Triumph Bonneville review

A classic bike with out the skinned knuckles from continuous tinkering to keep it going

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Thu, 16 Dec 2004 - 12:12

Details
Manufacturer:
Triumph
Category:
Modern Classics
Price:
£ 4999
Overall
3
The grunty twin’s power and light clutch complete a solid filtering package.
Looks, price and name
Strangled engine, needs a loud pipe

When it comes to classics this is the one. Just the name Bonneville on a bike seems to draw a crowd of admirers from miles around and this one looks the part. Unfortunately modern noise and emissions regs have strangled the engine’s noise and performance but who cares? It’s got Triumph on the tank and is a huge seller in the UK and abroad.

A classic that will start every time, run without an oil lake forming under it and is affordable. But look at the T100 before buying.When it comes to classics this is the one. Just the name Bonneville on a bike seems to draw a crowd of admirers from miles around and this one looks the part. Unfortunately modern noise and emissions regs have strangled the engine’s noise and performance but who cares? It’s got Triumph on the tank and is a huge seller in the UK and abroad.

A classic that will start every time, run without an oil lake forming under it and is affordable. But look at the T100 before buying.

When it comes to classics this is the one. Just the name Bonneville on a bike seems to draw a crowd of admirers from miles around and this one looks the part. Unfortunately modern noise and emissions regs have strangled the engine’s noise and performance but who cares? It’s got Triumph on the tank and is a huge seller in the UK and abroad.

A classic that will start every time, run without an oil lake forming under it and is affordable. But look at the T100 before buying.

Ian borrows Barry’s bike on strict instructions not to crash. And Ian fails

It’s amazing how a little bit of plastic can make my commute better. I was bombing around on the Bonnie while Barry was in ’murrica and it was still sporting the Triumph fly-screen. It’s now been removed for city riding (looking much better for it), and since I’ve snatched the keys again to get in and out of work I’ve been getting a daily beating from the wind.

You wouldn’t think the screen would make a difference but it does a great job of directing the wind away from your mid-section. While your head does get some buffeting it’s still comfortable over 80mph. Nowadays I’m experimenting with all sorts of different riding positions, and probably look like an idiot blasting down the A3 everyday. When you’re sat up in the normal position it feels like you’re going to flip backwards, so I swap between superman (head on tank, feet on passenger pegs) and rag doll (straight arms and just hold on). I’m only on the motorway for 40 minutes so this technique works well if you don’t mind funny looks from other riders.

The other half of my commute runs straight through London where the Triumph’s slim profile pays off in spades. The bars are narrower than you’d think, I find myself squeezing through gaps the scooter fellas shy away from. Although you’re not sitting as high up as you would be on other bikes, visibility is good and the riding position commanding. The grunty twin’s power and light clutch complete a solid filtering package.

I’ve also managed to use the pillion seat for popping out to the shops with the missus. She wasn’t sure about the brown seat at first, but I assured her the colour wouldn’t rub off. The Bonnie may be a bit underpowered for two-up getaways, but it’s fantastic for a Sunday afternoon ride through the countryside. The Arrow cans make a helluva racket so I’m surprised to see approving looks from elderly gentlemen that would normally be shaking their canes and telling me off.

You could probably get away with anything on this bike. It doesn’t look flash enough to get nicked, fast enough to get pulled or dangerous enough to attract angry people. The arrow pipes are so obnoxious, yet nobody’s said boo in the five months they’ve been on it. No wonder Triumph have sold so many of these. They’re not just cashing in on the retro-style, it’s a genuinely good motorbike.

One careful owner and now what can only be described as one very disappointed owner, Barry Tavner from Stoke Newington writes:

It’s unfortunate that after Ian wrote these words on his sojourn with my Bonneville he managed to come a cropper in traffic and dropped her. I would, therefore, like to add that you can’t get away with ‘anything’ on the Bonneville. She’s lost some of her looks but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I hope to bring you news of a full recovery next month.

Length (mm) 2250
Width (mm) 860
Height (mm) 1105
Dryweight (kg) 205
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 775
Suspension Front 41mm forks
Suspension Rear Chromed spring twin shocks
Adjustability Rear Adjustable preload
Wheels Front 19 x 2.5in
Wheels Rear 17 x 3.5in
Tyres Front 100/90 19
Tyres Rear 130/80 17
Brakes Front Single 310mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Brakes Rear Single 255mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Tank Capacity (litres) 16
Wheelbase (mm) 1493
Rake (degrees) 29
Trail (mm) 117
Chassis Tubular steel cradle
Length (mm) 2250
Width (mm) 860
Height (mm) 1105
Dryweight (kg) 205
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 775
Suspension Front 41mm forks
Suspension Rear Chromed spring twin shocks
Adjustability Rear Adjustable preload
Wheels Front 19 x 2.5in
Wheels Rear 17 x 3.5in
Tyres Front 100/90 19
Tyres Rear 130/80 17
Brakes Front Single 310mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Brakes Rear Single 255mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Tank Capacity (litres) 16
Wheelbase (mm) 1493
Rake (degrees) 29
Trail (mm) 117
Chassis Tubular steel cradle
Cubic Capacity (cc) 790
Max Power (bhp) 61
Max Power Peak (rpm) 7400
Torque (ft/lb) 44
Torque Peak (rpm) 3500
Bore (mm) 86
Stroke (mm) 68
Valve Gear DOHC
Compression Ratio 9.2
Ignition Digital - inductive type
Cooling Air cooled
Fuel Delivery Twin carburettors
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Drive Chain
Cubic Capacity (cc) 790
Max Power (bhp) 61
Max Power Peak (rpm) 7400
Torque (ft/lb) 44
Torque Peak (rpm) 3500
Bore (mm) 86
Stroke (mm) 68
Valve Gear DOHC
Compression Ratio 9.2
Ignition Digital - inductive type
Cooling Air cooled
Fuel Delivery Twin carburettors
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Drive Chain

Score Breakdown
Overall
3

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