TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER (2017 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Power: 76 bhp
Seat height: Low (27.17 in / 690 mm)
Weight: Medium (503 lbs / 228 kg)

Prices

New £10,500
Used £7,400 - £10,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

In the Triumph Bonneville Bobber the British firm have created a machine that combines post war styling with modern day performance – a trick they’ve carried over from the rest of their Bonneville range.

It’s not the cheapest bobber out there, but it’s the classiest and packed with cool design touches and character. It takes the cool, slow-speed cruising stuff easily in its stride, but it’s surprisingly fun and capable, too. 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

With its bespoke chassis and suspension, the Bobber actually goes, corners and steers like a sweet-handling roadster. It’s hard not to be in a constant state of disbelief that something that looks so bobbersome can perform so well. 

A bike with a 100-section spoked 19” wheel up front and a 16-incher at the rear (150) simply shouldn’t handle this well. Especially one that weighs 228kg dry and has just 80mm of suspension travel, which could bottom-out at the drop of a hat.

But it does. It may look unbalanced with all its bulk ahead of the rider and the rear wheel somewhere in another county, but it feels short and squat. It steers lightly and carves through corners and over bumps with the precision and easy poise of a Thruxton R. It’s more fun than it has any right to be and rest assured, you’ll never get left behind by your sportsbike-riding mates on the road.

Ground clearance is limited on such a low bike and you’ll sometimes graze pegs on tarmac, but only occasionally when you’re pushing hard and taking advantage of the superb grip from the bespoke Avon Cobras. 

You need a hard dose of back brake to complement the single disc twin-piston front when you’re pushing on, but dabbing the rear keeps the Bobber more settled mid-bend and the ant-squat effect improves ground clearance. 

Shorter riders will love the low 690mm seat, but taller ones will still enjoy all-day comfort. Everyone will appreciate the plush ride quality and the uncluttered view in the snazzy bar end mirrors

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Bobber uses the same 1200cc parallel twin-cylinder ‘High Torque’ motor as the Bonneville T120 (with it’s 10,000-mile service intervals), but it makes 10% more power and torque at 4500pm. It’s more flexible and urgent on the throttle, but still unthreatening and smooth. It purrs around town, is almost silent off the throttle and cruises at just 3500rpm at 70mph. It might only have a 9.1-litre fuel tank, but Triumph claims 69mpg, which should give you range of 138-miles, although the fuel light will come on around 100-miles. 

The slip-assist clutch is light and accurate, the throttle response flawless and the gears slip effortlessly through the six-speed box.

But the Bobber reveals a tougher side when you poke it and it drives out of corners with such unfettered urgency you’re glad it has traction control when conditions are tricky. With more revs comes a harder, deeper engine note and a satisfying rumble from the new slash cut, pea-shooter exhausts. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Triumph haven’t cut any corners wit the Bobber and it’s quality throughout. No major issues have been reported on the rest of the Bonneville range, so the mechanically similar Bobber should give you miles of happy biking.  

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

You can get your off-the-peg bobber kicks for less: there’s the Harley Davidson Forty-Eight, Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber, Yamaha XV950 and £10,499 Indian Scout. They all have style and character, but they’re all itchy wartime blankets compared to the duck-downed-duvet-opulence of the Triumph. 

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

Styled to mimic those pared-to-the-bone 1940s-style custom bobbers, the new Triumph looks the part with its single seat, cut down front mudguard, flat bars and hardtail-style rear end. There’s a riot of classy detail touches everywhere you look, from the adjustable floating seat pan and clocks, to the battery box, rear mudguard loop and hand-painted tank coach lines on the two-tone models. 

Hidden away are two riding modes (Rain and Road), traction control and ABS that offer a fat slice of 21st century safety to this Dad’s Army poster bike. 

Cruise control and super-hot heated grips are also available as two of over 150 official accessories and two Inspiration Kits.

Specs

Engine size 1200cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 9.1 litres
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 228kg
Front suspension 41mm, KYB forks non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single KYB rear shock, non-adjustable
Front brake 310mm disc with Nissin two-piston caliper
Rear brake 255mm single disc with Nissin single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/80 x 16

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 69 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £10,500
Used price £7,400 - £10,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 76 bhp
Max torque 78 ft-lb
Top speed 115 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 138 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2017: Triumph Bonneville Bobber arrives in dealers. T120-engined ‘40s-style bobber follows a year after Triumph launches its new-generation Bonneville range, including two T120s, Street Twin and two Thruxtons.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: 3000 miles with Triumph's Bobber

MCN Fleet: 3000 miles with Triumph's Bobber

I've now covered over 4000 miles on the Triumph Bobber (it's been a high mileage week since we recorded the video) and despite the fact the Bobber isn't especially well suited to the type of riding I'm using it for, we're getting on well. Summer isn't over yet, either, so there's plenty more to come

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER (2017 - on)

2 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER (2017 - 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 BOBBER (2017 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
5 out of 5 Used Bobber
03 April 2020 by Mick Venables

Year: 2017

Superb looks cool good engine and gearbox

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Seems ok though single front brake could be better

Engine 5 out of 5

Can’t fault it sounds well good torque very smooth.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Very good build quality no issues with reliability

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Small fuel tank could be a issue on long trips if your passing a fuel station it’s wise to top up.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Single seat means no storage etc plenty of optional and aftermarket goods but some are very expensive.

Buying experience: Excellent experience from Youles Triumph Blackburn.

5 out of 5 Brilliant Bobber
24 May 2018 by Paul Driscoll

Year: 2017

Probably not the bike for you if it's your only bike, if only because of the single seat, but it is always entertaining to ride and never fails to make me smile. Just as happy tootling around town as scraping pegs on fast A roads.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front brake could be stronger but you soon get used to it.

Engine 5 out of 5

A real peach.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No issues in the first 1500 miles.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Too early to tell - just eight months old.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Automotive art!

Buying experience: Dealer really helpful and despite being unable to source black engine cases for delivery date - Triumph sent chrome... twice - they swapped out at the first service and all turned out well.

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