When you have the Triumph Bonneville Bobber to ride around, not much else matters. In case you are wondering, yes, it adds to the Bonnie range, but no, it’s not just a skin job. The Triumph Bobber gets a new frame and suspension and the 1200cc engine is in a different state of tune, although shared with the Bonneville T120. It is a motorcycle to like at first glance, the stripped-down styling and loads of exquisite detailing makes the Triumph Bobber arguably the best-looking Triumph Bonneville at the moment. We’ve seen Triumph pretty much master these modern classics, but with the Bonneville Bobber, they’ve managed to take it a step further.
Among other things, the floating single seat catches your eye first. And apart from looking cool, with its brushed aluminum seat pain, it also manages functionality like allowing for 30mm of adjustment. You can choose to sit further back and lower or closer to the handlebar and slightly higher. Higher, of course, is only a relative description here as you can easily plant both your feet flat on the ground. The flat handlebar is within easy reach from the forward position for most and in case you like to reach out to the bars or are taller, you could slide the seat back. Even the instrument cluster has a little clip, which allows you to adjust the angle of the cluster facing you.
And the headlamp is a more traditional halogen set-up without the LED daytime lamp. Apart form the usual details, the Triumph Bobber gets a hard tall-like styling with the monoshock hidden under the seat and the rear wheel hub has a drum brake-inspired style to it. There are even more touches like the battery box and the rubber dust covers on the front suspension that shows the attention to detail.
Swing a log over and there’ some old-school detailing that awaits you. The ignition key sits on the side of the motorcycle just in from of the side boxes to allow minimal clutter around the instrument panel. The switchgear is familiar as it thumbing the starter button to bring the 1200cc parallel-twin to life. What is different is the beat that the engine settles into at idle with the slashed exhausts letting you listen in much closer to the action.
When you look at the Triumph Bobber with its chopped, rigged fenders and long wheelbase with the rear wheel almost sticking out as a separate piece, you expect it to be slow with its dynamics. This one, however, afforded enough confidence to lean over to maximum angle within five minutes of riding it. The low center of gravity and the 16-inch rear wheel make it superbly flickable.
Out on the highway though, the Triumph Bobber gathers pace quickly with the 76 horsepower and 105Nm of torque combining well to provide a fair amount of mid-range grunt. Incidentally, this is also where the soundtrack from the slashed exhaust pipes is the best with enough power on top in case you want to get a move on. Revving the twin 1200cc is pointless as there;s little performance to be extracted. However, get up to triple-digit cruising speeds and engage sixth and you could be pottering along with the engine clocking around 3000rpm. But it was the bit after that, on the narrow roads through some hills that really surprised me.
Moving through second and third corners is a breeze with the Triumph Bobber willing to lean over and change direction at the slightest hint of it. The limited suspension travel on the rear may be a bit of a bother on rough Thai roads. What I could complain about are the brakes that lacked bite, which combined with the easy engine braking to make for a couple of hairy moments around tighter corners going downhill.
In the eyes of the purist, a factory spec Bobber is blasphemy, but then, till a few years back, so was the Cafe Racer. They will tell you how you are supposed to sit in your garage and hack away at bits of unnecessary metal on your motorcycle to make it lighter and tune the engine just so, to make it perkier. Triumph could be fault for making the Bonneville Bobber heavier than the Bonnie, but that’s about it. In Thailand, the singular style proposition is likely to make it hard to resist. The Triumph Bonneville Bobber will be available in Thailand for 570,000 THB.