the seat to name just a couple of things. The build quality seems top notch, the engine grumbles away quite happily & it's a dawdle to ride but fun at the same time. It looks so retro & oozes character & prestige. I had looked at some other manufacturers bikes but boy am I glad I went for the triumph. Fuel consumption seems to be getting better now that I've run her in. I'm just sorry it's approaching salt on the road time so she's not going to be out much for the next few months. Anyway have I mentioned she just oozes character........

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Route 66

20 June 2013 by jenko1

I just sold my spare bike, a Harley Sportster, to hire a Bonnie and ride Route 66. What a decision. The only thing I regret is buying the HD instead of buying a Bonnie in the first place. What was I thinking? On Route 66 the Triumph outperformed the... Read more HD Fatboy my pal hired, it was more comfortable, easier to ride, more economical and attracted far more interest. Reliability was 100%, fuel economy was around 50mpg, and the fun (remember that before the BMW go-around-the-world and Jap crotch rockets?) factor was 100%. It was so easy to ride, I just jumped on it and felt straight at home. The Bonnie I hired was a 2013 T100 (USA) and completely standard. It left the HD for dead every time. The handling was brilliant, and on Highway 2 in north L.A. it was amazing. So nimble. Route 66 has lots of dead ends and the Bonnie was so easy to U-turn. Parts of the Mother Road turn to gravel and dirt tracks and the Bonnie was so easy to ride on these sections. After some gruelling days riding across the desert states, the temp reached 47.8 degrees celsius and the Triumph didn't miss a beat. Never a worry, and always a joy. If it can handle that it can cope with anything. Also had to deal with torrential rainstorms in Illinois and it felt surefooted and sweet then too. From one extreme to another. If I was being extremely fussy the only negative point I can think of was the exhaust note, it's way too quiet. Easily sorted though. I loved it so much I'm looking for one to buy now I'm back home in UK. I rode it for two weeks and 3068 miles and I think that's a pretty good test ride. I absolutely loved it.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Two wheel heaven

08 July 2012 by burningbush

Bought my new T100 last year after writing off my Royal Enfield Bullet...feck that hurt. The Bonnie (or Trumpet as I call her) is a brilliant bike. All the joys of a Brit twin with no need to be a grease monkey. Not so much a fanny magnet as an old... Read more geeza magnet, Trumpet always has a group of mutterers around her when I park up. The Triumph rack is a worthy accessory as there is nowhere to tie anything to. If you fancy a bike for lazy days in the countryside that looks the business and performs well enough get a Bonnie, you will not regret it. The Bonnie has a lot more soul in my opinion to the W800. End of line colours are a good bet when buying new, I wanted a British racing green (Forest Green) one and managed to haggle £650 off the price as Hinkley weren't making any more (work that out if you can) AND I got £500 worth of useful accessories thrown in too. My Trumpet is my dream bike I totally love her! Come on MCN, update your review and for God's sake remove the pic of the original Bonnie, it's only 50 years + out of bloody date!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Brilliant Bonnie

16 May 2012 by DavidKing747

First 100 miles on brand new Bonnie - simply brilliant Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Outdated MCN Review

06 July 2011 by vannvanner

Come on MCN, this review is ancient. Please update for the EFI bikes. I have a 2011 Bonneville SE and it is simply an amazing motorcycle. Really deserves a test ride. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Basic black Bonnie

10 September 2010 by petervoros

Got this bike new end of May and have done 2500 enjoyable miles so far. I added a Tacho and a chrome rack. I put a Scottoiler on to take care of the chain. The injected engine is a peach redlines at 7000 and pulls well from 2500. Handling is... Read more better than the T100 probably because of the smaller front wheel. Suspension is a little on the hard side but not enough to spend money on until it needs replacing. The seat is another story I am sending it off to get 25mm added to the height and a new cover with better quality material. I love this bike for what it is basically a fun fair weather bike that you can take in the scenery with and a hint of it's ancestor without the hassle of constant maintenance. I fancied trying a Sportster but this is more fun has heritage and is British.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

865cc Carbs T100

19 January 2010 by BikerBookworm

This bike is all about no worries / hassle-free FUN! Yes; compared to many its basic but this is actually a good thing - you don't get bogged down / overwhelmed by the tech. No; its not a rocketship, but unless you spend most of your time eating up... Read more miles on a motorway or dual carriageway, it has plenty enough grunt to wisk you around. On minor roads its a joy. Where my Sprint struggles for grip on bumpy country lanes covered in muck and slime the Bonnie just fills the rider with confidence; the grip is excellent, the suspension just right and the riding position a revelation (I'm 6ft 4)- its comfortable, big feet fit between the pegs and the gearchange (without having twist your foot and ankle into strange angles) and for about the first time in 12 bikes, I can see the road behind in my mirrors... Want some fun on country lanes? Get a Bonnie! Want confident handling in winter? Get a Bonnie. Low speed manoeuverability? Yes

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Bonneville T100

03 December 2009 by davemdixon

Bought my Bonnie T100 in March 2007. It has performed faultlessly for almost three years now. Easy to handle,good acceleration cheap to run & easy to service. The seat is a bit hard but you get used to it. Brakes are superb. People will come and chat... Read more as you fill it up and also whilst waiting at traffic lights! One person thought I had made a super job of restoring a 60s bike! Fitted a Scottoiler from day one and have never had to adjust the chain in three years. Original Metzeler tyres suit the bike well. The finish is superb but you must clean and polish weekly. Keep an eye open over the winter for wheel chrome pitting. I have been offered almost what I paid for it so you wont loose a packet when you change.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 23 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2000
Year discontinued -
New price £6,549
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 61 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Top speed 112 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Specification
Engine size 790cc
Engine type 8v parallel twin, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 740mm
Bike weight 205kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 310mm discs
Rear brake 255mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 130/80 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2000: Triumph resurrect Bonneville name for its 790cc parallel twin.
2002: Bonneville T100 launched.
2003: Bonneville SE (for special edition) launched.
2006: All Bonnevilles now get bigger 865cc engine.

Other versions

T100: As per  Bonnie but with two separate clocks, rubber knee pads, chrome engine covers and two-tone paint.
SE: A Bonnie with a black finish to the engine and a twin-carb set-up.

Photo Gallery

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  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Riding
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view
  • Triumph Bonneville motorcycle review - Side view