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Triumph Bonneville Bobber - Road Test Review – A Purist’s dream?

Triumph Bonneville Bobber - Road Test Review – A Purist’s dream?

Snapshot: The Triumph Bonneville Bobber is made for old-school purists and this is exactly the kind of biking community that will cherish it.

The term ‘Bob’ or ‘Bobber’ has been associated with motorcycles since a long time but recently folks at Triumph Motorcycles launched a new entrant in the Bonneville family and instead of thinking of a new name for it, they decided to call it just Bobber. And it still sounds cool right? Bobber bikes were essentially chopped down to bare bones to make it go fast, and in the process, they looked nothing more than just an engine hanging on to the frame and a fuel tank that’s about to get loose. Bobber theme bikes sure must have looked cool back in the 1980s but in 2017, bike makers need much more than that to convince people to buy their bikes. The new Bonneville Bobber was launched in the Indian market a few months back and was instantly praised for its minimalistic yet appealing looks. It sure has got the looks but does this has the versatility for a market like ours? Let’s find out!  

Design:

Bobber looks good in pictures but it looks even better in the flesh. And you would really have to take a closer look so as to inspect the level of detailing carried on to even the smallest of components. Look at the battery box for instance, who designs it this nicely? And that adjustable floating seat, I don’t think I have seen a seat this beautifully constructed in a while. At the front sits a small circular headlight that goes well with the overall styling on the bike and that along with the sculpted tank and the way the whole silhouette comes out sure is attractive. The frame on the bike doesn’t allow a pillion seat to be added and thank god for that or it might have changed the neat classic looks of the rear fender. The spoked wheels are also good to look at but maybe some different looking alloys could have worked out better, but that’s again subjective or maybe I couldn’t find anything better to nit-pick.  

Engine and performance:

Bobber uses the same engine as seen on the T120 and Thruxton R which is the 1200cc Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin engine but for Bobber it is tuned as per the bike’s character and hence delivers higher torque. It churns out 106 Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm and 76bhp of maximum power at 6,100 rpm. The engine comes to life with a tap on the start button with a deep growl of the parallel-twin engine which becomes heavier as the revs climb. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed transmission, which is precise and nicely spaced but can ruin your formal office shoes if you change gears too often. First four gears are all you need to ride in the city while the rest gears will come to use only on wide open roads.

This unit again is super smooth and is more than adequately powered and always rocketing with enough torque. But when riding the Bobber, you will care less about going fast and more about comfortable cruising as this is exactly what you will love doing on it. Just put the bike in the highest gear possible, lay back, feel the wind in your lungs and enjoy the ride with the thump of this 1200cc twin. But if you want to do exactly the opposite, the bike will be more than ready to do it and of course the electronics such as ride-by-wire, traction control, and ABS will take care of you will end up in a tricky situation. It’s easy touching 180kmph on the bike if you can handle the wind blast of course. 

Ride, comfort and Handling:

Being a cruiser class, you will expect the Bobber to be plush or at least on the softer side but it is exactly the opposite. The ride quality on the bike is far away from soft and you will regret eating a heavy meal before riding it. The comfort on the bike is also not on the top as the floating seat provides adequate support and the riding posture seems a bit crammed. The seat on the Bobber is adjustable, this cool feature allows the rider to tailor it according to one's best riding need.

Talking about the handling, the Bobber doesn’t disappoint. It feels planted on the curves, thanks to its stiff setup which allows the bike to handle pretty confidently on the curves. And being a 228kgs bike, the weight provides more composure in a straight line but this weight is quite evident when changing lanes quickly, which comes naturally to bikes of such DNA. It’s 9.1 L fuel tank doesn’t help much in overall range but at the same time its overall fuel consumption comes to the rescue as it was well over 20kmpl, do some math and you’ll get a range of about around 180 kilometers a tank full.

Verdict:

The Bobber sure is a bike that I would love to park in my drawing room in absolute solace and that would be enough to replace my T.V as well, as it’s not every day that bikes this good looking are made. It’s hard to pinpoint niggles in a bike like Bobber which is like a definition of modern art. It connects two different worlds of motorcycle and art into one, and that’s what makes the Bobber so distinctive from the hoard of big muscle bikes that still look like they belong to the long gone era. Bobber is made for old-school purists and this is exactly the kind of biking community that will cherish it. It clearly isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, perhaps it doesn’t need to be. It’s like not everybody enjoys opera, but that doesn’t bring down its class.   

Photography: Mohd. Nasir

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