“No! You don’t want to ride something this low?” The mind reasoned with me the minute I set my eye on the Triumph Bonneville Bobber standing outside the showroom. “You’re a reviewer and there shouldn’t be anything small or big for you. After all, you rode the Honda Navi a few years ago.” The heart was equally right. Well, like before, I followed my heart and sat on the Triumph Bonneville Bobber. It was like sitting on a toy motorcycle. This thing I tell you is ridiculously low.
This one they say looks gorgeous. I wouldn’t agree cent per cent. It looks unique for sure though. The motorcycle make look small but again it does have an aura about it. The design flair includes the front fender and the hard tail look that ensures that the Bobber grabs attention quickly. This one looks more like one of those show motorcycles that a manufacturer brings in but only for display purpose. However, Triumph has made a production motorcycle out of it. Everything looks well put together. The analogue clock near the clutch lever and the engine temperature gauge near the front brake lever seem like an afterthought though. Both are difficult to check on the move as well. On the same subject, there are the ornamental rear view mirrors dangling from the sides of the handlebar. These though don’t vibrate like the ones on a Royal Enfield, however there is limited visibility available. You got to turn your head to check for vehicles in other lanes.
I was skeptical about the single seat on offer. However, these flew out of the window the moment I sat on it. It is a scooped unit and sits on an aluminium base. Even when you accelerate hard, the rider isn’t in any danger of sliding on to the rear valence. The minimalist body panels have a secret – they can be pried open with the naked hands. They aren’t supported by any hinge or even screws. It a ‘whack it in’ and ‘pull out with force’ unit. One can store the vehicle papers here or try the optional small leather saddle bag that Triumph will happily provide.
Engine and transmission
Triumph uses the Bonneville’s 1200cc engine here. In the Triumph Bonneville Bobber though, this one makes more torque. Peak power also comes in at lower revs, something the city dweller will appreciate. To get the numbers out of the way, Triumph Bonneville Bobber makes 77PS and 104Nm. The gearbox is a 6-speed unit. The fuel tank takes in nine litres of fuel and in our tests, the Bobber returned 18.1kmpl fuel economy in the mixed cycle, it ensures a safe 150km range before you refuel.
Slot the bike into first and you realise that the gearbox is heavy, the clutch noticeably being lighter with the slip assist function. You will love whacking this bike open at any given period. There are two modes on offer – Rain and Road. As a cautious rider who is taking out a 230kg motorcycle out, I choose the timider Rain option. It though only alters the way the throttle response is. The power isn’t reduced or anything. Immediately on seeing some dry ground, I opted for the Road mode and boy the Triumph does a slight shimmy on the cement road and moves ahead with a gusto.
While it may seem that the engine is torquey and all, don’t even attempt using anything more than second gear for speeds up to 30kmph in moderate traffic. You can feel the imminent engine stall. Vibrations though are nicely contained and the motorcycle , given the open road, climbs up to speed very easily. I like the exhaust note and it gets better when you blip the throttle.
Ride and handling
In traffic, you will not feel the heft of the motorcycle. It is light on its feet. The handle bar though isn’t for slicing through traffic and bit of adjustment has to be made here and there. If you are thinking of the motorcycle heating up in traffic, then it isn’t as bad as you might feel. I rode the motorcycle in the dense 5pm Andheri traffic, made more miserable by intermittent rains. The 19-inch front and 16-inch rear spoke wheels are an odd combination to look at but they work well. Triumph gives you ABS as well as traction control with the Bobber. The Nissin single disc at the front and rear however have a less urgent feel to them. Not to be mistaken but they work fine. A little more feedback will appreciated though.
Handling wise, the Triumph Bonneville Bobber feels a bit heavy. Tip into a corner and I am not sure if it was the lack of skills from my side or the Bobber is reluctant to turn into corners easily, it felt heavy. The ground clearance as you know by now is dismally low and you got to behave like a supercar driver over speed breakers. If you thought that the single pan seat will lead to a bone jarring ride quality, then you like me are totally wrong. On the contrary, it was very comfortable.
Verdict of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber is a one-off custom that is factory-built. It looks beautiful, may be not the best one out there but enough to grab eyeballs. It is costly as well at Rs 10.08 lakh ex-Delhi. Being a single seater means you cannot take your wife or girlfriend along. Triumph doesn’t give you the provision for adding a pillion seat either. The engine begs for open roads and is comfortable cruising along at triple digit speeds the whole day. That’s where the excitement of owning a Bobber lies. Weekend rides!
Things we like about the Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Attention to detail, ride quality and exclusivity factor
Things we don’t like about the Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Low on equipment, lower capacity fuel tank and heavy handling
The reason you see press images on these pages is because of the unhinged fuel cap of the Bobber. Before the shoot, the fuel cap wouldn’t come off and we couldn’t fill fuel. This lead to an SoS call to Triumph Mumbai who promptly asked us to get the bike to their showroom. We had to abandon the shoot.