Sometimes starting with a clean slate is the best way to create an outstanding product and that's what Triumph aimed to do this time around for a modern classic. This is achieved with the all-new T120 platform, built to take on anything in the segment. How does that translate into certain areas of the bike? Scroll down...
The Bobber is an outlier in this but I imagine that in the United States, it will be a lot more mainstream. My point is that, by design and nature, the Bobber is very focussed. The format removes the ability to do many things. But focus, when it comes to motorcycles, in my experience, is what makes for truly great motorcycles, not versatility. How focussed is the Bobber? Well, to build it, Triumph started with the new Bonneville platform but it led them so far from the base bikes. The Bobber is all-new and distinct from all the others for all practical purposes. So let’s start with the engine.
High-Torque Power Plant
High-torque and high mile service intervals (every 10,000 miles to be exact) are probably the two best ways to sum up this engine to any potential owner. Whether its in calm city cruising or spirited riding on some canyon roads, power delivery is smooth, consistent and adequate.
The Bonneville Bobber is based on the Bonneville T120 in that it uses the same "high torque" variant of Triumph's new 1200cc motor. Both are eight valve, liquid-cooled, single overhead cam parallel-twins with a 270-degree crankshaft, and both are mated to the same six-speed gearbox. The Bobber has a new, twin airbox system with different intake and exhaust system and its own tune, which bumps horsepower and torque figures in the lower rev range.
More specifically, the Bobber makes 77 horsepower at 6,100 rpm, with the biggest gains around 4,500 rpm, where it has a 10 percent bump over the T120. Similarly, peak torque comes in at 78.2 pound-feet at 4,000, also 10 percent more than the T120 makes (peak torque is only 2 percent more).
Of all things journalists reported from riding the all-new Bobber throughout Spain's countryside, this is one characteristic that stood out immediately. Riding through curvy roads, the Bobber feels controlled and confident. However, suspension travel can be improved.
The ride feels incredibly planted, instantly dismissing my earlier recollection of Bonnevilles feeling too light at the front, and as I head into a set of long, sweeping corners I take advantage of the open road ahead, grab another handful of throttle and attempt to scrape the pegs. Flicking from right to left, the amount of ground clearance on a machine as low down as this is unexpected. Switching from left to right, my heel reaches the road before there is any sign of metal scraping. With a long straight ahead of me I continue at a pace and settle down for a good few minutes of comfortable cruising.
Part of that controlled feeling can be credited to the two available riding modes, Rain and Road. Switch to Rain mode for the smoothest distribution of power although slightly reduced for wet or damp conditions. Thankfully, the traction control, abs and related components were packaged to show little evidence they even exist. Well done Triumph.
Like the T120, the Bobber uses ride-by-wire, which allows for switchable traction control and two ride modes, Rain and Road. Both modes allow full power, but the Rain mode uses a more relaxed throttle map that brings the power on more gently for wet or slippery conditions. ABS is also standard. Both handlebar levers are adjustable, and the Bobber’s torque assist clutch makes easy work of navigating through stop-and-go city traffic.
While there might be some debate about certain features on the all-new Bobber, design and packaging of all the components to achieve the look it has, is undoubtedly stunning. But with this being 3 years in the making, is anyone really surprised?
Finally, Triumph has given the Bobber a large number of unique styling and detail bits. The tank is new and smaller than the T120’s, and while it does have Triumph's signature knee pad recesses, it gets its own badging. The fenders are both minimal and steel, the wheels strung with spokes, and the battery box screams of heritage in the most subtle of ways.
Triumph has always been sneaky with a little fake vintage, and on the Bobber it's added to the fake carbs with a rear "drum inspired" brake hub. The ignition has been moved to under the bend of your right leg, and the new side panel and sprocket cover now has a removable inspection cap.
The Bobber is packed with premium finishes. The tank badges are beautiful, as as are the bronze badges on the seat, engine, and speedometer. The engine covers are brushed, the handlebars satin and graphite, and the instruments have machined detailing. Nowhere on this bike looks as if it was overlooked.