Triumph Bonneville Bobber: What's it like to ride?

Published: 26 October 2016

I’ve already fallen for Triumph’s new Bobber. It’s a unique offering in the range, and absolutely feels like a real bike in its own right – rather than a ‘dressed up’ Bonneville. That low seat makes it feel user-friendly and very manageable, but at the same time it’s not toy-like, either. Triumph are yet to confirm the bike’s official weight, but I’d estimate it will be in the region of 230kg wet, and of course all that weight is carried low down in the bespoke chassis.

The pegs aren’t adjustable, but the seat is – so you can either sit back with your feet slightly forward, or move the seat closer to the fuel tank, which effectively brings the pegs closer to the rider – more like a Harley Roadster. For our drag-racing exploits we had the comfortable seat in the rearward position, getting more weight over the back wheel, and still making it a comfortable reach to the flat bars. Triumph haven’t sacrificed comfort for style though  – while our night of sprint races on a smooth and shiny concrete floor is hardly a conclusive test of its road manners.

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We repeatedly fired it towards a wall 60 meters ahead, and with the traction control switched off it was actually hard to launch the new bike without lighting up the rear Avon Cobra, hinting at the grunt-laden retune the High Torque T120 motor has had in Bobber guise. It was great fun slithering down the drag strip racing fellow journalists and legendary racers Carl Fogarty MBE and Freddie Spencer – especially as we took the overall win. Clearly the new Bobber has some poke to light up the rear tyre so easily; it would even spin the rear in second gear with some aggression. We expect its 0-60mph times will be impressive compared to similar bikes in this category.

At the end of the drag race we didn’t have a lot of room to haul to a stop, but the single front brake disc and ABS-enabled 2-piston caliper were more than up to the job. The ABS wasn’t too intrusive, and combined with the strong rear brake, it slows down fast. Again, we’d expect it to score well against its rivals.  

While this was a taste rather than a test, I’m impressed so far. It certainly has the image nailed, and if the ride can match its desirability, Triumph are on to a winner.

 

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