The Bobber Black rolls into the second and third gear corners with complete neutrality and total stability and tracks through the bends with precision. Being a bobber ground clearance is always a limiting factor, but you don’t have to be scraping the Black everywhere to gain a thrill, the whole riding experience is so pleasurable that you are more than happy to ride at the brisk pace the clearance allows rather than push too hard and scuff the pegs. The non-adjustable forks and shock deliver quite a firm ride, meaning that over sharp bumps they can feel a bit harsh and unforgiving. It’s a trade off for the bike’s stunning look and only really makes itself felt on particularly aggressive undulations, for general road riding the suspension is excellent and remarkably plush.
Powered by an identical Bonneville HT motor as the Bobber, the Black retains the same spirit and character as its sibling. In the Bonneville T120 this version of the parallel twin is a bit too refined, but the Bobber’s unique tune (which is 10% more powerful lower in the rev range compared to the Bonnie) and slash cut exhaust system gives it a lovely feeling and sound all of its own. There is a pleasant bit of vibration thanks to the 270-degree crank, but nothing that causes the mirrors to wobble or your hands to go numb. And the modern electronic systems such as the traction control and ride-by-wire throttle are subtle enough in their operation so as not to detract from this old-school motorcycling-inspired experience.
The overall level of finish is excellent on the Bobber Black with a lovely attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from a Triumph modern retro model. The major service intervals are pleasingly long at 10,000-miles and overall the Bobber Black appears a quality product. There are no reliability issues with the parallel twin motor, so it’s a safe buy.
With a price tag of £11,650 the Black is £1050 more than the standard Bobber, but you do get cruise control, LED and daytime running lights, Showa forks and an extra brake disc with Brembo calipers, so that’s not bad value at all. But it’s a shame you then have to pay £125 more for matt paint! In the market it is a bit more than the air-cooled Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight (£9995), but it packs way more technology and is cheaper than the firm’s premium Fat Bob model (£14,295).
The Black is impressively equipped for a stripped-back bobber and has switchable traction control, ABS, two-power modes and cruise control as standard as well as LED lights with DRLs. The bar-end mirrors are a neat touch and while the new Showa forks and KYB shock lack adjustability, you do at least get twin Brembo two-piston calipers to boost the Bobber’s stopping power. Colour choice is limited to black or matt black, Henry Ford would be proud…