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
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.
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.
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.
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.