Photography: Mohd. Nasir
In the mind of a true motorcycling enthusiast, Triumph
Bonneville, or better known as Bonnie, is an iconic name. Back in 1959, the
days of the original Bonneville T120, this motorcycle was considered as the
E-Type of two wheels. Anybody with a Bonneville considered himself as an action
hero. And just as the year 2013 ended, the British manufacturer announced its
entry in India. And joy of joy, so did the Bonnie. I felt ecstatic riding this
Further through the years Triumph gave the Bonnie a bigger
heart, equipment kept updating, more technology replaced older parts, even the
ownership of the brand changed, but what did not change was that glorious
styling which remained intact. There are lashings of chrome and black in the
correct amounts across the entire body. The cool retro dials and the classic
peashooter exhausts are a perfect mix of the old school and the new. The
cooling fins on the engine block get chrome finishing as well. Triumph has even
left the ignition at the side of the headlamp, just like the classic
Bonneville, and even shaped the fuel injection like carburettors to keep the
Back when the Bonnie was conceived, it had a 650cc parallel
twin engine with a 4-speed transmission. In the 60s, the Bonnie was well known
for its engine prowess. It could cross 160kmph which was mind blowing in those
days. Later the engine size increased to 724cc, and further bored to 744cc in
the 70s. In 2001, the completely new Bonnie was launched with a 790cc engine.
Finally the 865cc engine, with a new fuel injection system, made its debut in
2008. This parallel twin mill pumps out 67 horses and 68Nm of pulling power.
The critical word to be considered for this motorcycle is ‘effortless’. For all the hotheads, this is not a crotch
rocket. This is the Bonnie. Riding an iconic machine like this sets a retro
tone. You ride it like somebody who is not bothered about performance figures
and lap time numbers. You ride it to make a statement that you have grown past
Mind you this does not mean that the Bonnie is not fast.
When the mood takes you fancy, the Bonneville responds as a very capable and
nimble motorcycle. Being a parallel twin completely changes the appeal from a
lazy V-twin. The engine spins high and responds quickly through the shifts, in
fact a bit too quickly. The fuelling system is abrupt in response for most
riders liking, but hopefully you’ll get used to it. The Metzeler tyres are
extremely good and can negotiate a variety of surfaces found on our roads. The
retro looks of the Bonnie might fool you in thinking that it handles like a
sofa, but it is brilliant in the handling department. The steering feels light
and responds to the slightest directional inputs. Another ace up its sleeve is
the suspension which gives a very comfortable and planted ride.
Getting to 160kmph is very easy for the Bonnie.
However, what you’ll love is the brawny
delivery it gives. Vibrations creep in after you go past that mark. A word of
warning, the oil filter placement is problematic and the slightest scrap on a
speed humps will make it pee. All I say is the ground clearance is fair, but be
careful. As a bonus, the Bonnie returns about 20-25km to a litre of petrol. At
5.7lakh, the Triumph Bonneville not just gives you a lot of motorcycle, but
also that strong evocative motorcycling legacy which is hard to find in today’s
sea of mindless numbers.
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