The Triumph Bonneville is undeniably one of the most beautiful retro bikes ever. The original was presented in 1959 and was a classic motorcycle with a very sporty touch. Can the current version look more than just good?
Just how she stands. Depending on the version in a two-colour paint, but definitely with classic stereo dampers and two no less retro bags. As is customary from Triumph, all this is well and processed with love for the small details. Our model is white-metallic and in addition to the paint also wears the Union Jack of the special model Diamond, is otherwise standard. If you don't have enough bling bling, Triumph provides no less than 160 accessories.
The current version produces 80 hp after the recent revision. This is not a small amount in absolute terms, but not much, given the stately displacement of almost 1200 cubic meters. A glance at the data sheet shows what one suspected: 105 Newton meters at a maximum of only 3,100 rpm are available, so it is a torque motor, which fits a retro bike.
But not to the original. In the 60s, this was a bad boy's bike for the group of buyers who would be called rockers today. And she was sporty. There is a classic conflict of goals here, because the triumph does not look sporty (and it is not what was already shown after the first test kilometers). The original got the name by the way because she set a new world record on the Bonneville Salt Lake in the USA. Test driver Johnny Allen managed 345.2 km/h on the streamlined disguised machine. Today's Bonnie can do 180 km/h.
The T120 weighs a staggering 243 kilograms ready to drive – where does Triumph install all the material? A look at the chassis with the double dampers as well as the steel swingarm shows the direction: Here everything looks like carved out of the full, filigree art is sought in vain. Overall, the design is coherent and close to the original. My favorite detail: the parts of the twins reminiscent of carburetors.
The equipment with electronic helpers for driving safety is rather narrow, because there is nothing except two driving modes (Rain and Road), the traction control and the ABS.
Then let's go, lead Bonnie into today's world and see how it works.
The very sight of the instruments warms the heart of the driver. To get speed and speed displayed in analog form, that has something. The engineers integrated the necessary digital information such as the gear display or the filling level of the tank via a small display in the two round instruments.
Down from the main stand (as standard), in view of the single-digit outside temperatures, the equally standard heating handles are switched on and off we go.
What immediately stands out is that there are hardly any engines that sound better. No matter what speed, the triumph sounds pleasantly dull and bass-heavy without scaring the neighbors. The smooth-running anti-hopping clutch allows the first gear of the precise six-speed transmission to come and we drop off. In fact, the T120 pushes off enormously from below. Since it is not only cold for us, but also for the engine, we naturally drive it warm before it goes to higher speeds.
But even if the row twin is warm, little changes in the low-speed driving style. Although the engine is quite willing to turn, a significant increase in the line is hardly to be expected north of 5,000 tours – so one leaves such sparrows.
In addition, it becomes clear in the first corners that the Triumph is more on moderate curves, just as it educates its owner to a calm, balanced driving style. If you want to let it crash, you will be confronted with increased effort, the Bonnie has to be forced into a strong slant, which she acknowledges with quite early footrests. This is also better left, and the curve hatz does not correspond to the character of the machine.
Rather, she encourages the already mentioned, relaxed country road tour. The comfort is fine, the pressure from low speeds ensures a smooth but not low speed over land. The stoppers could do more than that, they can be well dosed and bite violently if necessary.
If you are looking for a curve arrow, you have to look elsewhere. But if you want to move forward in a very stylish way and prefer the calm course of things, you're right here. The Triumph Bonneville T120 can look much more than just good – but you have to be able to afford it. It is currently available at the retailer for 12,050 euros. Clearly, for less money, there are motorcycles that do the same in bare numbers as the T120. But do you want that?
The test bike was provided to us by Triumph Hamburg.