New Triumph Bonneville Range Unvieled
It is the most iconic bike in Triumph’s portfolio and one of the most instantly recognisable motorcycle silhouettes of all time. So when Triumph went about revamping the Bonneville, the brief was to make it as faithful as possible to the original while being thoroughly modern in every respect. The result is five new bikes; bikes that share nothing in common with the current Bonneville and Thruxton. There is a new parallel twin engine family of 900 and 1200cc displacements, there are new frames, the styling draws even more inspiration from the ’59 and ’68 Bonnie, there’s a new entry bike in the Street Twin and there are over 160 accessories to personalise and individualise the new bikes. It took the largest R&D team Triumph ever deployed on a motorcycle range, four years to engineer these new bikes with Stuart Wood, chief engineer for the Bonneville range terming it a “huge step forward”.
“We put as much effort in to designing this chassis as we would a sport bike like Daytona 675”, adds Wood who used to be managing director of Triumph’s Thailand operations. Which is significant because all five bikes will be made in Thailand and that means the bikes can be aggressively priced in India thanks to the low FTA duties. The range will be unveiled at the Auto Expo next Feburary and, with the homologation process already underway, the launch should follow soon after.
Here’s why you should be excited (if the pictures haven’t already got you excited!).
Bonneville T120 & T120 Black
Headlining the range is the T120 whose styling is heavily inspired by the ’59 original and the pivotal 1968 model in which the performance and style of the British icon hit its absolute peak. The American bikes had a slimmer fuel tank than the British bikes and it is the former that has inspired the lines of the new Bonnie that – in the metal – looks absolutely gorgeous. The T120 Black, even though it is billed as part of the five new bikes, is just the T120 with blacked-out details and is offered in two shades of black (black-black and graphite black).
The motor is a new parallel-twin that gets full liquid-cooling and the HT suffix that denotes High Torque. The motor makes 105Nm of torque at 3100rpm which is up by a whopping 54 per cent over the earlier T100. Power figures haven’t been revealed, Triumph keeping that information under wraps until the actual test rides.
With liquid-cooling, Triumph claims a 36 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and of course reduced emissions. The firing interval is 270-degrees which amplifies the exhaust beat and leads to better refinement. The exhaust note has been worked on for an “unmistakable sound of a British twin” which we can attest to, having heard the bikes ride in to the launch venue. There’s a new six-speed gearbox and on the safety front the T120 gets ride-by-wire throttle, ABS, traction control and two rider modes (wet and dry). The bikes also get slip-assist clutch which uses driving torque to compress and clamp the clutch plates thus giving the clutch lever a much lighter feel and operation.
On the styling front, Triumph is particularly proud of the straight exhaust pipes; all the routing for the cat con being hidden from view to get an absolutely clean look. The twin-skin header pipes also ensure the exhausts don’t get discoloured with the heat.
While liquid-cooled, the engineers are proud of the fact that the radiators are less intrusive than the oil coolers on the previous motor, and it is also styled to hark back to the old parallel twin with details like the (functional) inspection windows returning and what looks like the carburettor being the throttle bodies and housing for ride-by-wire.
Thruxton & Thruxton R
This is billed as a modern classic sports bike to tap in to the trend for cafe racers and looks utterly gorgeous with great details like the tank strap (which is purely a styling feature and doesn’t keep the tank from flying off as in the past), Monza fuel cap (faster refuelling on the original racing bikes) and slim race-inspired tank. Compared to the outgoing Thruxton the new one has tighter lines and better detailing, there are also new clocks, switchgear and controls.
The 1200cc engine has a ‘high-power’ spec with 112Nm of torque at 4950rpm which is
62 per cent more than before. The motor has been tuned differently from the Bonneville’s HT unit with lower inertia, high compression heads and the addition of a sport map on the rider modes.
And if you really want to go all out there’s the Thruxton R that gets Showa adjustable front forks, Ohlins rear dampers and upswept megaphone exhausts (with a single skin so it will get that blue discolouration over time to give it that lovely well-used look). On the chassis front, the main frame is common across the range but changes in geometry by changing suspension heights, yoke offsets and consequently rake and trail gives each bike a unique character. For instance, the steeper head angle on the Thruxton with less trail makes it more agile while the Bonnie is tuned more for comfort. All bikes have a shorter wheelbase and 17-inch wheels (Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres on the R) and together it makes the bikes “more capable”, says Wood. “It is a huge step forward with neutral, precise and agile manners.”
And finally there’s the 900cc Street Twin which is the entry point to the new Bonnie range. The HT motor makes 80Nm at 3200rpm which is 18 per cent more before and, as a reference point 18 per cent more than the Ducati Scrambler. No power or performance figures have been revealed as of now.
The chassis has been setup to make the Street feel more agile. Also keeping Asian markets in mind, the Street has a low seat height (too low for my 5’9″ frame I thought). There is more foam in the seat and more suspension travel for better comfort, the riding position is more relaxed and the setup should make it an absolute breeze to ride through city streets. The latter is also the reason why a centre stand is standard.