Driving report triumph
Triumph Bonneville SE
Okay, okay, Marlon Brando was up to mischief not on a Bonneville but on a Thunderbird in the 1953 screen epic that inspired the slogan of this story. But 56 years later you can safely overlook it, especially since a Triumph is always first the brand and then the model.
Marlon Brando, the coolest leather cap wearer of all time, couldn’t drive a Bonneville in the film, as it wasn’t presented to the audience until 1959. The reason for the naming was the world speed record set in 1956 on the Bonneville salt lake in the US state of Utah. The American clientele was enthusiastic and demanded the two-cylinder engines so emphatically that Triumph temporarily enjoyed the reputation of being the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. Intoxicated with success, for decades real new developments were considered superfluous in England, which after a long infirmity finally led to the decline of the brand in 1983.
After the resurrection by John Bloor in 1990, the two-wheeled world was initially supplied with very gnarled, independent three- and four-cylinder engines. It wasn’t until 2001 that the time was ripe to continue history with a new two-cylinder, called the Bonneville T100. Later, the Bonneville was added without a nickname, which differs from the T100, among other things, in its monochrome paintwork and cast wheels. For the 50th anniversary of the latter model, Triumph is now delighting customers with a special edition of the classic. The differences between the SE and the standard Bonni are limited to a two-tone paintwork, polished engine housing cover, chrome-plated tank emblems and a rev counter. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether these goodies are worth an extra 740 euros. Visually, the investment definitely pays off. Technically, the two models are largely identical to the T100, which is based more on the model from the 1960s with spoked wheels, folding bellows on the fork, the fenders that are pulled down far and the flat exhaust system.
The parallel twin, which has been drilled out from 790 to 865 cm3 since 2005, presents itself as a cultivated contemporary in contrast to the classic model, whose vibrations did not stop at the exhaust manifold and frame. In accordance with current requirements, it is supplied by an injection system, which cleverly disguises itself as a carburetor battery. There is even a classic choke button. However, this is only needed for a cold start in the morning. The two-cylinder immediately goes into a calming low-speed idle after starting. However, two balance shafts and a lot of flywheel not only keep the vibrations within tight limits, but also the freedom of rotation. Almost like an electric motor, the twin pulls gently and evenly on the chain from idle speed, above 5000 rpm the revving will noticeably decrease. However, high speeds are not necessary for a Bonneville-compatible driving style anyway. The even, deep rumble that escapes from the two conical silencers is also more calming than stimulating.
Driving behavior and braking
Triumph Bonneville SE: The special edition for the 50th anniversary of the T100.
Just as gently as the drive, the brake works with a disc at the front and rear. Together with the rubber-coated footrests with the Triumph logo, which scrabble across the asphalt very early on, it quickly becomes clear: enjoy instead of speed is the motto, which is not a problem given the classic, upright relaxed driver’s posture. At least until your bottom calls for a break on the flat, thinly padded bench. And that is the case well before low tide in the non-lockable tank. Long-haul fans will find help in the in-house accessories catalog in the form of various benches and much more. Until then, the Triumphator will enjoy a neutral driving behavior and nimble handling thanks to cautiously soled 17-inch wheels. Much lighter, by the way, than with the T100, because it drives a 19-inch model in the front wheel according to old fathers tradition. The righting moment when braking in curves is not worth mentioning, and with a species-appropriate driving style, there is little to complain about with the chassis. Its adjustment options are limited to the spring preload of the struts. The attenuation is sufficiently tight, but quickly reaches its limits if the cable is pulled tight. There is definitely more suitable material for racers in the English program.
Purists and traditionalists, on the other hand, are likely to be occupied with something completely different: for some time now, all two-cylinder Triumphs have no longer been manufactured on the island, but in Thailand. This can be recognized by the fact that the two little words ?? made in ?? on the emblems of the engine cover. Have disappeared. The workmanship is just as good as that of the three-cylinders, which are still made in England, and Welten is better than the classic models. As it should be for a naked bike, and a classic one at that, the equipment is manageable: adjustable hand levers and a steel flex line at the front, nothing else. Not even a central ignition / steering lock. According to the old fathers custom, the steering is locked on the right of the steering head with a separate key. Which quickly gets annoying in everyday life. But while Marlon has lost some of its façon over the decades, Triumph remains essentially true to its line. Leather hats and the hand-rolled ones in the corner of the mouth are still considered a stylish outfit. Or at least something like that. What is not possible is a flip-up helmet and safety vest. So much ?? The mild one ?? the Bonni is not after all.
Technical data – Triumph Bonneville SE
The angular has to be rounded: angular spokes with a high proportion of shiny fabrics.
Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two balance shafts, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, injection Ø 37 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 324 W, battery 12 V / 10 Ah, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch , Five-speed transmission, X-ring chain.
Bore x stroke 90.0 x 68.0 mm
Displacement 865 cm3
Compression 9.2: 1
Rated output 49.0 kW (67 hp) at 7500 rpm
Max. Torque 69 Nm at 5800 rpm
Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, front disc brake, Ø 310 mm, double-piston floating caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 255 mm, double-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.00 x 17; 3.50 x 17
110/70 R17 tires; 130/80 R17
Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1454 mm, steering head angle 63 degrees, caster 106 mm, spring travel f / h 120/100 mm, seat height 740 mm, weight with a full tank 227 kg, load 203 kg, tank capacity 16 liters.
Two year guarantee
Colors black, blue / white
Price 8890 euros
Additional costs around 250 euros
The story of the Bonneville
The 1959 original model of the Bonneville.
The first Triumph, which received the nickname Bonneville, was a T110 Tiger, which was strengthened by means of double carburettors to an enormous 46 hp for the time. Strong enough for the title of “World’s strongest motorcycle”. It was named after the record drives on the salt lake of the same name in Utah / USA, which took place in September 1955, albeit officially not recognized by the FIM (international motor sport authority for two-wheelers). Johnny Allen achieved 311 km / h and in the second attempt in September 1956 even 344 km / h with a streamlined Triumph. Regardless of all regulations, the Americans in particular demanded the crown of two-wheeled construction at that time. The Bonneville star began to fade in the early 1970s when the Japanese, especially Honda with the CB 750 and Kawasaki with the Z 900, began to bring strong, reliable and affordable motorcycles onto the market.
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