Triumph Bonneville Bobber Ride Review
Before meeting the new Bobber at the press launch and later test riding it, I knew little of the term “Bobber”. But now I can say, thanks to my Triumph Bonneville Bobber ride experience, I am a fan of the unique and particular styled cruiser. With Triumph’s know-how and expertise, the new Bobber not only captivates the 1930’s “bob-job” traditions but impressively combines today’s modern Triumph motorcycle performance and quality.
What’s A Bobber?
These came about in the 1930’s as a style of custom motorcycle where stripping surplus bodywork from the bike to reduce the bike’s weight and make it faster. Riders removed the front fender, shortened the rear fender “bobbing” it as in bob-tail which was most commonly called a “bob-job”. These builds happened right through to the 1990’s. Bob-jobs reflected the visual tastes of their owners, and were home-built.
So, Triumph took their Bonneville T120 and stripped it back to provide all the characteristics of a real bobber. With a low stance, simple lines and minimal bodywork, wide flat handlebars, sculpted tank, single seat, wire spoked wheels, and the all vital “bob tail” rear end.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber Thrilling Ride, Amazing Sound
During the unveiling of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber I actually had the chance to view its finishes and feel its form and weight – sitting on it. With that I was newly informed of the bobber history and reputation, I wasn’t sold on its charm. But during my road test in Daytona Florida, once I set the Bonneville Bobber ignition on and accelerated along the road, the Bobber stole my heart. The tone of the vertical-twin, and it’s handling captured all what a motorcycle’s most basic and simple sensations should be – pure riding.
Triumph offers customisation options in options called “inspiration kits” intended to make the Bobber feel more retro or even set it up like an old-school drag bike. I had the chance to the enjoy two of Triumph’s inspiration packages:
- Competition Green Bobber Café Racer style;
- High handlebar Jet Black Bobber classic
With the recent trend in café racer, scrambler and retro styled motorcycles by the likes of the millennial or hipster crowds, the 2017 Bonneville Bobber makes its appearance in a way that seems its been created by a custom biker builder. The Bobber really is not like any other Triumph model in the company’s line-up. With a nearly flat handlebar, tire hugging rear fender and solo saddle bring it right back to earlier era styling which is all the rage.
The Bobber Holds Its Line
The Bobber accelerates hard In a straight line, and easily reaches triple-digit speeds in no time. While the Bobber has no problems cruising at higher speeds, the rider might have some especially with the ape-hanger higher handlebar.
The Bobber has no wind screen. This is personal as with myself, I always enjoy the feeling of being out there.
Looking at the cruiser styling of the Bobber, you’d assume it to not have much cornering ability, but it handled the corners with ease with its low centre of gravity. Its drive accented with the bass notes of the slash-cut pea shooter silencers had me saying to myself, I want one.
Owner Customisation in Mind
A key aspect of cruiser styled motorcycles is their customization abilities. Triumph has ensured this holds true with the Bonneville Bobber with over 150 components to select ranging from new saddles to authorized exhaust systems.
My Favourite Bobber Features
- Two riding modes: Road and Rain. I enjoy being able to select these options for the conditions I’m riding in.
- Switchable traction control. Again another available option that’ll provide confidence on diverse terrains.
- Torque-Assist Clutch. This brings a lighter feel to the clutch work, making operation easier – and you can ride longer! On shifts the transmission fluently moves into the next gear, especially when performing clutch-less shifts. This even allows for a one-finger pull on the clutch to move it into the next gear. Big advantage for weaker hands.
- Sharp handling and ease corners
- An adjustable seat that can slide backward or forward as well as tilted higher or lower.
- Authentic battery box with stainless steel strap.
Who Is the Bobber For?
For anyone into retro cruiser-type bikes and want to make a style statement, the Triumph Bonneville Bobber will make you very happy.
For new riders, it’s manoeuvrable and controllable and for those with more experience, it will keep you truly entertained.
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber is designed for a single rider only, so if you’re planning to ride a passenger, this isn’t the bike for you. There is no option of installing an accessory passenger seat.
Your longer distance range may be limited with its. 9.1 litre fuel tank.
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber offers the best of both worlds – a stylish bike with the total performance qualities designed to entertain you on each ride. The Bobber is very good value for money!
In my view the Bobber is one of the most beautiful bikes in Triumph’s line-up. But outside of its beauty is that it is entirely fun to ride. The Bobber is total quality from inside to out – the quality in which Triumph motorcycles is reputed for.
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber starts at USD11,900.00; CAD13,700.00; GBP10,600.00
Triumph Bonneville Bobber Quick Specs
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
- Max Power EC 77Hp (56.6kW) @ 6,100rpm
- Max Torque EC 78.2FT-lbs (106Nm) @ 4,000rpm
- Exhaust: Brushed stainless steel 2 into 2 twin-skin exhaust system with brushed stainless silencers.
- Final drive: Chain
- Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
- Gearbox: 6-speed
- Seat Height 690mm (27.2 in)
- Wheelbase 1510 mm (4in)
- Tank Capacity: 9.1 litre /2.4 gallon
- Dry Weight 228kg (502lb)
Colours: Jet Black; Competition Green; Morello-red; Ironstone
Visit Triumph for a dealer near you.
By Vicki Gray
Editor, founder MOTORESS; motorcycle basic, advanced and race instructor certified for over 28 years. Motorcycle On-road and race licensing examiner. Coached, taught, examined riders for European, Caribbean and North American training institutes.