The Bonneville family competes for comparison.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black.
Is that the well in front of the gate or a gate in front of the well? At least he likes to bob.
Straight handlebar, handlebar end mirror, small nine-liter tank.
The Bobber and Speedmaster have an intuitively operated cruise control on the left handlebar controls as standard.
Footrest arranged almost amidships. It, its bracket and the brake pedal are made of high-quality cast aluminum.
The shovel-shaped, seemingly floating seat is the defining design element of the Bobber. For solists only.
Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster.
Despite the promising name, the Speedmaster prefers the moderate pace.
The extra-wide wheelbarrow is definitely part of the cruiser DNA. Painting the twelve-liter tank costs 300 euros extra.
The right handlebar fitting is identical in all three. The mappings (Rain / Road) are changed with the middle button.
The footrests of the Speedmaster are 22 centimeters further forward than those of the Bobber and even 36 compared to the T120.
The footrests are supported by massive pipes. This also occasionally comes into contact with the street. Then it’s time to be careful.
Triumph Bonneville T120 Black.
A ducat sch … he least needs it for the T120, because at 12,250 euros it is the cheapest of the trio.
Regardless of whether it is a tank (capacity 14.5 liters), handlebars, cockpit or mirror: you can’t shape a motorcycle more classic than this.
This Bonnie has heated grips on board instead of the cruise control.
Unsurprisingly, the T120 has its footpegs furthest back. The resulting seating position is: classic.
The T120 is the only one of the trio that is really suitable for two-person operation. The porter costs 169 euros extra.
Triumph family comparison
Bonneville T120, Bobber and Speedmaster
We run Triumph Bonneville T120 Black, Triumph Bobber Black and Triumph Speedmaster to clarify which twin is the right one for which type of driver.
I.The MOTORRAD catalog, which only refers to the German market, lists 308 motorcycle and scooter models over 125 cm³ (self-counted). In principle there is nothing that does not exist. From time to time the author is asked what the best motorcycle is. Answer: It doesn’t exist! Has never been, never will be. Just as there is no such thing as the best animal, the best plant, the best yoghurt or the best wine. Or what ever. If there was a best anywhere, there would be nothing else. Operating systems, search engines, social media and dictatorships excepted. Because just like the living conditions of flora and fauna, the requirements and ideas of the motorcycle buyer, for example, differ. Specialization is the order of the day. So what does the ideal habitat of our three Bonnies look like??
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Triumph family comparison
Bonneville T120, Bobber and Speedmaster
Same thing for everyone
First: At least 12,250 euros should be available. The price can of course be pushed up further by using the original accessories catalog heavily.
Secondly: The owner has a preference for a classic appearance, in which the shape and location of the components result from the pure function and tradition and not a design philosophy.
Third: The principle ‘enough is enough’ applies. We have two cylinders, 80 hp and 100 Nm. Fits.
Fourth: We drive without a clock and never on time. Also fits.
Fifth: The difference between the origin of the brand and the origin of the goods does not matter. Just as many supposedly Japanese Hondas are produced for the European market in Italy, these English women see the light of day in Thailand. Which doesn’t harm the being here or there.
Sixth: Lightweight? Who needs that? You want something to touch for the money.
Anyone who has now mostly nodded in agreement is predestined to be happy with these triumphs. But with which one? Regardless of its baroque appearance, the Speedmaster is the youngest of the bunch in the type chronology. It embodies the ideas of a cruiser à l’anglaise with its footpegs positioned far to the front, the wide handlebar, which is not unlike a wheelbarrow handle, and the two-part bench with a tightly cut pillion bun. The thick rubber grips and the bulky, at least adjustable hand levers are reminiscent of the irons from Milwaukee. The two-tone tank with hand-drawn decorative lines (300 euros) and the panniers made of waxed cotton (209 euros each) including the holder (84 euros each) of the test motorcycle underline this impression, but result in a final price of 14,636 euros. Plus additional costs, of course. In return, you get a total of 273 kilograms of different materials, mostly from the metallurgical sector.
In view of her key data, the 273 kilos and thick tires, one cannot complain about the agility of the speed champion. Assuming clear announcements on the handlebars, she willingly gives in. And masters inclines within the scope of their possibilities without any problems. As usual in the genre, it is not set too far, and the clunky footrest bracket or the exhaust pipe can come into contact with narrower arches. So that it doesn’t get that far, the speed can be adjusted with the relatively snappy front brake. In curves it surprises especially with a passenger with a noticeable righting moment. Speaking of pillion passengers: It is possible to take it with you, but it is not recommended for longer than the next ice cream parlor. Too little space, too small the sandwich. In addition, the retaining bracket presses on the rump.
Surprise because the basically identical bopper hardly develops any set-up moment. Except for the fork diameter, the chassis data are almost identical, both are on the same wheels and tires. The bopper brake has a duller effect, but the effect is the same. Possible causes for the different characteristics: The front tire of the Speedmaster was no longer fresh with a mileage of over 5,500 kilometers or the different wheel load distribution due to the changed seating position. But this characteristic cannot permanently disrupt the enjoyment of cruising. She recommends the Speedmaster for friends of the old cruiser school who simply can’t or don’t want to see a Harley anymore. This year, 221 new members joined this club.
