As plenty of motorcycle manufactures have learnt in the past, there’s no shortcut to creating a proper retro icon. The Bonneville range continues to be so successful because it blends modern-day technology (such as liquid-cooling and traction control in the T120) with decades worth of history and royal patronage. Steve McQueen was often found riding one, as was Bob Dylan-because back in 1959, it was the coolest and the fastest thing on two wheels. The 2015 Bonneville range does not have that distinction, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most sublime two-wheeled machines on the road and that’s exactly where it’s appeal lies. Instead of pursuing lap times and acceleration figures the Bonneville street Twin, T100 and T120 pursue the simple and often forgotten joy of motorcycling.
The Project Bike
Having started the retro revival that has seen manufacturers reintroducing their own retro models (Ducati Scrambler, Kawasaki W800), the Bonnie has shown that it can fit many moulds. In it’s street Twin avatar, it’s a throaty little city runabout, suing the 2001 Bonnie’s bored-out engine to maximum effect. At Rs 7.52 lakh Ex-showroom, Mumbai it’s also the least expensive Triumph out there.
As brilliant as it is in stock form, the Bonneville Street Twin and T120 make for excellent project bikes, lending themselves exceptionally well to custom jobs, that have seen them turn scrappy dirt trackers, scramblers and shredded-up cafe racers. to make things a little easier, Triumph decided to launch the 2016 range with a huge catalogue of aftermarket add-ons and accessories which won’t nullify the warranty-which means you can ride a scrambler version of the bike straight out of the showroom.
The Bonneville is an extremely friendly and approachable motorcycle. It appeals to a breed of motorcyclists who appreciate understated refinement over bombastically. In its range-topping T120 form, it’s 1200cc parallel-twin motor pumps out a whopping 10.7 kgm of torque, giving it enough kinetic firepower to straddle highways and city roads with equal ease. The engine practically sings at the 3000 rpm mark, making it very hard for you to trade-in that parallel-twin smoothness for something V-shaped. The only issue would be the T120’s super-bike matching price-tag of Rs 9.4 lakh (Ex-showroom, Mumbai) – it’s a sum that could buy you a lot more performance, and that’s exactly where the biking population stands polarised.
The Bonneville T120 exemplifies all that Georgian Britain aspired to be. Stout of heart, noble of intent and unfailingly stylish and austere all at once. In an era of high-compression, high-powered and now turbocharged motorcycles riding the Bonneville is as refreshing as a cool winter breeze. It’s upright position, refined engine and robust torque levels make it a highly adaptable machine. It may not appeal to the primal part of your brain, but it will undoubtedly take residence in your mind, prompting you to ride just for the sake of riding.