Last month I tested the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS and now for a slight change of pace I am looking at my first modern classic – the Triumph Bonneville T120.
Despite the constant bombardment of flashy supersport & naked motorbikes in the market, classic motorbikes are still loved by enthusiasts around the world. Unfortunately, there are a handful of new classic two-wheelers being sold by the manufacturers these days, so the choices are quite limited. Nevertheless, you can always get your hands on the classic British icon, the Triumph Bonneville T120. The Bonneville has a 60-year long legacy that has been refined & modernized over time to make it appealing for the masses. The 2021 model carries various upgrades & versions that are sure to entice classic moto lovers.
To get an in-depth look at the revamped Bonneville, I decided to get a first-hand look at it and feel how is it different. In all fairness, giving a makeover to a classic icon is a no mean feat and it requires careful calibrations on all facets so that the original character is preserved. Thankfully, Triumph has hit the nail right on the head as the latest iteration of the Bonneville T120 feels contemporary yet vintage enough to satisfy its core customer base. Everything from the round indicators & headlamp to the classic peashooter silencer makes the new T120 as identical to its first generation as it can ever get.
Now that the visual aspects have been covered, it is high time that I should shed some light on the deeper character traits of the Bonneville T120. The overall finishing is impeccable, just as we have come to expect from the entire lineup of Triumph motorbikes. The bulging parallel-twin engine and a rather chunky gearbox perfectly complement the classic appeal of the original Bonneville that had always remained a favorite amongst enthusiasts.
While the new Bonneville does not pack as much old-school technology under its belt as its older versions, it certainly has enough to offer to any retro fan out there. The 1200cc parallel-twin engine with its 79 hp and 105 Nm of torque may sound a bit underwhelming, but you have to experience the bike for yourself to discover its true nature. The 10.0:1 compression ratio also doesn’t lend a helping hand to the power output figures but keep in mind that all the torque is readily available in the lower band which is just great for the purpose the motorbike is made for. The engine obviously isn’t fed by a carburetor instead it utilizes a multipoint EFI system that helps in maximizing the efficiency and reducing the emissions level. Thanks to the use of various measures to curb carbon emissions, the new Bonneville T120 is Euro-5 compliant and despite that, the performance has remained untethered.
The flat lowered down café racer-style seat provides a comfortable upright posture that is well suited for long rides (and older bones lol). The raised handlebar houses several riding aides on the grips that also include cruise control helping the rider effortlessly cruise through the motorways without having to constantly keep the hands on the throttle. The 6-speed torque-assisted gearbox is also quite helpful and engaging that adds to the pleasure of riding, but perhaps the most exciting part for me was the exhaust note that superbly mimics the sound of old-school classics. One scratches his head to figure out how Triumph managed to fine-tune the exhaust keeping in mind that the technology used underneath the skin is completely different from the one used decades ago.
The overall riding experience is quite relaxing which is partly thanks to the weight that has been shed off the various parts of the bike. The aluminum spoke wheels, a lighter crankshaft, and the absence of a center stand all make a noticeable difference, though the absence of the latter would be problematic for many. Stopping the front aluminum spoke wheels are dual-piston Brembo brakes that in conjunction with the ABS does a good job at bringing the 1200cc motorbike to a halt. In addition to the ABS, there are two riding modes and a revamped instrument cluster that portrays the perfect blend of contemporary & retro looks.
Unfortunately, some essential options such as the center stand & grab handle have been made an optional extra which sounds like a cost-cutting strategy. Nonetheless, a comprehensive suite of upgrades allows it to remain competitive and attractive in this day & age. The availability of numerous trims provides the buyer with wider choices that together with a service interval of 10,000 miles and a sticker price of £11,000 make the 2021 T120 a good option in the classics niche.
Like the look of a T120 then checkout out the lastest new gold line auditions just released: https://superbike-news.co.uk/new-triumph-bonneville-gold-line-editions/
Summary: All in all, the new Triumph Bonneville T120 is a great classic motorbike that has managed to remain true to its roots to this date.
I think I can now officially agree that I am getting on a bit now my body much preferred the Triumph Bonneville T120 over the beast that was the Speed Triple 1200 RS
In my younger days I was always a sports bike rider and was never a fan of classic bikes they were deemed unreliable etc but saying that my 916 used to break down all the time. Maybe it’s a age thing I started appreciating them much more and with the Triumph modern classics you have the looks but backed up with modern reliability and technology.
For more specific details from a previous post https://superbike-news.co.uk/bonneville-2021-british-icons-beautifully-evolved/
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JSyDFCtnc8[/embedyt]Also many thanks to:
Helmet worn in test kindly supplied by Bell Helmets UK
Jacket, Armoured Jeans, Gloves and Boots worn in test kindly supplied by rst-moto.com/
Bluetooth Alarmed Disc Lock used while storing bike kindly supplied by Xena Security
Motorcycle iPhone Mount with Vibration Damper Supplied by Quad Lock