Her twin sister Bobber was able to convince 367 fans in the same period. In 2017 it was even the best-selling Triumph model with 746 copies. The criticism made in previous tests of the really bad single-disc front brake of the standard bobbers still on offer was countered by the English with the Bobber Black shown here. In addition to the eponymous color, it has a fat 47 mm telescopic fork and the front wheel and double disc of the Speedmaster. Lo and behold: the bobber brakes. Just like its fast sister, the black one prefers premium asphalt, because with the tight spring travel there is no room for driving comfort. The set-up is tough here and there, but cordial, and you get a lot of shaking on bumpy terrain. The fact that the bobber looks much more agile is less due to the 28 kilograms less weight, but more to the seating position. Although you feel a little reminded of Al Bundy on his Ferguson, you can enjoy the much better view here. And doesn’t face the problem of having to take Peggy with you. The same applies to the entire drive as it does to the Speedmaster, since it is identical in construction. Powerful thrust below and in the middle. Above 5,000 rpm, the engine revs noticeably, meaningless in practice. So who is the Bobber for? For all those who get shiny eyes in view of the unmistakable appearance and for whom the cool appearance counts more than utility. A small, chic leather pouch for a slim 239 euros surcharge provides a touch of the same on the test motorcycle.
Triumph Bonneville T120
That leaves the T120. It is, if you will, the only “real” motorcycle in this group. With one tank big enough for ranges well over 300 kilometers. And a seating position that allows this route. Which is also nice to the passenger. With which you can also look forward to winding stretches, because there is enough air under the stops. Even though they also take soil samples from time to time. Despite the rather narrow tires (100 / 90-18 and 150 / 70-17), the T120 is not particularly easy to handle. It hits a lot better with confidence. With a live weight of 246 kilograms, she is one of the cozy types. Thanks to direct actuation, you can change gears more precisely than with the sisters. The Klock, on the other hand, remains. What does not remain in the measure is the beefy power output. Due to differences in the intake and exhaust system as well as a different mapping, the otherwise identical engine delivers up to eight hp and ten Nm less to the wire-spoked rear wheel between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm. That’s still enough for the pressure, and that doesn’t really affect the performance either. But in a direct comparison, the engine of the most active bike seems a little constricted.
But at the latest when the ground gets a little bumpy, the T120 strikes. Thanks to the relatively long spring travel of at least 120 mm at the front and rear, it most successfully counteracts the carelessness of road builders. The brake system, which is identical except for the front calipers (Nissin instead of Brembo), has no problem converting excess speed into heat. The Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires with the wonderfully classic tread design let the Triumph roll nicely and neutrally around the corner when braking. Speaking of heat: In all three Triumphs, it was noticeable that at temperatures above 30 degrees, which were almost the rule during the test period, the fans run almost permanently, especially in city traffic. Did you save too much on the cooler volume in favor of the optics? Back to T: It is not only because of the standard heated grips and the smooth-running main stand that it offers the most value for the money. A gentle sip of the accessory soup gave the test motorcycle a couple of crash bars and a luggage rack. Still, she is the cheapest of the trio. And it doesn’t have to be black. At the end of the day, it is hardly surprising that to date, five more units more than the Bobber, namely 372, have been brought to the Union Jack-affine people. And now that these lines have been put on paper and the motorcycles have been brought back to the importer, the author repeatedly catches himself humming the chorus of the songs mentioned at the beginning. Bring back, bring back oh bring back the Bonnies to me.
The lowest seat on the Speedmaster is 700 millimeters. After some searching, the feet will also find their place. Measured from the reference line that goes vertically through the crankshaft pivot point, the notches are offset by eleven centimeters. For comparison: the notches of the bobbers are ten centimeters behind the said line, those of the T120 even 25. As the ergonomic triangles show, this results in completely different seating positions. Incidentally, the supposedly precise dimensions of the yellow graphics were deliberately omitted, because even if the motorcycle is exactly vertical and the handlebars exactly in the middle, the manure measurement potential is high. Where exactly are the reference points for the peg, handlebars and seat? The simple graphic is much more meaningful than any numerical values. But back to the Speedmaster. The motto is laid back instead of fast forward. Klock. First gear is sitting. The beefy twin takes off from idling speed like the proverbial ox. Klock. Second. Klock. Third. And so on. From around 70 km / h, the sixth judges it. In practice, you are usually on the move between 2,000 and 3,000 tours. The short mufflers give off a deep bass sound that is appropriate to the displacement. Quite pleasant, but not intrusive.
Triumph Bobber Black
Sitting on the bobber is casual, but still halfway active. The arms are stretched forward, the almost straight handlebars point the elbows outwards. The knees are more bent than on the Streetmaster, but you can hardly put any weight on the pegs. The sitting position is in principle immovable. The spine points slightly forward and can cushion the impacts from the chassis to some extent.
The Speedmaster shows classic cruiser ergonomics. The feet are almost positioned in front of the hands. The horizontal distance between the handlebars and the seat is the smallest. Due to the strong offset of the handlebars, the elbows almost point inwards. It couldn’t be more passive. In addition, the spine is inclined backwards and can hardly deflect the impact of the chassis. The sitting position is nailed down.
Triumph Bonneville T120 Black
The very first glance at the ergonomic triangle makes it clear that the T120 is best for long periods of time. The large distance in length and height between the handlebars and the seat, as well as the footrests that are far to the rear, result in an active and comfortable seating position that can also be varied thanks to the long seat. The physiotherapist recommends this to his friends.
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