With ride quality being at the top of most riders list, thankfully the Bobber maintains a smooth ride on Madrid's mountain roads, the ultimate proving ground. Factoring into this are a combination of things, gearing, torque distribution, the new and improved chassis, and the front mono shock to name a few.
- Motorcycle.comHe could be right. Triumph says its authentic pure minimalist Bobber also had to make no compromises in the comfort department, and after a day bobbing around the outskirts of Madrid on it, I didn’t hear any complaints from myself or anybody else: Those three inches of travel out back do an excellent job smoothing out rough pavement, and so does the 90mm in front controlled by the 41mm fork, complete with gaiters.
From the looks of the Bobber and its mission statement, I was kind of expecting a bit more of a raw-boned ride, but like every new Triumph we’ve ridden lately, this one has zero rough edges. The temperature the day we rode the bike never got above 48 degrees or so, so it was nice all our bikes were outfitted with optional heated grips. Another available option on this fully ride-by-wire Bobber is cruise control. This authentic historic relic is fully up to date; ABS is also standard, along with traction control and Rain and Road ride modes.
The fact its hard to find a 2017 Bobber review suggesting it didn't hold up well to Madrid's mountain roads should say a lot about what its like to throw one around, something we can't wait to do ourselves. Topping the list is its light and quick steering, combined with the Avon Cobra tires.
- Motorcycle.comTo me, this one says dragracer more than roadracer, but again the Bobber surprises with better-than-expected backroad chops. In addition to cold on our ride day, the road was also patchy damp, but the Bobber was perfectly capable of dealing with the curvy sections of road that were dry. With only 88mm of trail, via 25.8 degrees rake, the Bobber steers light, quick and reassuringly in spite of its stubby flat handlebar. Custom tires from Avon, a 19-inch bias-ply front and a 16-in radial rear Cobra, seem well-matched to the bike and its suspension. (They contain inner tubes.)
It’s not an overly firm ride at all, but a well-controlled one. The only limiting factor is cornering clearance; once you learn to ignore the peg feelers, the exhausts on both sides will drag when you get to about 8 on the backroad aggression scale, and then it’s time to be careful. Usually, we would dial in a bit more preload to keep the rear of the bike riding higher. Not an option here.
Buy hey! Dragging pipes is largely a motojournalistic complaint that’s never hurt Harley-Davidson’s sales of Sportsters, so we’ll give the Bobber a break – especially since the Bobber leans way further than H-D’s worst offenders.
If you were looking for a 2-up option this isn't it, fortunately Triumph put a lot of focus into ergonomics resulting in an adjustable seat positioning you within a comfortable reach from the ground when stopped and the bars when hammering mountain roads. But that's just for starters...
- Motorcycle.comTriumph says the seat is 27.2 inches from the pavement in its low position, and an inch higher in the high forward one. For 5-foot-8 me in the high forward position, it’s still a little bit of a reach to the handlebar; I’d find a way to scoot the seat forward another inch. There’s room. My taller compadres, on the contrary, seemed to all really like the Bobber ergos; it didn’t fold them up like some bikes in this class do. (Triumph says the Bobber is in a class of one, but when pressed they say H-D 48, Yamaha Bolt, Indian Scout might be its competitors.)
The seat itself is a very nice piece of engineering, an excellent foam layer cake on a molded aluminum tray that nicely cosseted every butt on the ride I surveyed. Jeff Holt, our friend from Hot Bike, seemed to be in shock: “This is the first time I’ve ridden motorcycles all day and my ass doesn’t hurt.”
Improved Lower-RPM Power
To achieve mass appeal, not only did Triumph have to check the boxes above, but equally as important is power distribution. The 4000-4500 RPM range is where you'll want to be for peak power and torque amounting to a total of 77 hp and 78.2 lb-ft torque.
- Motorcycle.coma new airbox, located right under the seat, and those shorter dual exhausts let the engineers massage the 1200 HT (high torque) engine from the T120 Bonneville into a new “Bobber tune”, which is claimed to produce even more torque down low. All the internal engine hard parts are the same, but revised ignition and fuelling aid the bump in lower-rpm power. Triumph says the Bobber’s making 10% more torque and power than the T120 at 4500 rpm, and maxes out with 77 hp at 6100 rpm (as opposed to the T120’s claimed 80 at 6550). A soft limiter begins kicking in at 6800 rpm, and it’s no mas at 7k. In normal use, you’ll never rev the torque-rich Twin that high. There is a little abruptness rolling the power back on at about 3000 rpm sometimes, but I don’t think it’s enough to register a legitimate complaint.
All that Bobber tune stuff aids in the “hot rod attitude,” too; you really are marinated in your own sound waves on this bike, just enough to be a minor jerk without having everybody on your street hate you.
Helping it look the part, Triumph spent 3 years coming up with this design pulling in DNA from the T120 and overall paying homage to original styling while maintaining enough modern cues to stay relevant among rivals. Adding the finishing touch are four color options; Jet Black, Competition Green, Morello Red and Ironstone.
- Motorcycle.comAs functional as it is, you get the impression this one’s really about the looks. Stuart the Engineer gets a little misty describing the places the designers found inspiration, stretching back to the original Speed Twin of 1938, which had a hardtail frame and that distinctive rear fender stay. The rear hub mimics a drum brake, the shape of that gas tank, the single round headlight…