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Review: Triumph Bonneville Classic
Driven May 2014
These days, you can have one big bike for every day of the week (and then some), from adrenalin-pumping litre-class options to the much more relaxed cruisers. But when you’re looking for some old-school biking fun, neither of these comes close to riding a Triumph Bonneville.
And we’re not talking about number-shattering performance here. Call it nostalgia, or call it the pull of that retro design, but people love a Bonnie, whether they’re track hooligans or cruiser club bruisers.
Which brings us to the Triumph Bonneville Classic, Triumph’s entry-level model (till the much smaller 250cc derivative arrives). Simplicity is this bike’s most attractive feature. Fit and finish is top-notch, and the dual-tone tank with retro badging add old-world charm.
The instrument pod houses a speedometer and a digital trip meter. If you want a tacho as well, you’ll need to shell out another Rs 90,000 for the T100 variant. Riding the Bonneville is a simple affair, with the rider seated upright. The seating position makes the bike’s 225kg heft fairly manageable in city traffic. The Bonnie gets extra points for the flat, wide seat, which is comfortable not just for the rider but the pillion as well.
The 865cc parallel-twin motor makes a respectable 67bhp and 68Nm, sent to the ground via a 5-speed transmission. We missed having an additional gear, especially out on the highway. The Bonneville builds speed like a hot-rod on a drag strip. Before you know it, the needle sails past the 100kph mark, with three gears to spare. It’s a nice feeling as the rear tyre digs into the tarmac at the slightest dial of the throttle and the engine pulls all that mass easily, even from standstill.
Of course, like any hot-rod, the Bonneville has its reservations about taking a corner. Not that it doesn’t flow into a turn well, it just feels much happier thundering down the highway. The single disc upfront and one in the rear give the bike good stopping power. There’s no ABS here but it still manages to shed speed during panic braking without losing composure. The only complaint we have is with the suspension, which felt stiff going over bumps.
So, if cruisers are too heavy and laidback for you, and litre-class bikes too extreme, then the Triumph Bonneville should hit the sweet spot for you. It gives the rider breathtaking performance without asking for much in return.
865cc, air-cooled, parallel-twin, 67bhp, 68Nm, 5M, 230kg, fuel tank: 16 litres, 21.6kpl, Rs 6.67 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Stylish looks, smooth twin-pot motor, easy to use; competitively priced as well.