TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE AMERICA (2002-on) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Bonneville-based retro cruiser has real cred and is effective, too"

Triumph America motorcycle review - Riding

"Bonneville-based retro cruiser has real cred and is effective, too"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Triumph America is a cruiser with real cred – it harks back to the Thunderbird and other Triumphs modified in the States in the 60s and 70s. This means the Triumph America's not regarded as a Harley clone or copy like so many Japanese cruisers. It’s a competent motorcycle too. It’s not particularly rapid or sporty but the Triumph America is a pleasure to ride and well put together.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Triumph America is much longer and lower than the regular Bonneville. It’s surprisingly nimble round town and competent at modest to quite rapid speeds on back roads – the Triumph America certainly capable of more pace than most rival cruisers. Rear shocks are a little bouncy and can transfer big bumps to the rider more than some cruisers.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Triumph America engine is lifted from Triumph’s Bonneville but with a 270 degree crank rather than a 360 one. This means one of the pistons is a quarter of a cycle in front of the other giving a pleasing V-twin like feel. Claimed power for the Triumph America is a modest 61bhp but the bike’s light (for a cruiser) so it’s more nippy than many competitors. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Triumph America's 790cc twin cylinder engine’s very under stressed and has no recurring reliability problems. Build quality is well above average. Triumph understands the British winter and road salt better than most manufacturers so the Triumph America is quite durable. It still won’t run through winter untreated and clean up like new come spring – but no motorcycle will.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Not cheap when new but more reasonable on the used market. You can buy a new entry level 883cc Harley for the same money as a Triumph America or a Japanese copy for less. The Harley’s a wise choice as it handles well like the Triumph and depreciates less but the Triumph America's still an ok buy – if you can find one. They’re designed for the American market and rare in the UK. Find a Triumph America for sale

Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Triumph America's bars are wide and swept back enough for comfort but not a ridiculous amount. Seat is low and suits most backsides well. Clocks and warning lights are minimal. Front mounted foot pegs, so you can stand up to absorb shocks when hitting bumps. Triumph offer quite a few extras for the Triumph America and aftermarket companies add loads more choice.

Owners' Reviews

6 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE AMERICA (2002-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.

Review your TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE AMERICA (2002-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 2.8 out of 5
3 out of 5

check before you buy

26 May 2015 by Paul Howard

It took m a long time to return to Triumph ownership after a run of faulty Hinckley bikes but I wanted to fly the flag so I bought the 2014 America. The new bike had a misaligned mudguard, chainguard, headlamp assembly and the gaps in the rear... Read more subframe were different on each side, the genuine accessories were faulty and the whole attitude of Triumph to quality control was in my opinion very poor. I loved the engine but cound the rider triangle too compact, so at great personal expense I traded it in for trusted japanese build quality

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
This most recent bike reduces the riders triangle which I guess makes it physically a better fit for a broader range of riders however it did not suit my 6 foot frame.
Engine
4 out of 5
I've always loved the parallel twin, it performs well and thrums along with a good sound. Its a shame that you have to use the false choke to start a warm engine why doesnt it just start the same as any other bike with EFI
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
See above, check carefully before you commit to buying
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
Why cant they fit a locking fuel cap and provide warning lights you can see, with such basic equipment youd think it would be easy to get it right
Buying experience

The dealer said most of my problems were with the assembly process which wasnt down to them

4 out of 5

19 May 2015 by segul111

Very comfortable bike over long distances. Swap the tall screen for the summer screen impoves the look of the bike no end. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No issues at all
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Dealer. Experience was a good one, informative helpful without being pushy

5 out of 5

Easy Rider

22 March 2009 by BritishSteel

What a relaxed ride! Having had bigger and much more powerful bikes (CB1000, CB1300 etc) i have to say that returning to a smaller twin is an absolute delight. No longer do i feel the need to travel everywhere at balistic breakneck speeds. Just sit... Read more back and enjoy the ride ;-) Sounds great with an adictive burble and a definate pop pop pop on the over run. All day comfortable and good miles to the gallon. No more wing wing wing bikes for me.... it's wap pap pop from now on :-)

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

A beautiful bike but ...

04 January 2009 by censuwine

If you're into cruisers then this is the bike to have. There simply is no better looking cruiser around. This is obviously a plus for those who like attracting the looks at traffic lights. I bought mine in Pacific Blue and New England White. ... Read more Aesthetically, it is perfect. Having said that, I made the mistake of buying a cruiser without really making sure that I could live with the reduced manoeuverability of the bike and the sparse instrumentation. Mine did not even come with a fuel warning lamp and the rev counter was an optional extra. I can't help thinking that Triumph seem to fall between two stools with their products. They cannot match the reliability of the Japanese and are miles behind the continental Europeans in terms of ride quality. All they seem to produce are adequate motorcycles. Okay, maybe I'm being too cruel and I can almost hear those amongst you saying that I should have stuck to road bikes. The message I'm trying to convey is that a road bike (e.g. Guzzi's Breva range and BMW's R1200R) offer versatility that a cruiser can never provide and I miss that enormously. Oh, and another thing - if you really want to feel what it's like to get an epidural, ride on one for about 30 minutes!

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

My America,

25 August 2007 by GinaS

The perfect bike for me....so much so that when some tw@t got in the way and wrote it off...I got another one! Read more

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

Lovely Bike

06 June 2007 by yamahabulldog

A lovely little number! Real laid back ride, could do with louder std exhaust note, but still burbles well. Over 50 to gall two up, lazy power, and goooood looks, admired by all. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
Read all 6 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2002
Year discontinued -
New price £7,199
Used price £3,200 to £9,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £81
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 61 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.7 secs
Average fuel consumption 49 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 790cc
Engine type 8v parallel twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel spine
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 720mm
Bike weight 226kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 310mm disc
Rear brake 255mm disc
Front tyre size 110/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

2002: Triumph America launched.

Other versions

None.

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  • Triumph America motorcycle review - Riding
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